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THE wife of a rich man fell sick: and when she felt that her end drew nigh, she called her only daughter to her bedside, and said, ‘Always be a good girl, and I will look down from heaven and watch over you.’ Soon afterwards she shut her eyes and died, and was buried in the garden; and the little girl went every day to her grave and wept, and was always good and kind to all about her. And the snow spread a beautiful white covering over the grave; but by the time the sun had melted it away again, her father had married another wife. This new wife had two daughters of her own, that she brought home with her: they were fair in face but foul at heart, and it was now a sorry time for the poor little girl ‘What does the good-for-nothing thing want in the parlour?’ said they; ‘they who would eat bread should first earn it; away with the kitchen maid!’ Then they took away her fine clothes, and gave her an old grey frock to put on, and laughed at her and turned her into the kitchen. There she was forced to do hard work; to rise early before day-light, to bring the water, to make the fire, to cook and to wash. Besides that, the sisters plagued her in all sorts of ways and laughed at her. In the evening when she was tired she had no bed to lie down on, but was made to lie by the hearth among the ashes; and then, as she was of course always dusty and dirty, they called her Ashputtel. It happened once that the father was going to the fair, and asked his wife’s daughters what he should bring them. ‘Fine clothes,’ said the first: ‘Pearls and diamonds,’ cried the second. Now, child,’ said he to his own daughter, ‘what will you have?’ ‘The first sprig, dear father, that rubs against your hat on your way home,’ said she. Then he bought for the two first the fine clothes and pearls and diamonds they had asked for: and on his way home as he rode through a green copse, a sprig of hazel brushed against him, and almost pushed off his hat: so he broke it off and brought it away; and when he got home he gave it to his daughter. Then she took it and went to her mother’s grave and planted it there, and cried so much that it was watered with her tears; and there it grew and became a fine tree. Three times every day she went to it and wept; and soon a little bird came and built its nest upon the tree, and talked i her, and watched over her, and brought her whatever she wished for. Now it happened that the king of the land held a feast which was to last three days, and out of those who came to it his son was to choose a bride for himself: and Ashputtel’s two sisters were asked to come. So they called her up, and said, ‘Now, comb our hair, brush our shoes, and tie our sashes for us, for we are going to dance at the king’s feast.’ Then she did as she was told, but when all was done she could not help crying, for she thought to herself, she should have liked to go to the dance too; and at last she begged her mother very hard to let her go. ‘You! Ashputtel? ‘said she; ‘you who have nothing to wear, no clothes at all, and who cannot even dance — you want to go to the ball?’ And when she kept on begging, — to get rid of her, she said at last, ‘I will throw this basin-full of peas into the ash heap, and if you have picked them all out in two hours’ time you shall go to the feast too.’ Then she threw the peas into the ashes: but the little maiden ran out at the back door into the garden, and cried out — ‘Hither, hither, through the sky, Turtle-doves and linnets, fly! Blackbird, thrush, and chaffinch gay, Hither, hither, haste away! One and all, come help me quick, Haste ye, haste ye, — pick, pick, pick!’ Then first came two white doves flying in at the kitchen window; and next came two turtle-doves; and after them the little birds under heaven came chirping and fluttering in, and flew down into the ashes: and the little doves stooped their heads down and set to work, pick, pick, pick; and then the others began to pick, pick, pick; and picked out all the good grain and put it in a dish, and left the ashes. At the end of one hour the work was done, and all flew out again at the windows. Then she brought the dish to her mother, overjoyed at the thought that now she should go to the wedding. But she said, ‘No, not you slut, you have no clothes and cannot dance, you shall not go.’ And when Ashputtel begged very hard to go, she said, ‘If you can in one hour’s time pick two of those dishes of peas out of the ashes, you shall go too.’ And thus she thought she should at last get rid of her. So she shook two dishes of peas into the ashes; but the little maiden went out into the garden at the back of the house, and cried out as before – ‘Hither, hither, through the sky, Turtle-doves and linnets, fly! Blackbird, thrush, and chaffinch gay, Hither, hither, haste away ! One and all, come help me quick, Haste ye, haste ye, — pick, pick pick!’ Then first came two white doves in at the kitchen window; and next came the turtle-doves; and after them all the little birds under heaven came chirping and hopping about, and flew down about the ashes: and the little doves put their heads down and set to work, pick, pick, pick; and then the others began pick, pick, pick; and they put all the good grain into the dishes, and left all the ashes. Before half an hour’s time all was done, and out they flew again. And then Ashputtel took the dishes to her mother, rejoicing to think that she should now go to the ball. But her mother said, ‘It is all of no use, you cannot go; you have no clothes, and cannot dance, and you would only put us to shame:’ and off she went with her two daughters to the feast. Now when all were gone, and nobody left at home, Ashputtel went sorrowfully and sat down under the hazel-tree, and cried out – ‘Shake, shake, hazel-tree, Gold and silver over me!’ Then her friend the bird flew out of the tree and brought a gold and silver dress for her, and slippers of spangled silk: and she put them on, and followed her sisters to the feast. But they did not know her, and thought it must be some strange princess, she looked so fine and beautiful in her rich clothes: and they never once thought of Ashputtel, but took for granted that she was safe at home in the dirt. The king’s son soon came up to her, and took her by the hand and danced with her and no one else: and he never left her hand; but when any one else came to ask her to dance, he said, ‘This lady is dancing with me.’ Thus they danced till a late hour of the night; and then she wanted to go home: and the king’s son said, ‘I shall go and take care of you to your home;’ for he wanted to see where the the beautiful maid lived. But she slipped away from him unawares, and ran off towards home, and the prince followed her; but she jumped up into the pigeon-house and shut the door. Then he waited till her father came home, and told him that the unknown maiden who had been at the feast had hid herself in the pigeon-house. But when they had broken open the door they found no one within; and as they came back into the house, Ashputtel lay, as she always did, in her dirty frock by the ashes, and her dim little lamp burnt in the chimney: for she had run as quickly as she could through the pigeon-house and on to the hazel-tree, and had there taken off her beautiful clothes, and laid them beneath the tree, that the bird might carry them away, and had seated herself amid the ashes again in her little grey frock. The next day when the feast ...