All-Kinds-of-Fur aka Thousandsfurs aka Allerleihrauh illustrated by Rudolf Geissler
This fairy tale has number 65 among Grimms’ Fairy Tales. It’s a story about a king who gives a promise to his dying wife he’ll remarry only if he finds a woman of the same beauty. After some search, he realizes the only candidate is his daughter.
She doesn’t want to marry her father, so she tries to stop him by demanding impossible tasks from him. He should provide her a dress of gold, a dress of silver, a dress dazzling as the stars, and a mantle made of all kinds of furs and skins.
But the king provides all the gifts and the only way out for the princess seems to escape. She takes all the dresses, the coat, a gold ring, a gold spindle, and a gold reel. Then she escapes to another kingdom and hides in the woods. She wears a mantle made of all kinds of fur when a young king who hunts there, finds her.
She doesn’t reveal her identity but asks for a place to stay and a job to pay for it. He offers her to work in his kitchen. she stays disguised. Everybody starts calling her All-Kinds-of-Fur.
After a while, the king has a ball. The princess comes to the dance in her gold dress. King is charmed but she doesn’t reveal her identity. The next morning she drops a golden ring in his soup. He finds it and keeps it but is unable to discover who put the ring in the soup.
Next evening there’s a dance too. This time All-Kinds-of-Fur wears a silver dress. Again, she doesn’t disclose herself but puts a golden spindle in the king’s soup the next morning. He keeps that as well.
The third night is a night for a star dress. This time the king puts the finger found in the soup on her finger while they are dancing. She doesn’t notice that. She leaves him again without revealing her true identity. But he follows her. So she hides in the kitchen. Without time to change she only puts her mantle over the dress.
The king finds her in the kitchen. He discovers the dress under the coat and the finger on her ring. The mystery is solved. They can marry now.
A very similar story can be found in Charles Perrault’s Donkeyskin which has a bit better dramatic structure considering the king who wanted to marry his daughter gets a wife for himself at the end as well.
There are numerous similar stories all across the world to be found. All present fathers who want to get their daughters (or in some cases step-daughters) for their wives. Such stories belong to type 510B according to Aarne-Thompson classification of folktales. All of them are also classified as subvariants of much more famous and also very variated group of Cinderella variants.
A few words about the illustrator:
- His first teacher was his own father, an accomplished painter Peter Carl Geissler (1802-1872). He also studied at Nuremberg (his birth- and death-place, where he spent almost all of his life) and Dresden.
- Rudolf Geissler (1834-1906) with full name Rudolf Karl Gottfried Geissler was a watercolorist, draftsman, and etcher.
- He illustrated numerous picture books and books for kids. For years he worked for popular magazine “Gartenlaube”.