Robin Redbreast

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

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Cinderella #204 Dover (from the Blue Fairy Book)

Illustrated by Noble, M.

Once upon a time, "there was a gentleman, who married, for his second wife, the proudest and most haughty woman that was ever seen." She had two daughters, every bit as unpleasant as herself. The gentleman had a daughter who was the opposite in nature, sweet and gentle, and fair of face. And no sooner had this tender girl's stepmother move in, than her life changed for the worse. The new mother made her do the hardest, most difficult tasks. Each day she "scrubbed the madam's chambers, and those of her daughters." No longer allowed to sleep in her comfortable bedroom, she spent every night "up in a sorry garret, upon a wretched straw bed. She never complained to her father, even when her stepsisters began to call her Cinderwench, or Cinderella. It happened one day that a ball was to be held at the palace. The stepsisters "were mightily delighted at this invitation, and wonderfully busy in choosing out their most becoming gowns, petticoats and headresses." They kept Cinderella busy for days preparing them. When at last the night of the ball had come, and this sad girl sat alone in the kitchen, crying, she heard a voice. "This godmother of hers, who was a fairy, said to her,'You wish you could go to the ball, is it not so?'" And Cinderella said yes, it was so. Then the fairy sent her out to pick a pumpkin. When she had done so, and a trapful of mice and rats was brought, as well as some lizards, the fairy godmother waved her wand. Suddenly, a golden coach pulled by six white horses stood ready, with footmen and a jolly coachman too. But Cinderella asked, "Must I go in these nasty rags?" Then "her fairy godmother only just touched her with her wand, and, at the same instant, her clothes were turned into cloth of gold and silver, all beset with jewels." Then she turned her shoes into glass slippers, "the prettiest in the world", and warned her goddaughter to be home by midnight. For that is when the magic would wear off." When Cinderella got to the ball, "even the King, old as he was" could not take his off her. The prince danced with her all evening long, and was so "intently gazing on her" that he had no taste for dinner. She was kind to her sisters, who were there as well, and "showed them a thousand civilities". And that is when she heard the clock strike eleven and three quarters. She fled, and ran straight to her chimney corner, where she curled up amongst the cinders. The sisters soon came home and teased Cinderella and asked her if she didn't wish that she could have gone too?  She begged them, then, to stop mocking her, saying that a Cinderwench could never go to the ball. But the next night, her fairy godmother worked magic again, and once again, Cinderella mystified the prince. All evening they danced, but when she heard the clock begin to strike, and realized that midnight was upon her, she ran away. And that is how she lost one of her little glass slippers. The prince found it, and vowed to marry the maiden who could put her dainty foot into it. First the royals, then the nobles, and, at last, the common people were called to try on the shoe. When it came to Cinderella's house, her eldest sister tried it on first, but it would not fit. Then the younger stepsister attempted to wear the slipper, but she could not wear it either. Then Cinderella said, "Let me see if it will fit me." And though her stepmother objected, "the gentleman who was sent to try the slipper looked at her earnestly, and, finding her very handsome, said,'It was but just that she should try, and that he had orders to let everyone make trial." So she put the shoe on, and everyone marveled that it "fitted her as if it had been made of wax". Then the fairygodmother appeared and "touched her wand to Cinderella's clothes [and] made them richer and more magnificent than any of those she had before." They brought her to the Prince, who declared his love for her, and "a few days after, married her. Cinderella, who was no less good than beautiful, gave her two sisters lodgings in the palace, and that very same day married them to two great lords of the court."
From Cinderella and Other Stories from the Blue Fairy Book (Dover Thrift Children's Classics, 1996)
Notes: The Dover Thrift Editions are always great; they used to sell for a dollar, and it is still not much more than that. This little volume also has Goldilocks and the Three Bears, my second fave fairy tale! However, it lacks the morals that Perrault included. 
Montessori connection: History/France/Charles Perrault/17th Century
1. Read this story, and know that it was retold in the year 1697 by a man named Charles Perrault. Learn that he wanted children's stories to teach them values as well as entertain them. That is why he included morals with each of his fairy tales. (This Dover book did not include them.)
2. Learn that when Perrault wrote his Cinderella story, the king of France was King Louis XVl.
3. Learn more about the 17th century in France:Marie Antoinette: Princess of Versailles, Austria-France, 1769 (The Royal Diaries).