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Cinder Work in a Foreign Castle (Eisenhans 3: in the Desert)

In the foreign castle

By on 20 May 2020

In the foreign castle

Cinder Work in a Foreign Castle (Eisenhans 3: Desert)

The king's son has to do ash work in a foreign castle as a gardener's and kitchen assistant. By having to go through the bottom in this way, he has the opportunity to prove himself in deprivation and hardship. Moreover, the daughter of the foreign king tries to lure him? How can he resist this temptation?

The next section of the fairy tale:

Ash work in a foreign castle

The foreign king

Kitchen work

Then the king's son left the forest and walked along paths that had been trodden and paths that had not been trodden, until at last he came to a great city. He came to a king's court. There the cook took him into service and said he could carry wood and water and sweep up the ashes.

Meeting the King

Once, when there was no one else available, the cook asked him to carry the food to the royal table, but as he did not want his golden hair to be seen, he kept his little hat on. This had never happened to the king before, and he said, "When you come to the royal table, you must take off your hat!" - "Alas, sir," he replied, "I cannot, I have a wicked grind (rash) on my head." Then the king sent for the cook, scolded him and asked how he could have taken such a boy into his service; he should chase him away at once. But the cook took pity on him and exchanged him for the gardener's boy.

The King's Daughter


Now the boy had to plant and water in the garden, hoe and dig and endure wind and bad weather. Once in summer, when he was working alone in the garden, the day was so hot that he took off his little hat and let the air cool him down.

Meeting the King's Daughter

As the sun shone on the hair, it glittered and flashed so that the rays fell into the king's daughter's bedroom and she jumped up to see what was there. Then she caught sight of the boy and called to him, "Boy, bring me a bouquet of flowers!"

He hurriedly put on his little hat, broke off wild flowers and tied them together. As he climbed the stairs, the gardener met him and said: "How can you bring the king's daughter a bouquet of bad flowers? Quickly fetch others and choose the most beautiful and rarest ones!" - "Oh no," replied the boy, "the wild ones smell stronger and will please her better."

Concealment of the true identity

When he came into her room, the king's daughter said: "Take off your little hat, it is not proper for you to keep it on in front of me." He answered again, "I must not, I have a grumpy head." But she reached for the little hat and pulled it off, and his golden hair rolled down on his shoulders so that it was magnificent to behold. He wanted to jump away, but she held him by the arm and gave him a handful of ducats.

Modesty and abstinence

He went away with it, but paid no attention to the gold, instead he brought it to the gardener and said: "I'll give it to your children, they can play with it. The next day the king's daughter called to him again to bring her a bunch of wild flowers, and when he entered with it, she immediately grabbed his little hat and wanted to take it away from him, but he held it tightly with both hands.

She gave him another handful of ducats, but he didn't want to keep them and gave them to the gardener to play with for his children. The third day was no different: she couldn't take away his little hat, and he didn't want her gold.

Short summary

Far from home, the king's son cannot boast the advantages of his origins. Now he must prove himself. Here his loyalty, his stamina and his willingness to serve are tested. What counts here is not what he is, but what he does.

Important symbols and archetypes

Kitchen work and meeting the king: temptations in the realm of the body
Abstinence from the body

At first, the king's son does ash work as a kitchen servant, without feeling too good for it. Bread is baked in the kitchen, the symbol of the purification of the male body (s. Bread and wine). Here the king's son shows himself ready to serve delicious food to the foreign king. In doing so, he resists the temptation not to reveal his true identity.

Resistance to temptations even in the face of existential challenges

This even when he incurs the wrath of the foreign king and is rejected as "weak" or "sick". For he has his goal in mind: he does not want to shine because of his origins, but to stand and win because of his deeds. This attitude is his "golden hair" that he hides and his true nobility.

The foreign king: The "God of this world" who challenges and tests

The hero's attitude ultimately expresses full confidence in the higher purpose by ultimately stating, "My food is that I do the will of him who sent me."
[Mt. 4:4; p. Overcoming in temptations and The Temptations of Jesus in the Desert: Power.]

Gardening and meeting the king's daughter: temptations in the realm of the soul
The Anima, the inner woman of the hero

The king's daughter as a symbol for the ANIMA and inner woman addresses the emotional sphere and with it the need for appreciation and affirmation. Who does not know the desire to finally be noticed, to be seen and appreciated for what one is?

No delusion, but the true, the genuine

As a female counterpart, the king's daughter is teasing, playful and above all curious. She wants to know what is "behind" it. The hero seeks (for his soul) not vain, hollow glossy beauty without true life, but the real thing that "smells" good and is good for the soul. In the fairy tale, the difference is thematised by the juxtaposition of cultivated flowers and wild flowers. Again, he refrains from the temptation to dazzle by his inheritance, but instead makes his effort available (picking wild flowers instead of cutting the cultivated flowers in the garden).

