"Cinderella," or "The Little Glass Slipper", (French: Cendrillon, ou La petite Pantoufle de Verre, Italian: Cenerentola, German: Aschenputtel) is a folk tale embodying a myth-element of unjust oppression/triumphant reward. Thousands of variants are known throughout the world. The title character is a young woman living in unfortunate circumstances that are suddenly changed to remarkable fortune. The story was first published by Charles Perrault in Histoires ou contes du temps passé in 1697, and later by the Brothers Grimm in their folk tale collection Grimms' Fairy Tales.
Although both the story's title and the character's name change in different languages, in English-language folklore "Cinderella" is the archetypal name. The word "cinderella" has, by analogy, come to mean one whose attributes were unrecognized, or one who unexpectedly achieves recognition or success after a period of obscurity and neglect. The still-popular story of "Cinderella" continues to influence popular culture internationally, lending plot elements, allusions, and tropes to a wide variety of media.
Early versions and versions from different countries
Aspects of the Cinderella story may have originated in classical antiquity. The Ancient Greek historian Strabo (Geographica Book 17, 1.33) recorded in the 1st century BC the tale of the Greco-Egyptian girl Rhodopis, "rosy-cheeked", who lived in the Greek colony of Naucratis in Ancient Egypt. It is often considered the oldest known version of the story:
They tell the fabulous story that, 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...
Herodotus, some five centuries before Strabo, supplied further information about Rhodopis in his Histories, writing that Rhodopis 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 by Charaxus of Mytilene, brother of Sappho, the lyric poet.
Another version of the story, Ye Xian, appeared in Miscellaneous Morsels from Youyang by Duan Chengshi around 860. Here, the 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 stepfamily, the king finds her slipper and falls in love with her (eventually rescuing her from her cruel stepmother).
Another version of the story, which is similar to the Chinese version, exists in the Philippines. The story is known as "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 slipper-test is also present, and it has a huge resemblance to the Cinderella tales of the Middle Eastern countries.
In the Vietnamese version Tấm Cám, Tam is 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.
There is a Korean version, too, named "Kongjwi and Patjwi". It deals a story about a kind girl Kongjwi who was constantly abused by her stepmother and stepsister Patjwi. The step-family forces Kongjwi to stay at home while they attend the king's ball, but a fairy appears like that in Perrault and gives her an attire more beautiful than everyone else. The motif is same, concerning also a king falling in love with her. But some minor details have changed because this fictional story is taking place in Korea. That includes the slipper's details and the usual festivals that happen in the Cinderella stories.
Several different variants of the story appear in the medieval One Thousand and One Nights, also known as the Arabian Nights, including "The Second Shaykh's Story", "The Eldest Lady's Tale" and "Abdallah ibn Fadil and His Brothers", all dealing with the theme of a younger sibling harassed by two jealous elders. In some of these, the siblings are female, while in others, they are male. One of the tales, "Judar and His Brethren", departs from the happy endings of previous variants and reworks the plot to give it a tragic ending instead, with the younger brother being poisoned by his elder brothers.
Aspects of Cinderella may be derived from the story of Cordelia in Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae. Cordelia is the youngest and most virtuous of King Leir of Briton's three daughters, however her virtue is such that it will not allow her to lie in flattering her father when he asks, so that he divides up the kingdom between the elder daughters and leaves Cordelia with nothing. Cordelia marries her love, Aginippus, King of the Franks, and flees to Gaul where she and her husband raise an army and depose her wicked sisters who have been misusing their father. Cordelia is finally crowned Queen of the Britons. However her reign only lasts five years. The story is famously retold in Shakespeare's King Lear, but given a tragic ending.
Cenerentola, Cinderella and Aschenputtel
Giambattista Basile, a Neapolitan soldier and government official, wrote Lo cunto de li cunti (The Story of Stories), or Pentamerone. It featured the tale of Cenerentola, which features a wicked step mother and step sisters, magical transformations, a missing slipper, and a hunt by a prince for the owner of the slipper. It was published posthumously in 1634.
A widowed prince has a daughter, Zezolla (the Cinderella figure), who is tended by a beloved governess. The governess, with Zezolla's help, persuades the prince to marry her. The governess then brings forward six daughters of her own, who abuse Zezolla, and send her into the kitchen to work as a servant. The prince goes into the island of Sardinia, meets a fairy who gives presents to his daughter, and brings back for her, a golden spade, a golden bucket, a silken napkin, and a date seedling. The girl cultivates the tree, and when the king gives a ball, Zezolla appears dressed richly by a fairy living in the date tree. The king falls in love with her, but Zezolla runs away before he can find out who she is. Twice Zezolla escapes the king and his servants. The third time, the king's servant captures one of her slippers. The king invites all of the maidens in the land to a feast with a shoe-test, identifies Zezolla after the shoe jumps from his hand to her foot, and eventually marries her.
