I have always been fascinated by fairy tales. Like many other children, Disney cultivated a love of classic stories. When I got older, I became more curious in hearing the original fairy tales, before Disney changed them. I loved learning the differences between versions, and even versions from different cultures.
Cinderella is possibly one of the best known fairy tales in the world. It is a rags-to-riches story full of magic, romance, and a happily ever after. best known fairy tales in the world. It is a rags-to-riches story full of magic, romance, and a happily ever after.
Versions of Cinderella has been passed down since Ancient Greece. In 7 B.C., Greek geographer Strabo recorded the tale of a courtesan named Rosy Cheeks who was bathing until an eagle snatched one of her sandals and flew off. The bird flew to the king and dropped the shoe in his lap. The king was enamored with the strange event and the shape of the shoe and he sent men all through the country until Rosy Cheeks was found. She was brought to the king and became his wife. Greek geographer Strabo recorded the tale of a courtesan named Rosy Cheeks who was bathing until an eagle snatched one of her sandals and flew off. The bird flew to the king and dropped the shoe in his lap. The king was enamored with the strange event and the shape of the shoe and he sent men all through the country until Rosy Cheeks was found. She was brought to the king and became his wife.
The first written European version is from 1634, about a girl named Zezolla. Zezolla has six stepsisters, who abuse her and send her to the kitchen as a servant. In this version, her father is alive. He visits a fairy to help his daughter. She gives him a golden spade, a golden bucket, and a date seedling to give to Zezolla. Zezolla grows the seedling into a tree. Unbeknownst to everyone in the house, a tiny fairy lives in the tree. One night, the king has a ball and Zezolla is left behind until the fairy secretly dresses Zezolla in disguise and sends her to the ball. The King falls in love with her and wants to marry her, but Zezolla runs away, scared to reveal her identity. She escapes the King and his servants successfully twice, but on the third, she loses her shoe. The King invites every maiden in the land to try on the shoe. The King identifies Zezolla when the shoe jumps out of his hand and onto her foot. They marry and live happily ever after.
Out of the hundred of versions of Cinderella, many are dark and sinister. In one, Cinderella ends up murdering her own mother. As a reward, she gets a cruel stepmother. In others, Cinderella's father is the real tormenter, even wanting her for incestuous reasons.
For variations of Cinderella with fur slippers, many theorists believe that the fur slippers are a sexual metaphor and when the slipper fits, it really fits the prince's preferences.
While we think of Cinderella as a children's story, it certainly was not always family friendly. Other violent tellings of Cinderella had the stepsisters cut off their toes or heel to make the slipper fit, only to have the blood dripping from their foot alert the Prince to the deception. In other versions, the stepsisters get their eyes picked out by birds.
However, some retellings solve a common flaw: Cinderella is the only one in the kingdom with feet small enough to fit the slipper. This does not make sense unless her feet were somehow deformed so they were unusually small. In many versions, however, the slippers are bewitched so they constantly change size and they only fit Cinderella's feet. In others, the slipper jumps out of the prince's hand and onto her foot as soon as Cinderella is close by.
Cinderella is part of my audiobook channel, Reading Retreat, on YouTube. It is based off one of the most popular retellings, Cendrillon, written by Perault in 1697. It is my first video and while I have improved my storytelling abilities since then, I still believe it is worth listening to. I hope you enjoy.