Robin Redbreast

Robin Redbreast
Birds can represent the fluttering, darting thoughts of intuition. This is why little birds helped Cinderella help herself.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Henna Leaf, A Cinderella Story from Yemen retold by Carolyn Han
and translated by Kamal Ali al Hegri. Thank you to Nail Ahmed of Yemen for this suggestion.
ISBN 1-566-56-571-5
(grains; 3 rings, bird)

Get to work!” the stepmother shouted. “You can’t come to the wedding party.”
“Please let me come with you,” Henna Leaf begged. “The Sultan’s daughters invited all the women in our village.”
“Only if you finish separating and grinding the grain.” The mean woman told her, laughing. She had mixed three different grains together and knew it would take too long. Her stepmother and her stepsister Ekrem then got ready for the party, laughing as they dressed. 
“Don’t stay up too late!” they said, slamming the door behind them.
a mourning dove
Tears covered Henna Leaf’s face but even in her sorrow she took care of her kitten, pouring it a saucer of milk. That’s when an old woman wearing a velvet gown appeared out of nowhere and asked, “Why are you crying? And why aren’t you going to the party?”
“Who are you?” cried Henna Leaf and the woman said, “I’ve come to help!” That’s when she produced a silken dress and shoes, along with a sliver necklace, arm and ankle bracelets. Then she found a hairbrush and began to brush the girl’s hair. When she was ready, the old lady led Henna Leaf to the gates of the Sultan’s palace. Then she disappeared. But Henna Leaf could hear her way: she just followed the sound of laughter and the music of the oud. Light shone from the windows and the alabaster stairway seemed to glow. Custom required that she removed her shoes before entering the room, so Henna Leaf did so. When she walked in, everyone stared and said, “Who can she be?”
            And Ekram said to her mother “It sure looks like Henna Leaf!” but her mother said that it couldn’t be. All of the other women began snapping their fingers and clapping their hands, welcoming Henna Leaf to the dance, but her sister was not satisfied. So she stuck out her foot and tripped the poor girl then helped her up to get a closer look. Seeing her beautiful face and sliver jewelry, she was suddenly not so sure who the young woman was, but in all the merriment there was no way to be sure. 
            Just then the Sultan’s son Ali, who had forgotten that his sister was having an all-women wedding party, arrived home. He tried to warn the revelers of his presence, chanting, ‘Allah, Allah, Allah!” as he came. But no one heard him, the music was so loud. Entering the room, the first person he saw was Henna Leaf and he knew that she was the one for him. In the commotion, the girl ran away, grabbing her silken shoes and running down the stairs. She dropped one in her terror and was home before anyone knew who she was. Ali picked up the shoe.
            “Too bad you couldn’t have joined us!” Ekram taunted when they got home. “The Sultan’s son came in and now he wants to marry the mystery woman who lost her shoe.” Too bad nobody knew who she was. The very next day however, Ali sent his manservant around with the shoe. Of course, the man couldn’t speak directly to the women of the village but the shoe was passed to a maidservant in each house so that each girl could try it. At last, they came to the last house on the street, and called at the mudbrick window. Ekram came and grabbed the shoe but it would not fit. Then Henna Leaf had a turn and the little shoe slipped right on! That’s when she drew the other out.
            The very next day a royal summons came, calling Henna Leaf to the palace. But the stepmother’s jealousy knew no bounds and so she made Ekram put on a hijab and veil her hair and face. Surely, the Sultan’s son would not be so rude as to demand to look upon his bride’s face? 
            Arriving at the palace, the first person Ekram met was an old woman who offered her something to eat. Always hungry, Ekram raced to the kitchen and grabbed a big silver spoon. Greedily, she dipped it into each pot, tasting every dish. 
            “Oh!” she exclaimed when it slipped from her hands and to the bottom of a large pot. Reaching for it, Ekram fell in headfirst and when she stood, stew spilled all down her front. She called for her mother who came and hit the soapstone vessel with a broomstick, breaking it open. But the rim of the pot was stuck around Ekram’s neck like a stone necklace and she was trapped. Meanwhile, the Sultan sent an escort to find Henna Leaf. They were married the very next day.
            The stepmother was not ready to give up yet though, and disguising herself as a servant, she snuck into Henna Leaf’s chamber. While the girl slept, the stepmother inserted tiny acacia thorns into the skin on her step-daughter’s face and the girl was transformed into a dove. The little white bird flew out the open window and when Ali found his bride missing he despaired. 
            Not far away, a white dove sat in an apricot tree. An old man approached and his face seemed so kind that Henna Leaf asked, “How is Ali, the Sultan’s son?” and the man told her that the prince was very sad. Hearing this, the dove began to cry and soon the sky filled with clouds, which also wept with sorrow. The old man ran away lest he be swept away in the flood. When he got back to the palace Ali asked if there was news of the girl. “No”, said the old man. But seeing how sad the young man was, he added, “But I did see a talking bird.” He told the story of the flood and Ali set off to find Henna Leaf before she was swept away. He walked the next day until he came to an apricot tree, where a white dove sat. As he approached, it flew right to him and he held it gently and stroked its feathers. That’s when he felt the thorns. Pulling each one out he counted. When he got to the seventh thorn and pulled it, the dove transformed back into a girl and hand in hand, Ali and Henna Leaf returned to the palace. The Sultan banished Ali’s jealous mother-in-law from the palace and Ali lived many years in peace with his new wife, who brought him many children. At last, the Sultan stepped down and appointed Ali in his place and he and Henna Leaf lived happily ever after. 

