Bones, milk, cows, procreation and the soul in European folktales.

And here is my pretext. From the Iberian Peninsula to Greece and Turkey, folktales present Cinderella’s dead mother as a horned animal—most often a cow, sometimes a sheep. The stability of this oral trait across Europe is remarkable. Certainly, it does not depend on a literary benchmark. What, then, is its raison d’être? To discover a nexus of shared assumptions that might explain this persistent image, I examine a number of “Cinderella” oral variants and some related folk materials across Europe.