Wednesday, 27 February 2019

What We Ate Wednesday--Pack Lunch Curry Noodles (or soup)

Hello lovelies! I made a MASON JAR SOUP to take to work. All you had to do was add boiling water.

I made this variation of curried noodles that taste good as is, or can be made into a soup if you add boiling water and a tsp of broth powder . I have eaten it both ways and it is delicious.

You need to do a little prep work before hand, but once it's done it comes together in a snap. You can eat it straight from a mason jar or add it to a bowl before you add your boiling water.

If you plan to eat it as it is I would use a whole noodle nest, but if you plan it for soup then just just a half. In the picture I ate it as noodles and wished I had more, so if you are greedy--don't skimp on the noodles!

Use whatever kind of quick cooking noodles you can--if wheat is not an issue then ramen noodles would be fine. I use brown rice noodles that in come in a pack of 5 nests for £1.50

Your prep work is that you need to freeze some coconut cream. You can buy packets of coconut cream to do this, but here they come in a cardboard box with an inner plastic bags, so I went with a tin of full fat coconut milk as I could recycle the packaging. Also, it was cheaper. I can buy a tin of coconut milk with lots of cream for 79p at Lidl.

If you shake your tin and it sounds all sloshy then pop it in the fridge overnight and the thick cream will rise to the top. Line a small pan or baking sheet with parchment paper and carefully scoop out coconut cream into Tablespoon portions and freeze individually until solid. Then pop them all together in a container and pull out a coconut blob when ever you need one. Because they were frozen separately they won't stick together. Clever, eh?

But Spidergrrl, I hear you cry, why do we have to freeze it at all? That sounds like a faff. Well, it is and it isn't. Once your cream has risen to the top the whole thing takes 5 minutes to scoop out and then you have single servings of coconut on demand that won't spoil and go funky in your fridge and waste money or food. You'll thank me later.

If you are taking this for lunch, then obviously do the prep work the night before, then mix the sauce in the next morning. If you are eating it now I will give you some tips to defrost your coconut blob.

 Pack Lunch Curry Noodles (or soup)
The night before:

For the sauce--in a jar combine:
1 coconut blob
1 TB tamari or soy sauce
1 TB lime juice (bottled is fine)
1 tsp (Balti) curry paste
1 tsp liquid sweetener
Put jar in fridge overnight to allow coconut blob to soften. In the morning give it a whisk with a fork to break up the coconut. If it still feels hard add a TB of hot water to break it up or put the jar on the radiator for 10 minutes or so to heat it up.

For the noodle-y bit:
1/4 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup carrot cut into thin matchsticks
1/4 cup diced red pepper
half  or a whole  noodle nest

Put ingredients into a pot and cover with boiling water for as long as the noodles need to cook. Mine take four minutes. Then drain and run under cold water. Add to jar. Put the jar in your fridge.

In the morning add:
1 sliced mushroom
the sauce

Take it to work. When you are ready to eat, add the contents of your jar to a bowl with 1 tsp instant broth powder and fill up with boiling water. Then eat. Or just eat as it is in all its noodle-y glory. 

This was really lovely--tangy and savoury. It made a tasty lunch that travelled well. Just bring a serviette as the noodles are saucy and slurpy. 

Monday, 25 February 2019

Dreaming of the Past

Hello lovelies. I have had another one of my "crack-ass" dreams as Spiderman calls them. I had it the other night, but the dream stayed with me so I thought it was worth reporting.

I know it was triggered by three things--craft projects I was googling before bed, watching  Doctor Who and reading interesting posts on Facebook about Black History Month. How I joined them up in my brain is anybody's guess, but here goes.

I got a PING! notification that I had a custom order in my ETSY shop A BUNDLE OF HEATHER(shameless plug) so I logged on to my online shop to see what the order was for. It was an order for a patchwork pocketbook.  

Now, I was first struck by the use of the word pocketbook because it sounded like such an old fashioned southern word. I knew many an old white woman growing up who referred to her handbag as her pocketbook. In Langston Hughes' wonderful story Thank you Ma'am the boy Roger tries to steal the pocketbook of Mrs Luella Bates Washington Jones. (if you don't know this touching story then stop reading this blog and go {HERE} right away. Don't worry I'll wait.)

Did you read it? Did you cry at the end? Me neither (it's just dust in my eye. I swear.)

Anyway, I could tell I had an old fashioned sort of person ordering from my shop. So, I started to research how to make a cute little pocketbook. I saw this idea where you tore the cover off of a paperback book and used that for the inner bit of your purse. You put the spine on the bottom to be like the gusset of the handbag. Does that make sense? So I toddled off to the Carmarthen Free Books and picked up a copy of Fifty Shades of Grey and tore the pages out and used them to wipe my arse as that's all they are good for. Okay, that last bit isn't strictly true. Well, the bit about them only being good enough to wipe my arse is true, but I didn't actually do it. I recycled them because even in my dreams I am an eco-grrrl.

Then I went home and sewed a little patchwork pocketbook and used the book cover inside as a stiffener. Suddenly I realised I didn't know who had placed the order so I logged back onto my ETSY shop A BUNDLE OF HEATHER (shameless plug number two) and what do you know the lady who ordered the patchwork pocketbook was none other Madam C.J. Walker. 
Madam CJ Walker face circa 1914.jpg
Now, in case you don't know:
 Madam C.J. Walker was  an African-American  entrepreneurphilanthropist, and a political and social activist. Walker was considered the wealthiest African-American businesswoman and wealthiest self made woman in America at the time of her death in 1919. She developed a line of cosmetics and hair care products designed for black women. (thank you Wikipedia.) 

