THE MAID AND THE PRINCE
Once upon a time there was an old woman who had nine sons and a single daughter, which they called Maria. The boys had been away from home for many years and they lived in a place where nobody came by but the harpy. Maria was young and naive and she didn’t know anything about her brothers, and whenever she swore, she said: “on my mother’s head”.
One night her friends said:
How come you do not swear on your brothers’ heads?
And the girl told them she didn’t have any brother.
But they assured her they were telling the truth and they taught her how to do so that her mother could tell her.
As soon as she came back home, she asked her mother for some raisin. The old lady opened the case to take the raisin out, but Maria put her head in it and said:
I’ll stay in here as long as won’t tell me the truth about my brothers.
So, her mother had to tell her that she had nine brothers who lived far away. Then Maria told her mother:
I’m going to find my brothers, so I need you to give me a pair of iron clothes and an iron rod
The mother prepared all the things the girl asked for. After she wore the iron clothes and took the iron rod in her hands, she set off with her little dog called Fingo.
Asking around she found where her brothers lived and went straight to their house but nobody was there. When she entered the house, she began to do the house works, cleaned the house, made the dinner, then she hid. When the boss came home and saw the house clean and the dinner ready, they were so surprised. This thing lasted even for two or three days, but one day one of the brothers hid, and when Maria came out to clean the house and cook, the boy came out too and asked her who she was. So she told him the whole truth.
After he heard the whole story, he ran to his brothers to tell them, they stopped working and went home to talk with her and hug her.
The next morning before going to work, they told her not to go out of the house and nor open the door to the strangers. Just as she began to clean up, she found a chestnut. Fingo wanted it but she didn’t give him. So full of anger, he went to turn off the fire. So, Maria had to open the door and go to a house nearby to take some ember, so she could light the fire.
But unfortunately she went to the harpy’s house, which wasn’t at home.
Her daughters were very kind to Maria and told her to stay, but she didn’t and said:
Tonight I can’t stay because I have to cook for my brothers.
They understood that she couldn’t stay so they gave her a handful of ember, but when she was walking home, the ember was falling making a line from the harpy’s house to Maria’s house.
When the harpy came home she told her daughters:
I smell human scent in here.
So they told her that Maria had been there but they couldn’t keep her, so she could find her house following the ember that had fallen on the road. She instantly took off tracing the ember line and when she reached the house, she began to shout:
Hey, Maria, my dear, come out here and let me see you because you’re so beautiful.
But Maria told her:
I can’t go out because my brothers told me not to open the door to anybody.
Then the harpy said:
Please show me your little finger, then I will go away.
The naive girl was deceived and showed her little finger at the door. So the harpy pinned her finger down to the Maria’s hand and sucked all her blood. When the brothers came home and saw their sister like that, they asked her:
What has happened to you, how did you grow so thin?!
But she convinced them nothing had happened and she was alright.
Another day the harpy rooted up a molar and threw it in front of Maria’s house. When the girl opened the door and came out to broom the yard, stepped on the molar and died at once.
When her brothers came home in the evening they found their sister dead and began to cry out loud. Then they enclosed her in a silver chest and took her to the mountain’s peak where they could go and see her everyday
But one, the prince passed there, and at the moment he was giving water to drink to his horse, the animal freaked out from the chest’s glare because of the sun rays. The prince was curious and went to see what was inside that beautiful chest. When he saw Mari inside the chest, he took her with him to his palace, where he kept her at his room and time after time he contemplated her wonderful beauty.
But he opened the chest once, and he could see the molar at her foot. He used his nail to take it off, so Maria woke up instantly and asked the prince:
Who are you? Where am I?
He told her he found her dead at the mountain and he took her at the palace with him and so on.
Very soon came the day when the prince married Mari. But she missed her brothers too much and every time she thought about them she got too sad. One day, Maria went out of the palace with her servants to take water. She told them she had lost her bracelets so they began to look for the bracelets. She went away to her brothers’ house, and she never got back to the palace.
The prince was very upset and looked everywhere, and he found her at last, she was at her brothers’ house. Then he went to meet them and they made a deal.
Thenceforth Maria, her mother and her brothers went to live in the palace. After that, they organized a greater wedding and they all lived happy thereafter.