A Young Vic and The Opera Group co-production
Source of the Story 2
Fairy Tales Timeline 5
Original and Similar Stories 9
From Fate to Fairytales 19
Sun, Moon and Wind 22
Opera and Musical Theatre 31
Cast and Creative Team 40
Interview with director, John Fulljames 41
Interview with writer Alasdair Middleton 42
Interview with composer Jonathan Dove 44
Interview with musical supervisor Stuart Stratford 46
Interview with designer Dick Bird 47
Costume Designs 49
Assistant Director’s Diary 56
Further Reading 63
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Written by Kate Wild
© Young Vic 2006
First performed at the Young Vic on 2 December 2006
1. THE SOURCE OF THE STORY
Fairy or folk stories come from an oral (or spoken) tradition. They are passed on from generation to generation and each time they are told they change and develop, taking elements from other stories and developing them to suit their current audience. Because of this, it is hard to know where a story first came from. Occasionally, however, someone collects and writes down the stories they hear. This literary (or written) tradition provides a breadcrumb trail which allows us to trace the development of some of our most treasured fairy stories.
The libretto (or words) of the Young Vic’s opera The Enchanted Pig is drawn from two written sources. The first half of the story is based on a Romanian folk tale of the same name; the second half on a Norwegian folk story called East of the Sun and West of the Moon.
The first English version of The Enchanted Pig appeared in Andrew Lang’s 1890 anthology The Red Fairy Book. Lang read the story in a book of Romanian Fairy Tales which had been translated into German. Lang (1884-1912) edited twelve Fairy Books between 1889 and 1910. His interest in fairy stories came out of his work as an anthropologist (someone who studies human culture) and historian. He always made it clear to his readers that he was the collector and editor of the stories in his Fairy Books, and not the original author: “Who really invented the stories nobody knows; it is all so long ago, long before reading and writing were invented.” (Preface from The Violet Fairy Book – 1901)
East of the Sun and West of the Moon was first published in 1845, in a collection by Norwegian folklorists, Peter Christen Asbjornsen and Jorgen Moe. It was translated into English in 1849 in Anthony R Montalba’s Fairy Tales From All Nations. In East of the Sun and West of the Moon the bridegroom is a white bear, not a pig, but many elements of the Young Vic’s production (such as the character of the North Wind) are taken from this story.
Peter Christen Asbjornsen and Jorgen Moe
Although The Enchanted Pig and East of the Sun and West of the Moon come from places as different as Romania and Norway, they share a common source – Cupid and Psyche. This story is included in a second century Roman novel called The Golden Ass and features characters from ancient Greek and Roman mythology (so may be even older than that!)
Cupid and Psyche tells the story of Psyche, a young woman married to a man she is never allowed to see. One night, driven by curiosity and the fear that her husband is a monster, she waits until he is asleep and lights a lamp. She discovers not a hideous beast, but Cupid, the beautiful god of love. A drop of burning lamp oil falls on the god and he wakes up. Psyche is punished for her curiosity – Cupid leaves her and she is forced to endure years of suffering and fulfill many tasks before she can be reunited with her husband.
Cupid and Psyche
The story of Cupid and Psyche was well known in seventeenth century France where it proved to be a strong influence on a group of aristocratic women who wrote fairy stories. One of them, Marie-Catherine D'Aulnoy, wrote several stories where a young woman is married off, often against her will, to an animal. In one, a princess is wed to a ram; in another she marries a green serpent who turns out to be a prince. In the latter story, the heroine, like Flora in The Enchanted Pig, is forced to wear iron shoes to prove her love for her husband.
After D’Aulnoy published her stories at the end of the seventeenth century, many stories about monstrous or animal bridegrooms followed. The best-known of these is Beauty and the Beast, which was first published as a novella in 1740 by Madame Villeneuve and then retold by Madame Le Prince de Beaumont in 1756 in a shorter version. The story has been made into films (most recently as an animated Disney film in 1991), and in 1996 the Young Vic produced a Christmas show based on the story.
In fact, there are folk stories from all around the world where a young woman marries an animal or monster. These animal bridegroom stories come from places as far apart as Norway, the Middle East, North America and Korea. Some of the people who have told the stories (like the Native Americans) have been isolated from European culture, so their animal bridegroom tales are unlikely to have developed from Cupid and Psyche. Why then are they so similar? One reason might be that all human cultures share similar hopes and fears. This means that the stories they tell are also similar.