So my first thought was Oh! She's from the past so I won't be able to post it to her. I will have to hand deliver it somehow. 

Then I pondered How do I get to the past? I decided I had to walk backwards in the direction that was behind me (as the past is behind me). This made perfect sense in the dream. I picked up the pocketbook and walked slowly backwards until I got the library. When I got there I knew I was in the past because everything was in sepia like the Kansas part of the the film The Wizard of Oz. 

There she black and white...looking just like she did in the photo selling little pots of petroleum jelly mixed with sulphur (no really, that was what she used) on the steps of Carmarthen Library. I approached and handed her the pocketbook. Our conversation was as follows:

Madam CJW: Child, that pocketbook looks beautiful. I wish I could see the colours but everything is in black and white. 

Me: Thank you. I know you can't tell, but it's mostly red and blue but there are some bits of green and yellow here and here (pointing to patchwork squares.) 

Madam CJW: Well, it's lovely. How did you make it so stiff? 

Me: (beaming) I used the cover from a paperback book of Fifty Shades of Grey. 

Madam CJW: What's a paperback book? 

Me: (sheepishly thinking to myself) Oh no....the first paperback wasn't published until the 1930's. 

Madam CJW: Here's your money (she hands me one dollar) 

So I took the dollar and wondered how much it was worth in current money as I walked back to town. I walked forward this time and it went from black and white to colour somewhere around the market which is halfway home. 

Then I woke up. 

Interestingly enough, when I awoke I went to an online INFLATION CALCULATOR and it turns out that $1 in 1910 would have been worth $26.43 in 2018. Not too shabby. 

So we had some time travel (straight out of a Jack Finney novel) where i got to meet someone I have always admired. 

Do you ever dream about meeting famous people from the past? Who would you like to meet? 

Friday, 22 February 2019

Fairy Tale Friday-- Cinderella and the Little Bird Verdeliò (Italian, 1885)

Hello and welcome to Fairy Tale Friday. Are you sitting comfortably? Good. Then I’ll begin.

This week we look at a tale that was collected by American folklorist, academic and lawyer Thomas Frederick Crane. He worked as a lawyer but also as a librarian in the newly founded Cornell University where he wrote their fight song “Give My Regards to Davy.”  He later taught there as a professor of French, Italian, Spanish and medieval literature. Thomas Crane was also one of the founding members of the Journal of American Folklore. He is famous for his collection of Italian Popular Tales published in 1885. Many of the tales were published in St Nicholas Magazine. THIS SOURCE says:

Italian Popular Tales is a fascinating trove of fairy tales, legends, ghost stories, nursery tales, and jests, and other oral accounts that were collected, recorded, translated, and annotated by Thomas Crane, the first folklorist to bring the riches of Italian oral tradition to the English-speaking world.

This story begins similar to Beauty and the Beast with the father going on a voyage and asking his three daughters what gifts they would like brought back. As in Beauty and the Beast, the two oldest ask for fine clothes and the youngest asks for something simple from the natural world. In Beauty and the Beast, she asks for a rose, but here she asks for a bird. This is a wise move as it becomes her magical helper. Our protagonist is not forced to do all the housework and dress in rags as we have seen in other versions, however she does always sit in the chimney corner, but there is no indication that they force her to. The sisters do pick on her and tease her about the fact that they chose fine clothes and now have a ball to wear them to and if she hadn’t been so foolish as to choose a bird then she’d have fine clothes too. This sounds like normal sibling squabbles to me, but I am an only child so what do I know? 

What I do know in the story is our heroine affects a sort of fake humbleness every time she is invited out to a ball. She lowers her eyes and says, "I don't want to go; you go; I don't want to." Then as soon as they leave, she asks the bird, "O Bird Verdeliò, make me more beautiful than I am!" Then she’s off to the ball in a fabulous frock and bags of money. Upon return she cries, "O Bird Verdeliò, make me homelier than I am!" and she becomes covered in ashes. Again, there is no reason that she is covered in ashes that I can see except that she chooses to be. Perhaps it just means her transformation from rags to riches will be all the more glorious if she is lower at the start—all the better for ascension my dear.

I am confused about the role of the father in this tale. In some tales he has died, leaving her to be abused by her stepmother. In other tales he has remarried and is cruel to her because he is under the thumb of his new wife. In this tale he constantly defends her from the jeers of the sisters telling them repeatedly to stop bothering her and leave her alone but then when the slipper comes round, he lies and says he only has two daughters. When pressed he admits he has a third, but she is so dirty he is ashamed of her. Maybe he knows she’s been putting on this fake humble persona and that’s what he’s ashamed of.

 After several nights of being overly pious and humble even her own magic bird grows weary of her po-faced antics and deception. When Cinderella says, "Little Bird Verdeliò, make me more homely than I am!" the bird does not answer. Eventually it replies, "Rogue! I ought not to make you more homely."

It really seems as if this was her plan all along. To pretend to be poor and dirty and then make a stunning entrance that no one is expecting in her fancy ball gown. Her own father says, “She is dragging with her the chains from the chimney corner. You can imagine how frightful she will look!" Then she appears at the top of the stairs and everyone ooohs and ahhhs over her.  

