Thursday, 25 April 2013

Fairy Tales- Cinderella

I grew up with fairy tales as many of you have done, but what interests me the most about them is where they came from. what possible real life events could have inspired these stories we know today, and how much of the stories we know are truth? The stories we immediately recognise are the Disney versions, which surprisingly are rather accurate, but they soften up the more gruesome origins of these great legends. 

walt disney's cinderella bibbeti bobbeti.. bibetti bobbeti BOO!
My first entry into this is Cinderella, she is the first princess that comes to mind for most little girls (why that is i do not know ) but it is a story of a girl with misfortunes who climbs up the social ladder (GOLDIGGER!) and then lives happily ever after. Or simply RAGS to Riches 

The tale is also known as The Little Glass Slipper", (FrenchCendrillon, ou La petite Pantoufle de VerreItalianCenerentolaGerman:Aschenputtel). More than 700 versions of the story all over the world, one in every language

Ye |Xian
It is said that the earliest datable version of the Cinderella story occurs in a Chinese book written about 850-860 AD. 'Ye Xian' "hardworking and lovely girl befriends a fish, the reincarnation of her mother, who was killed by her stepmother and sister. Ye Xian saves the bones, which are magic, and they help her dress appropriately for the New Year Festival. When she loses her slipper after being recognized by her step family, the king finds her slipper and falls in love with her" 

 But before that was a Greek version about an Egyptian girl called Rhodopis. Which means "rosy Cheeked". 
this quote courtesy of Wikipedia   when she was bathing, an eagle snatched one of her sandals from her maid and carried it to Memphis. While the king was administering justice in the open air, the eagle, when it arrived above his head, flung the sandal into his lap. The king, having been stirred both by the beautiful shape of the sandal and by the strangeness of the occurrence, sent men in all directions into the country in quest of the woman who wore the sandal. When she was found in the city of Naucratis, she was brought up to Memphis and became the wife of the king...[3][4] 
Historians like Strabo and herodotus claimed her to have actually existed living in a greek colony in ancient egypt .  came from Thrace, and was the slave of Iadmon of Samos, and a fellow-slave of Aesop. She was taken to Egypt in the time of Pharaoh Amasis, and freed there for a large sum. So could she have been the Cinderella which inspired many young girls to go to the ball? 
taken from a learning comprehension test which explains the bit at the top don't worry there are no questions!

another is a Filipino version:  "Mariang Alimango" (Mary the Crab). The ill-treated Maria wins the heart of the prince during his coming-of-age celebration, and overcomes the cruelty of her stepmother and evil stepsisters. In this version, the spirit of her dead mother reincarnates as a crab, hence the title, and serves as her "fairy godmother".

The vietnamese version is kind of gross.. 
Tấm Cám,  mistreated by both her father's co-wife and half-sister, who stole her birthright by winning a wager of fishing unjustly proposed by the stepmother. The only fish that was left to her was killed and eaten by her step-family, but its bones served as her protector and guardian, eventually leading her to be the king's bride during a festival. The protagonist however, turns into the antagonist in part two of the story, by boiling her stepsister alive and then fooling her stepmother into cannibalism by feeding her own daughter's flesh..... a bit disturbing.. i see why disney did not use that one!  

There are other versions like the arabian version similar to arabian nights and a Korean version. But there might be a limit on how much i can put on here so i do not know.

The most well known versions are  Cenerentola, Cinderella and Aschenputtel 

In Cenerentola the step mother is actually a governess (this could have inspired the 1999 novel by Gregory Maguire and the  2002 miniseries confessions of an ugly stepsister   (a very good watch) but instead of two daughters she has 6 who mistreat her. and the fairy is living in a date tree. very interesting. 
This now makes me want to talk about the novel and the mini series  confessions of an ugly step sister. which tells the story through the eyes of one of the sisters who actually were not nasty people but were actually desperate in trying to survive, and 'Clara' the Cinderella figure actually being a bit of a meanie herself as she spends a lot of time treating the sisters as beneath her.  