A hairy husband isn’t the only thing the heroines of The Enchanted Pig and East of the Sun and West of the Moon share with Psyche. They are all also extremely curious. There are many stories about women who follow their inquisitive natures, often against the express orders of their gods, fathers or husbands. In the Bible, Eve tastes fruit from the forbidden Tree of Knowledge and is thrown out of Paradise. In a very similar story, from Greek and Roman mythology, Pandora opens a box given to her by the gods and lets evil loose into the world. The most famous fairy story about a curious female is Bluebeard. In this story the heroine disobeys her husband and sneaks a peek into a forbidden, secret chamber. There she discovers the gory corpses of Bluebeard’s many previous wives!
As we can see, the story told by the Young Vic’s opera The Enchanted Pig is over two thousand years old and shares traits with stories from around the world. It can trace its heritage from classical mythology, through French literature, Romanian and Norwegian folk culture, to the children’s books of the nineteenth century. In the following pages we present a timeline tracing some of the more important events in the literary evolution of fairy tales, and a selection of stories that bear a resemblance to The Enchanted Pig.
2. FAIRY TALES TIMELINE
The following timeline provides an overview of the development of fairy stories from classical mythology to the familiar Disney versions of our own age. The timeline concentrates on the European tradition from which The Enchanted Pig originates, and therefore does not take into detailed account the history of storytelling from Nordic, Native American, Asian traditions etc.
A.D. 100-200 Greece
The myth, Cupid and Psyche is written by Apuleius and included in his Metamorphoses (also known as The Golden Ass). Some scholars consider this to be the first literary fairy tale, very similar in nature to Beauty and the Beast.
A.D. 200-300 India
A Hindu collection of tales, the Panchatantra, is written. Some of these tales are thought to be forerunners of a few European fairy tales.
The first known literary version of Cinderella is written in China.
Circa 800 to 1500 Persia
A collection of Arabian, Persian, and Indian folk tales are collated orally over many years and collated into a single book by Arabian storyteller Abu abd-Allah Muhammed el-Gahshigar in the ninth century. A framing story featuring Scheherazade, is added in the fourteenth or fifteenth century; this becomes known as One Thousand and One Arabian Nights.
Giambattista Basile writes Il Pentamerone, also known as The Tale of Tales. This collection of Neopolitan (from Naples in present-day Italy) folk tales includes versions of Cinderella, Puss in Boots, Hansel and Gretel, Sleeping Beauty, Cupid and Psyche and many other well-known fairy tales. The Tale of Tales may have been a source for Charles Perrault’s Mother Goose Tales (see below) and was used extensively by the Grimm brothers. However, as it is written in the complex Neapolitan dialect and is not translated into Italian until 1747, German in 1846, and English in 1848, it isn’t widely read by the public until a much later date.
The French Salons are filled with literary fairy tales, written primarily by women. The most prolific and influential of these is Marie-Catherine D'Aulnoy, who publishes four volumes of fairy tales 1696–1698. These are intended for an adult audience and are translated into English in 1699.
Charles Perrault's Histoires ou Contes du temps passe, also known as Mother Goose Tales, is published in Paris. The tales enjoy instant success. Some of the tales included in this collection are Cinderella, The Sleeping Beauty, Little Red Riding Hood, Bluebeard, and Puss in Boots. While not written exclusively for children, Perrault may have been aware of the appeal his tales had for a younger audience.
1729 Great Britain
Robert Samber translates into English and publishes Perrault's Histories. They are a hit and become some of the most popular fairy tales of all time.
Madame Gabrielle de Villeneuve writes a three hundred and sixty two page version of Beauty and the Beast which appears in La jeune ameriquaine, et les contes marins (The Young American Girl and the Sea Tales). This version is not intended for children due to its complicated storylines, length, and subject matter.
Madame Le Prince de Beaumont publishes her own, considerably shorter version, of Beauty and the Beast. It is written for a young audience, with didactic messages and a simpler storyline. This is the first example of a literary fairy tale being written specifically for children.
1812 & 1815 Germany
Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm publish Kinder und Hausmarchen (Childhood and Household Tales). Popular tales from the collection include The Frog King, Hansel and Gretel, Rumpelstiltskin and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The Grimm brothers intended their collection of folk tales for an adult audience, but as it became clear that the stories were popular with children, the Grimm brothers began to adapt their work for younger readers, making the tales contain less cruelty and stronger moral messages.
