Hosted by Alison at The Cheap Reader
CINDERELLA by CHARLES PERRAULT
As you probably know from earlier posts, I’m participating in Project Fairy Tale, hosted by Alison at the Cheap Reader. My chosen fairy tale is Cinderella. I’ve actually never read the original fairy tale before, so I was interested to see if there were any surprises in store for me!
It was actually a little difficult trying to find an accurate version of the original fairy tale of Cinderella. I was afraid of picking up just any old book that claimed it was the fairy tale because who knows what may have been altered from one version to another? I finally decided on checking out the entire anthology of fairy tales by Charles Perrault from the library. It was supposed to be the safest bet, but the actual story was only a few pages long, so I hope that it really was the “right” version that I was looking for!
Anyway, the version as most of us probably know it – the one adapted from Disney – is fairly accurate to the original tale. The story goes that Cinderella’s father married his second wife (“the stepmother”) and it was only after they were married that she showed her true nature – a horrible temper and severe dislike for his daughter since she was not one of her own. The girl didn’t dare complain to her father for fear that he would scold her and think she was telling lies because he was completely wrapped around the stepmother’s finger. The resting place she often found was sitting near the chimney. The elder stepsister teased her, calling her Cinderbutt, and the younger stepsister was only slightly nicer by changing the nickname to Cinderella.
When the king announced a ball for his son the prince, Cinderella helped her two stepsisters with no kindness returned. There came a point where she couldn’t take it anymore and she finally let the tears fall. Her godmother showed up to help her with what she truly wanted – to go to the ball. Since her godmother was a fairy, she transformed a pumpkin from the garden into a carriage, six mice into horses, a rat for the coachman, and six lizards for six footmen. Lastly, she donned Cinderella in a beautiful gold and silver gown embroidered in jewels and a pair of glass slippers to complete the ensemble. Cinderella left for the ball with the warning that she must leave by midnight because at that exact moment, all the charms would cease to exist and everything would transform back.
At the ball, no one ever saw anyone lovelier than Cinderella. She quite enjoyed her time and made quite an impression on the prince. There was another ball on the following day and he begged her to come back. With help from her fairy godmother again, Cinderella returned to the ball, but was having such a good time with the prince that she lost track of time and believed the bell of midnight to be only eleven. She instantly jumped up and left the ball in a hurry as her clothes turned back into rags, leaving behind one of the glass slippers in her haste.
The prince needed to find his dream girl who eluded him so quickly from the ball and when no ladies of the court fit in the shoe, he sent out a gentleman to take the slipper out into the rest of the kingdom. When he arrived at Cinderella’s house, her sisters laughed at her suggestion to try on the slipper the prince held, but when she slid her foot in, it was a perfect fit. For further proof, she pulled the matching slipper from her pocket and the gentleman immediately knew she was the one, taking her to the prince at one. Even in her rags, the prince saw how beautiful she was and they wed with in a few days. Having a kind heart even after all she was put through, Cinderella took her stepsisters with her to the palace and they married two lords of the court.
WAS IT WHAT I THOUGHT?
Pretty much! With a few minor differences, it would about what I knew the original tale to be. What was I surprised by?
- Lizards! I actually had no idea that lizards were ever a part of the story to be taken as footmen
- The prince didn’t find Cinderella himself. I guess it makes sense that someone as high as a prince wouldn’t go out into the kingdom himself…
- The stepsisters lived happily ever after too, since Cinderella is so kind
- Her father just stood by and let this all happen? Why was Cinderella so afraid of her father? Why wouldn’t he trust her more than his new wife? Couldn’t he see that she was in charge of cleaning the whole house? Or was he away?
- The prince held two nights of balls instead of just one!
- That the original story DIDN’T involve the stepsisters cutting their feet/toes. What a morbid thought to include, right? But I heard a long time ago – back when I was still a kid – that the original fairy tale was much more morbid and grotesque. Maybe that’s just a rumor (or just Grimm fairy tales?), but I also had a book that I STILL cannot find in my searches that contained a bunch of “real” versions of fairy tales, and that was what happened to the stepsisters in order to fit in the glass slipper.
All minor things, really, but always interesting to see how things get change from version to version.
Anyway, that kind of wraps it up for the original fairy tale of Cinderella! Come back tomorrow for my thoughts on ELLA ENCHANTED and how I feel it measures up to the original!
4 thoughts on “PROJECT FAIRY TALE: Cinderella – Charles Perrault”
Oooo, I can’t wait to read your thoughts on Ella Enchanted. It’s one of my favorites, and the first fairytale retelling I ever read!
Also, there tons of different versions of the Cinderella story out that. I heard once that almost every culture has a Cinderella story. I know there is a Native American folktale called The Rough Faced Girl.
So interesting. Great Post.