First let me apologize for the lack of posts lately. Now that I work part time I find my other library duties make it difficult to find time to blog. On top of that Drama Club is preparing for our spring musical, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella. I am knee deep in costumes, sets and props. Not to mention singing and dancing.
Second, as usual my daily life has inspired me in the library. We all know the Disney version of Cinderella and some of us may recognize that the Brother’s Grimm version is slightly different. But the tale of Cinderella has a rich history that translates to different societies with many versions of the same basic story.
Cinderella is probably one of the most well known folk tales. The characteristics of folklore include stories that are common among a group of people and are often past down from generation to generation. There are around 1000 different versions of Cinderella, the earliest coming from China. Tuan Ch’eng-shih wrote down the Chinese tale sometime in the ninth century (850-860 CE) But that does not mean he created the story. He simply was the first to put the tale on paper. The Chinese people had been telling the story of a Yeh-Shen and her magical fish for as long as they could remember. The theme of the story is the same as the Cinderella story of today. Yeh-Shen is unappreciated and unloved. Her magical fish gives her the opportunity to meet the prince who recognizes her worth from her golden shoe.
The Disney version of Cinderella comes from the folktale written down by Charles Perrault. Written in 1697 Contes de ma Mere L’Oye introduces the Fairy Godmother, the pumpkin carriage, animal helpers and the glass slipper. In this version Cinderella and her kind heart takes pity on her step sisters and finds them husbands too.
Another famous version of Cinderella is interpreted by the Brothers Grimm. This German version also goes by the name Ash Girl and is dark in nature. There is no Fairy Godmother but instead a magical tree planted by Cinderella at her mother’s grave. After Cinderella gets her prince the stepsisters eyes are pecked out by birds living in the tree as punishment for their cruelty toward Cinderella.
St. Philip’s Drama Club is doing the Rodgers and Hammerstein Musical version of Cinderella. There is a Godmother and pumpkin coach but no true animal helpers. I hope you come out and see our production. If you are curious to read other Cinderella tales the library has a few different versions including
- Little Gold Star by Robert San Souci
- Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
- Grimm’s Fairy Tales Abridged
- The Korean Cinderella by Shirley Climo
- Cinderella’s Rat by Susan Meddaugh
- Trollerella by Karen M. Bourgeios
For more information on the history of Cinderella visit this site!