1823 Great Britain
Edgar Taylor edits and publishes his brother Edward’s translation of the Grimms' tales in German Popular Stories. The book is illustrated by George Cruikshank.
Hans Christian Andersen's Fairy Tales Told for Children is published. Many of the tales are original stories, but a few are based on traditional folklore, including The Wild Swans and The Princess and the Pea.
East of the Sun and West of the Moon is first published in 1845, in a collection by Norwegian folklorists, Peter Christen Asbjornsen and Jorgen Moe. It is translated into English in 1849 in Anthony R Montalba’s Fairy Tales From All Nations.
Aleksandr Afanasyev collects and publishes his first volume of Russian fairy tales.
Gustave Dore's illustrations for Perrault's fairy tales are first published.
Andrew Lang publishes the first of his twelve fairy books, The Blue Fairy Book. H J Ford draws most of the illustrations in the books. The first English version of The Enchanted Pig appears in 1890 in The Red Fairy Book. Lang’s source is Rumänische Märchen (Romanian Fairy Tales) which had been translated from Romanian into German by Nite Kremnitz. The twelfth and final book, The Lilac Fairy Book, is published in 1910.
Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky's The Sleeping Beauty premieres in St Petersburg, Russia on January 15, 1890. The choreography is by Marius Petipa and the book is by Marius Petipa and Ivan Vsevolojsky. Some of Tchaikovsky's score later appears in Walt Disney's adaptation of the story.
1937 United States
Walt Disney's first feature length animated film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, is released. The film is a commercial success and leads to the creation of several more Disney fairy tale adaptations, including Cinderella in 1950, Sleeping Beauty in 1959, and The Little Mermaid in 1989.
Jean Cocteau's film, La belle et la bétè (Beauty and the Beast) is released.
1971 United States
Anne Sexton, a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, publishes her poetry anthology, Transformations. The poems present dark interpretations of well-known fairy tales and are not intended for children.
1975 United States
Bruno Bettelheim, originally from Vienna, publishes The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales, a psychological analysis of the relationship between children and fairy tales. With its Freudian bias, the book becomes a staple in fairy tale studies, while remaining very controversial in its views and methodology. In 1977, the book wins the National Book Award and the National Book Critics’ Circle Award.
1979 Great Britain
Angela Carter's The Bloody Chamber is published in Great Britain. Like Sexton's Transformations, this short story anthology is aimed at an adult audience.
1990 Great Britain
The Young Vic stages The Snow Queen. It is the first of several innovative retellings of traditional fairy stories. Grimm Tales (1994), Beauty and the Beast (1996), More Grimm Tales (1997), Arabian Nights (1998) and Sleeping Beauty (2002 and 2004) follow.
1991 United States
Disney's Beauty and the Beast is released. It is the first feature-length animated film to be nominated for an Academy Award.
1994 Great Britain
From the Beast to the Blonde: On Fairy Tales and Their Tellers is published. Written by Marina Warner, the book focuses on five main fairy tales including The Beauty and the Beast and Cinderella, and considers the importance of the female voice in relation to the tellers of fairy tales, and the role of female characters and their adventures.
2001 United States
In May, Shrek is released by Dreamworks. It is a computer animated feature film amalgamating numerous fairy tale characters into a reinvention of the traditional fairytale adventure.
3. ORIGINAL AND SIMILAR STORIES
Jonathan Dove and Alasdair Middleton drew on two main sources for their version of The Enchanted Pig - a Romanian folk tale of the same name and a Norwegian folk story called East of the Sun and West of the Moon. Here is a transcription of The Enchanted Pig below.
The Enchanted Pig
Once upon a time there lived a King who had three daughters. Now it happened that he had to go out to battle, so he called his daughters and said to them:
'My dear children, I am obliged to go to the wars. The enemy is approaching us with a large army. It is a great grief to me to leave you all. During my absence take care of yourselves and be good girls; behave well and look after everything in the house. You may walk in the garden, and you may go into all the rooms in the palace, except the room at the back in the right-hand corner; into that you must not enter, for harm would befall you.'
'You may keep your mind easy, father,' they replied. 'We have never been disobedient to you. Go in peace, and may heaven give you a glorious victory!'
When everything was ready for his departure, the King gave them the keys of all the rooms and reminded them once more of what he had said. His daughters kissed his hands with tears in their eyes, and wished him prosperity, and he gave the eldest the keys.
