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Monday, June 30, 2014

Fairy Tales in Different Cultures: Petrosinella: A Neopolitan Rapunzel

Today we are going to discuss Petrosinella: A Neopolitan Rapunzel. It is the earliest version of a written Rapunzel story. I found two versions of the book at the library. Both are illustrated by Diane Stanley. One has Diane Stanley listed as the author and the other has Giambattista Basile, who is the original author. 

The stories are basically the same and are the same as the traditional story. The main difference being that the mother, named Pascadozzia in the Basile version, craved parsley and took it from her neighbor's garden. The neighbor was an ogress. She made the mother promise to give her unborn child to her. The child was born with a sprig of parsley in her hand in Basile's version and thus she was named Petrosinella which means parsley. Once Petrosinella was seven she began school and walked by the ogress' house. The ogress talked to her every day and told her to remind her mother of her promise. Finally the mother told Petrosinella to answer her with "Take it." The ogress took Petrosinella and locked her in the tower. One time with the ogress was out, Petrosinella put her hair down as she stuck her head out the little window. A prince who was returning to his parents' kingdom happened by and noticed the beautiful face and climbed up the hair. They talked and fell in love. He began to visit often at night while the ogress slept. He begged Petrsoinella to leave with him, but she refused even though she did not know why she refused. One day another ogress spotted the prince visiting Petrosinella and told her stepmother ogress. The stepmother ogress said she would put an end to the visits and that Petrosinella could never leave because she had a spell on her and needed the three acorns which were hidden in the rafters in the kitchen to break it. Petrosinella was listening so when the prince came that night she told him about the acorns and they searched and found them and left. However the ogress's friend saw them and made such noise that she woke the ogress. She quickly chased them. Sure they were going to be caught Petrosinella remembered the acorns and threw one onto the ground. A vicious dog appeared and went after the ogress. She however came prepared with bread. She continued her chase. The next acorn turned into a lion. The ogress found a mule skin to wear and tricked the lion. The third acorn became a wolf and the wolf ate her before she had a chance to trick it. The prince and Petrosinella were married and lived happily. In Stanley's version Petrosinella's mother was sent for the wedding. 

According to the information presented in Stanley's book,  Giambattista Basile published the original version of the story in 1637. It was in Neopolitan and it was hard to translate into English without a dictionary, but several versions were translated. She used a version by John Edward Taylor from 1847 and N.M. Penzer from 1932. For a full text version of the story on-line, visit SurLaLune Fairy Tales.

According to John K. Davis on this website there is also a connection to the legend of Saint Barbara. Saint Barbara was locked in a tower by her father to make sure she did not have an unworthy suitor. While he was away on business Barbara became to learn about the teachings of Christ and became a Christian. When her father returned and discovered this, he took her the Roman pro-consul who ordered her father to behead her. After beheading her, her father was struck down by lightning and consumed by fire.

The craft I shared is one Hazel and I made back in 2012. It is a toy of Rapunzel's tower and I shared it back in May 2012.

For more Rapunzel stories and other fairy tales, check out: