Fairy Tales in Different Cultures: Maria Cinderella a Chilean Cinderella Tale

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In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, we have been sharing fairy tales from Hispanic countries. A couple of weeks ago we shared a Snow White tale from Chile. Today we are sharing Maria Cinderella. This is a Cinderella tale from Chile. I found it translated in English in Folktales of Chile edited by Yolando Pino-Saavedra and translated by Rockwell Gray.

Taruca--National Animal of Chile
Source: Chris Fryer [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Source: By Ltshears - Trisha M Shears (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Two weeks ago we gave you an overview of Chile.  Today we will share briefly a bit about the wildlife in Chile. A reminder that Chile's climate ranges from desert to alpine tundra. The north is known as the driest area in the world. Chile's geographical isolation (Andes Mountains to the west, desert to the north, ocean to the east and south) there are only a few of South American animals that have migrated there. (Source) There are pumas or cougars, llama-like guanaco, fox-like chilla, minks and a small deer called pudu. There are also rheas, opossums and of course, flamingos. The national bird of Chile is the Andean Condor. There are many species of birds in Chile as well. They also have many marine life like elephant seals, sea lions, Magellanic penguins, sea otters, blue, sperm and humpback whales and dolphins. (Source)

Andean Condor
Andean Condor--National Bird of Chile
Source: By Keven Law from Los Angeles, USA (A real Condor moment...)
 [CC-BY-SA-2.0 or CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Magellanic Penguins at Otway Sound, Chile (5521269094)
Magellanic Penguins in Chile
Source: By Liam Quinn from Canada [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

This story begins like many of the Cinderella stories. There is a widower who lives with his only daughter. Her name is Maria. Like some of the other Cinderella tales, the fire goes out and the father sends Maria to the neighbor's house for some coals. While at the neighbor's house (who happens to be a widow) the neighbor insists on Maria resting and serving her honey soup. After such treatment, Maria begins to wake early and put the fire out, so she can go back to the neighbor's for some fire and honey soup. One day the neighbor suggests to Maria she should tell her father to marry the neighbor so she wouldn't bother her all the time for fire. The father is skeptical, but Maria talks him into it, but he does warn her she will regret it.

The stepmother then has a baby with Maria's father. He names the new baby girl, Maria, in honor of  his first daughter. As the stepsister grows up she becomes meaner. She tells her father to send the first Maria to the field as a shepherdess. He does this. One of the cows died while giving birth to a calf under Maria's care. Maria begins to mother the calf and raise it as her pet. The stepsister gets annoyed and tells her mother that they should make Maria do more work like spinning. The stepmother takes the wool to Maria and tells her to spin it or she will pay with her head.

Maria begins to cry, but the calf tells her not to and offers to spin the wool. They arrange the spindle over the calf's horns and the calf is able to spin the wool for Maria. The stepmother continues to give Maria wool to spin and the calf continues to spin it for her. The stepsister begins to get suspicious and goes to spy on Maria and the calf. She gets angry to see the calf doing all the work and tells her mother they must kill the calf.

The stepsister pretends to be sick and won't get better without eating the meat of Maria's calf. The father kills the calf. The stepmother takes the intestines and cuts them into even slices. She tells Maria to take them to the stream to wash them and not to lose one bit of them. She has measured and counted them. A eagle takes off with a piece of it and now Maria is sure she is done for and cries even harder than she was with grief over the loss of her calf. She tries to follow the eagle and comes to a cottage where a woman is coming out. The woman asks Maria why she is crying. Maria tells her about the eagle who is now in the treetop near the house. The woman tells Maria to care for her children and to do some cleaning while she goes to mass and she will help her when she returns. Maria does as asked and more. The woman is very happy when she returns and gives Maria some intestine that she has plus a magic wand that will grant her anything she wants, but she is to show it to no one. Then she gives her instructions for the way home to look up and down at certain animal sounds. When Maria arrives home there is a gold star on her forehead. Maria does not know it and her stepmother tells her she is a dirty disgrace and covers her head in dirty rags.

The stepsister is jealous of the beautiful gold star and schemes to get one of her own. So she and her mother put together a plan to have the stepsister do the same things. The stepmother pretends to be sick and will not get better without eating the stepsister's calf. The father kills it. The stepmother takes the intestines and has her daughter go wash them with the same instructions. An eagle takes a piece again and she follows the eagle to the cottage. The woman is walking out and they have a similar conversation though the instructions are very different to do while she is at mass. She tells the stepsister to beat her children and to gather all the junk around the house to be burned in the oven. The woman comes home and asks if it is all done. Then she gives the stepsister a piece of intestine and the opposite instructions about going home. The stepsister ends up with a big hunk of burro dung on her head. The mother is upset when she gets home with it and wraps her daughter's head in beautiful silks.

The stepmother always went to church with her daughter on Sunday. Maria wondered why she could never go. She used her magic wand to have a fine coach, horse and coachman as well as a new dress to wear to mass. Maria knelt down near her stepmother and sister and the stepsister thought she recognized her, but her mother told her she was being silly. Maria left right at the end of mass and waved the wand to have everything back to normal before the stepmother and stepsister returned home. The next Sunday was the same except that Maria caught the eye of prince as she was leaving the church.

The following week the prince ordered his servants to stand guard and to stop Maria before she left. One of guards caught her foot, but all he got was her golden slipper and Maria rode off home. The guards combed the town looking for a noblewoman that the slipper fit, but could not find anyone. The prince set out to the country to find her. The stepmother dressed her daughter in her finery and told Maria to hide in the corner since she was in no condition to receive a prince. She told her to get inside the oven while the visitors were there.

The stepsister happened to have the same size foot as Maria, so the slipper went on easily. The prince was ready to marry her when a dog began to bark a rhyme about the burro dung on her head and the gold star was the one he wanted. One of the servants caught what the dog said and mentioned it to the prince. The stepmother tried to chase the dog away and explain it was just a nuisance, but the prince insisted on searching the house and finally found Maria in the oven. Maria told the prince the slipper was hers and that her stepsister and she have identical feet, but asked if her stepsister could produce the companion slipper. Maria went to wash up and used her wand again to be dressed the same as last Sunday and brought the companion slipper to the prince. He now knew she was his wife. The servants pulled the other Maria from the prince's saddle and beat her a bit.

The prince asked Maria to climb into his saddle and she refused since burro dung had sat there. The prince took Maria and her father on other horses for a beautiful wedding. 

This story reminds me of the Spanish American Cinderella tale called, Little Gold Star. I am sure they have the same source at some point. One of the things I have noticed about the Hispanic fairy tales is the importance of the church, God and Holy Family. One of the three seem to play an important part in each one.