Now when the girls found themselves alone they felt so sad and dull that they did not know what to do. So, to pass the time, they decided to work for part of the day, to read for part of the day, and to enjoy themselves in the garden for part of the day. As long as they did this all went well with them. But this happy state of things did not last long. Every day they grew more and more curious, and you will see what the end of that was.
'Sisters,' said the eldest Princess, 'all day long we sew, spin, and read. We have been several days quite alone, and there is no corner of the garden that we have not explored. We have been in all the rooms of our father's palace, and have admired the rich and beautiful furniture: why should not we go into the room that our father forbad us to enter?'
‘Sister,' said the youngest, 'I cannot think how you can tempt us to break our father's command. When he told us not to go into that room he must have known what he was saying, and have had a good reason for saying it.'
'Surely the sky won't fall about our heads if we do go in,' said the second Princess. 'Dragons and such like monsters that would devour us will not be hidden in the room. And how will our father ever find out that we have gone in?'
While they were speaking thus, encouraging each other, they had reached the room; the eldest fitted the key into the lock, and snap! the door stood open.
The three girls entered, and what do you think they saw?
The room was quite empty, and without any ornament, but in the middle stood a large table, with a gorgeous cloth, and on it lay a big open book.
Now the Princesses were curious to know what was written in the book, especially the eldest, and this is what she read:
'The eldest daughter of this King will marry a prince from the East.'
Then the second girl stepped forward, and turning over the page she read:
'The second daughter of this King will marry a prince from the West.'
The girls were delighted, and laughed and teased each other.
But the youngest Princess did not want to go near the table or to open the book. Her elder sisters however left her no peace, and will she, nill she, they dragged her up to the table, and in fear and trembling she turned over the page and read:
'The youngest daughter of this King will be married to a pig from the North.'
Now if a thunderbolt had fallen upon her from heaven it would not have frightened her more.
She almost died of misery, and if her sisters had not held her up, she would have sunk to the ground and cut her head open.
When she came out of the fainting fit into which she had fallen in her terror, her sisters tried to comfort her, saying:
'How can you believe such nonsense? When did it ever happen that a king's daughter married a pig?'
'What a baby you are!' said the other sister; 'has not our father enough soldiers to protect you, even if the disgusting creature did come to woo you?'
The youngest Princess would fain have let herself be convinced by her sisters' words, and have believed what they said, but her heart was heavy. Her thoughts kept turning to the book, in which stood written that great happiness waited her sisters, but that a fate was in store for her such as had never before been known in the world.
Besides, the thought weighed on her heart that she had been guilty of disobeying her father. She began to get quite ill, and in a few days she was so changed that it was difficult to recognise her; formerly she had been rosy and merry, now she was pale and nothing gave her any pleasure. She gave up playing with her sisters in the garden, ceased to gather flowers to put in her hair, and never sang when they sat together at their spinning and sewing.
In the meantime the King won a great victory, and having completely defeated and driven off the enemy, he hurried home to his daughters, to whom his thoughts had constantly turned. Everyone went out to meet him with cymbals and fifes and drums, and there was great rejoicing over his victorious return. The King's first act on reaching home was to thank Heaven for the victory he had gained over the enemies who had risen against him. He then entered his palace, and the three Princesses stepped forward to meet him. His joy was great when he saw that they were all well, for the youngest did her best not to appear sad.
In spite of this, however, it was not long before the King noticed that his third daughter was getting very thin and sad-looking. And all of a sudden he felt as if a hot iron were entering his soul, for it flashed through his mind that she had disobeyed his word. He felt sure he was right; but to be quite certain he called his daughters to him, questioned them, and ordered them to speak the truth. They confessed everything, but took good care not to say which had led the other two into temptation.
The King was so distressed when he heard it that he was almost overcome by grief. But he took heart and tried to comfort his daughters, who looked frightened to death. He saw that what had happened had happened, and that a thousand words would not alter matters by a hair's-breadth.
Well, these events had almost been forgotten when one fine day a prince from the East appeared at the Court and asked the King for the hand of his eldest daughter. The King gladly gave his consent. A great wedding banquet was prepared, and after three days of feasting the happy pair were accompanied to the frontier with much ceremony and rejoicing.
After some time the same thing befell the second daughter, who was wooed and won by a prince from the West.
