Saturday, June 30, 2012
The Transformation of the Feminine
The fairy tale states that it is this princess, this daughter without a mother, who must solve the problem. The princess represents the new, emerging feminine consciousness, an evolution in the form of the eternal feminine principle, who is Lady Wisdom. Just as humanity is hopefully evolving into greater consciousness, Divine awareness enlarges as our own consciousness deepens. In fact, Jung believed that the Divine needs humanity's capacity to know It in order to know Itself.16 With the development of this new feminine consciousness will come a deepening and enrichment of the images of the Divine in both its masculine and feminine aspects. The princess brings new energy and passion to life, and a new connection to spirit as well.
This princess has no mother, only a father who falls passionately in love with her; not seen for herself, but valued for his expectations of her. Having no mother cuts her off from her feminine roots and feminine nourishment. Many women I know have felt this in their own lives. How many of us have fervently worked to ensure that we are nothing like our mothers! This princess, like us, has to get her nourishment from the Father's spirit, collective masculine ideals, and her personal father. The spirituality of the feminine principle and its mysteries are lost to conscious life.
The princess takes on the life of masculine spirit, so of course her father is enchanted with her! Men seem to want a woman who meets their own anima projections. It keeps them in control. Robin McKinley’s DeerSkin makes this part of the tale very concrete, for the father will have his daughter, whether she will have him or not. He brutally rapes her. We women know, however, that there are many forms of rape, and this fairy tales speaks to all forms: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. But all forms of rape injure our spirit, and women have to find healing before we can be free of the father, free from being ‘owned’ and free to make choices about our bodies and our lives.
But this princess, perhaps because she is a father's daughter, cannot be so easily overpowered by his demand. After all, she's learned so much from him. Although she looks very much like her mother, she is both like and unlike her. She probably has the same strong spirit as her mother, for she stands up to the king without fear. But she is not her mother, and she knows that something is wrong that her father should love her so. She very rationally decides on a course of action that she believes will defeat his purpose.
To turn her father aside from this unholy marriage, she demands three marvelous dresses and a fur mantle. Clothes, dresses, and shirts can hide the true personality, as in the case of certain uniforms: nurse, policeman, doctor, or priest. This is when clothes represent the persona, the mask with which we meet the world. But clothes can also symbolize an attitude which we try to incorporate and then manifest to the world. When we’re teenagers, we need to dress ‘just like everyone else’ so we can feel comfortable with our peers. As we mature, we choose clothes that fit our individual style, so that what we wear says something about who we are at a glance. Psychologically, this often means finding the right mode of expression, or the right type of consciousness with which to meet a situation. In this story, these three dresses have a cosmic significance, and represent different ways of knowing, or different types of consciousness, which the Woman of Revelation integrates. The price of her father's passion is the possession of all the knowledge of his kingdom.
Today’s women have taken our political freedom and learned all there is to know about the world. We excel in business, science, the arts, sports, and politics. And yet, the ‘patriarchy’ is still alive and well in Russia as well as in the Middle East, in South America as well as in the United States, in Africa as well as in Asia. The old order of the patriarchy makes a show of giving women equality – like the dresses given by the Father – but in both subtle and overt ways, women have to emulate the prevalent masculine viewpoint to win acceptance and validation. There is still very little respect for or even understanding of a truly feminine standpoint. The real freedom for women comes when we live in our mantle of furs and reclaim our wildness and our instinctual knowledge of life. That is when women can truly claim these three dresses as our own.
All the Riches of the World: The Four Types of Consciousness
These three dresses and the mantle of furs symbolize different types of consciousness, just as their colors represent the differentiation of light. They represent the four-fold aspect of our nature: physical, psychological, imaginal and spiritual or our body, our individual ego consciousness, our unconscious imagination and our spiritual consciousness. When Allerleirauh appears in each of dresses, she is manifesting the image of the Woman clothed with the Sun, standing on the Moon, crowned with Stars.
The golden dress of the sun symbolizes the solar, masculine, left-brain consciousness of our culture, which likes to differentiate one thing from another. It is our psychological consciousness. The solar principle is a strong, fiery, life-giving force. It is concerned with logos, the Word spoken before the beginning of the world. It is our ability to name a thing, which helps us understand its nature more fully. It represents our rational mode of consciousness, in that it brings the possibility of seeing, with great clarity, causes and effects. It stands for the principle of order, of differentiation, of individuality.17 It can also be death-dealing, like the Sun in the desert, for cold rationality can objectively look on death and destruction without qualms.