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Looking forward to posting a new Cinderella story from Yemen, The Henna Leaf.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Happy Birthday, Charles Perrault!

Celebrating the birthday of  Charles Perrault by recording 159,000 hits!

Once upon a time, long ago in France, there lived a melancholy girl who was called Cinderella.  Her father "was a gentleman who was a widower."

Some time after Cinderella's mother died, he took a second wife. She was "a very proud, disagreeable woman" and she had two daughters of her own, a pair of "haughty, overbearing, and thoroughly unpleasant" young ladies. By contrast, the gentleman's own daughter was "was a young girl of wonderful sweetness and good temper. In this, she was like her mother, who had been the finest mother in the world."  For a brief time after the wedding, Cinderella was treated with some respect.  Before long, however, she was doing "all the meanest household chores to do, from scouring the dishes to scrubbing the stairs to cleaning out the rooms of her" stepsisters. At day's end, poor Cinderella had only "a thin, straw mattress in a tiny room at the top of the house." She dared not complain to her father, who seemed to take no notice of her condition. She shivered in the cold, and took to sitting "quietly near the fire, paying no heed to the cinders and ashes that drifted lazily around her." For this,. they called her Cinderbritches, until the younger stepsister, "who was not quite as rude as the other, called her Cinderella". It happened one day that the King's son invited "everyone of rank and nobility in the land." You may imagine how pleased the stepsisters were to find themselves on the select list. "I,' said the elder,'shall wear my red velvet dress with the English lace.' 'I,' said the younger,' shall wear my gold-flowered cloak and my diamond necklace."  All stylish ladies at that time stuck tiny shapes to their faces to enhance their beauty; these two spent many days in front of the looking glass experimenting with their appearance. "Meanwhile, Cinderella was kept busier than ever ironing her stepsisters' ruffles." On the night of the ball, as she was dressing their hair, the young sister asked, "Do you not wish you were going to the ball?' 'Ah,' replied Cinderella,'now you are mocking me. I would be out of place at such a grand event.' 'For once, you are right, 'said the older sister, 'people would find it very funny indeed to see a Cinderbritches at the ball." Most people would have been tempted to pull the hair of one who spoke to them so, but not Cinderella. So gentle was her nature. When finally they departed, the ragged young girl sat down amongst the ashes. Alone, she began to cry.  That's when she heard a voice! "Her fairy godmother, who had been watching over her,appeared and asked what was the matter." But Cinderella could not get the words out, so heavily did her tears flow. Yet her godmother seemed to know. "You wish to go to the ball, do you not?" And when she heard Cinderella sigh, she knew that this was her wish. "You have been a good girl,' said her godmother. 'I shall see that you go." Now the fairy bade her go to the garden and bring a pumpkin.  Cinderella "found the largest pumpkin in the garden and carried back to her godmother, who hollowed it out so only the rind was left. Then she struck it with her wand, and the pumpkin was transformed into a gilded coach."  But who would draw it? Six little mice from the trap filled  the need. "As each mouse scurried out, the godmother tapped it with her wand. Instantly the mice changed into horses — beautiful gray ones that all matched perfectly." For a coachman, the fairy godmother decided on a rat. She chose from the three that were in the trap "the one with the longest whiskers and tapped it with her wand. Instantly, it became a plump coachman, with a very impressive mustache."  With the six lizards that were behind the watering pot, the old woman created "six footmen dressed in embroidered livery. They leaped onto the coach so nimbly that it looked as if they had done nothing else all their lives." Yet when the fairy asked if Cinderella were not pleased, the girl said," Oh,yes. But must I go as I am, in these wretched rags?'  Her godmother simply touched her with the wand, and Cinderella's rags turned into a gown of gold and silver that sparkled with jewels.  A pair of high-heeled slippers appeared on her feet. They were made of glass, and were so lovely that Cinderella exclaimed with pleasure when she saw them." Just as the carriage was about to whisk her away, her godmother warned her not to stay so much as one minute past the stroke of twelve. "If you stay a moment longer, your coach will turn back into a pumpkin, your horses to mice, your coachman to a rat, your footmen to lizards, and your gown to rags." She promised, and was off to the ball. Such an entrance made Cinderella that "the violins stopped playing and the dancing came to a halt." Even the king, "old as he was" found himself drawn to the mysterious young princess. All the ladies meanwhile, "were busily inspecting Cinderella's headdress and gown in hopes of having similar ones made as soon as possible." And the prince would not leave her side. All night they danced, and he saw that she was so graceful that she seemed to be enchanted. When the clock "struck a quarter to midnight, Cinderella quickly made a deep curtsy to the guests and hurried off." Arriving home minutes before her sister, she thanked the fairy and begged for permission to go the following night. It was given, and now Cinderella settled down before the fire. As her stepsisters came in, gossiping and laughing, they bubbled over with stories of the princess who had shared lemons and oranges with them.  "Absolutely no one knew" her name, they said, and "the king's son in particular would give the world to find out." Cinderella smiled to herself.  But the next night, so deeply was she engaged in conversation and dancing with the prince that she forgot the time. "She sprang up and ran out of the ballroom as swiftly as a frightened deer." When the prince followed, and found her shoe, he could not believe that she had departed without a trace. He questioned the guards about which princesses they had seen leave the palace, but they answered that only "a young girl in rags who looked more like a peasant than a lady" had passed through the gates. At home, Cinderella discovered that she was still wearing one glass shoe. This night when her stepsisters came in, they talked of nothing but the prince's discovery of a glass slipper, and rumors of a search to find the one who had lost it. This forecast proved correct, for "a few days later, the king's son proclaimed that he would marry" she who could wear this slipper. "Princesses, duchesses, court ladies, and all manner of highborn women tried to put tghe slipper on, but in vain." When at last the turn came for the stepsisters to try it, no amount of squeezing allowed them to wear it. Then Cinderella said, "Let me try it on.'  Her sisters burst into mocking laughter. But the court envoy who was fitting the slipper thought it only fair that Cinderella try it on — the king's son had decreed that all young women could." When she sat down and slipped her foot right into the shoe, "her sisters were overcome with surprise." And then they were "thunderstruck when she produced the other slipper from her pocket." And now the fairy godmother arrived again, and tapped her goddaughter lightly, and "the girl's sooty rags were transformed onto a gown of silk, lace, and pearls." Her stepsisters, suddenly recognizing the princess who had shared her fruit, begged most humbly to be forgiven for their previous behavior. Cinderella, "whose goodness knew no bounds", forgave them graciously.  Then "the envoy escorted her to the palace, where the king's son  awaited her.  He found her more beautiful than ever, and in a few days, they were married."
MORAL: Woman's beauty is a treasure we never tire of admiring. 
But good grace is far more precious, and forgiveness a jewel beyond price.
This is the moral of Cinderella's story: Only true kindness is worthy of a fairy's gift,
for without it we can do nothing, 
But with it, anything is possible. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Original Cinderella Rhyme to Celebrate 147,000 hits!


