Once upon a time, a young girl was left alone. First her mother had died, and she and her father had mourned together. And then, something worse, far worse, happened. Her father remarried quickly, and the woman proved to be cruel, caring more for her own daughters than this newly acquired step-child. But the worst thing of all that happened was that the girl's father was killed in a sudden accident. She had nowhere to go, so was forced to remain with her stepmother and sisters. Here is her lament:
"Father comes to my dreams,
though he is gone.
He is silent, and sad.
"It's grief", Stepmother says, "stay inside.
Bare feet, coarse clothes, show mourning."
It seems right to dry tears with sackcloth and ashes."
Cinderella continues, remembering the sweetness of life with her mother and father, when they picnicked in the moonlight, and waltzed, all three together, under the stars. She imagines that when mourning is over, she will sing again, perhaps as a trio with her two stepsisters. Who knows? They might like it. She will teach them the games and poems which her parents taught her, life can be fun again...She conculdes:
"Thanks to you, Father,
I'm not alone,
you won't need
to be silent and sad.
I'll dream of your laughter
and your wonderful face
when mourning is over."
From: If the Shoe Fits: Voices from Cinderella by Whipple, L. & Beingessner, L. (2002)
Notes: This is a very nice contribution to the study of Cinderella. It contains thirty three short to medium poems, each told from the perspective of a different character. Examples: Father's Ghost; Stepmother's New Rythm; The Prince's Regrets; The Stepsisters' Reprise.
Montessori Connection: Language/Poetry
1. Find a copy of this book, and read one of the poems in it.
2. Think about the Cinderella Story: If you could be anyone in it, who would you be?
3. Think about this: Pretending to be the mean person in a story can be fun! It is a way to try on somebody else's feelings, and try to understand WHY they might not be acting very nicely.
4. Choose one character from Cinderella, and try to write a poem telling part of the story.
5. Try a couplet, which is two lines that rhyme: Over the years, she cried many tears.
6. Try a haiku, which is three lines long. The first line is five syllables long, the second is seven, and the third is five.
7. Try free verse: it doesn't have to rhyme, the words just sound nice, or right, or satisfying when you arranged them in a certain way.
8. Have fun!