The silvery dress represents the lunar, feminine principle. Lunar, right-brain consciousness supports the claims and needs of the reality of life. It is a consciousness attuned to rhythm, tides, needs and the feeling side of life.18 It is a receptive consciousness, ready to listen, wait, trust, take in and yield to situations, and to allow things to happen in their own time. It nourishes and embraces all things, for like the moonlight, it blurs distinctions and gathers together disparate elements.19 In its highest form, it is the imagination developed to its fullest.
These two types of consciousness see the world through different eyes, and as the scientific study of the brain shows, both types of consciousness are available to us. As stated before, most of us have overdeveloped our solar consciousness at the expense of our imaginal, lunar consciousness. Getting these two dresses represents developing the ability to use both types of consciousness, to see with both eyes.
The dress of the brightness of the stars relates to the divine dimension of life and is concerned with mystical vision. Stars symbolize the spark of divinity within humanity. Paracelsus, the famous medieval alchemist, states that within each of us is an 'astrum' or star, which drives us towards great wisdom.20 This divine image within each person is comparable to Jung's concept of the Self. Jung says that Paracelsus "beholds the darksome psyche as a star-strewn night sky, whose planets and fixed constellations represent the archetypes in all their luminosity and numinosity."21 The archetypes within and the patterns of stars without combine to help us find the meaning of our lives and our place in creation. The star dress represents our relationship to the Divine, to the ground of our being. This dress is very much present in our society, for it is made up of all the accumulated spiritual wisdom of all times and ages, and it is available to us in books, through yoga and meditation practices, from spiritual gurus and teachers, and most directly through our own inner work. Many people who are seeking this kind of personal connection to Spirit are trying to live in their star dresses.
Leaving the Father’s House
When the princess gets ready to flee from her father, she puts these three dresses into a nutshell. This symbolizes the fact that she must take the essence of each type of consciousness with her, reduced to its essential state, for the image indicates a dark, enclosed, germinating place. This image of germinating is repeated a second time when Allerleirauh falls asleep in the tree, and once more in the tale in the image of the closet beneath the stairs, where no daylight enters. This is where Allerleirauh sleeps and lives; this is where her new life is enclosed and germinating.
Like Harry Potter, we have to accept that we might go through a time of being marginalized for our attempts to find our own power. Harry is given the room under the stairway because his aunt and uncle will not admit that he is a wizard. But it also becomes his own special sanctuary where he can dream. There is a sense of interiority, of going within, that is needed for this task, for the princess' task is this: to take these dresses and make them her own. They must grow within her so that she can express them in her life. They cannot be 'things' that she knows about or 'puts on'; she must integrate them so that they are expressions of her essential being. These three dresses will bring her Wisdom.
This occurs in a woman's life when she finally realizes that she is responsible for her own life. Women need to understand that it is our values that make us who we are: we have to work to live by them, taking responsibility for how those values shape our life and also accepting how they shape the world we live in. It is the only way to learn how to listen within for the voice of Wisdom. This, of course, is the hard part, and the rest of the fairy tale speaks of how this must be accomplished. The princess must live in the mantle of furs.
When we take responsibility for our lives, we begin to listen to ourselves.
Friday, June 29, 2012
This fairy tale became one of my teachers, for it made me explore and question what was going on in my own life and in the culture at large. As I struggled to find a sense of my identity as a woman, these marvelous images illuminated my path. This story speaks of a feminine initiation, a process by which a woman can achieve a conscious feminine standpoint. At the same time, it explains how the feminine transformative mysteries deepen and enrich our connection to both the masculine and feminine creative spirit, and how these forces are renewed in the culture. For the question we are all asking ourselves, collectively and individually, is, "How do we find a new spirit, a new orientation, a new way of being alive?"