One of the most popular versions of Cinderella was written by Charles Perrault in 1697. The popularity of his tale was due to his additions to the story, including the pumpkin, the fairy-godmother and the introduction of glass slippers.
Another well-known version was recorded by the German brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm in the 19th century. The tale is called "Aschenputtel" ("Cinderella" in English translations) and the help comes not from a fairy-godmother but the wishing tree that grows on her mother's grave.
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" ("Ashfool".) 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.
Aschenputtel's relationship with her father in this version is ambiguous; Perrault's version states that the absent father is dominated by his second wife, explaining why he does not prevent the abuse of his daughter. However, the father in this tale plays an active role in several scenes, and it is not explained why he tolerates the mistreatment of his child. He also describes Aschenputtel as his "first wife's child" and not his own.
Plot (taken from Perrault)
Once upon a time, there was a widower who married a proud and haughty woman as his second wife. She had two daughters, who were equally vain and selfish . By his first wife, he'd had a beautiful young daughter, a girl of unparalleled goodness and sweet temper. The Stepmother and her daughters forced the first daughter into servitude, where she was made to work day and night in menial chores. After the girl's chores were done for the day, she would retire to the barren and cold room given to her, and would curl up near the fireplace in an effort to stay warm. She would often arise covered in cinders, giving rise to the mocking nickname "Cinderella". Cinderella bore the abuse patiently and dared not tell her father, since his wife controlled him entirely.
One day, the Prince invited all the young ladies in the land to a ball, planning to choose a wife from amongst them. The two Stepsisters gleefully planned their wardrobes for the ball, and taunted Cinderella by telling her that maids were not invited to the ball.
As the sisters departed to the ball, Cinderella cried in despair. Her Fairy Godmother magically appeared and immediately began to transform Cinderella from house servant to the young lady she was by birth, all in the effort to get Cinderella to the ball. She turned a pumpkin into a golden carriage, mice into horses, a rat into a coachman, and lizards into footmen. She then turned Cinderella's rags into a beautiful jewelled gown, complete with a delicate pair of glass slippers. The Godmother told her to enjoy the ball, but warned that she had to return before midnight, when the spells would be broken.
At the ball, the entire court was entranced by Cinderella, especially the Prince. At this first ball, Cinderella remembers to leave before midnight. Back home, Cinderella graciously thanked her Godmother. She then greeted the stepsisters, who had not recognized her earlier and talked of nothing but the beautiful girl at the ball.
Another ball was held the next evening, and Cinderella again attended with her Godmother's help. The Prince had become even more infatuated, and Cinderella in turn became so enchanted by him she lost track of time and left only at the final stroke of midnight, losing one of her glass slippers on the steps of the palace in her haste. The Prince chased her, but outside the palace, the guards saw only a simple country girl leave. The Prince pocketed the slipper and vows to find and marry the girl to whom it belonged. Meanwhile, Cinderella kept the other slipper, which did not disappear when the spell was broken.
The Prince tried the slipper on all the women in the kingdom. When the Prince arrives at Cinderella's villa, the stepsisters tried in vain to win over the prince. Cinderella asked if she might try, while the stepsisters taunted her. Naturally, the slipper fitted perfectly, and Cinderella produced the other slipper for good measure. The stepsisters both pleaded for forgiveness, and Cinderella agreed to let bygones be bygones.
Cinderella married the Prince, and the stepsisters also married two lords.
The first moral of the story is that beauty is a treasure, but graciousness is priceless. Without it, nothing is possible; with it, one can do anything.
However, the second moral of the story mitigates the first one and reveals the criticism that Perrault is aiming at: "Another moral: Without doubt it is a great advantage to have intelligence, courage, good breeding, and common sense. These, and similar talents come only from heaven, and it is good to have them. However, even these may fail to bring you success, without the blessing of a godfather or a godmother."
Folklorists have long studied variants on this tale across cultures. In 1893, Marian Roalfe Cox, commissioned by the Folklore Society of Britain, produced Cinderella: Three Hundred and Forty-Five Variants of Cinderella, Catskin and, Cap o'Rushes, Abstracted and Tabulated with a Discussion of Medieval Analogues and Notes.