The story says the father and the sisters are vexed to find out she was the mysterious lady. I cannot work out if they are disappointed at being lied to or at the fact that she pretended like they made her sit in the ashes just so she could look as though she had a worse back story when she finally marries royalty. I cannot understand this family dynamic at all.

This was one of my least favourite heroines as I feel she is manipulative. She is not oppressed, so I don’t see why she can’t go to the ball with everyone else. I will let you be the judge.

Image result for cinderella italian
Charles Robinson

 Cinderella and the Little Bird Verdeliò source

Once upon a time there was a man who had three daughters. He was once ordered to go away to work, and said the them, "Since I am about making a journey, what do you want me to bring you when I return?"

One asked for a handsome dress; the other, a fine hat and a beautiful shawl. He said to the youngest, "And you, Cinderella, what do you want?" They called her Cinderella because she always sat in the chimney corner.

"You must buy me a little bird Verdeliò."

"The simpleton! She does not know what to do with the bird! Instead of ordering a handsome dress, a fine shawl, she takes a bird. Who knows what she will do with it!"

"Silence!" she says. "It pleases me."

The father went, and on his return brought the dress, hat, and shawl for the two sisters, and the little bird for Cinderella.

The father was employed at the court, and one day the king said to him, "I am going to give three balls; if you want to bring your daughters, do so; they will amuse themselves a little."

"As you wish," he replies, "thanks!" and accepts.

He went home and said, "What do you think, girls? His majesty wishes you to attend his ball."

"There, you see, Cinderella, if you had only asked for a handsome dress! This evening we are going to the ball."

She replied, "It matters nothing to me! You go; I am not coming."

In the evening, when the time came, they adorned themselves, saying to Cinderella, "Come along, there will be room for you, too."

"I don't want to go; you go; I don't want to."

"But," said their father, "let us go, let us go! Dress and come along; let her stay."

When they had gone, she went to the bird and said, "O Bird Verdeliò, make me more beautiful than I am!"

She became clothed in a sea green dress, with so many diamonds that it blinded you to behold her. The bird made ready two purses of money, and said to her, "Take these two purses, enter your carriage, and away!"

She set out for the ball, and left the bird Verdeliò at home. She entered the ballroom. Scarcely had the gentlemen seen this beautiful lady (she dazzled them on all sides), when the king, just think of it, began to dance with her the whole evening. After he had danced with her all the evening, his majesty stopped, and she stood by her sisters. While she was at her sisters' side, she drew out her handkerchief, and a bracelet fell out.

"Oh, Signora," said the eldest sister, "you have dropped this."

"Keep it for yourself," she said.

"Oh, if Cinderella were only here, who knows what might not have happened to her?"

The king had given orders that when this lady went away they should find out where she lived. After she had remained a little she left the ball. You can imagine whether the servants were on the lookout! She entered her carriage and away! She perceives that she is followed, takes the money and begins to throw it out of the window of the carriage. The greedy servants, I tell you, seeing all that money, thought no more of her, but stopped to pick up the money. She returned home and went upstairs.

"O Bird Verdeliò, make me homelier than I am!" You ought to see how ugly, how horrid, she became, all ashes.

When the sisters returned, they cried, "Cin-der-ella!"

"Oh, leave her alone," said her father. "She is asleep now, leave her along!"

But they went up and showed her the large and beautiful bracelet. "Do you see, you simpleton? You might have had it."

"It matters nothing to me."

Their father said, "Let us go to supper, you little geese."

Let us return to the king, who was awaiting her servants, who had not the courage to appear, but kept away. He calls them. "How did the matter go?"

The fall at his feet. "Thus and thus! She threw out so much money!"

"Wretches, you are nothing else." he said. "Were you afraid of not being rewarded? Well! tomorrow evening, attention, under pain of death."

The next evening the usual ball. The sisters say, "Will you come this evening, Cinderella?"

"Oh," she says, "don't bother me! I don't want to go."

Their father cries out to them, "How troublesome you are! Let her alone!"

So they began to adorn themselves more handsomely than the former evening, and departed. "Good-bye, Cinderella!"

When they had gone, Cinderella went to the bird and said, "Little Bird Verdeliò, make me more beautiful than I am!" Then she became clothed in sea green, embroidered with all the fish of the sea, mingled with diamonds more than you could believe.

The bird said, "Take these two bags of sand, and when you are followed, throw it out, and so they will be blinded."

She entered her carriage and set out for the ball. As soon as his majesty saw her he began to dance with her and danced as long as he could. After he had danced as long as he could (she did not grow weary, but he did), she placed herself near her sisters, drew out her handkerchief, and there fell out a beautiful necklace all made of coal.

The second sister said, "Signora, you have dropped this."

She replied, "Keep it for yourself."

"If Cinderella were here, who knows what might not happen to her! Tomorrow she must come!"

After a while she leaves the ball. The servants (just think, under pain of death!) were all on the alert, and followed her. She began to throw out all the sand, and they were blinded. She went home, dismounted, and went upstairs.

"Little Bird Verdeliò, make me homelier than I am!" She became frightfully homely.

When her sisters returned they began from below, "Cin-der-ella! if you only knew what that lady gave us!"

"It matters nothing to me!"

"Yes, yes! you would have had it!"

The father says, "Let us go to supper and let her alone; you are really silly!"

Let us return to his majesty, who was waiting for his servants to learn where she lived. Instead of that they were all brought back blinded, and had to be accompanied. "Rogue!" he exclaimed, "either this lady is some fairy or she must have some fairy who protects her."

