Robin Redbreast

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

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Cinderella #8 The Little Glass Slipper, Perrault.2. The Complete Fairy Tales of Charles Perrault, (1697/1993) trans. Philip, N.& Simborowski, N.

17th century French shoe
Once upon a time, in France, there "was a man who took for his second wife  the most haughty, stuck-up woman you ever saw." Now, he also had his own daughter, a sweet and gentle girl just like her mother had been. No sooner was the celebration of their marriage over than the second wife "let her temper show." She made her step daughter do all the dirtiest jobs of the house: emptying chamber pots, washing clothes, and all the cooking and dishwashing.  She even had to scrub "the chambers of those little madams", the stepsisters. Her own room was in the attic. Every day after she had done her work, the young girl would "retire to the chimney corner and sit in the cinders, so that they commonly called her Cinderbutt, though the younger sister, who wasn't quite so rude as the elder, called her Cinderella." Time went by, and one day, word came that the king was going to give a ball. He had invited all of the most important people in town, including " our two misses, as they cut quite a dash in the district." Soon they had Cinderella running up and down the stairs running errands and set her to sewing and pressing and freshening their many petticoats and ruffled gowns. The elder would wear her "red velvet gown with English trimming" while the younger girl planned on "a simple skirt" and a "shawl with golden flowers, and my diamond cummerbund, which isn't the plainest ever made." They had a professional hairstylist come in, and spent some money having "beauty spots" on their cheeks. And all the while they made fun of Cinderbutt, laughing rudely at how she would look among finely dressed people with her dusty behind. Oh, how those sisters teased her, and how they tried to be the most beautiful girls in town. They "went nearly two days without eating" and broke their corset laces they pulled them so tightly "to get a wasp waist".  At last the day arrived, and off the party of ball goers went. Cinderella stared until she couldn't see them any longer, then began to cry. She sobbed and sobbed. Her "godmother, who saw her weeping" told her that since she'd been such a good girl, she would have the chance to go to the ball. Her godmother was a fairy! And she sent the girl to fetch a pumpkin. Then her godmother " scooped it out to a hollow skin, then tapped it with her wand, and the pumpkin was instantly turned into a gilded carriage. " Six live mice from the trap became " a set of six dappled horses, all a lovely mousy shade." A rat became the coachman and six lizards lurking behind the water jugs " climbed up behind the carriage in their brocade livery" . But Cinderella wasn't quite ready to jump into the coach. Her fairy godmother asked what was wrong, and the girl answered, " Do I have to go like this, in tatters?" And the next thing she knew her dirty old dress and raggedy shawl became "garments of gold and silver cloth, richly embroidered with jewels" and glass slippers, "the prettiest in the world. " As the carriage rattled away, her fairygodmother fcalled a warning. She must be back before midnight or, " her carriage would turn back into a pumpkin, the horses into mice, the footmen into lizards, and her old clothes would look just as they had before. " Arriving at the ball, Cinderella is a sensation. The prince devotes himself to her for the evening, dancing and talking. There was a "splendid supper, but the prince couldn't eat a thing, he was so wrapped up in her. " Cinderella watched her stepsisters nearby, but they did not recognize her. She walked over to them and gave  each a bright, fresh orange and precious yellow lemon, fruits given to her by the prince. It seemed such a short time before the clock began to strike three quarters past the hour of eleven, but so it was. Cinderella "courtseyed to the company and fled as fast as she could." She fooled everyone when they came in later, and found her asleep among the cinders. The next day, as she helped prepare the girls for the second night of the ball, she even pretended to act like she wasn't going again, begging the elder girl, " Oh dear! Miss Javotte, lend me your yellow dress, the one you wear every day" because she knew that the answer would be "No!". And so the sisters left her alone for the second night, and for the second night Cinderella was transformed, and went to the ball. But tonight she forgot the time! As the clock struck the first of twelve bells, she "jumped up and fled, nimbly as a doe". She got away, but not without losing one of her little glass slippers on the stairs. At home she was " all out of breath, no carriage, no flunkeys, in her grubby clothes, with nothing left of her magnificance save a single little slipper." This time when the sisters came in, she had to hear the story of how the mysterious princess had fled again. Several days later, "the prince had it cried to the sound of trumpets" that he was looking for the mate to the shoe, because he would marry the young lady it fitted. Soon, the royal party arrived at the Javotte home and the sisters sat for a fitting. They "tried everything to force their feet into the slipper, but they couldn't manage it." That's when Cinderella asked for her turn. Her sisters "burst out laughing, and jeered at her" but the gentleman in charge of the shoe decided that she was "extremely attractive" so he gave her a try. Of course, the shoe slipped on "as if it were made of wax". So she put the other one on, and her fairy godmother hovered over her and suddenly she was clothed in magnificance again. And now the sisters recognized her. They " threw themselves at her feet and asked forgiveness for all the harsh treatment they had made her suffer. Cinderella raised them up and kissed them, and forgave them with all her heart, and asked them to lover her always." The wedding took place a few days later. The stepsisters each met great lords at the festivities, and were married the same day.
Moral number one: "Beauty in woman is a very rare treasure: of it we can never tire. But what's worth more, a priceless pleasure, Is charm, which we must all admire. That wise instructress, the godmother, While dressing her fit for a queen, Was giving her power to charm antoher, That is what this story means. Ladies, better than teased up hair is To win a heart and conquer a ball. Charm is the true gift of the fairies; Without it you've got nothing; with it, all. "
"Another Moral: It is no doubt a great advantage, To have shrewdness, wit and courage; To be well born, with every sense And have all sorts of other talents Which Heaven gives you for your share. But with or without them, when all is said, They'll never help you get ahead Unless to spread your talents farther You've a willing godmother, or godfather. "

Notes: This is a more complete version of the Perrualt Cinderella than the earlier one I posted.  It is one of many Cinderella stories available through the The volume, published originally in France, 1697, has been translated many times into English and other languages. It is Perraut's original collection of stories and contains Little Red Riding Hood and Sleeping Beauty, as well as the lesser known Tufty Ricky and Donkeyskin.
Montessori Connection: My blue notebook records that on January 7, 2009, work continuing in class included pin map of Africa, sorting seeds as an introduction to the concept of scientific classification, and sentence analysis. ( For free downloads of gorgeous living/non living, parts of a tree and parts of a flower see The Perrault Cinderella has wonderful words to study. For 6-9 year olds:
Synonyms Search: 1. Find three words that are synonyms for nice. ( sweet-natured, gentle, patient). 2. Find three words that are synyms for clothes. ( gown, garment, brocade livery). For 9-12 year olds: Find five masculine nouns and five feminine nouns. ( Masculine: man, king, coachman,footmen, prince) (Feminine: wife, madam, misses, sisters, godmother)