It is important to remember that the thing that makes these fairy tales and myths so compelling is their connection to the archetypes, those unknown factors in the psyche that manifest through archetypal images. The archetypes are the patterns of behavior inherent in human beings. As Jung and his colleague, Marie-Louise von Franz, have pointed out:
"Fairy tales are the purest and simplest expression of collective unconscious psychic processes. Therefore their value for the scientific investigation of the unconscious exceeds that of all other material. They represent the archetypes in their simplest, barest and most concise form. In this pure form, the archetypal images afford us the best clues to the understanding of the processes going on in the collective psyche."8
The fairy tale is its own best explanation, for its meaning is contained in the totality of its motifs, connected by the thread of the story.9 But a symbolic and psychological re-telling of the tale becomes necessary since our ability to understand the language of images has been diminished by too strong a dependence on rationality. Just as many of us have difficulty understanding the logic and images of our dreams when we first begin to work with them, so too, we have to look at the separate elements in a fairy tale before we can see it as a whole. We have to track and stalk the symbols and images and even the thread that holds the story together. We have to let our imagination play with it. We have to look at it from different perspectives, using our intuition, feeling, thinking and sensation, and we have to bring our psychological understanding and experience to it, for our age is engaged in the discovery of this old and yet new psychic reality.
Fairy tales, like dreams and myths, are expressions of the things left out of collective and individual consciousness. Throughout the ages, different stages of human development have fostered stories that reflect different phases of individual development. Allerleirauh is one of the many variants of the story of Cinderella. The Cinderella motif is also concerned with the re-discovery of the feminine principle, hidden away among the ashes and dirt of life. On a more spiritual level, it depicts the search for Wisdom as the Feminine Spirit. "Among the ancients, 'Wisdom' implied Love and Knowledge blended in perfect and equal proportions."10 Matthew Fox, in his book The Coming of the Cosmic Christ, speaks of the dying of Wisdom in our culture and the need to search for it. He describes Wisdom as belonging to Earth and creativity.
"...Wisdom is of Mother Earth, for nature contains the oldest wisdom in the universe. Wisdom requires the right brain as well as the left, for it is birthed by both analysis and synthesis. Wisdom requires imagination and nurtures it. Wisdom often comes via the creative spokespersons of a culture, in the handing on of stories, sagas, myths, and images from the past and from the future."11
Many of the names of the heroines of these Cinderella tales imply the idea of the Light-Giver, the bright, shining one.12 In Robin McKinley’s wonderful and heart-wrenching modern re-telling of this tale, DeerSkin, Princess Lissar is named for the light. Allerleirauh's light is symbolized by her three dresses, hidden under the robe of fur, that is, within the earthy instinctual nature. This motif of three dresses is used in many fairy tales about redeeming the feminine spirit, and brings to mind the ancient tales of the Heavenly Sumerian Goddess Inanna, who disrobes as She descends into the Underworld, where She suffers a death and a rebirth, and then ascends once more to the heavens, robed in glory.13
On Being a Father’s Daughter
Allerleirauh depicts this process in a manner that speaks to our times, for collectively we are in the situation of demanding the Father's gifts, as women look for equality on the level of masculine achievement. And if this is the only kind of equality we know to look for, women will stay wedded to the Father. Women most especially need to reconnect to our own earthy wisdom, for equality comes from an inner spirit, and not an outer form.
The theme of renewal is personified in this fairy tale by the fact that there is a king and a queen in the beginning of the tale, and a new queen and a new king at the end. The images of the king and the queen symbolize wholeness, a unity of forces or factors that make up a paradigm, a cultural dominant, or a psychic identity. The king and the queen are the kingdom, or our self-identity, in microcosm. It is only when masculine and feminine are united in a common vision that the kingdom can prosper. Hopefully, men and women will come to this realization soon, for we must also heal our relationships if we want to heal our culture.
The king symbolizes the central, dominant content of collective consciousness, the central god-image that dominates a civilization. For the West, it has certainly been Christianity, and later, the rational, scientific outlook, which led to the domination of Nature’s resources. Our emphasis on the economy is another collective dominant. These masculine dominants keep pushing for the search for perfection and continuous expansion, and therefore, they have given rise to a very large shadow – the repression of all that is seen as imperfect or impediments to progress. Individually, the king represents the dominant attitude of subjective consciousness or our ego attitude. He is the inner 'king' who sets up standards for our behavior and belief.
The queen is the inner partner of this king, and represents the intangible, intuitive, feeling side of this dominant, the aspect that gives life and energy to this collective or individual story. She is the passion and enthusiasm which drives the collective impulse of our capitalistic economic system or the deep spiritual viability of our religions. If the queen dies, the energy invested in a particular system of belief is siphoned away. When a cultural dominant, a crucial paradigm, a religious orientation, wears out and needs renewal (and this is a natural and necessary occurrence), the first thing to die out is the feeling attachments to it.