The next day the sisters began, "Cinderella, you must go this evening! Listen; it is the last evening; you must come."

The father: "Oh let her alone! You are always teasing her!"

Then they went away and began to prepare for the ball. When they were all prepared, they went to the ball with their father.

When they had departed, Cinderella went to the bird: "Little Bird Verdeliò, make me more beautiful than I am!" Then she was dressed in all the colors of the heavens; all the comets, the stars, and moon on her dress, and the sun on her brow. She enters the ballroom. Who could look at her! For the sun alone they lower their eyes, and are all blinded. His majesty began to dance, but he could not look at her, because she dazzled him. He had already given orders to his servants to be on the lookout, under pain of death, not to go on foot, but to mount their horses that evening.

After she had danced longer than on the previous evenings she placed herself by her father's side, drew out her handkerchief, and there fell out a snuffbox of gold, full of money.

"Signora, you have dropped this snuffbox."

"Keep it for yourself!"

Imagine that man. He opens it and sees it full of money. What a joy!

After she had remained a time she went home as usual. The servants followed her on horseback, quickly, at a distance from the carriage; but on horseback that was not much trouble. She perceived that she had not prepared anything to throw that evening.

"Oh!" she cried. "What shall I do?" She left the carriage quickly, and in her haste lost one of her slippers. The servants picked it up, took the number of the house, and went away.

Cinderella went upstairs and said, "Little Bird Verdeliò, make me more homely than I am!"
The bird does not answer. After she had repeated it three or four times, it answered, "Rogue! I ought not to make you more homely, but ..." and she became homely and the bird continued, "What are you going to do now? You are discovered."

She began to weep in earnest. When her sisters returned they cried, "Cin-der-ella!" You can imagine that she did not answer them this evening. "See what a beautiful snuffbox. If you had gone you might have had it."

"I do not care! Go away!"

Then their father called them to supper.

Let us now turn to the servants who went back with the slipper and the number of the house.

"Tomorrow," said his majesty, "as soon as it is day, go to that house, take a carriage, and bring that lady to the palace."

The servants took the slipper and went away. The next morning they knocked at the door. Cinderella's father looked out and exclaimed, "Oh heavens! It is his majesty's carriage. What does it mean?" They open the door and the servants ascend. "What do you want of me?" asked the father.

"How many daughters have you?"


"Well, show them to us."

The father made them come in there.

"Sit down," they said to one of them. They tried the slipper on her; it was ten times too large for her. The other one sat down; it was too small for her. "But tell me, good man, have you no other daughters? Take care to tell the truth! because majesty wishes it, under pain of death!"

"Gentlemen, there is another one, but I do not mention it. She is all in the ashes, the coals. If you should see her! I do not call her my daughter from shame."

"We have not come for beauty, or for finery; we want to see the girl!"

Her sisters began to call her, "Cin-der-ella!" but she did not answer.

After a time she said, "What is the matter?"

"You must come down! There are some gentlemen who wish to see you."

"I don't want to come."

"But you must come, you see!"

"Very well; tell them I will come in a moment." She went to the little bird: "Ah little Bird Verdeliò, make me more beautiful than I am!" Then she was dressed as she had been the last evening, with the sun, and moon, and stars, and in addition, great chains all of gold everywhere about her.

The bird said, "Take me away with you! Put me in your bosom!" She puts the bird in her bosom and begins to descend the stairs.

"Do you hear her?" said the father. "Do you hear her? She is dragging with her the chains from the chimney corner. You can imagine how frightful she will look!"

When she reached the last step, and they saw her, "Ah!" they exclaimed, and recognised the lady of the ball. You can imagine how her father and sisters were vexed. They made her sit down, and tried on the slipper, and it fitted her. Then they made her enter the carriage, and took her to his majesty, who recognised the lady of the other evenings. And you can imagine that, all in love as her was, he said to her, "Will you really be my wife?"

You may believe she consents. She sends for her father and sisters, and makes them all come to the palace. They celebrate the marriage. Imagine what fine festivals were given at this wedding! The servants who had discovered where Cinderella lived were promoted to the highest positions in the palace as a reward.

That’s all for this week. Stay tuned next week for the tale of Little Saddleslut.

Friday, 15 February 2019

Fairy Tale Friday--Katie Woodencloak (Norway, 1859)

Hello and welcome to Fairy Tale Friday. Are you sitting comfortably? Good. Then I'll begin. 

For the last three weeks we have looked at Cinderella stories that crossed over into love like salt tales. I thought since we were looking at familiar elements of Cinderella tales that were surrounded by interesting, but unfamiliar elements that Katie Woodencloak was an obvious choice to examine next.

This tale was collected by Norwegian folklorists Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Engebretsen Moe. They were Norway’s version of the brothers Grimm. Asbjørnsen was a zoologist, writer and scholar and Moe was a theologian who later became a bishop. Together they collected Norse folklore and fairy tales and edited them for the common reader which helped contribute to the development of the Norwegian language. According to Wikipedia:

They were so closely united in their lives' work that their folk tale collections are commonly mentioned only as "Asbjørnsen and Moe." It was usually said of their work that the vigour came from Asbjørnsen and the charm from Moe, but the fact seems to be that from the long habit of writing in unison they had come to adopt almost precisely identical modes of literary expression.

