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Literature / Prunella

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Prunella is an Italian Fairy Tale. Andrew Lang included it in The Grey Fairy Book, without source info.

A girl picked plums from a wild plum tree as she went to school, and for this was called "Prunella." The witch saw her one day, and furious, took her captive. She grew more beautiful, which enraged the witch, who sent her to bring back a basket full of water from the well. There, she met Bensiabel, the witch's son, who asked if she would kiss him in return for filling the basket. She refused, but he filled it anyway. The next day the witch gave her a sack of wheat with orders to make bread by the time she returned; again Bensiabel helped her in spite of her refusing to kiss him.

The witch then sent her to her sister, to bring back a casket. Bensiabel gave her things to give to various things along the way; then she had to take the casket and leave at once. When she does this, the witch tries to get the people on the way to stop her, but they refuse because Prunella gave them things when the witch did not.

The witch then demanded that Prunella tell her what cocks crowed. Bensiabel hesitated to tell her once, in hopes of luring her to kiss him, and the witch came to kill her. Bensiabel knocked her down the stairs, killing her, and Prunella's heart was softened and she agreed to marry him.

Full text here, here and here.

It's a "Maiden in the Tower" tale type (Aarne-Thompson-Uther Index type ATU 310), like "Rapunzel", and "Snow-White-Fire-Red", but as a Gender Flip is much closer to "the girl helps the hero flee" such as "The White Dove".

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