Friday’s Fairy Tales: Cinderella



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

 This week is a tale requested specifically by the lovely Annette, the tradition and well know “Cinderella”, or rather known as “The Little Glass Slipper”

Firstly I need to apologise for this post being a week late. I got wrapped up in my voluntary work last weekend so I had literally no time to complete this blog post! On a slightly related note, I’ve noticed a blog on wordpress has started doing a feature very similar to this, my “Friday’s Fairy Tales”. I can’t lie- I’m a little bit miffed. I spent ages coming up with the idea and the process and structure of the thing and now…meh. But ANYWAY: moving on-

Original Sources: For this tale, I will be relying on my trusty Blue Fairy Book by Andrew Lang and my Brothers Grimm, barnes and nobles leatherbound edition.

The Story?

The original tale is fairly short and simple, written by Giambattista Basile which was published after his death in 1634. In Basile’s version of the tale:-

  • A widowed prince has a daughter named “Zezolla”, who is raised by a Governess.

  • The Governess persuades the Prince to marry her, with the daughter’s help.

  • The Governess moves into their home permanently, bringing 6 daughters of her own (bloody hell, she kept that quiet!), who abuse Zezolla and make her work as a servant.

  • The Prince travels to Sardinia and meets a fairy who gives him presents for his daughter.

  • These presents allow Zezolla to grow a tree, which provides Zezolla with a wealthy looking outfit for when the King decides to throw a fancy schmancy party.

  • The party lasts three nights (party hard, king-dude!), and he falls in love with Zezolla, who runs away before he can find out who she is- on the third night, they find her slipper.

  • Usual ending: shoe test by the King all over the place, shoe fits Zezolla’s foot, and they get hitched.

Perrault’s version which came later in 1697, which increased popularity to the tale by adding the pumpkin, the fairy godmother and of course, the most symbollic of all: the Glass Slippers.

There are two morals to Perrault’s tale:-

1. beauty is a treasure, but graciousness is priceless. Without it, nothing is possible; with it, one can do anything

 2. “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”

Then the Grimm’s tale came along, “Aschenputtel”- which I will write out here because it is ultimately more gorey!

  • Cinderella’s mum is dying whilst she is a young child, she is called by her mother on her deathbed and told to remain kind and good.

  • A year after her mother died, her father remarried a woman with two young daughter’s of Cinderella’s age, who were pretty, but cruel and wicked. They stole Cinderella’s clothes, forcing her to wear rags, and called her “Aschenputtel” (Ashfool/Cinderella).

  • Despite all of these horrible things, she keeps her promise to her mother and remains kind and good.

  • One day the father went on a journey and promised his daughters each a gift. The two stepdaughters wished for luxury dresses and pearls. Cinderella asked for the first twig his hat knocked off on his journey. The father got her the twig, she planted it and it grew into a hazel tree which she planted at her mum’s grave, watered it with her tears every time the stepdaughters made her cry, and Cinderella would pray under the tree three times a day. As a result, a white bird would come to comfort her.

  • Meanwhile, the king of the land decided there would be a three-day-and-two-nights festival, and invited all the beautiful girls in the land in the hopes that the prince would choose one of them to be his bride .When Cinderella begged to attend with the family, the stepmother refused her because she had no shoes or dress to wear.

  • The stepmother threw a dish of lentils into the ashes, saying that if she picked them all up she could attend the ball. Cinderella completed the task in an hour with the help of two white doves sent by her mother/the tree.

  • The stepmother doubled the task, throwing even more lentils into the ashes and when Cinderella accomplished that too in a greater speed than before, the stepmother hastened her daughters away to the ball without Cinderella, worried that the ash-girl would spoil her daughter’s chances.

  • Cinderella ran to her mother’s grave for help. Her mother/the tree sent a white bird who dropped a dress and silk shoes (must’ve been a bloody big bird). Cinderella attended the ball, with the warning that she needed to leave before Midnight.

  • The prince danced with her but she ran off before midnight struck.

  • The next night, the mystery girl appeared again, this time in a better dress and silver shoes, the prince fell in love with her and danced with her for the whole evening, but again, she ran off before midnight.

  • Finally, the third evening came. The mystery girl attended, this time in a gold dress and gold shoes. This time though, the prince was determined she would not run away from him, and spilt pitch on the stairs (“and I thought ‘well…he cares. This is more than just malace! Better stop and take stock while you’re standing there stuck on the steps of the palace!” – sorry, back to the story).

  • Due to the pitch, when she ran away this night, one of her gold slippers came away from her feet and remained on the stairs. The prince exclaimed that he would marry whomever the slipper fits (dems dangerous words, young princey)

  • The next morning, the prince arrived at their house.