An interesting bit of trivia: Since 2008 Asbjørnsen has appeared on the reverse of the Norwegian 50 krone banknote. Why not Moe? I don’t know. I couldn’t seem to find out a reason.

Katie Woodencloak comes from  Popular Tales from the Norse and was translated by George Webbe Dasent in 1859.  

This tale is a fascinating one that bears elements to others we have looked at previously such as magical animal helper and cruel stepmother at the start and a marriage to a prince despite a dirty disguise at the end.  This one has a HUGE digression in the middle where her magical helper the dun bull has to travel through a copper, silver and finally a gold forest. Each time she is told not to touch ANYTHING or else he will have to fight a many-headed troll to the death, but each time despite her best efforts she ends up accidentally picking a copper leaf, a silver leaf and a golden apple. On each of these occasions, the bull almost dies which make me like her less as a heroine because she cannot follow simple instructions and nearly gets her beloved companion killed thrice.

After the digression of the metal woods, it circles back to a more Cinderella type story. She puts on a wooden cloak and works as a scullery maid in the palace. The cloak makes a huge racket as if a whole regiment of dragoons were charging as she goes up and down the stairs which irritates the prince.  The prince, who is a horrible person, insults her and does things like pour a bucket of water over her head and throw things at her. Does this stop her from wanting to marry him? No, it does not. 

On three occasions she gets some magical clothing (copper, silver and finally gold) and follows him to church. He of course falls in love with her because she is beautiful and not wearing an irritating wooden cloak. Thrice she slips away and leaves an enticing item for him—a glove and a riding crop and finally a shoe because he smeared the stairs with pitch. Now, I have not been fond of our protagonist because of her inability to follow directions, the endangering of her friend the bull and her desire to marry someone who is abusive, but her responses to the prince about her identity are inspired puns which he is too clueless to understand. It ends with the familiar shoe filling up with blood and when he is presented with the true bride, he is slightly hesitant until the shoe fits and she throws off the wooden cloak to reveal her gold frock underneath. It ends with:

So when the prince knew her again, he grew so glad, he ran up to her and threw his arms round her and gave her a kiss; and when he heard she was a king's daughter, he got gladder still.

Perhaps they deserve each other after all.

It is a VERY long tale due the three metal forests and multi-headed trolls in the middle, but it is well told and would make an excellent story for oral storytelling due to the repetition of three and the re-use of phrases so that the listener can join in. For this purpose I am not abridging it, but reprinting it in its entirety.
.Image result for katie woodencloak
Katie Woodencloak source

Once on a time there was a king who had become a widower. By his queen he had one daughter, who was so clever and lovely, there wasn't a cleverer or lovelier princess in all the world. So the king went on a long time sorrowing for the queen, whom he had loved so much, but at last he got weary of living alone, and married another queen, who was a widow, and had, too, an only daughter; but this daughter was just as bad and ugly as the other was kind, and clever, and lovely. The stepmother and her daughter were jealous of the princess, because she was so lovely; but so long as the king was at home they daren't do her any harm, he was so fond of her.

Well, after a time he fell into war with another king, and went out to battle with his host, and then the stepmother thought she might do as she pleased; and so she both starved and beat the princess and was after her in every hole and corner of the house. At last she thought everything too good for her and turned her out to herd cattle. So there she went about with the cattle and herded them in the woods and on the fells. As for food, she got little or none, and she grew thin and wan, and was always sobbing and sorrowful. Now in the herd there was a great dun bull, which always kept himself so neat and sleek, and often and often he came up to the princess and let her pat him. So one day when she sat there, sad, and sobbing, and sorrowful, he came up to her and asked her outright why she was always in such grief. She answered nothing but went on weeping.

"Ah!" said the bull, "I know all about it quite well, though you won't tell me; you weep because the queen is bad to you, and because she is ready to starve you to death. But food you've no need to fret about, for in my left ear lies a cloth, and when you take and spread it out, you may have as many dishes as you please."

So she did that, took the cloth and spread it out on the grass, and lo! it served up the nicest dishes one could wish to have; there was wine too, and mead, and sweet cake. Well, she soon got up her flesh again, and grew so plump, and rosy, and white, that the queen and her scrawny chip of a daughter turned blue and yellow for spite. The queen couldn't at all make out how her stepdaughter got to look so well on such bad fare, so she told one of her maids to go after her in the wood, and watch and see how it all was, for she thought some of the servants in the house must give her food. So the maid went after her, and watched in the wood, and then she saw how the stepdaughter took the cloth out of the bull's ear, and spread it out, and how it served up the nicest dishes, which the stepdaughter ate and made good cheer over. All this the maid told the queen when she went home.

And now the king came home from war and had won the fight against the other king with whom he went out to battle. So there was great joy throughout the palace, and no one was gladder than the king's daughter. But the queen shammed sick, and took to her bed, and paid the doctor a great fee to get him to say she could never be well again unless she had some of the dun bull's flesh to eat. Both the king's daughter and the folk in the palace asked the doctor if nothing else would help her, and prayed hard for the bull, for everyone was fond of him, and they all said there wasn't that bull's match in all the land. But no; he must and should be slaughtered, nothing else would do. When the king's daughter heard that, she got very sorrowful, and went down into the byre to the bull. There, too, he stood and hung down his head, and looked so downcast that she began to weep over him.

"What are you weeping for?" asked the bull.

So she told him how the king had come home again, and how the queen had shammed sick and got the doctor to say she could never be well and sound again unless she got some of the dun bull's flesh to eat, and so now he was to be slaughtered.

