Literature / Cap o' Rushes

Cap O' Rushes is an English Fairy Tale collected by Joseph Jacobs (in English Fairy Tales).

A rich man asked his daughters how much they loved him. The oldest say, more than her life; the next, like the whole world; the youngest, like meat loves salt. Angry, he threw her out. She made herself a cloak with a hood, out of rushes, and went to work in a kitchen at a great house, where they called her Cap O' Rushes. Then there was a ball, and she went dressed with a gown she had brought with her. The master's son fell in love with her but was unable to get out of her who she was. After two more balls, he gives her a ring. When he still can not find her, he falls sick. She puts the ring in the soup she makes him, and he finds her and marries her. She tells the cook to make the meal without any salt. Her father is one of the guests, and when they realize that the meal had no taste because it had no salt, he wept because he realized what his youngest daughter had meant. She reveals herself.

Other variants of the persecuted heroine include Cinderella, Donkeyskin, Catskin, and Tattercoats; this one belongs to the subgroup that uses the "Love Like Salt" motif that William Shakespeare lifted for King Lear. See also The One-Handed Girl for a different tale type with a male persecutor.

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