Robin Redbreast

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

Friday, September 30, 2011

Cinderella #269 Kragerunpels (Crow-skin Gown)

Cinderella #269 Kragerunpels (Crow-skin Gown)
If Cinderella had worn
this style of shoe, the prince
would not so easily have
grabbed one! 
Once upon a time, "the King of England's son wooed the beautiful daughter of the King of Denmark, but he is not allowed to wed her." So this beautiful princess "goes to her mother's grave" and asks advice at the lonely grave. The mother's spirit communicates to her that the girl muse demand that her father give her "a gown of gold brocade, one of silver brocade, and a crow-skin gown." Then, when she has these three gowns in hand, she should call for her carriage. She must chant"Light before me, dark behind me! None shall see whither I speed!" This is how she travels to England, without anyone knowing where she has gone. When she has crossed the border, she "leaves the carriage in the town, and, dressed in the crow-skin gown," looks for work there. She finds a position in the scullery of the castle. Soon it is Sunday, and she asks permission to go to church. It is granted, and she secretly changes into her gown of gold brocade. The next Sunday, she goes again, dressed in silver. In fact, "thrice she goes to church" and each time, the prince of England chances to sit next to her. On the second Sunday, he manages to snatch "half her finger ring" before she flees. On the third, it is one of her shoes that he snatches. Some time passes, in which the prince of England searches for the princess of Denmark. At last, something happens. Still dressed as a scullery maid, the princess finds an errand that takes her to the prince's table. Carrying the remaining bit of finger ring, one half of which the prince now possesses,"the other half she throws anon into his cup, and makes her self known to him." They rejoice at finding one another, and are married at once. 
From: Cox, M.R. (1893/2011) p. 238
Notes: This is yet another Marian Roalfe Cox story; once more it is a boiled down tale: the mother's grave, the strangely made cloak, the menial labor, and the lost shoe. Yet here are also a broken ring, silver and gold, and a church, rather than a ball, setting. Is the father "unnatural"? as Cox would say? We don't know. 

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Cinderella #268 Zoo Geren as Zout (As Much As Salt)

Cinderella #268 Zoo Geren  as Zout (As Much As Salt)
Are you hungry enough
to eat a pigeon — without salt?
Once upon a time, in Germany, there lived "a King, who asked his three daughters how glad they are to see him." The oldest said, "As glad as the sun." The second answered, "I like you as the light of my eyes." It was the youngest who replied that she liked him as much as salt. At that, the King said that she ought "to be ashamed of herself for not liking him better than salt, which is nearly valueless."Then he throws her out of the house. She goes away for a time, and makes a plan. She decides that when festival time comes, she will trick her father and teach him a lesson. So when the festival is under way, she dresses up as a page and goes to the castle. There she creeps into the kitchen, and greets her old friend, Cook. Sharing her plan with the kind old lady goes exactly as planned, and, when the King is served his supper that night he gets a surprise. The festival celebration means that the very best of everything is on display, and his majesty has expected that the food will be spectacular. Instead, "all the dishes — soup, meat, venison — are so unappetizing that he refuses them all. He calls for Cook, who comes in shaking with fear. That's when the page jumps up and says to the King, "It was by my order, your majesty, that no salt was put in the dishes.." Now the King demands to know just who this insolent page is. That is when she pulls off her disguise, and the King realizes that it is his youngest child. He must choose between admitting that he has made a mistake,( in which case the Cook will salt his meat) and forgiving his daughter, or insisting still that salt has no value, (in which case he must eat a tasteless meal). He wisely forgives his daughter. The food is salted, and they live happily after that. 
From Cox, M. R. (1893/2011) p. 416
Notes: This story shows a sweet variant (I think so, anyway) in which there is no prince or romantic love. The girl wants only the love of her father,and when she gets this back, it is enough to make her live happily ever after. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Cinderella #267: J.Sainsbury's Pure Tea Picture Book (Dover)

Cinderella #267: J.Sainsbury's Pure Tea Picture Book (Dover)
Doves flew in through the kitchen window. 
Once upon a time, there was a businessman who's first wife had died. The one he had taken in her place was "an unpleasant and proud woman". Both of her daughters were of the same disposition. Within days after the wedding, the woman ceased any kindness towards her stepdaughter. The girl was forced "to do all the dirty and menial chores around the house." Her only bed was a pile of straw, while her stepsisters slept on silk cushions. She was sustained in her hardships by "the doves that came in through the kitchen window" and kept her company. At each day's end, she slumped amongst the cinders from exhaustion. That is how her stepsisters got the idea to call her Cinderella. It happened one day that "the King's son gave a ball — but Cinderella was not allowed to go." At least, that's what her stepmother said. But when Cinderella was left alone, and sat down to cry, she heard a voice. It was her fairy godmother, who "asked her if she, too, would like to go to the ball." Of course she would! So the fairy "magically produced a beautiful dress and glass slippers for her". Then she transformed "a pumpkin, six  mice, and a rat into a fine coach", pulled by six mouse-gray horses, and driven by a ratty, if natty, looking coachman. Now the fairy godmother "made Cinderella promise that she would return home from the ball before midnight." The consequences for ignoring this warning would be that "she would be changed back into raggedy old Cinderella right then and there", and the coach would once more be a pumpkin. Her horses would revert to being mice, and the coachman would grow a fine, long tail. When she got to the ball, the King's son "went to greet her, offered her his arm and led her into the great hall." They danced all evening, but then the beautiful girl ran away. The next night there was to be another ball, and Cinderella begged permission to attend that one as well. So the next evening she went, and this time, "she completely lost track of time." In her desperation to flee, she slipped and lost one of her lovely little slippers. Finding it later, the prince vowed to follow its owner. The next day, "he announced that he would marry the lady whom the slipper fitted." Soon, he came to the home of Cinderella. Of course her stepsisters tried it on first, and of course, it did not fit them. That's when Cinderella pulled out the other slipper, and put it on. All of a sudden, "her godmother appeared, and, waving her wand, changed Cinderella back into a beautiful princess." She and the prince were soon married, "and they had a very happy life together."
From: Cinderella: A Full Color Picture Book. (J.Sainsbury's Pure Tea/Dover, 1993)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Cinderella #266 Cinderella Ate Her Mother! or La Cuzza Tzenere (The Ash Girl of the Dog Kennel)