Concealment of true identity: character (remain modest instead of dazzling)
Strength of character
The hero remains humble and thereby shows character. He continues to keep a low profile and endures the "drought in the desert" by practising abstinence and resisting the temptation to take what he wants through his true origins. In other words, he is not seduced by quick gain and resists the temptation to dazzle with a shiny appearance.

In this way, he remains true to his vision. He has his lofty goal in mind. He strives for a justice that is higher than himself and his surroundings. That is why he cannot earn or attain it himself. Courageously and patiently, he endures the differences that exist because of his youth or inexperience. But he does not allow himself to be distracted; he remains modest, knowing that he still has to and can gain. He does his best, trusting that his time will come.

The gold, the power and the children: true love cannot be bought.
The King's Daughter and Power

The king's daughter gives the gardener's boy gold ducats and wants to install a power imbalance with them. But the hero is careful not to let himself be bought. He also refrains from dazzling with his origins or "buying" his counterpart with exclusive gifts (such as noble flowers). Because he knows: true love cannot be forced, it is given to you as a gift.

Gold for the children: purity of heart

The hero does not take the gold for himself, but gives it to the gardener's children. Children live in the moment. They have a pure heart, their thoughts are not focused on power. As an adult, however, the hero might allow himself to be corrupted by the gold, especially if he feels in want. It takes a looseness and a childlike playfulness not to be tempted (s. Overcoming temptations).

Children are also open and willing to learn. Thus the fairy tale makes a clear statement, namely: The gold is for the inner child. It is the purity of the heart that is the true gold and prepares access to the greater.

This way to: Interpretation of all symbols of this section "Ashes work in the foreign castle".

The modern story emerges from the above interpretations:

Eisenhans and the gold well - the story told differently

Thomas continues:

Kitchen work and meeting the king

Now I have accepted a job with a small company. I only earn half, but I can fully stand behind the concept. The company is in the environmental field. It means a new beginning for me. What I have done so far is not much use to me here. During a meeting, Richard, our CEO, surprisingly gave me the floor and asked for my opinion.

Although I had given it some thought, I did not feel it appropriate to share it in the wider forum. Therefore, I replied: "Due to my inexperience in this industry, I am refraining from making a statement at this time". The CEO frowned and came to me after the meeting: "Is that all you have to offer?" he wanted to know with a cynical undertone. "In fact, it is important for me to orientate and learn in this one for me first," I replied.
To which he replied, "But if you sell yourself so badly, you won't get very far with us."

Gardening and meeting the king's daughter

The junior partner of our company is a woman. Her name is Linda and she is very attractive! It turned out that we had to walk the same way for a while after the meeting. Linda said: "Strong how you stayed cool towards Richard. It's important to me that the people I work with are authentic." - "I agree with that. In my opinion, open, appreciative interaction is an enrichment for everyone," I agreed with her and stifled a comment on Richard's cynical, not particularly appreciative remark.

Concealment of the true identity

Then Linda started asking me questions about my past and my career. She was curious and seemed relaxed and at ease. She also tried to find out about my relationship life. I answered truthfully that I was separated to find out what I really wanted in life. It seemed to impress her and she continued to pester me with questions. I really struggled not to reveal too much. I smiled at her and said, "I can't say much more, my journey has only just begun." She looked at me in surprise and shrugged her shoulders.

The power, the gold and the children

"To get back to the business level ..." she continued, "you have leadership qualities, I can feel that! And we actually need a second junior partner ...". At this, she fixed me with her gaze and said, "I have the feeling that you are overqualified for your current job. - And you could also earn more. Why did you take this job in the first place?" - "I wanted to change industries," I replied, "And I don't know very much about the subject yet."

"Oh, come on!" she insisted, "Surely you have something to show that will increase your value? I could put in a good word for you with the CEO. I'm sure something can be done ... Hm?" - "Thank you, I appreciate your kindness, but I'll be happy to take some time to look around and learn," I replied firmly.
She raised her eyebrows and just said, "Okay, suit yourself."

The third phase of the Hero's Path: Desert

Probation in a foreign country

The word "probation" contains the word "true". In hardship and difficult circumstances, what the human being really is becomes visible.
With this, our hero has now completed the third phase of the Hero's Path.
[To the background article on this episode: The Third Phase of the Hero's Path: Desert (Proving Himself in Lack and Privation.)

For an overview of the heroic path of Eisenhans, the third phase ("ash work in the foreign castle"), this table:


Having proved himself in the desert, the hero is next blessed with success.

We continue with:

Der Eisenhans - Victory over the Enemy

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