Now when the young Princess saw that everything fell out exactly as had been written in the book, she grew very sad. She refused to eat, and would not put on her fine clothes nor go out walking, and declared that she would rather die than become a laughing-stock to the world. But the King would not allow her to do anything so wrong, and he comforted her in all possible ways.
So the time passed, till lo and behold! one fine day an enormous pig from the North walked into the palace, and going straight up to the King said, 'Hail! oh King. May your life be as prosperous and bright as sunrise on a clear day!'
'I am glad to see you well, friend,' answered the King, 'but what wind has brought you hither?'
'I come a-wooing,' replied the Pig.
Now the King was astonished to hear so fine a speech from a Pig, and at once it occurred to him that something strange was the matter. He would gladly have turned the Pig's thoughts in another direction, as he did not wish to give him the Princess for a wife; but when he heard that the Court and the whole street were full of all the pigs in the world he saw that there was no escape, and that he must give his consent. The Pig was not satisfied with mere promises, but insisted that the wedding should take place within a week, and would not go away till the King had sworn a royal oath upon it.
The King then sent for his daughter, and advised her to submit to fate, as there was nothing else to be done. And he added:
'My child, the words and whole behaviour of this Pig are quite unlike those of other pigs. I do not myself believe that he always was a pig. Depend upon it some magic or witchcraft has been at work. Obey him, and do everything that he wishes, and I feel sure that Heaven will shortly send you release.'
'If you wish me to do this, dear father, I will do it,' replied the girl.
In the meantime the wedding-day drew near. After the marriage, the Pig and his bride set out for his home in one of the royal carriages. On the way they passed a great bog, and the Pig ordered the carriage to stop, and got out and rolled about in the mire till he was covered with mud from head to foot; then he got back into the carriage and told his wife to kiss him. What was the poor girl to do? She bethought herself of her father's words, and, pulling out her pocket handkerchief, she gently wiped the Pig's snout and kissed it.
By the time they reached the Pig's dwelling, which stood in a thick wood, it was quite dark. They sat down quietly for a little, as they were tired after their drive; then they had supper together, and lay down to rest. During the night the Princess noticed that the Pig had changed into a man. She was not a little surprised, but remembering her father's words, she took courage, determined to wait and see what would happen.
And now she noticed that every night the Pig became a man, and every morning he was changed into a Pig before she awoke. This happened several nights running, and the Princess could not understand it at all. Clearly her husband must be bewitched. In time she grew quite fond of him, he was so kind and gentle.
One fine day as she was sitting alone she saw an old witch go past. She felt quite excited, as it was so long since she had seen a human being, and she called out to the old woman to come and talk to her. Among other things the witch told her that she understood all magic arts, and that she could foretell the future, and knew the healing powers of herbs and plants.
'I shall be grateful to you all my life, old dame,' said the Princess, 'if you will tell me what is the matter with my husband. Why is he a Pig by day and a human being by night?'
'I was just going to tell you that one thing, my dear, to show you what a good fortune-teller I am. If you like, I will give you a herb to break the spell.'
'If you will only give it to me,' said the Princess, 'I will give you anything you choose to ask for, for I cannot bear to see him in this state.'
'Here, then, my dear child,' said the witch, 'take this thread, but do not let him know about it, for if he did it would lose its healing power. At night, when he is asleep, you must get up very quietly, and fasten the thread round his left foot as firmly as possible; and you will see in the morning he will not have changed back into a Pig, but will still be a man. I do not want any reward. I shall be sufficiently repaid by knowing that you are happy. It almost breaks my heart to think of all you have suffered, and I only wish I had known it sooner, as I should have come to your rescue at once.'
When the old witch had gone away the Princess hid the thread very carefully, and at night she got up quietly, and with a beating heart she bound the thread round her husband's foot. Just as she was pulling the knot tight there was a crack, and the thread broke, for it was rotten.
Her husband awoke with a start, and said to her, 'Unhappy woman, what have you done? Three days more and this unholy spell would have fallen from me, and now, who knows how long I may have to go about in this disgusting shape? I must leave you at once, and we shall not meet again until you have worn out three pairs of iron shoes and blunted a steel staff in your search for me.' So saying he disappeared.
Now, when the Princess was left alone she began to weep and moan in a way that was pitiful to hear; but when she saw that her tears and groans did her no good, she got up, determined to go wherever fate should lead her.