Cinderella is classified as Aarne-Thompson type 510A, the persecuted heroine. Others of this type include The Sharp Grey Sheep, The Golden Slipper, The Story of Tam and Cam, Rushen Coatie, Fair, Brown and Trembling and Katie Woodencloak.
||This article is in a list format that may be better presented using prose. (January 2013)|
The story of Cinderella has formed the basis of many notable works:
Opera and ballet
- Cendrillon (1749) by Jean-Louis Laruette
- Cendrillon (1810) by Nicolas Isouard, libretto by Charles-Guillaume Étienne
- Agatina o La virtù premiata (1814) by Stefano Pavesi
- La Cenerentola (1817) by Gioachino Rossini
- Aschenbrödel (1878) by Ferdinand Langer
- Cendrillon (1894-5) by Jules Massenet, libretto by Henri Caïn
- Cinderella (1901-2) by Gustav Holst
- La Cenerentola (1902) by Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari
- Cendrillon (1904) by Pauline García-Viardot
- Aschenbrödel (1905) by Leo Blech, libretto by Richard Batka
- La Cenicienta (1966) by Jorge Peña Hen
- Cinderella, a "pantomime opera" (1979) by Peter Maxwell Davies
- Cinderella (1893) by Baron Boris Vietinghoff-Scheel
- Aschenbrödel (1901) by Johann Strauss II, adapted and completed by Josef Bayer
- Das Märchen vom Aschenbrödel (1941) by Frank Martin
- Soluschka or Cinderella (1945) by Sergei Prokofiev
- Cinderella (1980) by Paul Reade
- My First Cinderella (2013) directed by George Williamson[disambiguation needed] and Loipa Araújo
Cinderella debuted as a pantomime on stage at the Drury Lane Theatre, London in 1904 and at the Adelphi Theatre in London in 1905. Phyllis Dare, aged 14 or 15, starred in the latter. In the traditional pantomime version the opening scene is set in a forest with a hunt in sway and it is here that Cinderella first meets Prince Charming and his "right-hand man" Dandini, whose name and character come from Gioachino Rossini opera (La Cenerentola). Cinderella mistakes Dandini for the Prince and the Prince for Dandini. Her father, Baron Hardup, is under the thumb of his two stepdaughters, the Ugly sisters, and has a servant named Buttons, who is Cinderella's friend. Throughout the pantomime, the Baron is continually harassed by the Broker's Men (often named after current politicians) for outstanding rent. The Fairy Godmother must magically create a coach (from a pumpkin), footmen (from mice), a coach driver (from a frog), and a beautiful dress (from rags) for Cinderella to go to the ball. However, she must return by midnight, as it is then that the spell ceases.
- Cinderella by Rodgers and Hammerstein was produced for television three times and staged live. A version ran in 1958 at the London Coliseum with a cast including Tommy Steele, Yana, Jimmy Edwards, Kenneth Williams and Betty Marsden. This version was augmented with several other Rodgers and Hammerstein's songs plus a song written by Tommy Steele, "You and Me".
- Mr. Cinders, a musical which opened at the Adelphi Theatre, London in 1929. Filmed in 1934
- Into the Woods by Stephen Sondheim (1988), in which Cinderella is one of many fairy tale characters who take part in the plot. This is partly based on the Grimm Brothers version of "Cinderella," including the enchanted birds, mother's grave, three balls, and mutilation and blinding of the stepsisters.
- Cindy, a 1964 Off-Broadway musical composed by Johnny Brandon
Films and television
Over the decades, hundreds of films have been made that are either direct adaptations from Cinderella or have plots loosely based on the story.
- Cinderella (1899), the first film version, produced in France by Georges Méliès.
- Cinderella (1911), a silent film starring Florence La Badie
- Cinderella (1914), a silent film starring Mary Pickford
- Aschenputtel (1922) silhouette shadow play short by Lotte Reiniger.
- Cinderella, an animated Laugh-O-Gram produced by Walt Disney, first released on December 6, 1922. This film was about 7.5 minutes long.
- Cinderella Meets Fella, (1938), a Merrie Melodies animated short film featuring Egghead, the character who would eventually evolve into Elmer Fudd, as Prince Charming.
- First Love (1939), musical modernization with Deanna Durbin and Robert Stack
- Cinderella, (1950) a Disney animated feature released on February 15, 1950, now considered one of Disney's classics as well as the most well-known film adaptation.
- Aschenputtel (1955), West German film, dubbed into English and released in the USA in 1966 as Cinderella.
- The Glass Slipper (1955), feature film with Leslie Caron and Michael Wilding
- Cinderella Rodgers and Hammerstein (1957) starring Julie Andrews as Cinderella, featuring Jon Cypher, Kaye Ballard, Alice Ghostley and Edie Adams (broadcast in color, but only black-and-white kinescopes exist today).
- Cinderella Rodgers and Hammerstein was produced for TV again in (1965) starring stunningly beautiful 18 year old Leslie Ann Warren in the leading role, and also featuring Stuart Damon as the handsome prince, with Ginger Rogers, Walter Pidgeon, and Celest Holm. (filmed in color and broadcast annually for 10 years)
- The Slipper and the Rose, a 1976 British Sherman Brothers musical film starring Gemma Craven and Richard Chamberlain.