When we begin to realize the devastation that our economic system has caused to the environment, it is hard to believe that 'progress is our most important product'! When religions cannot give their people a viable connection to Spirit, people stop attending their religious services. The images of that particular dominant no longer capture the feelings and imaginations of the people. Western culture is experiencing this death – we no longer believe what our ancestors once did. On an individual level, when a conscious attitude is no longer life-giving, the feeling tone is lost, and the psychic energy goes back into the unconscious. Life loses its meaning. Individuals go into a depression and we get a society that is depressed, addicted, obese and unbalanced.
When a cultural dominant dies, we witness the tremendous energy and chaos underlying the need for renewal being expressed in the many fads, cults and excesses that abound in modern times. Human beings seem to need a dominant, some form of psychic wholeness to relate to that helps them channel the tremendous energies of life. The king and the queen represent that psychic wholeness.
In Allerleirauh, the fact that the queen dies implies that the predominant spirit of the times is in need of renewal. But what form will this renewal take? The tale tells us that women are called upon to find our own feminine standpoint, independent of the expectations of the old masculine culture, if a new wholeness and perspective is to be achieved. Of course, men must engage in this struggle too, but I feel that it is women who must incarnate this renewal in our lives, and stop selling out to masculine values.
"The basic rejection and denigration of feminine values as compared to masculine values is the heritage of our historically patriarchal culture. This has resulted in a situation in which the feminine individuation problem has become a pioneering task that perhaps is meant to usher in a new period of culture."14
For women today, and for our culture, the dying queen represents the aspects of the feminine that are approved of by the patriarchy. For far too long, women have shaped our lives to masculine ideals of womanhood. We often repress our own concern with personal authority and the satisfaction of our own needs for the sake of others. We struggle to transform our mature, womanly bodies into that of young teenage girls to attract men’s attention. Our wise, womanly mothering wisdom is discounted in political and academic circles.
The devaluation of the feminine over the past 4000 years led to the second-class status of women, and women began to accept this view of our own sex. We were told that, like our mother Eve, we were the source of humanity's fall from grace, as well as being the source of temptation for men. Women, 'liberated' women, still have a sense of guilt when some strange man follows them home or molests them! They cannot help thinking that somehow, they are at fault. And this theme is carried over into the stories our culture tells itself, such as movies about the 'obsessive' woman in Fatal Attraction, or the violence depicted against women in movies like Sleeping with the Enemy or The Silence of Lambs. The 'dark' side of the feminine – the earthy, often uncanny, aspects - were vilified by men who were afraid of it, and so women lost touch with our sexuality, our feelings, our imagination, our mystery, and our wild freedom.
The queen in this fairy tale carries the projection of the masculine ideal of womanhood. No dark, mysterious woman is she, but rather a 'heavenly' light being. This is symbolized by her golden hair, which is emphasized in the tale. Hair often symbolizes the life-force, and the golden color indicates that it is a sun-like, rational force. This feminine aspect is removed from the Earth, from the 'darkness' that is also a part of the Feminine Spirit. This feminine dominant serves the heavenly, and in Western culture, masculine ideals. She is like the Greek Goddess Athena, the virginal daughter of the Father, in the Father's service, open and receptive to his spirit alone.15
Like Athena, this queen carries and reflects and defends the masculine spirit in all things. Why else would she demand that the king marry someone who is as beautiful as she, with exactly the same golden hair. This demand assures the continuance of this particular masculine dominant, whether or not it is the necessary and beneficial thing to do. Instead of promoting change, which is life, she stops it. She is the epitome of a Father’s Daughter, a daughter of patriarchy. Unfortunately, father’s daughters have been cut off from the earthy knowledge of the cycle of life.
This queen is removed from her feminine roots, which would connect her to the natural rhythms of life, death and rebirth, which are so basic to the feminine mysteries and spirit. In fact, she resists those rhythms by demanding the king make this promise. This is an aspect of the patriarchy which we often overlook; namely, that there is a feminine element that wants to perpetuate the old value system. Part of the reason we overlook it, and therefore why it becomes so troublesome, is because it is unconscious. Psychologically, the fact that the queen dies symbolizes that this feminine component has worn out and has sunk back into the unconscious. It now rules the king unconsciously, through the promise, and so keeps him tied to outer forms, regardless of his own inner feelings and their demands.