The Grimm version Aschenputtel is slightly closer to what we know but suprisingly not as much as later on; 
A wealthy gentleman's wife lay on her deathbed, and called her only daughter to her bedside. She asked her to remain good and kind, and told her that God would protect her. She then died and was buried. A year went by and the widower married another woman, who had two daughters of her own. They had beautiful faces and fair skin, but their hearts were cruel and wicked. The stepsisters stole the girl's fine clothes and jewels and forced her to wear rags. They banished her into the kitchen to do the worst chores, and gave her the nickname "Aschenputtel" ("Cinder-Fool".) Despite all of this the girl remained good and kind, and would always go to her mother's grave to cry and pray to God that she would see her circumstances improve
.One day, the gentleman visited a fair, promising his stepdaughters gifts of luxury. The eldest asked for beautiful dresses, while the younger for pearls and diamonds. His own daughter merely asked for the first twig to knock his hat off on the way. The gentleman went on his way, and acquires presents for his stepdaughters. While passing a forest he got a hazel twig, and gave it to his daughter. She planted the twig over her mother's grave, watered it with her tears and over the years, it grew into a glowing hazel tree. The girl would pray under it three times a day, and a white bird would always come to comfort her.The king decided to give a festival that would last for three whole days and nights, and invited all the beautiful maidens in the land to attend so that the prince could select one of them as his bride. The two sisters were also invited, but when Aschenputtel begged them to allow her to go with them into the celebration, the stepmother refused because she had no dress nor shoes to wear. When the girl insisted, the woman threw a dish of lentils into the ashes for her to pick up, guaranteeing her permission to attend the festival, and when the girl accomplished the task in less than an hour with the help of two white doves sent by her mother from Heaven, the stepmother only redoubled the task and threw down even a greater quantity of lentils. When Aschenputtel was able to accomplish it in a greater speed, not wanting to spoil her daughters' chances, the stepmother hasted away with them to the ball and left the crying stepdaughter behind.
The girl retreated to the graveyard to ask for help. The white bird dropped a white gown and silk shoes. She went to the ball, with the warning she must that she must leave before midnight. The prince danced with her, but she eluded him before midnight struck. The next evening, the girl appeared in a much grander gown of silver and silver shoes. The prince fell in love with her and danced with her for the whole evening, but when midnight came, she left again. The third evening, she appeared dressed in spun gold with slippers of gold. Now the prince was determined to keep her, and had the entire stairway smeared with pitch. Aschenputtel lost track of time, and when she ran away one of her golden slippers got stuck on that pitch. The prince proclaimed that he would marry the maiden whose foot would fit the golden slipper.
The next morning, the prince went to Aschenputtel's house and tried the slipper on the eldest stepsister. The sister was advised by her mother to cut off her toes in order to fit the slipper. While riding with the stepsister, the two doves from Heaven told the Prince that blood dripped from her foot. Appalled by her treachery, he went back again and tried the slipper on the other stepsister. She cut off part of her heel in order to get her foot in the slipper, and again the prince was fooled. While riding with her to the king's castle, the doves alerted him again about the blood on her foot. He came back to inquire about another girl. The gentleman told him that they kept a kitchen-maid in the house - omitting to mention that she was his own daughter - and the prince asked him to let her try on the slipper. The girl appeared after washing herself, and when she put on the slipper, the prince recognized her as the stranger with whom he had danced at the ball.
In the end, during Aschenputtel's wedding, as she was walking down the aisle with her stepsisters as her bridesmaids, (they had hoped to worm their way into her favour), the doves from Heaven flew down and struck the two stepsisters' eyes, one in the left and the other in the right. When the wedding came to an end, and Aschenputtel and her prince marched out of the church, the doves flew again, striking the remaining eyes of the two evil sisters blind, a punishment they had to endure for the rest of their lives.

The Perrault version however is the most famous- closest to the Disney one and the one we know today. 
which is basically the Disney one, BUT and there is a BUT, The fairy Godmother turns lizards into horses instead of mice and there are actually TWO BALLS!- my mum told me when she read the story of Cinderella she remembers her going to a ball twice. The more recent versions of the story introduce the pumpkins and the fairygodmother.

I have to say my most favourite version of this story (despite how good the Disney, Rodgers and hammerstein and the Hilary duff version are as much as many versions) is Ever After with Drew Barrymore and Angelica Huston (among other great actors) 
I really recommend a watch, it is so gritty and realistic yet so charming and lovely. It is about a girl called Danielle the story is the same (minus the pumpkins etc) but it is just so beautifully done. It also has quotes from Thomas Moore. 
search for Ever After a Cinderella story please. The music in the trailer is really cheesy but it is so good :) x 
I never get tired of watching this version . 

So here you have it my Cinderella entry :) x hope you enjoyed it. Sorry if i have not added enough I'm a bit lazy. I hope to do fairy tale entries more often because I love them so much. 

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