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Cindarella illustration by Charles Robinson, 1900. From "Tales of Passed Times" with stories by Charles Perrault.
A French edition
Massenet's opera Cendrillon

"Cinderella, or The Little Glass Slipper" [1] is a fairy tale by Charles Perrault. It was first published anonymously in Paris in 1697 in Histoires ou contes du temps passé (English: Stories or Tales of Past Times), a collection of eight fairy tales by Perrault.[2][3]

The story is about a girl who was treated badly. Her fairy godmother helps her travel to a dancing party in a pumpkin coach. She leaves the ball at midnight and loses her glass slipper. A prince, who has fallen in love with her, finds her lost slipper and uses it later to find her.

Similar European tales are found in Bonaventure des Periers's New Recreations and Joyous Games (1558) and Giambattista Basile's Pentamerone (1634-6). The Brothers Grimm included their version, "Aschenputtel", in Children's and Household Tales (1812). Tales similar to "Cinderella" exist in Chinese, Indian, African, Javanese, Australian, and Japanese literature and folklore. The tale has been adapted to the stage, movies, television, and other media.[4]

Story[change | change source]

A widower marries a very proud woman. She already has two daughters. They despise the man's daughter by his first marriage, but she is gentle and beautiful, They treat her meanly. She is told to do all the housework and sleeps in the attic. Cinderella's step-mother gave her that name because she sits in the chimney corner.

A prince gives a ball and all the high-status ladies are invited. Cinderella's stepsisters go to the ball. Cinderella stays at home crying. Her fairy godmother appears and changes a pumpkin into a golden coach to take Cinderella to the ball. The fairy turns mice, lizards, and a rat into horses and coachmen by waving her wand. She gives Cinderella a gown of gold and silver and slippers made of glass. She orders Cinderella to return home by midnight because that's when the charm ends. Cinderella goes to the ball. Everyone is amazed. The prince gives her special attention. Her stepsisters do not recognize her. She leaves at midnight and returns home. The next evening she goes again to the prince's ball. She forgets the time and leaves just at midnight, but loses one of her glass slippers. At home, Cinderella's gown turns to rags, but the other glass slipper continues to be a glass slipper.

The stepsisters tell her that the prince is in love with an unknown beautiful lady. The prince orders the slipper to be tried on all the ladies in the land. He will marry only the girl whose foot will fit the slipper. The stepsisters try it on but it does not fit. Cinderella tries it on and it fits. She pulls the other slipper from her pocket and puts it on. The Godmother appears and touches Cinderella's clothes with her wand. They change into a gown more beautiful than the one she wore to the ball. A few days later, the prince marries her. She forgives her stepsisters for their past meanness and finds husbands for them at the court.

References[change | change source]

  1. French: Cendrillon, ou La petite pantoufle de verre
  2. Betts p. xv
  3. Opie p. 21
  4. Zipes pp. 95-7
  • Betts, Christopher. 2009. The Complete Fairy Tales. Oxford UP. ISBN 978-0-19-923683-1
  • Opie, Iona and Peter. 1974. The Classic Fairy Tales. Oxford UP. ISBN 0-19-211559-6.
  • Zipes, Jack (Ed.) 2000. The Oxford Companion to Fairy Tales. Oxford UP. ISBN 0-965-36357-0