"If they get me killed first," said the bull, "they'll soon take your life too. Now, if you're of my mind, we'll just start off, and go away tonight."

''Well, the princess thought it bad, you may be sure, to go and leave her father, but she thought it still worse to be in the house with the queen; and so she gave her word to the bull to come to him.

At night, when all had gone to bed, the princess stole down to the byre to the bull, and so he took her on his back, and set off from the homestead as fast as ever he could. And when the folk got up at cockcrow next morning to slaughter the bull, why, he was gone; and when the king got up and asked for his daughter, she was gone too. He sent out messengers on all sides to hunt for them and gave them out in all the parish churches; but there was no one who had caught a glimpse of them. 

Meanwhile, the bull went through many lands with the king's daughter on his back, and so one day they came to a great copper wood, where both the trees, and branches, and leaves, and flowers, and everything, were nothing but copper.

But before they went into the wood, the bull said to the king's daughter, "Now, when we get into this wood, mind you take care not to touch even a leaf of it, else it's all over both with me and you, for here dwells a troll with three heads who owns this wood."

No, bless her, she'd be sure to take care not to touch anything. Well, she was very careful, and leant this way and that to miss the boughs and put them gently aside with her hands; but it was such a thick wood, 'twas scarce possible to get through; and so, with all her pains, somehow or other she tore off a leaf, which she held in her hand.

"AU! AU! what have you done now?" said the bull; "there's nothing for it now but to fight for life or death; but mind you keep the leaf safe."

Soon after they got to the end of the wood, and a troll with three heads came running up. "Who is this that touches my wood?" said the troll.

"It's just as much mine as yours," said the bull.

"Ah!" roared the troll, "we'll try a fall about that."

"As you choose," said the bull

So they rushed at one another, and fought; and the bull he butted, and gored, and kicked with all his might and main; but the troll gave him as good as he brought, and it lasted the whole day before the bull got the mastery; and then he was so full of wounds, and so worn out, he could scarce lift a leg. Then they were forced to stay there a day to rest, and then the bull bade the king's daughter to take the horn of ointment which hung at the troll's belt and rub him with it. Then he came to himself again, and the day after they trudged on again. So they travelled many, many days, until, after a long, long time, they came to a silver wood, where both the trees, and branches, and leaves, and flowers, and everything, were silvern.

Before the bull went into the wood, he said to the king's daughter, "Now, when we get into this wood, for heaven's sake mind you take good care; you mustn't touch anything, and not pluck off so much as one leaf, else it is all over both with me and you; for here is a troll with six heads who owns it, and him I don't think I should be able to master."

"No," said the king's daughter; "I'll take good care and not touch anything you don't wish me to touch."

But when they got into the wood, it was so close and thick, they could scarce get along. She was as careful as careful could be and leant to this side and that to miss the boughs, and put them on one side with her hands, but every minute the branches struck her across the eyes, and, in spite of all her pains, it so happened she tore off a leaf.

"AU! AU! what have you done now?" said the bull. "There's nothing for it now but to fight for life and death, for this troll has six heads, and is twice as strong as the other, but mind you keep the leaf safe, and don't lose it."

Just as he said that, up came the troll. "Who is this," he said, "that touches my wood?"

"It's as much mine as yours," said the bull.

"That we'll try a fall about," roared the troll

"As you choose," said the bull, and rushed at the troll, and gored out his eyes, and drove his horns right through his body, so that the entrails gushed out; but the troll was almost a match for him, and it lasted three whole days before the bull got the life gored out of him. But then he, too, was so weak and wretched, it was as much as he could do to stir a limb, and so full of wounds, that the blood streamed from him. So he said to the king's daughter she must take the horn of ointment that hung at the troll's belt and rub him with it. Then she did that, and he came to himself; but they were forced to stay there a week to rest before the bull had strength enough to go on.

At last they set off again, but the bull was still poorly, and they went rather slow at first. So to spare time the king's daughter said as she was young and light of foot, she could very well walk, but she couldn't get leave to do that. No; she must seat herself up on his back again. So on they travelled through many lands a long time, and the king's daughter did not know in the least whither they went; but after a long, long time they came to a gold wood. It was so grand, the gold dropped from every twig, and all the trees, and boughs, and flowers, and leaves, were of pure gold. Here, too, the same thing happened as had happened in the silver wood and copper wood. The bull told the king's daughter she mustn't touch it for anything, for there was a troll with nine heads who owned it, and he was much bigger and stouter than both the others put together, and he didn't think he could get the better of him. No; she'd be sure to take heed not to touch it; that he might know very well. But when they got into the wood, it was far thicker and closer than the silver wood, and the deeper they went into it the worse it got. The wood went on getting thicker and thicker, and closer and closer; and at last she thought there was no way at all to get through it. She was in such an awful fright of plucking off anything, that she sat, and twisted and turned herself this way and that, and hither and thither, to keep clear of the boughs, and she put them on one side with her hands; but every moment the branches struck her across the eyes, so that she couldn't see what she was clutching at; and lo! before she knew how it came about, she had a gold apple in her hand. Then she was so bitterly sorry she burst into tears and wanted to throw it away; but the bull said she must keep it safe and watch it well and comforted her as well as he could; but he thought it would be a hard tussle, and he doubted how it would go.

Just then up came the troll with the nine heads, and he was so ugly, the king's daughter scarcely dared to look at him. "Who is this that touches my wood?" he roared.

