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Unregistered User
(12/29/02 9:04 am)
History of Cinderella
Hello to all the fairy tale lovers,

I am working on a quite difficult subject for my studies which is "How can one explain Cinderella's success?" I am trying to get information about this but I'm a little bit stuck right now
However, I hope somebody might help me with:
-Cinderella's history (I need more detailed info than the one on this site)
-how to interprete Cinderella (I have already studied Bettelheim)

Jane Yolen
Unregistered User
(12/29/02 1:45 pm)
There's a book called THE CINDERELLA CASEBOOK edited by Alan Dundes.

I have a section of TOUCH MAGIC in which I talk about the 500 variants of Cinderella.

There is material here on Surlalune on Cinderella which should get you started. But it is possibly the single most discussed and distributed fairy tale around.


Unregistered User
(12/30/02 9:14 am)
The original story of Cinderella involved birds instead of a fairy godmother. The original story was much more gruesome than the version that the Brothers Grimm told. The original story was written by Perrault. In the original, Cinderella goes to the ball three times and she has the help of birds who help her finish her chores(after her cruel sisters throw lentils into the ashes, she has to pick them all out if she wants to go, but of course, they were just teasing her and making her do extra work) In the version we all know the Stepsisters try to squeeze their feet into the glass slipper ut in the orignal, The sisters cut off their toes and heel. The prince rides off with one in turn but the birds speak to the princes and tell him to look back, there's blood on the track and so he finds that the sisters are lying and he finally sees Ciinderella. It's a long story to explain but if you need more info, I will help you.

Unregistered User
(12/30/02 9:20 am)
The original story, now that I recall is named ASHTENPUTTEL. I read this story in Arthur Rackham's book of fairy tales. It is really detailed and maybe if you could find it somewhere, you could read it and maybe you could get a better idea of the story. There are also books put out by Osbourne(I think) that illustrate the story and the history ehind it. Such as, in the story of Sleeping Beauty, it tells the story and also explains what a distaff is so maybe these books would help.

Jane Yolen
Unregistered User
(12/30/02 1:06 pm)
The "original" story--if one can term it so--is centuries before either Grimms or Perrault and may have been Egyptian or Chinese. There are 500 variants in Europe alone.

The word "original" can hardly be used with a fluid, country-hopping tale like Cinderella. (Or in fact with most folk tales, unless originated as an art tale by an author.)


Unregistered User
(1/1/03 4:58 pm)
History of Cinderella
You are correct that Fairy Tales are centuries old. Cinderella is many centuries year old, traditionally, fairy tales were told even before the authors who took credit for them. The Grimm Brothers were not the originators of such famous stories, rather scribes who took note of these tales when they visited foreign lands. Anyways, back to the history of cinderella, it may not be the original story (Ashtenputtel) but rather a version closer to the first originated. My source for Ashtenputtel was a 1909 Arthur Rackham book in which I first learned of this full version. By the way Jane, do you happen to be the author of The Sleeping Beauty illustrated by Ruth Sanderson? If so, I own the book and I must commend Ruth Sanderson on her different style for this book(studying many other artists for her inspiration) I also believe that your words are a good match for the text making it one of my many favorite editions of this story

Jane Yolen
Unregistered User
(1/2/03 3:58 am)
Side step
Artsfan--I am indeed the author of that particular Sleeping Beauty. There is an interesting story behind it, too, though not relevant to this Cinderella thread.


Unregistered User
(1/2/03 9:57 am)
I'd love some help.
Thank you very much for replying. I'd really love some help! Since I live in France, not many people are able to tell me more about this fairy tale... Thanks a lot!

Unregistered User
(1/2/03 10:01 am)
Thanks JAne but...
Thank you very much for your help but I live in France and it is impossible to find your book. I've tried since a few days but I believe this country doesn't care a lot about Cinderella (which is a shame of course). Don't know what to do know...

Unregistered User
(1/4/03 7:46 pm)
"Cinderella", en Francaise, is "Cendrillon". Charles Perrault (sorry if that is spelled incorrectly), a french author, wrote a version of Cinderella that greatly impacted the fairy-godmother and pumpkin tale that we have today. Try looking for some information on "Cendrillon" rather than "Cinderella", and (assuming you speak French) you might find some valuable information. Good luck and happy hunting!

