Story One: Cue Card
Bibliographic Information (best version for telling): I will be telling a version that I have
constructed from all of the versions that I have listed below, but this is my favorite of the written versions. Unfortunately, I have not been able to get a copy of it for this telling, which is why I have combined the versions that I have with what I remember of this one.
Lurie, Alison. “Cap O’ Rushes.” Clever Gretchen and other Forgotten Folktales. Illus.
Margot Tomes. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1980. (ISBN 0690039433)
Ethnic Origin: Possibly English, but I have also found a version from Greece.
Running Time: About 10 minutes.
Power Centers: 1) Daughters’ answers to question ‘How much do you love me?’
2) Banishment of youngest daughter
3) Excitement of the three balls
4) Master’s son’s illness
5) Wedding feast
Characters: King, three daughters, First Cook, Master’s son
Scenes: 1) King asks daughters “How much do you love me?”
2) Youngest daughter is banished.
3) Youngest daughter working in kitchen at neighboring house.
4) Three balls—each night a more beautiful dress.
5) Master’s Son’s illness and revelation of beautiful girl’s identity.
6) Wedding feast with unseasoned meat.
Synopses: A king is curious to know which of his daughters loves him the most, so he asks
them. The youngest replies, “As meat loves salt,” and he is so angered that he banishes her. She packs up her three prettiest dresses and travels around to find work. After working as a kitchen maid for a while in the house of a rich man, the rich man throws a series of parties for his son. The youngest princess / kitchen maid dresses up in her dresses and attends the gala each of the three nights, and the master’s son falls in love with her. After searching in vain to find her, he begins to pine away for her. She makes him soup and drops the ring he gave her into the soup, which is delivered by the First Cook, who hopes to take credit for the soup. The master’s son recognizes the ring and vows to marry the woman who made the soup, who then reveals that she is the princess. At the wedding feast, the bride instructs that her father be served meat without salt, thus revealing her identity to her father as she explains what she meant when she told him she loved him “as meat loves salt.”
Rhymes/ Special Phrases/ “Flavor”: “Like Meat Loves Salt”
Beginning: Once upon a time we all remember but have forgotten, in a land no
one has ever been to, but we all have visited, there lived a king and
his three daughters.
Ending: Then all present danced until dawn, and someone heard the groom tell
his beautiful bride that he loved her “as meat loves salt.”
Audience: I think that this story is appropriate for elementary aged children because at this age
they are exploring their relationships with their parents and other people, and they
have a need to express feelings and understand the feelings that others have for them.
“Do my parents love me for me or because they have to?” According to Erikson,
they are developing feelings of mastery which allow them to share in the youngest
princess’s elation when she proves that she is smarter than her father (see Piaget) at
the end. They are also aware of enough differences in food by this age to understand,
I think, about meat without salt.
Bibliographic information on other versions/ variants:
Chase, Richard, ed. “Like Meat Loves Salt.” Grandfather Tales. Boston: Houghton
Haviland, Virginia. “The Princess Who Loved Her Father Like Salt.” Favorite
Fairy Tales Told in Greece. Boston: Little Brown and Company, 1970.
Hooks, William. Moss Gown. Illus. Donald Carrick. New York: Clarion Books,
Lang, Andrew, ed. “The Dirty Shepherdess.” The Green Fairy Book. New York:
Dover Publications, (1892) 1965.
Brief Comparison of all versions/ variants: Each of these variants/ versions has, of course, its
own flavor of presentation. In all of the versions, I am impressed with how the youngest
daughter takes her destiny into her own hands—no one offers her a job, she asks to work, purposely hiding her identity. The story in Grandfather Tales is recorded as a child retelling the story from memory, carefully so that she didn’t miss anything—as it is set up in the narrative of the book, the listener couldn’t see the storyteller, it was “as though the tale came out of the night” (123). This version seemed overly simple and contains a lot of “dialect.” The Green Fairy Book tells this story in slightly more difficult language, but the main reason that I decided not to tell this story was that it contained some inconsistencies that I could not justify. For example, I don’t know anyone who knows only “a few household rules and receipts of dishes” (180) who can also bake bread from memory. Nor do I know of anyone who puts on rings to bake bread. I decided that if I couldn’t make sense of this, children probably couldn’t either. This version also allows the daughter to chastise her father rather than simply explain herself. There was a lot that I liked about the Greek variant told by Haviland, but the daughter being forced to marry a poor man seemed odd to me. I prefer the story to tell how the girl did well for herself with no outside help, rather than how her husband supported her well through the gifts of pomegrates filled with diamonds from a water sprite. Moss Gown is a version that I may decide to learn well later, but chose not to tell this time based on the magical element I discussed above. I have, however, incorporated the ending of this tale into the one that I am telling because I loved how the daughter revealed herself to her father, and how the Young Master professes his love at the end, but repeating what she had told her father. In a nutshell, she is the spice of his life. Lurie’s “Cap O’ Rushes” was my first encounter with this story, which is one of the reasons that I think it is my favorite. It is simple and told directly, but as a story much loved. In some way, I think reading this story was almost as good a telling as having it told. Hopefully, I can do it justice.