Robin Redbreast

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

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Cinderella #173 Retold by Samantha Easton

The pumpkin was transformed
into a gold coach!
Illustrated by Lynn Bywaters

Once upon a time, "there lived a rich man whose wife had died.  After a time, he married again. His second wife was very proud and ill-tempered, and she had two daughters who were just like her." The gentleman also had a daughter, one as sweet and gentle as her mother had been. Since she was lovely of face as well as spirit, and her step-sisters were as cold-hearted as they were barren of grace, they became jealous. At first they pretended to be kind, but before long they had taken over her rooms, and then her clothes. Then they gave her an old smock to wear, and forced her to do the hardest work. The only place she had to rest was among the cinders on the hearth. "And that was how she came to be called Cinderella." It happened one day that an invitation arrived, announcing that the prince would choose a bride at his ball. How her stepsisters made Cinderella work to help them get ready! "I shall wear my gold embroidered gown,' said the elder. 'The prince will surely notice me in that!' 'And I shall wear my red velvet gown,' said the younger. 'Mother has always told me I look best in red." They talked of nothing else for days. Finally, the date of the ball arrived. All day long Cinderella ironed, and pressed, and stitched, and curled. "As she saw them to the door, Cinderella could not help but sigh, 'How I wish I were going to the ball." But her sisters only jeered, "What an idea! How could you go to the ball! Besides, whatever would you wear? Your tattered gray dress with your patched apron?" When they were gone, the girl sat down and began to cry. That's when she heard a voice ask,"Cinderella, why are you crying?" It was her fairy godmother, who had come to make all of the girl's wishes come true that night. She began by observing that the girl was weeping , "Because you would like to go to the ball. And so you shall." The old woman, who wore "a blue dress covered with silver stars" went out to the garden. "First, we must choose a large, round, pumpkin." And then, as Cinderella "watched in amazement, her fairy godmother waved her magic wand over the pumpkin and it was transformed into a gold coach!"Next, she enchanted six  little gray mice. "In the twinkling of an eye, they were turned into six fine dappled horses."  A big white rat was changed into "a jolly coachman with wonderful long whiskers" and from the lily pond came "six green frogs" who had been clustered on a log. With a wave of her wand they became "six merry footmen, all dressed in handsome suits of green". But with all this finery, how could Cinderella go anywhere in her ragged old dress? "Don't worry,' her fairy godmother said kindly. 'I have thought of that too." Suddenly, Cinderella was wearing a dress of "silver and gold, ...studded with precious gems." On her feet she found "a pair of sparkling glass slippers". Now that all was ready, the fairy warned her that she must be back home before midnight. That's when the magic would end, and all would once again be as it was. In a twinkling, Cinderella arrived at the palace. Everyone wondered where she could be from. They assumed that she was a princess from some country that they did not know. "Who else would be wearing such a splendid gown?' they murmured." The prince was beside her all evening, and Cinderella "felt as if she were in a beautiful dream". Before she knew it, the clock was striking. One! Two! on and on, and she knew that she must flee. "Goodbye!' she called to the startled prince as she dashed from the ballroom." As she scurried down the palace stairs she stumbled, and lost one of her shoes. But she did not have time to stop. "Just as she reached the gate, the last stroke of midnight rang out. Her beautiful gown turned back into her old, gray smock, and her gold coach became a pumpkin." With a scuttle, rat, mice and frogs disappeared into the night. Cinderella ran home, and, the next day, heard some exciting news. The prince was seeking a beautiful girl who had lost a glass slipper at the ball! When the couriers came to her house, her stepsisters pushed her away. They tried to get their big feet into the shoe, but could not. They just didn't understand why it would not fit, since they "both considered their feet to be small and dainty". When Cinderella asked, "May I try, too?' her stepsisters rolled their eyes and said, "The slipper will never fit you!" The king's servant settled the argument by giving her a turn. And "the glass slipper fid Cinderella's foot so perfectly that it might just as well have been made for her!" That is when she reached into the pocket of her old, patched apron and took out the other shoe. When she had put this on as well, her "fairy godmother appeared, but only Cinderella could see her. With a wave of her magic wand, she turned Cinderella's rags into a gown even more beautiful that the one she had worn to the ball." Dressed in such finery, her stepsisters now knew her for the one they had seen at the ball. They "apologized for treating her so badly", and then Cinderella, "who was as kind as she was beauitful, said, 'It's alright, sisters. I forgive you both." Later that same day, Cinderella and her prince celebrated their marriage. The entire kingdom was invited, and it was the grandest, most splendid event ever held.  And the fairy godmother's magic did not wear off at midnight after all, for "Cinderella and her prince lived happily ever after". 
From Cinderella retold by Samantha Easton, Illustrated by Lynn Bywaters (1992) Kansas City: Ariel Books
Notes: This one is for Clare, Grace, and Maile, the October birthday girls of a certain Montessori School! You would have loved this during our reading hour.  It is just a gorgeous little book, with illustrations are rich and luxurious,and the small size is very appealing to hold in the hand. It would make an excellent gift for a birthday girl turning any age between six and twelve. 
Montessori Connection: American Holidays/Halloween/Art Project Mini Pumpkin Carriages
1. Learn that Maria Montessori wanted children to learn about the culture of their local community.
2. Learn that she believed that this was so important that she named one of the sections of her lesson plans for children "Cultural Subjects".  By this name, she meant, history of the people, as well as of the place, including the historic origin of customs such as those followed on holidays. 
4. Make a mini golden coach like this:
a. get a tiny pumpkin
b. using gold acrylic paint, paint it gold.
c. using cardboard or paper and black pencil or marker, draw four wheels. (copy from a picture if you need to) d. cut out the wheels. e. pin them onto the pumpkin with a thumbtack or pin, mounting them high enough so that they don't fold over. f. using model mice or horses, make a little team of six animals to pull the coach. g. imagine that Cinderella is inside, off to the ball!