On reaching a town, the first thing she did was to order three pairs of iron sandals and a steel staff, and having made these preparations for her journey, she set out in search of her husband. On and on she wandered over nine seas and across nine continents; through forests with trees whose stems were as thick as beer-barrels; stumbling and knocking herself against the fallen branches, then picking herself up and going on; the boughs of the trees hit her face, and the shrubs tore her hands, but on she went, and never looked back. At last, wearied with her long journey and worn out and overcome with sorrow, but still with hope at her heart, she reached a house.
Now who do you think lived there? The Moon.
The Princess knocked at the door, and begged to be let in that she might rest a little. The mother of the Moon, when she saw her sad plight, felt a great pity for her, and took her in and nursed and tended her. And while she was here the Princess had a little baby.
One day the mother of the Moon asked her:
'How was it possible for you, a mortal, to get hither to the house of the Moon?'
Then the poor Princess told her all that happened to her, and added 'I shall always be thankful to Heaven for leading me hither, and grateful to you that you took pity on me and on my baby, and did not leave us to die. Now I beg one last favour of you; can your daughter, the Moon, tell me where my husband is?'
'She cannot tell you that, my child,' replied the goddess, 'but, if you will travel towards the East until you reach the dwelling of the Sun, he may be able to tell you something.'
Then she gave the Princess a roast chicken to eat, and warned her to be very careful not to lose any of the bones, because they might be of great use to her.
When the Princess had thanked her once more for her hospitality and for her good advice, and had thrown away one pair of shoes that were worn out, and had put on a second pair, she tied up the chicken bones in a bundle, and taking her baby in her arms and her staff in her hand, she set out once more on her wanderings.
On and on and on she went across bare sandy deserts, where the roads were so heavy that for every two steps that she took forwards she fell back one; but she struggled on till she had passed these dreary plains; next she crossed high rocky mountains, jumping from crag to crag and from peak to peak. Sometimes she would rest for a little on a mountain, and then start afresh always farther and farther on. She had to cross swamps and to scale mountain peaks covered with flints, so that her feet and knees and elbows were all torn and bleeding, and sometimes she came to a precipice across which she could not jump, and she had to crawl round on hands and knees, helping herself along with her staff.
At length, wearied to death, she reached the palace in which the Sun lived. She knocked and begged for admission. The mother of the Sun opened the door, and was astonished at beholding a mortal from the distant earthly shores, and wept with pity when she heard of all she had suffered. Then, having promised to ask her son about the Princess's husband, she hid her in the cellar, so that the Sun might notice nothing on his return home, for he was always in a bad temper when he came in at night.
The next day the Princess feared that things would not go well with her, for the Sun had noticed that some one from the other world had been in the palace. But his mother had soothed him with soft words, assuring him that this was not so. So the Princess took heart when she saw how kindly she was treated, and asked:
'But how in the world is it possible for the Sun to be angry? He is so beautiful and so good to mortals.'
'This is how it happens,' replied the Sun's mother. 'In the morning when he stands at the gates of paradise he is happy, and smiles on the whole world, but during the day he gets cross, because he sees all the evil deeds of men, and that is why his heat becomes so scorching; but in the evening he is both sad and angry, for he stands at the gates of death; that is his usual course. From there he comes back here.'
She then told the Princess that she had asked about her husband, but that her son had replied that he knew nothing about him, and that her only hope was to go and inquire of the Wind.
Before the Princess left the mother of the Sun gave her a roast chicken to eat, and advised her to take great care of the bones, which she did, wrapping them up in a bundle. She then threw away her second pair of shoes, which were quite worn out, and with her child on her arm and her staff in her hand, she set forth on her way to the Wind.
In these wanderings she met with even greater difficulties than before, for she came upon one mountain of flints after another, out of which tongues of fire would flame up; she passed through woods which had never been trodden by human foot, and had to cross fields of ice and avalanches of snow. The poor woman nearly died of these hardships, but she kept a brave heart, and at length she reached an enormous cave in the side of a mountain. This was where the Wind lived. There was a little door in the railing in front of the cave, and here the Princess knocked and begged for admission. The mother of the Wind had pity on her and took her in, that she might rest a little. Here too she was hidden away, so that the Wind might not notice her.
The next morning the mother of the Wind told her that her husband was living in a thick wood, so thick that no axe had been able to cut a way through it; here he had built himself a sort of house by placing trunks of trees together and fastening them with withes and here he lived alone, shunning human kind.