"It's just as much mine as yours," said the bull.

"That we'll try a fall about," roared the troll again.

"Just as you choose," said the bull; and so they rushed at one another, and fought, and it was such a dreadful sight the king's daughter was ready to swoon away. The bull gored out the troll's eyes, and drove his horns through and through his body, till the entrails came tumbling out; but the troll fought bravely; and when the bull got one head gored to death, the rest breathed life into it again, and so it lasted a whole week before the bull was able to get the life out of them all. But then he was utterly worn out and wretched. He couldn't stir a foot, and his body was all one wound. He couldn't so much as ask the king's daughter to take the horn of ointment which hung at the troll's belt and rub it over him. But she did it all the same, and then he came to himself by little and little; but they had to lie there and rest three weeks before he was fit to go on again.

Then they set off at a snail's pace, for the bull said they had still a little farther to go, and so they crossed over many high hills and thick woods. So after a while they got upon the fells.

"Do you see anything?" asked the bull.

"No, I see nothing but the sky and the wild fell," said the king's daughter.

So when they climbed higher up, the fell got smoother, and they could see farther off.

"Do you see anything now?" asked the bull.

"Yes, I see a little castle far, far away," said the princess.

"That's not so little though," said the bull.

After a long, long time, they came to a great cairn, where there was a spur of the fell that stood sheer across the way.

"Do you see anything now?" asked the bull.

"Yes, now I see the castle close by," said the king's daughter, "and now it is much, much bigger."

"Thither you're to go," said the bull. "Right underneath the castle is a pigsty, where you are to dwell. 
When you come thither, you'll find a wooden cloak, all made of strips of lath; that you must put on and go up to the castle and say your name is Katie Woodencloak, and ask for a place. But before you go, you must take your penknife and cut my head off, and then you must flay me, and roll up the hide, and lay it under the wall of rock yonder, and under the hide you must lay the copper leaf, and the silvern leaf, and the golden apple. Yonder, up against the rock, stands a stick; and when you want anything, you've only got to knock on the wall of rock with that stick."

At first, she wouldn't do anything of the kind; but when the bull said it was the only thanks he would have for what he had done for her, she couldn't help herself. So, however much it grieved her heart, she hacked and cut away with her knife at the big beast till she got both his head and his hide off, and then she laid the hide up under the wall of rock, and put the copper leaf, and the silvern leaf, and the golden apple inside it.

So when she had done that, she went over to the pigsty, but all the while she went, she sobbed and wept. There she put on the wooden cloak, and so went up to the palace. When she came into the kitchen she begged for a place and told them her name was Katie Woodencloak. Yes, the cook said she might have a place -- she might have leave to be there in the scullery, and wash up, for the lassie who did that work before had just gone away.

"But as soon as you get weary of being here, you'll go your way too, I'll be bound."

No; she was sure she wouldn't do that.

So there she was, behaving so well, and washing up so handily. The Sunday after there were to be strange guests at the palace, so Katie asked if she might have leave to carry up water for the prince's bath; but all the rest laughed at her, and said, "What should you do there? Do you think the prince will care to look at you, you who are such a fright?"

But she wouldn't give it up and kept on begging and praying; and at last she got leave. So when she went up the stairs, her wooden cloak made such a clatter, the prince came out and asked, "Pray, who are you?"

"Oh, I was just going to bring up water for your Royal Highness's bath," said Katie.

"Do you think now," said the prince, "I'd have anything to do with the water you bring?" and with that he threw the water over her.

So she had to put up with that, but then she asked leave to go to church; well, she got that leave too, for the church lay close by. But first of all she went to the rock and knocked on its face with the stick which stood there, just as the bull had said. And straightway out came a man, who said, "What's your will?"

So the princess said she had got leave to go to church and hear the priest preach, but she had no clothes to go in. So he brought out a kirtle, which was as bright as the copper wood, and she got a horse and saddle beside. Now, when she got to the church, she was so lovely and grand, all wondered who she could be, and scarce one of them listened to what the priest said, for they looked too much at her. As for the prince, he fell so deep in love with her, he didn't take his eyes off her for a single moment.

So, as she went out of church, the prince ran after her, and held the church door open for her; and so he got hold of one of her gloves, which was caught in the door. When she went away and mounted her horse, the prince went up to her again, and asked whence she came.

"Oh, I'm from Bath," said Katie; and while the prince took out the glove to give it to her, she said:

Bright before and dark behind,
Clouds come rolling on the wind;
That this prince may never see
Where my good steed goes with me.

The prince had never seen the like of that glove and went about far and wide asking after the land whence the proud lady, who rode off without her glove, said she came; but there was no one who could tell where "Bath" lay.

Next Sunday someone had to go up to the prince with a towel.

"Oh, may I have leave to go up with it?" said Katie.

"What's the good of your going?" said the others; "you saw how it fared with you last time."

But Katie wouldn't give in; she kept on begging and praying, till she got leave; and then she ran up the stairs, so that her wooden cloak made a great clatter. Out came the prince, and when he saw it was Katie, he tore the towel out of her hand, and threw it into her face.

"Pack yourself off, you ugly troll," he cried; "do you think I'd have a towel which you have touched with your smutty fingers?"

