Friday’s Fairy Tales #2: Cinderella

Cinderella - A.L. Bowley
Image by Sofi

The original 1697 story of Cinderella, sometimes called The Glass Slipper, is by Charles Perrault, and was published in his book Histoires ou contes du temps passé (You can listen to the story in French or read the English translation, both for free).  His version is the one that people are most familiar with, as it’s the version closest to the Disney animated movie.  It is loosely based on a story written by Strabo, a Greek Historian during the 1st century BC, who based his story on one written 500 years earlier by Herodotus, and was considered to be true.

Strabo’s story is of a Greek woman named Rhodopis, meaning “rosy cheeked”, who was a young girl when she was taken in the city of Thrace, and sold into slavery in Egypt.  Her owner frequently gave her gifts, including a pair of gold shoes, which eventually led her to being noticed by Ahmose II, Egypt’s then current Pharaoh.  She was “rescued” from slavery by becoming one of his wives.  Despite Rhodopis being mostly passive, Perrault’s Cinderella is even more so, and is the most passive version of the Cinderella character found throughout the world.

While the Grimm brothers kept Perrault’s ultra-passive main character, what is surprising is that, instead of cleaning up the story to make it more palatable to Victorian society, their 1812 version, “Aschenputtel,” is the more graphic one. It can be read for free, along with many of their other fairy tales, HERE.

Modern day retellings of the Cinderella story include:

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