After the mother of the Wind had given the Princess a chicken to eat, and had warned her to take care of the bones, she advised her to go by the Milky Way, which at night lies across the sky, and to wander on till she reached her goal.
Having thanked the old woman with tears in her eyes for her hospitality, and for the good news she had given her, the Princess set out on her journey and rested neither night nor day, so great was her longing to see her husband again. On and on she walked until her last pair of shoes fell in pieces. So she threw them away and went on with bare feet, not heeding the bogs nor the thorns that wounded her, nor the stones that bruised her. At last she reached a beautiful green meadow on the edge of a wood. Her heart was cheered by the sight of the flowers and the soft cool grass, and she sat down and rested for a little. But hearing the birds chirping to their mates among the trees made her think with longing of her husband, and she wept bitterly, and taking her child in her arms, and her bundle of chicken bones on her shoulder, she entered the wood.
For three days and three nights she struggled through it, but could find nothing. She was quite worn out with weariness and hunger, and even her staff was no further help to her, for in her many wanderings it had become quite blunted. She almost gave up in despair, but made one last great effort, and suddenly in a thicket she came upon the sort of house that the mother of the Wind had described. It had no windows, and the door was up in the roof. Round the house she went, in search of steps, but could find none. What was she to do? How was she to get in? She thought and thought, and tried in vain to climb up to the door. Then suddenly she bethought her of the chicken bones that she had dragged all that weary way, and she said to herself: 'They would not all have told me to take such good care of these bones if they had not had some good reason for doing so. Perhaps now, in my hour of need, they may be of use to me.'
So she took the bones out of her bundle, and having thought for a moment, she placed the two ends together. To her surprise they stuck tight; then she added the other bones, till she had two long poles the height of the house; these she placed against the wall, at a distance of a yard from one another. Across them she placed the other bones, piece by piece, like the steps of a ladder. As soon as one step was finished she stood upon it and made the next one, and then the next, till she was close to the door. But just as she got near the top she noticed that there were no bones left for the last rung of the ladder. What was she to do? Without that last step the whole ladder was useless. She must have lost one of the bones. Then suddenly an idea came to her. Taking a knife she chopped off her little finger, and placing it on the last step, it stuck as the bones had done. The ladder was complete, and with her child on her arm she entered the door of the house. Here she found everything in perfect order. Having taken some food, she laid the child down to sleep in a trough that was on the floor, and sat down herself to rest.
When her husband, the Pig, came back to his house, he was startled by what he saw. At first he could not believe his eyes, and stared at the ladder of bones, and at the little finger on the top of it. He felt that some fresh magic must be at work, and in his terror he almost turned away from the house; but then a better idea came to him, and he changed himself into a dove, so that no witchcraft could have power over him, and flew into the room without touching the ladder. Here he found a woman rocking a child. At the sight of her, looking so changed by all that she had suffered for his sake, his heart was moved by such love and longing and by so great a pity that he suddenly became a man.
The Princess stood up when she saw him. and her heart beat with fear, for she did not know him. But when he had told her who he was, in her great joy she forgot all her sufferings, and they seemed as nothing to her. He was a very handsome man, as straight as a fir tree. They sat down together and she told him all her adventures, and he wept with pity at the tale. And then he told her his own history.
'I am a King's son. Once when my father was fighting against some dragons, who were the scourge of our country, I slew the youngest dragon. His mother, who was a witch, cast a spell over me and changed me into a Pig. It was she who in the disguise of an old woman gave you the thread to bind round my foot. So that instead of the three days that had to run before the spell was broken, I was forced to remain a Pig for three more years. Now that we have suffered for each other, and have found each other again, let us forget the past.'
And in their joy they kissed one another.
Next morning they set out early to return to his father's kingdom. Great was the rejoicing of all the people when they saw him and his wife; his father and his mother embraced them both, and there was feasting in the palace for three days and three nights.
Then they set out to see her father. The old King nearly went out of his mind with joy at beholding his daughter again. When she had told him all her adventures, he said to her:
'Did not I tell you that I was quite sure that that creature who wooed and won you as his wife had not been born a Pig? You see, my child, how wise you were in doing what I told you.'
And as the King was old and had no heirs, he put them on the throne in his place. And they ruled as only kings rule who have suffered many things. And if they are not dead they are still living and ruling happily.
Andrew Lang - The Red Fairy Book. (Original published 1890.)