Fairy Tales in Different Cultures--Blanca Rosa and the Forty Thieves: a Chilean Snow White Tale

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, I am going to share a few of the fairy tales from Hispanic areas of the world during the month. Today we will visit Chile to hear a version of Snow White, it is called Blanca Rosa and the Forty Thieves and I found it translated in English in Folktales of Chile edited by Yolando Pino-Saavedra and translated by Rockwell Gray. This is a story I shared with Hazel and we colored a Chilean flag together, but did not do any other craft.

Before we get to the story, let's look at Chile a bit. It is officially the Republic of Chile and is in South America. It is a long narrow strip between the Andes Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. (For more info on life in the Andes visit my post here.) It is one of two South American countries that does not border Brazil.It also claims several islands and part of Antarctica. (Source) The country is more than 2700 miles long which is about the distance from San Francisco to New York City and its width never exceeds 150 miles wide. This makes the length more than 18 times the widest part of the country. (Source)

To the north Chile is desert and to the south it is mountainous with volcanoes and lakes and twisting peninsulas. The small central part of the country is where the majority of the population and agricultural resources are. In the desert there is high amounts of copper as well as other mineral wealth. 

Coloring Page Source: World Flag Coloring Pages

Prior to the 16th century Spanish arrival, northern and central Chile were under Inca rule and southern Chile was inhabited by the independent Mapuche. In 1818, Chile gained its independence from Spain. Today Chile is one of South America's most stable and prosperous countries. (Source)

Now onto our story. I found the similarities to so many of other versions of Snow White interesting. From the title, Blanca Rosa and the Forty Thieves we see the similarity to the Egyptian version that also had forty thieves.

In this story, the mother has recently died and left her daughter, who looked just like her mother, a magic mirror in which she could still see her mother and converse with her. The daughter's name is Blanca Rosa, which means White Rose. The father remarries and the stepmother thinks she is the most beautiful woman in the world and gets upset that Blanca Rosa spends all her time talking to her mirror. She takes the mirror from her and asks the mirror who is the most beautiful woman in the world. The mirror tells her it is Blanca Rosa. The woman gets very angry and orders servants to kill Blanca Rosa. The men take Blanca Rosa away and abandon her. A little old man helps her. 

The mother asks the mirror again and learns that Blanca Rosa is alive and find the little old man. She demands he kill her and bring her Blanca Rosa's eyes and tongue. The old man has a dog with blue eyes which he kills instead and brings the dog's eyes and tongue on a silver platter to the stepmother, but also sends Blanca Rosa into the woods on her own.

Blanca Rosa has a horrible time surviving until she finds the hideout of forty thieves. She is high in a tree when they leave and she drops down and discovers all sorts of jewels, treasures and food. All she cares about is the food. She helps herself and then goes back to the tree top to sleep. The thieves arrive home and wonder who has been through their hideout. The leader has one man stay behind the next day. This man watches as this beautiful woman comes down from heaven and is sure it is the Virgin Mary as he has never seen anyone so beautiful in his life. He is sure she is there to have them repent their sins of stealing. He runs to find the others in his group. They do not believe him and the next day, the leader has five men stay behind. All five have the same story as the first and finally the leader stays behind and meets Blanca Rosa. She tries to tell them she is not the Virgin Mary, but they do not believe her and they dress her with beautiful gowns and jewels. They give her whatever she wants. 

There is a rumor in the village about a beautiful woman living with forty thieves, but the stepmother refuses to believe it. She decides to ask the mirror though her question again. Again the answer is Blanca Rosa. The stepmother hires a sorceress to kill her stepdaughter once and for all. The sorceress dresses as an old poor woman and tries to give Blanca Rosa a basket of fruit to thank her for past kindness. Blanca Rosa refuses it since the thieves give her whatever her heart contents. The old woman asks to at least be able to touch her dress and hair. Blanca Rosa allows her and the old woman jabs her with a needle in her hair. The thieves come home to find Blanca Rosa dead or at least they thought she was. The put her in many beautiful clothes and jewels and into a casket made of silver and gold and sent it in the ocean. 

A prince who loves to fish was out fishing and sees the sparkle in the water and asks other fisherman to help him get it. He brings it home. He lives with his two old maid sisters, so he takes it directly to his own room. There he opens the casket to see Blanca Rosa, the most beautiful woman he has ever seen and she is dressed in such riches. He slowly takes off all her jewelry and clothing trying to find what could have stopped her breathing. Once she is naked he combs her hair and find the needle. He takes out the needle and immediately Blanca Rosa comes to live and is very confused waking to be naked with a strange man. She asks where her thieves are and he tries to explain what has happened. She just wants her thieves, so he sticks the needle back in and goes to think about what to do. His sisters are curious as to what he is doing in his room since he does not come out even for meals.

He wakes Blanca Rosa up again and tells her he could not find her thieves, but asks her to stay with him and marry him. He tells her that she does not have to leave her room if she does not want to. She agrees and does not leave the room. One day while the prince was out on business, the sisters break into the room to see what their brother has been up to and they find Blanca Rosa. They strip her of all her jewelry and fine clothes and throw her into the street naked. She wanders until she finds a kind cobbler who takes her in. The prince comes home to find his love gone and he goes and wanders aimlessly looking for her. He finds her and joyfully brought her back and began preparations for their wedding. He punished his sisters with a horrible death. The forty thieves came to the wedding at Blanca Rosa's instance and of course brought her many gifts. Blanca Rosa and the prince lived their lives happily together. 

As you can see there are some similarities to several versions, the fruit and the needle. Sending her in her casket to wander around aimlessly is similar to the Egyptian one, the Algerian one, and the Moroccan one. It is interesting to see how the versions are similar and how they differ.

I will be sharing this at the Multicultural Kid Blogs Hispanic Heritage Month Blog Hop and Giveaway. I hope you will join us at it as well and also visit all the great ideas linked up there! Remember each post shared is an entry for the amazing prizes and for those who do not have something to share, there is another way to enter!