  • The eldest daughter tried on the slipper, it did not fit. The stepmother advised her to cut off her toes in order to make the slipper fit. The slipper fit, the prince proclaimed he would marry her- but upon leaving the house, whilst riding with the elder daughter, two doves appeared and whispered to the prince that she had butchered her foot to make it fit.

  • He returned to the house, and tried the slipper on the second stepdaughter’s foot. She had cut off her heel to make it fit (eugh think how messy that slipper is now! I wouldn’t want to try it on after them!), again the prince was fooled. (He isn’t the brightest crayon in the box now, is he?)

  • Again, upon leaving with her, the doves alerted him to the trick, and he returned to the house to inquire if there were any other girls in the house.

  • The father (who suddenly decides to pipe up and say something nice for a change, I guess, except…) tells the prince they have a kitchen maid, but does not tell him that the kitchen maid is his daughter (see? Lovely.)

  • The prince asks for her to try on the slipper, and Cinderella appears after washing, and when she tries on the slipper, he recognises her as the girl from the ball (although to be honest, he has just done this twice before. At this point, I think any size 6 in a skirt would’ve done it for him.).

  • They were married, and the stepsisters were her bridesmaids in the hopes of worming their way into her good graces. During the wedding, those pesky doves flew down pecked their eyes, rendering them both blind.

The Origins?

Cinderella is European in origin, and is probably one of the most well known fairy tales of all time, with Perrault’s version being written and published in 1697. Cinderella falls under “The Persecuted Heroine” on the Aarne Thompson Scale because first and foremost, it is actually a store of unjust oppression, of defying years of neglect and becoming successful at the end.

The story of Rhodopis is a Greek tale which is considered to be one of the earliest versions of Cinderella

Also, according to sources saying the story is mistranslated, there are debates that the slippers were never infact glass but rather “Fur”- ick, imagine that with all that blood!

Obviously, Cinderella is one of the most reknown tales in the world, with multiple re-tellings, through theatre, both serious plays and British pantomime (hells yeah!), songs, films, and books.


  1. Cinderella’s Dress- Shonna Slayton (Pub:03/06/14)- This is a book I have recently been granted through Netgalley, I’m looking forward to seeing what it’s like!

  2. Before Midnight: A Re-telling of Cinderella (Once Upon a Time Series)- Cameron Dokey, this is another of the OUAT series by Dokey et al. I’ve not read this one yet but certainly want to, since I’ve enjoyed all I’ve read of that series so far

I’ve not actually read any Cinderella re-telling, as of yet- do you guys have any favourites you want to highlight to me?!


10 thoughts on “Friday’s Fairy Tales: Cinderella

  1. Everyone seems to be talking about Cinder by Marissa Meyer, it’s on my to-read list, it’s a bit of a futuristic/dystopian re-telling and is part of a fairy-tale retelling series…


  2. This has been my favorite fairy tale Friday so far!! Crazy how the tale evolved. Thank you so much for posting it:D I don’t know about book retellings, aside from Cinder, but my favorite movie is Ever After with Drew Barrymore. It’s feels more real to me as it doesn’t have the magical element. Anyway, Happy Friday!!

    • thebookheap says:

      Awh I’m glad you enjoyed it and I was able to make it a decent post! Ever After is a lovely film, I really enjoyed that rendition of it!

  3. Elen @ A World of Reviews says:

    The only retelling I’ve read of Cinderella is Cinder which was really good, considering that I was never a huge fan of the story when I was younger. I had no idea about some of the older versions though. Great post!

    • thebookheap says:

      I completely forgot about the lunar chronicles somehow, despite it being one of my favourite book series- oops! I was never a fan of Cinderella myself, I didn’t see the Disney til I was about 14, despite it being my sister’s favourite.

  4. Wow, this one is kind of gross. I don’t think I would ever be that desperate for a guy that I would cut off my toes/heel! That slipper must have been so disgusting by the time poor Cinders tried it on. My favourite part of the whole tale is the fairy godmother and the glass slipper, so I think for that reason I prefer the more modern versions.
    Haven’t read Cinder yet, had been on my list for a very long time, and sat on my desk for nearly as long!
    Great post, sucks about the similar posting on the other blog, but I have liked yours from the start, so don’t worry, I’m not going anywhere! Plus, as long as you still enjoy writing them, then other blogs don’t matter! 🙂

    • thebookheap says:

      That’s very true! I really enjoy writing these so I’m definitely going to continue with it.

      IKR it’s quite a gorey tale and I too flinched at the mental picture of the state of that slipper after all that blood and gore- yuck!!
      ahhh Cinder is so good, I just…yes. recommend it.

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