[[quoteright:250:[[Creator/WilliemJosephLaquy http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/scullerymaid_9032.png]]]]
[[caption-width-right:250:[-''A Scullery Maid Preparing A Chicken'' by Williem Joseph Laquy.-] ]]

->''And then she went on and on till she came to a great house.\\
"Do you want a maid?" says she.\\
"No, we donít," said they.\\
"I haven't nowhere to go," says she; "and I ask no wages, and do any sort of work," says she.\\
"Well," said they, "if you like to wash the pots and scrape the saucepans you may stay," said they.\\
So she stayed there and washed the pots and scraped the saucepans and did all the dirty work.''
-->-- '''Literature/CapORushes'''

Your less-developed fantasy worlds will contain no castle underlings save guards and kitchen staff. The guards lead a sad existence as {{Red Shirt}}s, but the latter option presents a marvelous opportunity for anyone willing to submit to [[CinderellaCircumstances a little drudgery]], if [[AlwaysFemale she]] can only get herself placed as a Scullery Maid.

If she's in for infiltration, scullery {{maid}}s (or any other menial help staff) are [[BeneathNotice practically invisible]]. They don't get very much access to sensitive areas of the castle, true, but chances are someone will notice our heroine's talents and give her a promotion, or else that she'll have a knack for attracting ExactEavesdropping. If the infiltration has some sort of assassination in mind, kitchen staff have a perfect opportunity to poison people. If there's [[DancesAndBalls a ball]], [[RagsToRoyalty promotions can go quite high]]. It is, indeed [[FallenOnHardTimesJob the go-to job]] for runaway FairyTale {{Princess}}es.

If she's simply hiding out--believe me, no one suspects that TheChosenOne [[CinderellaCircumstances is sweating over boiling potatoes]].

Even if she's basically been [[MadeASlave enslaved]] into such a position, the Scullery Maid will find some way to prevail. Contrast with {{Meido}}, FrenchMaid, and NinjaMaid for less realistic interpretations of the role.

For reference, the scullery is a small, hot, sweaty room behind the kitchen, where heavy, dirty, menial work, such as cleaning pots and pans, is carried out. As the lowest-ranking servant in the household, the pay of a scullery maid was below abysmal and she would often be pressed into service doing any unpleasant tasks around the house (like emptying chamber pots) and serving upon the rest of the servants. In RealLife, most non-enslaved scullery maids only stayed in the position for a year or two, just long enough to get the character reference required to move on to a better job, and would typically have little to no contact with the family members -- all in all, rather similar to the modern BurgerFool.

The SpearCounterpart is also found, particularly in works more carefully based on the HighMiddleAges or earlier. Medieval households generally employed men (scullions) to work in the scullery, as women were considered too weak to do the heavy work. It was only during the Victorian era that the job were mostly given to maids, as female servants were more plentiful and cheaper to hire. Compare FarmBoy.


[[folder:Fairy Tales]]
* Literature/CapORushes, having been thrown out by her father for saying she loved him like she loved salt, went for such a job.
* Creator/JosephJacobs's "Literature/{{Catskin}}" as a RunawayFiancee
-->''Iím sorry I have no better place, but if you like you may be our scullion.''
* "[[http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/cinderella/stories/katie.html 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.''
* "[[http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/cinderella/stories/rashin.html Rashin Coatie]]" after running away from home.
* "[[http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/donkeyskin/stories/allfur.html All-Kinds-of-Fur]]":
-->''All-Kinds-of-Fur, thou wilt be useful in the kitchen, come with us, and thou canst sweep up the ashes.''
* "[[http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/donkeyskin/stories/kingdaughter.html The King Who Wished Marry To His Daughter]]"
-->''"If I could get," said she, "leave to go to service to this great house yonder." "They want none," said the herd, "unless they want one under the hand of the cook." The herd went to speak for her, and she went as a servant maid under the hand of the cook.''
* In "Literature/CatherineAndHerFate", Catherine, having chosen to be miserable in youth and happy in old age rather than the other way round, ends up as a SculleryMaid -- except that her Fate, being an AnthropomorphicPersonification, is always showing up and wrecking her position for seven years.
* In ''[[http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/authors/jacobs/english/fishring.html The Fish and the Ring]]'', this is the job the girl takes after the Baron throws her out.