Ruth S
Unregistered User
(1/5/03 8:03 pm)

I just wanted to point out that the Grimm is the gruesome version of Cinderella, not the Perrault. In the version I recently retold and illustrated, I incorporated elements from both versions, adding depth to the French version but not going so far as to mutilate body parts. In the end, for instance, the birds do not peck the sisters eyes out as they do in the Grimms version, but neither do they get married off to rich noblemen, as in the French version. Instead, I have the birds peck furiously at them, chasing them back into their house, where they can never come out again.

I wanted to do a straight retelling of Grimm, but my editor and I were shot down by the pub. committee. I think I could have handled the bloody scenes tastefully, in a PreRaphaelite sort of way. Do you know, I could not and still cannot find a single illustrated version of Grimm's Cinderella!!? I think that is shocking. (Cinderella is the most popular fairytale in the world, with a zillion versions of the story out there, and many obscure ones have been retold and illustrated.) If anyone knows of a Grimm's version, please let me know. (There is no pumpkin coach in it, but a magic bird in a tree that showers down dresses for Cinderella, and gruesome bits at the end which are quite interesting.)

PS I'm glad you liked Sleeping Beauty. It was the first fairytale that I illustrated, and Jane Y. did a fine retelling.

Ruth Sanderson

Unregistered User
(1/5/03 8:39 pm)
Other resources
In "Touch Magic", Jane recommends "Cinderella: 349 Variants" by Marian Roalfe Cox. I don't know how difficult this is to get, but if you have a good library with older resources you may find it. She says it was published in 1893. Jane?

You might also check "The Annotated Classic Fairy Tales" edited by Maria Tatar. She has a fairly complete bibliography. Her book is copyrighted 2002.

Hope this helps.


Registered User
(1/6/03 7:30 am)
Marian Roalfe Cox...
I second Jess's nomination of _345 Variants..._ and will tell you in all honesty that it is very difficult to find as a private individual. Original copies go for upwards of $300, and while there is a London company that prints facsimiles on demand, their asking price isn't much lower. Ah, for a new edition ... (which led directly to Kate and myself being inspired to work on the Donkeyskin casebook). There is a volume from the 1950's, Anna Birgitta Rooth's _The Cinderella Cycle_, which is slightly more accessible. If you have access to a good library, try to get them through inter-library loan. Maria Tatar's _Annotated Classic Fairy Tales_ is brilliant, as is her _Classic Fairy Tales_ (in the latter, more variants are included, and the essay is rather longer). Good luck!


Jane Yolen
Unregistered User
(1/6/03 4:34 pm)
Finding a book
You may be surprised where you will find copies of the book. The Northampton, Mass public library had one when I was doing my research for the article on Cinderella. I am sure many college and university libraries have a copy, too.


Unregistered User
(1/8/03 1:47 pm)
Cinderella history
Hi Nillandre,

I am doing my dissertation on cross-cultural occurences of folktales, including Cinderella and have some quotes which may be of use to you:

Anderson G. (2000) Fairy Tales in the Ancient World. Routledge, an imprint of Taylor & Francis Books Ltd. ISBN: 0415237033

"Relatively recently two versions have been identified which place the origins of the tale well outside the boundaries of Renaissance Europe: these are a Chinese version from the ninth century AD, and a much less well-publicised Sanskrit version underlying Kalidasa's drama Sakuntala of the fifth century AD, and also known as early as an allusion in the Mahabharata of some two centuries earlier. The known age of the tale, then, has been advancing steadily to late antiquity, It is time to look at classical versions in their own right."

"I The persecuted heroine
(al)The heroine is abused by her stepmother and stepsisters; she stays on the hearth and ashes; and       
(a2)is dressed in rough clothing - cap of rushes, wooden cloak, etc.       
(b) She flees in disguise from her father who wants to marry her; or
(c) is to be killed by a servant.

II Magic help
While she is acting as servant (at home or among strangers) she is advised,
provided for, and fed
(a) by her dead mother; or
(b) by a tree on the mother's grave; or
(c) by a supernatural being, or
(d) by birds; or
(e) by a goat, a sheep, or a cow.       
(f) When the goat (or other helpful animal) is killed, there springs up        .
from her remains a magic tree.

III Meeting the prince
(a) She dances in beautiful clothing several times with a prince who seeks in vain to keep her, or she is seen by him in church;
(b) she gives hints of the abuse she has endured as a servant girl; or
(c) she is seen in beautiful clothing in her room or in the church.