The queen herself condemns her daughter to marriage with the Father. This could only happen in a culture or an individual where a true feminine standpoint is lacking. If the feminine viewpoint brings into life feeling-valuation, imagination, natural rhythms and unity, then we find that this dead queen operates behind the scenes to keep this life force from entering into our governmental, economic and religious structures.
This is an apt image of what happens when the American government, in the name of democracy, liberty and justice, supports tyrants and their repressive regimes. Or when we are told that our liberties need to be curtailed for our own security. Or that we must make war to bring about peace. The promise that the king makes to the queen reflects the refusal to trust that life renews itself, and that it will bring about the necessary changes if we let it. The promise stops the flow of life into new forms; it would rather see the old husks live on past their time. This is an image of the dragon that would devour the Woman and her divine child in The Book of Revelation. Psychologically, the collective or individual dominant has become rigid and petrified, dry and lifeless. It becomes a Wasteland.
We are all Father’s Daughters, women who have been sold out by mothers who have forgotten their own feminine wisdom. We make our decisions about life based on a belief system that does not value the gifts of Feminine Spirit. How do you feel about it? Are your life decisions based on what your heart knows or what your head thinks?
Thursday, June 28, 2012
The Power of Story
Another way to understand how these two forces or types of consciousness interact is through an imaginal approach - the way of learning through images. This way speaks to the heart; it evokes knowledge from within instead of defining and categorizing it. As the writer George Mac Donald once wrote, "It is there not so much to convey a meaning as to wake a meaning."6 As we have seen, stories embody one form of this imaginal consciousness. Our great spiritual teachers have used stories to impart knowledge of the Mysteries that cannot be expressed rationally. A story can touch our intuitive and feeling faculties, instantaneously imparting knowledge 'through the heart', which is the seat of feeling. The Native Americans believed that humans learned and thought with the heart, and they often imparted their wisdom through teaching stories.
All fairy tales are teaching stories. We have relegated them to the nursery, but they really speak of the hidden, psychological processes – the archetypal patterns – that can help us work through our complex problems. Fairy tales are the purest and simplest expression of archetypal processes. Just as the hero has a thousand faces, so too does the heroine. Most stories are variations on a basic motif, and show how different components of an archetype are stressed and transformed under different circumstances. There are over seven hundred variations on the Cinderella theme, each reflecting a slightly different way to deal with not only the human problems of envy, suffering and redemption, but with redeeming the spiritual energies of life from the ashes. Many fairy tales deal with the issue of what happens to a woman when there is no positive mothering, nurturing principle in her life, and then it shows her how to find that nurturing within herself. Other tales deal with the negative dominance of the father, which spurs a woman on to her own individuality, and which is the major psychological task facing women today.
I have found a teaching story that tells us something about the masculine and the feminine spirit in transition, and I feel that it speaks to what we are experiencing today in the chaos of our 'not knowing', in the bewilderment that we feel about what it means to be a woman or a man in this day and age. It is a fairy tale that teaches us how to achieve a conscious feminine standpoint. It speaks to the necessity of working with different types of consciousness; of understanding images and letting their transformations teach us something about the essential qualities of our dual nature as human beings. It says that through women’s struggle to find our freedom, a whole new way of life is possible for both men and women. It is a story that can teach women how to incarnate the Woman Clothed with the Sun. Retold by the Grimm’s Brothers, Allerleirauh is a story about walking the path of feminine wisdom.
So imagine, if you will, a small cottage in the forest. It is nighttime, the stars are out and the crescent moon floats in the western sky. Inside the cottage there is a hearth fire, and a few candles glow as everyone settles down around the old woman sitting next to the hearth. She beckons to us: "Gather round as I tell you a tale of a beautiful princess who was intelligent, brave and resourceful, who accepted hardships, pain and silence, and who, in the end, knew herself and drew to herself the king of her desires."
(Of many different kinds of fur)
There was once upon a time a King who had a wife with golden hair, and she was so beautiful that her equal was not to be found on the earth. It came to pass that she lay ill, and as she felt that she must soon die, she called the King and said: "If you wish to marry again after my death, take no one who is not quite as beautiful as I am, and who has not just such golden hair as I have; this you must promise me." And after the King had promised her this, she closed her eyes and died.