* In ''A City in Winter'', the long-lost child queen takes a tip from LaResistance and takes a rather exhausting job sorting yams. Her subsequent rocketing through the ranks is heavily implied to be, quite literally, divine intervention.
* The heroine of ''The Catswold Portal'' seems aware of this trope, but unfortunately for her, [[GodSaveUsFromTheQueen the evil queen]] interrogates every last member of the staff personally. (She dodges it well enough to complete her mission in the castle, but the added difficulties end up making the story halfway a romance.)
* ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'' actually plays this more or less straight with Arya.
** Shae, on the other hand, rejects the archetype, as she actually became a whore in the first place in order to stop working in a kitchen.
* Lessa in ''Literature/DragonridersOfPern'' starts out as a drudge with a ''very'' overdeveloped sense of vengeance. It takes years for her to finally get a chance at her foe, though she does enact loads of scorched-earth policies in the interim.
* This was popular with [[{{Ninja}} Kunoichi]]. [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kunoichi See]] Wiki/ThatOtherWiki.
* In ''Discworld/MonstrousRegiment'', this is how the heroes get inside the castle (including the male lieutenant, who is the most enthusiastic of them all). (They're actually laundry maids, but it's the same difference- and because the castle is occupied by an army, there's practically endless vacancies for those)
* In ''[[Literature/JudgeDee The Chinese Maze Murders]]'', Dee plants a spy in one household by sending her to get a job as a temporary maid.
* [[Literature/{{Discworld}} Nanny Ogg]] uses this as a highly successful infiltration technique. She's at home around people; knows their names, their family trees and everyone's maladies after about half an hour, and knows that nobody ever questions a little old lady being helpful, because it's a job you don't have to do and nobody cares if she doesn't get paid.
** [[Discworld/EqualRites Esk]] uses the classic SculleryMaid approach to infiltrate Unseen University, although her actual job is sweeping floors, not preparing food.
* Lalasa in the ''Protector Of The Small'' series (by Tamora Pierce) started as a SculleryMaid before becoming Kel's personal maid.
* ''Literature/EllaEnchanted'' has the title character assume this position in her own home after her obedience curse is discovered by her stepsisters. The job is given by none other than Ella's own [[spoiler:fairy]] godmother, who works as a cook for the family and pretends indifference towards her godchild in order to protect her from being forced into a much lower position.
* In Literature/ALittlePrincess, Sara Crewe takes this role to pay her headmistress. Before that, she befriends Becky, the actual scullery maid at the school.
* In David Eddings' [[Literature/TheBelgariad Belgariad]], powerful sorceress Polgara hides herself and the Chosen One as a cook for a rural farm and her nephew/scullery boy. This works [[spoiler:..sort of. Asharak apparently knew where Garion was the whole time, and they leave because Brill's found out where they are]].
* Egwene in ''Literature/TheWheelOfTime'' is held prisoner in this position to keep her out of the way and break her back into being a novice. It gave her even more power than when she was forced to redo classes.
* In Creator/PatriciaAMcKillip's ''Literature/TheBookOfAtrixWolfe'', Saro, after the magic had rendered her mute and dazed.
* In ''Literature/TheSecretGarden'', Mary's first relationship in her new home is with Martha, the young scullery maid who comes to clean the fireplace in her room. Mary can't do anything for herself (having always been waited on hand and foot) and Martha takes pity on her and helps her learn to be self sufficient.
* In ''Literature/TheOrdinaryPrincess'', Princess Amy runs away to the neighbouring kingdom to live in the forest. After wearing out her clothes, she decides to get a job as a scullery maid in the castle, and there meets the king.
* In the ChivalricRomance ''Havelock The Dane'', Havelock is working as a kitchen boy when the regent decides to nullify Princess Goldborough by marrying her off to this splendid but lowly man. (Turns out he's the rightful king of Denmark and can reclaim her throne after his.)
* In Creator/PatriciaCWrede's ''Literature/EnchantedForestChronicles'' story "Utensile Strength", Cimorene wants to interview people for the kitchen staff herself, to prevent a princess from being taken on. [[spoiler:She fails.]]
* In Creator/JulieKagawa's ''Literature/TheIronKing'', Titania forces Meghan into this role.

[[folder:Myths And Legends]]
* In Myth/KingArthur legends, Sir Gareth of Orkney starts by getting a job as a kitchen boy.
* Dick Whittington started out in London as a scullery boy. He is seriously tempted to ditch it because it's unpleasant and he gets only room and board.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* There is a class of {{fairy tale}}s -- see the fairy tale section. The episode "Sapsorrow" of ''Series/TheStoryteller'' is adapted from one of these.
* Daisy from ''Series/DowntonAbbey'' is actually a scullery maid to start with (as in, that's her job title), but she's not spying on anyone and it's 20th-century Britain so the most nefarious things going on involve servants' jostling for better jobs. (She later gets promoted to Assistant Cook).

[[folder:Video Games]]
* In ''VideoGame/KingsQuestV'', BigBad Mordack forces Princess Cassima to work as a scullery maid until she agrees [[AndNowYouMustMarryMe to marry him]]. So naturally, she's more than willing to help King Graham defeat Mordack.
* Malborn from ''VideoGame/{{Skyrim}}'' does this in an attempt to avenge his murdered family. It doesn't work out in that regard, but it definitely helps with the dragonpocalypse, anyway.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* In ''Webcomic/{{Erstwhile}}'', both [[http://www.erstwhiletales.com/maidmaleen-12/#.T293lNm6SuI Maid Maleen]] and All-Furs get these jobs.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Henchman 21 from ''WesternAnimation/TheVentureBrothers'' reveals in a counceling session that he was part of the "scullion class" of The Monarch's army.
* Bridget from ''WesternAnimation/{{Trolls}}'', a Bergen maid whom Chef forces to work at the scullery while she prepares to cook the Trolls. She also harbors a crush on the Bergen king, Gristle Jr. [[spoiler:The Trolls help her win his love, and she frees them in return.]]