Sunday, December 6, 2009


“What do you want to be when you grow up?” the teacher asked her class “Cinderella Cinderella!” almost all the little girls exclaim. This is a normal answer for little girls who are in grade school. I can remember the other little girls and I talking about who we wanted to be. Alot of them loved Cinderella and where always singing songs from the movie while acting out the scenes.

Cinderella has to be one of the world’s most beloved fairy tales. The tale was originally told by Charles Perrault in 1889 contained in the blue fairy tale book under the name The Glass Slipper. There are a few other versions including one by the Grimm brothers and one by Joseph Jacobs however they are all very alike so this story most likely started as an oral tradition passed down through families. However The Perrault story was the version Disney chose to base thier 1950s cartoon.

The Tale starts with an introduction of how Cinderella’s Mother is dying and on her death bed she tells Cinderella to be good and pious. After Cinderella’s mother tells her this she closes her eyes for the last time and dies. This is very similar to the movie, in which Cinderella’s mother dies in the beginning.The story goes on to say that in a year her father had remarried. His new wife was a proud and ruthless woman. She had two beautiful daughters but they had black hearts and were curel. This is very unlike the movie the step sisters were ugly and socially awkward while Cinderella was the pretty one who full of grace. In the Disney movie the father dies unknowingly leaving Cinderella with a mean and jealous stepmother however in the Perrault’s story Cinderella’s father steps aside and lets the step mother abuse his daughter. The step mother in both stories makes Cinderella do numerous servant jobs like cleaning and cooking. She also takes away all of Cinderella’s pretty clothes leaving Cinderella to sleep in the kitchen and only the animals to keep her company.

One day the king announces that he will have a ball for all of the eligible young ladies so his son can choose a wife. The step sister go on to say how they will wear such pretty dresses and have such pretty hair styles, while wearing jewels at their necks, fingers, and wrist all the awhile taunting Cinderella. In both versions Cinderella dresses and does their hair without complaint but desperately wants to go to the ball. In the movie the step mother says that Cinderella can go as long as she finishes her task. Cinderella works hard and with some help from her mice friends she gets it done. Her animal friends also take care of her needing something to wear by sewing her a beautiful pink gown. The step mother sees how pretty Cinderella looks and destroys her dress leaving Cinderella in tears. In the original story Cinderella just follows the step sisters coach until she loses them and she begins to cry. This is where in the movie you begin to hear the fairy godmother sing bibity bobity bo. But in the original there is no such song the fairy godmother just tells Cinderella to go and fetch her a pumpkin out of the garden and bring her mice to turn into a coach and horses. This is very similar to what happened in the movie but the story goes on the have six lizards that are turned into coachmen and a big rat with “the smartest beard” to be the coach master. Then Cinderella comments that all she has is rags to wear and her fairy godmother turns her rags into a beautiful gown with the prettiest glass slippers in the land. In both versions the fairy godmother tells Cinderella not to stay past twelve because the magic is gone at the strike of the clock.

Cinderella arrives at the ball and is admitted as a beautiful princess no one knows. The prince sees her and is immediately smitten and they dance the night away while everyone is saying how beautiful she is. In the movie the step sisters and step mother seem to find Cinderella familiar but in the story Cinderella sat and entertained her sisters without them knowing her. The movie had only one ball but there were two in the story. Cinderella lost her shoe fleeing in from the fist ball in the movie but the story the loosing of the slipper happened at the second ball. As Cinderella is running she escapes past palace guards because they think she is a peasant but she leaves one of her shoes that the prince finds and declares he will find his beloved princess.

The prince goes around in the story to find Cinderella but in the movie the duke is the one that goes house to house. The movies says the while the sisters were getting ready Cinderella started singing a tune from the ball. The sisters realize that Cinderella was the princess and they lock her in a closet. The story says that the prince came and the sister feet cannot fit into the shoe so he offers to try the glass slipper on Cinderella. The step sisters think this is really funny until the shoe slides on her foot like it was made for her and as their mouths were hanging open Cinderella pulls out the other slipper. The step sisters realize that Cinderella was the girl at the ball and throw themselves at her feet and beg for forgiveness. Cinderella brings them up and embraces them while asking them to love her forever like she always wanted. The story ends with Cinderella getting married to the prince and living a happy life. The movie goes on the say that while the sisters are trying on the shoe the mice steal the key from the step mother and open the door to the closet. Cinderella appears at the top of the stairs as the duke is about to leave and asked to try on the slipper. Cinderella’s step mother trips the duke and the glass slipper shatters on the floor. To everyone’s dismay Cinderella laughs and says not to worry and that she has the other slipper. The Duke rejoices and brings her to the prince who marries her and lives happily ever after.

There are other versions of this story that have the stepsisters cutting of their toes and heels so the glass slipper will fit. They also try to ride the coat tails of Cinderella’s good fortune and have their eyes picked out by birds. Other versions have them running for their lives as the fairy godmother turn them into weeping willows. I can see why Disney picked the toned down version of the original story written by Charles Perrault.