Cinderella #365 
Five Original Verses by    Rachel Hope Crossman 
Cinderella, dressed in yella’,
Went upstairs to kiss her fella.
Made a mistake, kissed a snake...
How many doctors did it take?
Cinderella dressed in red,
Got right up and out of bed,
Cooked for the King, dropped her ring,
Hoped he'd find her magic bling.
Cinderella dressed in blue,
Ran away and lost a shoe,
Despite her sisters’ cruel laughter,
She’s the girl the Prince ran after.
Cinderella dressed in green,
Went upstairs to meet the Queen,
She curtsied, bowed, sang acapella:
Your Majesty, I’m Cinderella!
Cinderella dressed in white,
Invited to the ball that night,
One candied quince from that sweet prince—
They’ve been an item ever since.
Slovakian doll
Cinderella dressed in gold,
Kissed by the Prince, who was so bold,
They got married, they grew old. 
Now my story is all told. 
© 2011 Rachel Hope Crossman
Notes: This posting concludes my experiment, 365 Cinderellas, in which I have posted a new Cinderella story for every day of the year 2011. As of December 31, nearly 17,000 people have viewed this site. I hope you have enjoyed the stories! 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

USA Best Book Awards Finalist: SAVING CINDERELLA: FAIRY TALES AND CHILDREN IN THE 21ST CENTURY by Rachel Hope Crossman


Finalist, Children's Educational Category
My book, SAVING CINDERELLA: FAIRY TALES AND CHILDREN IN THE 21ST CENTURY, has been named finalist in the USA Best Book Awards, in the Children's Educational Category.

The publisher is: The Apocryphile Press, Berkeley, CA
The Apocryphile Press

1700 Shattuck Ave. #81
Berkeley, CA 94709
510-290-4349


Berkeley, CA 94709

It is available for purchase at:

Monday, November 24, 2014

100,082 hits!

We have lift off! As of today, November 24, 2014 this blog has had 100, 082 views. Thank you again to all, and please continue sharing this site with all of those interested in Cinderella. 
Two princesses, by the other Emily!

99, 988 hits!

Good morning everyone and thank you for viewing my blog. As of today, November 24, 2014 it has received 99, 988 hits!
Cover illustration, Cinderella: A Puppet Storybook , 1970.Illustrations by Tadasu Izawa and Shigemi Hijikata