For a long time the King could not be comforted, and had no thought of taking another wife. At length his councilors said: "This cannot go on. The King must marry again, that we may have a Queen." And now messengers were sent about far and wide, to seek a bride who equaled the late Queen in beauty. In the whole world, however, none was to be found, and even if one had been found, still there would have been no one who had such golden hair. So the messengers came home as they went.
Now the King had a daughter, who was just as beautiful as her dead mother, and had the same golden hair. When she was grown up the King looked at her one day, and saw that in every respect she was like his late wife, and suddenly felt a violent love for her. Then he spoke to his councilors: "I will marry my daughter, for she is the counterpart of my late wife, otherwise I can find no bride who resembles her." When the councilors heard that, they were shocked, and said: "God has forbidden a father to marry his daughter. No good can come from this crime, and the kingdom will be involved in the ruin."
The daughter was still more shocked when she became aware of her father's resolution, but hoped to turn him from his design. Then she said to him: "Before I fulfill your wish, I must have three dresses, one as golden as the sun, one as silvery as the moon, and one as bright as the stars; besides this, I wish for a mantle of a thousand different kinds of fur and peltry joined together, and one of every different kind of animal in your kingdom must give a piece of his skin for it."
For she thought: "To get that will be quite impossible, and thus I shall divert my father from his wicked intentions." The King, however, did not give it up, and the cleverest maidens in his kingdom had to weave the three dresses, one as golden as the sun, one as silvery as the moon, and one as bright as the stars, and his huntsmen had to catch one of every kind of animal in the whole of his kingdom, and take from it a piece of its skin, and out of these was made a mantle of a thousand different kinds of fur. At length, when all was ready, the King caused the mantle to be brought, spread it out before her, and said: "The wedding shall be tomorrow."
When, therefore, the King's daughter saw that there was no longer any hope of turning her father's heart, she resolved to run away. In the night whilst everyone was asleep, she got up, and took three different things from her treasures, a golden ring, a golden spinning wheel, and a golden reel. The three dresses of the sun, moon, and stars she placed into a nutshell, put on her mantle of all kinds of fur, and blackened her face and hands with soot. Then she commended herself to God, and went away, and walked the whole night until she reached a great forest. And as she was tired, she got into a hollow tree, and fell asleep.
The sun rose, and she slept on, and she was still sleeping when it was full day. Then it so happened that the King to whom this forest belonged, was hunting in it. When his dogs came to the tree, they sniffed, and ran barking round about it. The King said to the huntsmen: "Just see what kind of wild beast has hidden itself in there." The huntsmen obeyed his order, and when they came back they said: "A wondrous beast is lying in the hollow tree; we have never before seen one like it. Its skin is fur of a thousand different kinds, but it is lying asleep."
Said the King: "See if you can catch it alive, and then fasten it to the carriage, and we will take it with us." When the huntsmen laid hold of the maiden, she awoke full of terror, and cried to them: "I am a poor child, deserted by father and mother; have pity on me, and take me with you." Then said they: "Allerleirauh, you will be useful in the kitchen, come with us, and you can sweep up the ashes." So they put her in the carriage, and took her home to the royal palace. There they pointed out to her a closet under the stairs, where no daylight entered, and said: "Hairy animal, there you can live and sleep."
Then she was sent into the kitchen, and there she carried wood and water, swept the hearth, plucked the fowls, picked the vegetables, raked the ashes, and did all the dirty work. Allerleirauh lived there for a long time in great wretchedness. Alas, fair princess, what is to become of you now! It happened, however, that one day a feast was held in the palace, and she said to the cook: "May I go upstairs for a while, and look on? I will place myself outside the door." The cook answered: "Yes, go, but you must be back here in half-an-hour to sweep the hearth."
Then she took her oil-lamp, went into her den, put off her dress of fur, and washed the soot off her face and hands, so that her full beauty once more came to light. And she opened the nut, and took out her dress which shone like the sun, and when she had done that she went up to the festival, and every one made way for her, for no one knew her, and thought not otherwise than that she was a king's daughter. The King came to meet her, gave his hand to her, and danced with her, and thought in his heart: "My eyes have never yet seen any one so beautiful!" When the dance was over she curtsied, and when the King looked round again she had vanished, and none knew whither. The guards who stood outside the palace were called and questioned, but no one had seen her.