IV Proof of identity
(a) She is discovered through the slipper test; or
(b) through a ring which she throws into the prince's drink or bakes in his
(c) She alone is able to pluck the apple desired by the prince.

V Marriage with the prince"
P24 – 25

She complains to her father Enki that she is expected to look after the spinning of flax and the management of sheep, while her sisters enjoy more elegant prestigious occupations.

But her brother Utu, the sun, undertakes the management of the flax, with a view to helping her marriage.

She has planted a tree, after her father's ship has been caught in a storm.

She nurtures it carefully, and its trunk provides her marriage bed and domestic objects.

She also receives presents of jewels and clothes from the keeper of a date tree, to provide her wedding trousseau.

She meets her shepherd-prince Dumuzi by moonlight and dances with him, but still returns home safely afterwards to her parental home.

She is able to celebrate her marriage to him.

Her attributes also include the element of clothing of heaven and earth, comparable to the characteristic sun, moon and star dress usually associated with AT Type 510B.34"

Hope this is of some help,


PS - these links MAY help


Children's Literature Web Guide

Where In the World is Cinderella?

*        Climo, Shirley. The Egyptian Cinderella,. HarperCollins, 1989.
*        Climo, Shirley. The Korean Cinderella. HarperCollins, 1993.
*        Compton, Joanne. Ashpet: an Appalachian Tale. Holiday House, 1994.
*        De la Paz, Myrna. Abadeha, the Philippine Cinderella. Pacific Queen, California 1991.
*        Haviland, Virginia. "Cenerentola". Favorite Fairy Tales Told Around the World. Little, Brown & Co., 1985.
*        Huck, John. Princess Furball. Scholastic, 1989.
*        Louie, Ai-Ling. Yeh-Shen, a Cinderella Tale from China. Putnam, 1998.
*        Lum, Darrell. The Golden Slipper: A Vietnamese Legend. Troll, 1994.
*        Martin, Rafe. The Rough-Face Girl. PutnamÍs Sons, 1992.
*        Mayer, Marianna. Baba Yaga and Vasilisa the Brave. Morrow Junior Books, 1994.
*        Mehta, Lila. The Enchanted Anklet: A Cinderella Story from India. Lilmur, 1985.
*        Phumla. Nomi and the Magic Fish: A Story from Africa. Doubleday, 1972.
*        Pollock, Penny. The Turkey Girl: A Zuni Cinderella. Little, Brown, 1995.
*        San Souci, Robert. Sootface: An Ojibwa Cinderella Story. Doubleday Book for Young Readers, 1994.
*        San Souci, Robert. The Talking Eggs. Dial Books for Young Readers, 1989.
*        Shah, Idries. "The Algonquin Cinderella". World Tales. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1979.
*        Steptoe, John. Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters: An African Tale. Scholastic, 1987.

The Cinderella Project University of Southern Mississippi
Common varieties of the tale from the English-speaking world in the eighteenth, nineteenth, and early twentieth centuries.

The Cinderella Bibliography by Russell Peck

Aarne-Thompson folktale type 510A and related stories of persecuted heroines translated and/or edited by D. L. Ashliman

The Indian Cinderella (Algonquin)

Unregistered User
(1/10/03 12:25 am)
Thank you Lily!
Lilymay, I've really appreciated your help. Thank you so much!!!

Unregistered User
(4/1/03 12:39 pm)
Grimm illustrations...
Ruth S,

I wrote an article suggesting that illustrated portrayals of Cinderella (and other characters) might have influenced the changes in the story over the years/centuries (ie: pantomime, Disney etc, but anyway)

...I had a great deal of difficulty finding 'Grimm' illustrations but here is the link to a french page with an image illustrated by Ludwig Emil Grimm (The younger brother of the famous pair) that accompanied the first illustrated version of the Grimm's tales.


Unregistered User
(4/1/03 1:03 pm)
that is not the link- I think it might be too long to fit here, but anyway 'search' for Aschenputtel by Ludwig Grimm from the 1812 edition published in Berlin by G. Reimer and you should find it...with any luck

sean punska
Unregistered User
(4/3/03 9:19 pm)
citation information
Hey Lily,

I am using some of your interpretation in an essay I am writing about an intertextual instance of Cinderella: a comparison between Cinderella and Never Been Kissed (1999, Dir. Raja Gosnell).

Could I get you to send me what school you are doing your PhD work at.

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