After that the prince set off to church, and Katie begged for leave to go too. They all asked what business she had at church -- she who had nothing to put on but that wooden cloak, which was so black and ugly. But Katie said the priest was such a brave man to preach, what he said did her so much good; and so at last she got leave. Now she went again to the rock and knocked, and so out came the man, and gave her a kirtle far finer than the first one; it was all covered with silver, and it shone like the silver wood; and she got besides a noble steed, with a saddlecloth broidered with silver, and a silver bit.

So when the king's daughter got to the church, the folk were still standing about in the churchyard. And all wondered and wondered who she could be, and the prince was soon on the spot, and came and wished to hold her horse for her while she got off. But she jumped down, and said there was no need, for her horse was so well broke, it stood still when she bade it, and came when she called it.
So they all went into church, but there was scarce a soul that listened to what the priest said, for they looked at her a deal too much; and the prince fell still deeper in love than the first time.
When the sermon was over, and she went out of church. and was going to mount her horse, up came the prince again and asked her whence she came.

"Oh, I'm from Towelland," said the king's daughter; and as she said that, she dropped her riding whip, and when the prince stooped to pick it up, she said:

Bright before and dark behind,
Clouds come rolling on the wind;
That this prince may never see
Where my good steed goes with me.

So away she was again; and the prince couldn't tell what had become of her. He went about far and wide, asking after the land whence she said she came, but there was no one who could tell him where it lay; and so the prince had to make the best he could of it.

Next Sunday someone had to go up to the prince with a comb. Katie begged for leave to go up with it, but the others put her in mind how she had fared the last time and scolded her for wishing to go before the prince -- such a black and ugly fright as she was in her wooden cloak. But she wouldn't leave off asking till they let her go up to the prince with his comb. So, when she came clattering up the stairs again, out came the prince, and took the comb, and threw it at her, and bade her be off as fast as she could. After that the prince went to church, and Katie begged for leave to go too. They asked again what business she had there, she who was so foul and black, and who had no clothes to show herself in. Might be the prince or someone else would see her, and then both she and all the others would smart for it; but Katie said they had something else to do than to look at her; and she wouldn't leave off begging and praying till they gave her leave to go.

So the same thing happened now as had happened twice before. She went to the rock and knocked with the stick, and then the man came out and gave her a kirtle which was far grander than either of the others. It was almost all pure gold and studded with diamonds; and she got besides a noble steed, with a gold broidered saddlecloth and a golden bit.

Now when the king's daughter got to the church, there stood the priest and all the people in the churchyard waiting for her. Up came the prince running, and wanted to hold her horse, but she jumped off, and said, "No; thanks -- there's no need, for my horse is so well broke, it stands still when I bid him."

So they all hastened into church, and the priest got into the pulpit, but no one listened to a word he said; for they all looked too much at her, and wondered whence she came; and the prince, he was far deeper in love than either of the former times. He had no eyes, or ears, or sense for anything, but just to sit and stare at her.

So when the sermon was over, and the king's daughter was to go out of the church, the prince had got a firkin of pitch poured out in the porch, that he might come and help her over it; but she didn't care a bit -- she just put her foot right down into the midst of the pitch, and jumped across it; but then one of her golden shoes stuck fast in it, and as she got on her horse, up came the prince running out of the church, and asked whence she came.

"I'm from Combland," said Katie. But when the prince wanted to reach her the gold shoe, she said:

Bright before and dark behind,
Clouds come rolling on the wind;
That this prince may never see
Where my good steed goes with me.

So the prince couldn't tell still what had become of her, and he went about a weary time all over the world asking for "Combland," but when no one could tell him where it lay, he ordered it to be given out everywhere that he would wed the woman whose foot could fit the gold shoe.

So many came of all sorts from all sides, fair and ugly alike; but there was no one who had so small a foot as to be able to get on the gold shoe. And after a long, long time, who should come but Katie's wicked stepmother, and her daughter, too, and her the gold shoe fitted; but ugly she was, and so loathly she looked, the prince only kept his word sore against his will. Still they got ready the wedding feast, and she was dressed up and decked out as a bride; but as they rode to church, a little bird sat upon a tree and sang:

A bit off her heel,
And a bit off her toe;
Katie Woodencloak's tiny shoe
Is full of blood -- that's all I know.

And, sure enough, when they looked to it, the bird told the truth, for blood gushed out of the shoe.
Then all the maids and women who were about the palace had to go up to try on the shoe, but there was none of them whom it would fit at all.

"But where's Katie Woodencloak?" asked the prince, when all the rest had tried the shoe, for he understood the song of birds very well, and bore in mind what the little bird had said.

"Oh, she! think of that!" said the rest; it's no good her coming forward. "Why, she's legs like a horse."

"Very true, I daresay," said the prince; "but since all the others have tried, Katie may as well try too."

"Katie!" he bawled out through the door; and Katie came trampling upstairs, and her wooden cloak clattered as if a whole regiment of dragoons were charging up.

"Now, you must try the shoe on, and be a princess, you too," said the other maids, and laughed and made game of her.

So Katie took up the shoe, and put her foot into it like nothing, and threw off her wooden cloak; and so there she stood in her gold kirtle, and it shone so that the sunbeams glistened from her; and, lo! on her other foot she had the fellow to the gold shoe.

So when the prince knew her again, he grew so glad, he ran up to her and threw his arms round her, and gave her a kiss; and when he heard she was a king's daughter, he got gladder still, and then came the wedding-feast; and so

Snip, snip, snover,
This story's over.

That’s all for this week. Stay tuned next week for a tale with unusual names.