She had run into her little den, however, there quickly taken off her dress, made her face and hands black again, put on the mantle of fur, and again was Allerleirauh. And now when she went into the kitchen, the cook said: "Leave that alone till morning, and make me the soup for the King; I, too, will go upstairs awhile, and take a look; but let no hairs fall in, or in future you shall have nothing to eat." So the cook went away, and Allerleirauh made the soup for the King, and made bread soup and the best she could, and when it was ready she fetched her golden ring from her little den, and put it in the bowl in which the soup was served.
When the dancing was over, the King had his soup brought and ate it, and he like it so much that it seemed to him he had never tasted better. But when he came to the bottom of the bowl, he saw a golden ring lying, and could not conceive how it could have got there. Then he ordered the cook to appear before him. The cook was terrified when he heard the order, and said to Allerleirauh: "You have certainly let a hair fall into the soup, and if you have, you shall be beaten for it." When he came before the King, the latter asked who had made the soup? The cook replied: "I made it." But the King said: "That is not true, for it was much better than usual, and cooked differently." He answered: "I must acknowledge that I did not make it, it was made by the hairy animal." The King said: "Go and bid it come up here."
When Allerleirauh came, the King said: "Who are you?" "I am a poor girl who no longer has any father or mother." He asked further: "Of what use are you in my palace?" She answered: "I am good for nothing but to have boots thrown at my head." He continued: "Where did you get the ring which was in the soup?" She answered: "I know nothing about the ring." So the King could learn nothing, and had to send her away again.
After a while, there was another festival, and then, as before, Allerleirauh begged the cook for leave to go and look on. He answered: "Yes, but come back again in half-an-hour, and make the King the bread soup which he likes so much." Then she ran into her den, washed herself quickly, and took out of the nut the dress which was as silvery as the moon, and put it on. Then she went up and was like a princess, and the King stepped forward to meet her, and rejoiced to see her once more, and as the dance was just beginning they danced it together.
But when it was ended, she again disappeared so quickly that the King could not observe where she went. She, however, sprang into her den, and once more made herself a hairy animal, and went into the kitchen to prepare the bread soup. When the cook had gone upstairs, she fetched the little golden spinning wheel, and put it in the bowl so that the soup covered it. Then it was taken to the King, who ate it, and liked it as much as before, and had the cook brought, who this time like-wise was forced to confess that Allerleirauh had prepared the soup. Allerleirauh again came before the King, but she answered that she was good for nothing else but to have boots thrown at her head, and that she knew nothing at all about the little golden spinning wheel.
When, for the third time, the King held a festival, all happened just as it had done before. The cook said: "Fur-skin, you are a witch, and always put something in the soup which makes it so good that the King likes it better than that which I cook," but she begged so hard, he let her go up at the appointed time.
And now she put on the dress which shone like the stars, and thus entered the hall. Again the King danced with the beautiful maiden, and thought that she never yet had been so beautiful. And whilst she was dancing, he contrived, without her noticing it, to slip a golden ring on her finger, and he had given orders that the dance should last a very long time. When it was ended, he wanted to hold her fast by her hands, but she tore herself loose, and sprang away so quickly through the crowd that she vanished from his sight.
She ran as fast as she could into her den beneath the stairs, but as she had been too long, and had stayed more than half-an-hour, she could not take off her pretty dress, but only threw over it her mantle of fur, and in her haste she did not make herself quite black, but one finger remained white. Then Allerleirauh ran into the kitchen, and cooked the bread soup for the King, and as the cook was away, put her golden reel into it.
When the King found the reel at the bottom of it, he caused Allerleirauh to be summoned, and then he espied the white finger, and saw the ring which he had put on it during the dance. Then he grasped her by the hand, and held her fast, and when she wanted to release herself and run away, her mantle of fur opened a little, and the star-dress shone forth. The King clutched the mantle and tore it off.
Then her golden hair shone forth, and she stood there in full splendor, and could no longer hide herself. And when she had washed the soot and ashes from her face, she was more beautiful than anyone who had ever been seen on earth. But the King said: "You are my dear bride, and we will never more part from each other." Thereupon the marriage was solemnized, and they lived happily until their death.7