After the discussion of dark original version of two classic fairytales: Hansel and Gretel and the story of Snow White, this is now the time to discuss the most-cherised story of Cinderella. Like any other old fairytales that had been told mouth to mouth for centuries, the story of Cinderella had many different versions. Here is the discussion :
In the sweet popular version of the story, ithe one that I know as a child, Cinderella, a poor girl, who after the death of his father is treated as maid by her step mother and sisters, eventually managed to get to the Prince’s ball by the help of his fairy Godmother. At the ball, the Prince fall in love with her, but alas, the magic must end at midnight. As she darts out, she left one of her glass slipper behind. The prince then searches for any girl whose foot fits the slipper. It fits Cinderella’s foot perfectly. Cinderella marries the Prince and they live happily ever after.
Original and Earlier Version
Cinderella theme had been around since antiquity. The earliest version can be traced back to 1st Century BC, when a Greek historian, Strabo recorded a story of a heroine called Rhodopis (rosy-cheeked). Rhodopis is a servant. When Pharaoh Amasis throws a party, all Rhodopis’s fellow servants force Rhodopis to do all the washing in the River. While she is washing, an eagle takes her sandal and drops it on the feet of Pharaoh. The Pharaoh asks all girls in the kingdom to try on the sandal. It fits Rhodopis’ feet and she marries the Pharaoh.
The theme continues to reappear in different countries and cultures. In Korea there is a story of a girl who goes to a royal ball with the help of a talking fish that is a reincarnation of her deceased mother and left her slipper there, at the ball. There are wide variations in all these versions, but all usually involving jealous siblings, wicked stepmother and helping spirit either it be a fairy Godmother, the wishing tree or the spirit of the deceased mother.
Image via Wikipedia
The two most popular classic versions of Cinderella story are the one written by Charles Perrault in 17th century and the other collected by Brother Grimm in 19th century. Perrault’s version is quite similar with the now popular version. In Perrault’s version the fate of Cinderella’s stepsisters is told. They are forgiven by Cinderella and each of them marries respectable lord. This is the most agreeable version for children and the one followed by Disney.
Image via Wikipedia
The version recorded by Grimm Brother, however, has a gruesome ending. One of the stepsisters cut off her toes so her foot can fit into the slipper, but some pigeons tell the prince about the blood dripping from the shoes. The other stepsister saw off her heel, but again her wicked trick is known by the prince. In the end, the stepsister’s eyes are pecked and eaten by ravenous pigeons. Being blind is not their only misery. The stepsisters also thrown out of their mansion and have to spend the rest of their lives as beggars.
The moral message is clear, that evil people must be punished by all means. However, in the Grimm’s version the message is so brutally communicated and might not be suitable for children.