- If The Shoe Fits (1990 film), a modern Cinderella in Paris.
- Cinderella (1997), Rodgers and Hammerstein musical starring Brandy Norwood as Cinderella, Whitney Houston as Fairy Godmother, Bernadette Peters as the Stepmother, Jason Alexander as Lionel the valet and Whoopi Goldberg as the Queen. Remake of 1957 and 1965 TV films.
- Ever After (1998), starring Drew Barrymore, a post-feminist take on the Cinderella myth.
- A Cinderella Story (2004), a modernization featuring Hilary Duff and Chad Michael Murray
- Another Cinderella Story (2008), a modernization featuring Selena Gomez and Drew Seeley
- Elle: A Modern Cinderella Story Tale (2010), a modernization featuring Ashlee Hewitt and Sterling Knight
- A Cinderella Story: Once Upon a Song (also Known as A Cinderella Story 3 (2011), a modernization featuring Lucy Hale and Freddie Stroma
Contrarywise to popular belief, the 2004 film Ella Enchanted is based on a book of the same name, and not a retelling of Cinderella. However, said book is an imaginative retelling of the classic tale.
- 'Once Upon a Time (2011) played by Jessy Schram.
- Rags (film) (2012), a musical gender switched inversion of the Cinderella story that stars Keke Palmer and Max Schneider.
- "Cinderella Stay Awhile" a song by Michael Jackson from his 1975 album Forever, Michael.
- Cinderella by Firefall, released 1977.
- Cinderella by Vince Gill, released 1987.
- Hey Cinderella (1993) by Suzy Bogguss.
- Cinderella a song by Britney Spears from her 2001 album Britney.
- Cinderella, a 2001 single by Sweetbox.
- Cinderella by Shakaya, released 2002.
- Cinderella a 2003 single by The Cheetah Girls.
- A Cinderella Story by Mudvayne's fourth album The New Game (2008).
- Cinderella by Steven Curtis Chapman
- Cinderella from the Broadway musical 110 in the Shade by Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt
Stealing Cinderella by Chuck Wicks from Starting Now album January 22 2008
|Bulgarian||Пепеляшка||Pepelyashka (from Пепел - Ashes)|
|Greek||Σταχτοπούτα||Stachtopoúta (from Στάχτη - Ashes)|
|Norwegian (bokmål)||Askepott (Originally the name of Askeladden)|
|Norwegian (nynorsk)||Oskepott (Originally the name of Oskeladden)|
|Russian||Золушка||Zolushka (from Зола - Ashes)|
|Ukrainian||Попелюшка||Popelyushka (from Попіл - Ashes)|
- Zipes, Jack (2001). The Great Fairy Tale Tradition: From Straparola and Basile to the Brothers Grimm. W. W. Norton & Co. p. 444. ISBN 978-0-393-97636-6.
- Dundes, Alan. Cinderella, a Casebook. Madison, Wis: University of Wisconsin Press, 1988.
- Bottigheimer, Ruth. (2008). "Before Contes du temps passe (1697): Charles Perrault's Griselidis, Souhaits and Peau". The Romantic Review, Volume 99, Number 3. pp. 175-189
- Strabo (23). "Strabo's account of Rhodopis". The Geography. Retrieved 25 March 2010.
- "The Egyptian Cinderella", an embellished retelling.
- Anderson, Graham (2000). Fairytale in the ancient world. Routledge. p. 27. ISBN 978-0-415-23702-4. Retrieved 25 March 2010.
- Herodotus. The Histories. Retrieved 25 March 2010., book 2, chapters 134 and 135.
- Aelian, "Various History", 13.33
- Ulrich Marzolph, Richard van Leeuwen, Hassan Wassouf (2004). The Arabian Nights Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. p. 4. ISBN 1-57607-204-5.
- An modern edition of the original French text by Perrault is found in Charles Perrault, Contes, ed. Marc Soriano (Paris: Flammarion, 1989), pp. 274-79.
- Perrault: Cinderella; or, The Little Glass Slipper
- "If The Shoe Fits: Folklorists' criteria for #510"
- Heidi Anne Heiner, "Tales Similar to Cinderella"
- "If the Shoe Fits".
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Cinderella|
|Wikisource has original text related to this article:|
|Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Cinderella.|
- Project Gutenberg compilation, including original Cendrillon
- Photos and illustrations from early Cinderella stage versions, including one with Ellaline Terriss and one with Phyllis Dare
- Parallel German-English text of brothers Grimm's version in ParallelBook format
Read in another language
This page is available in 49 languages
- Bahasa Indonesia
- Basa Jawa
- Bahasa Melayu
- Norsk bokmål
- Simple English
- Српски / srpski
- Srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски
- Tiếng Việt