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The Mouse Maiden


There are a king and a queen of a certain city, and there is a daughter of the queen.

They asked permission to summon the daughter to go in marriage to the prince of another city. The king said, "Ha," so they came from that city to summon the king's princess. After coming, they told the bride to come out of her chamber in order to eat the rice of the wedding feast.

The queen said, "She is eating cooked rice in the house."

Then they told her to come out in order to dress her in the robes sent by the bridegroom. The queen said, "She is putting on robes in her chamber."

Then they told her to come out in order to go to the bridegroom's city. So the queen told two persons to come, and, having put a female mouseling in an incense box, brought it, and gave it into the hands of the two persons, and said, "Take this, and until seven days have gone by, do not open the mouth of the box."

Having taken it to the city, when they opened the mouth of the box after seven days, a mouse sprang out, and hid itself among the cooking pots.

There was also a servant girl at the prince's house. The girl apportioned and gave cooked rice and vegetable curry to the prince, and covered up the cooking pots containing the rest of the food. Then the mouseling came and, having taken and eaten some of the cooked rice and vegetables, covered up the cooking pots, and went again among the pots.

On the following day the same thing occurred. The prince said to the girl, "Does the mouseling eat the cooked rice? Look and come back."

The girl, having gone and looked, came back and said, "She has eaten the cooked rice, and covered the cooking pots, and has gone."

The prince said, "Go also, and eat rice, and come back." So the girl went and ate rice, and returned.

Next day the prince said, "I am going to cut paddy (growing rice). Remain at the house, and in the evening place the articles for cooking near the hearth." Then the prince went. Afterwards, in the evening, the girl placed the things for cooking near the hearth, and went out of the way.

The mouseling came, and cooked, and placed the food ready, and again went behind the pots. After evening had come, that girl apportioned and gave the rice to the prince. The prince ate, and told the girl, "Go also, and eat rice, and come back." So the girl went and ate rice, and, having covered the cooking pots, came to the place where the prince was.

Then the mouseling came and ate rice, and covered up the pots. After that, she said to the other mice, "Let us go and cut the paddy," and, collecting a great number of mice, cut all the paddy, and again returned to the house, and stayed among the pots. Next day when the prince went to the rice field to cut the paddy, all had been cut.

Afterwards the prince came back, and, saying "Let us go and collect and stack the paddy," collected the men, and stacked it, and threshed it by trampling it with buffaloes. Then they went and called the women, and, having got rid of the chaff in the wind, brought the paddy home.

After they had brought it, the prince went near the place where the cooking pots were stored, at which the mouseling was hidden, and said, "Having pounded this paddy to remove the husk, and cooked rice, let us go to your village to present it to your parents as the first-fruits."

The mouseling said, "I will not. You go."

So the prince told the girl to pound the paddy and cook rice, and having done this she gave it to the prince.

The prince took the package of cooked rice, and went to the mouseling's village, and gave it to the mouseling's mother.

The queen asked at the hand of the prince, "Where is the girl?"

The prince said, "She refused to come."

The queen said, "Go back to the city, and, having placed the articles for cooking near the hearth, get hid, and stay in the house."

After the prince returned to the city, he did as she had told him. The mouseling, having come out, took off her mouse jacket, and, assuming her shape as a girl, put on other clothes. While she was preparing to cook, the prince took the mouse jacket and burnt it.

Afterwards, when the girl went to the place where the mouse jacket had been, and looked for it, it was not there. Then she looked in the hearth, and saw that there was one sleeve in it. While she was there weeping and weeping, the prince came forward and said, "Your mother told me to burn the mouse jacket."

So the mouseling became the princess again, and the prince and princess remained there.


H. Parker: Village Folk Tales of Ceylon. London 1910, Nr. 54. (AT 402, Sri Lanka)




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