Cinderella #266 Cinderella Ate Her Mother! 
 La Cuzza Tzenere (The Ash Girl of the Dog Kennel)
Cinderella ATE her MOTHER!
Note: Contains violence. Once upon a time, there was a woman with three daughters. Though all three were employed, they could not earn enough between them for their own keep. One day, as they sat together spinning, they "determined that the one who drops her spindle three times shall be killed and eaten by the others."But when the eldest sister commands the youngest to do the bloody deed, thrusting an axe into her hands, the girl refuses. When another of her sisters runs "to fetch the hatchet", the girl snatches a moment with her mother, telling her that, no matter what, she won't eat her. The mother then gives her child a wand of ash wood, and tells her to "collect her bones when [her] sisters have killed and eaten her." Mama explains that the bones can grant her wishes if she is in sore need. So, when the mother is slain, and the elder sisters begin to munch upon her, the youngest child sits, hungry but not eating, under the table. As her sisters tossed the bones down to the floor, she gathered them together. Within a week, Mama had been eaten all up, and the girl had a compete skeleton. She now buried this under the hearth.  Soon "it is carnival time" and the older sisters are getting ready for the ball. They each give their little sisters "3 measures of millet" to be ground by the time they get back  "or they will beat her". After they leave, the girl remembers the bones and wand. She taps the hearth three times and "hears a voice asking what it is she wants". She explains about the millet and there appears "a crowd of birds, which undertake to perform [the] task". Then she washes and dresses, and wishes for "a dress and shoes to match". They are given to her. When she gets downstairs, there is an elegant coach awaiting her. She goes to the ball, and, when the prince see her, will dance with no other. Just as the music ends, the girl hurries home. Changing clothes quickly, she is asleep among the cinders when her sisters get home. The next day, each sister orders her to grind "four measures of corn" before they return from the party. This time, their little sister is aided by a flock of chickens, courtesy of their dead mother's bones. Again she goes to the ball, and again, the king's son is smitten by her. Yet she runs away once more, just as the music ends. When the royal servants try  to follow the coach,she turns and throws "a handful of gold to detain pursuers". On the morning of the final carnival ball, each of the older sisters gives "thirty pounds of wool" to the youngest, ordering her to card it by midnight. Again she is helped, this time by a band of mighty little mice summoned by the voice of the bones. This time, she goes to the ball "in a dress covered with stars".The king's son has planned for this night, asking that the floor near the exit be smeared with tar after the strange girl enters. When she runs away on that fateful third night, a shoe is left behind in the black goo. The very next day, a proclamation is read around town: every household will be visited by the prince, as he seeks the girl who can wear the shoe he caught in tar. " When the shoe and prince arrive at this house, and the older sisters try it on, it does not fit. "The shoe is too narrow for one, too short for the other." Then the king's son demands to know if there are other girls in the house. When one sister says there are and the other says there aren't, he becomes suspicious. He orders the girls to bring their sister. Now they try and fix the raggy thing up a bit, offering her some of their own garments. ("No, really! I'll let you wear this top. I mean, no offense but, um, you king of look know, a cinder girl...") She replies something along the lines of , "Thanks, but no thanks." Then she waves the wand over their mother's bones, causing the dress of stars to appear. Quickly slipping this on, she wishes again for the other shoe. Then she goes out to the prince, in her glittering dress, with one bare foot. He "recognizes her the instant he sees her, fits the other shoe on her, and takes her to be his bride."
From: Cox, M. R. (1893/2011) p. 416 "Narrated and written down in Italian by Signorina Alodia Riboldi," (1889)
Notes: OMG! Peggy Orenstein, read this and weep. Sorry about Cinderella eating your daughter and all (did she spit  her out yet?) but here is a truly unique twist to the tail!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Cinderella #265 Walt Disney's Cinderella (1950)

Cinderella #265 Walt Disney's Cinderella (1950)
Illustration by
Retta Scott Worcester
Once upon a time, there was a very nice fellow who had a grand home, and all the comforts which money could buy. He also had a little girl, and he gave her "a pony, a puppy named Bruno, and many beautiful dresses." For all that, the child was unhappy, because she had no mother. So her father decided to find a wife. When he did find a lady, she had two daughters of her own. Perfect for his own little girl, or so he thought. Then tragedy struck: the good man died. His daughter was now but an orphan step-child to the lady, and she was none too kind. She made the girl sleep in the attic, and toil among the cinders all day. Because she was always sooty from the fireplace, her stepsisters began calling her Cinderella. Her only friends were "guess who—the mice!" She made little outfits for them and "they thought Cinderella was the sweetest girl in the world". She loved animals, and every morning, she "set a bowl of milk for the Stepmother's disagreeable cat...fed grain to the chickens and ducks and geese." She took breakfast trays upstairs every morning, and carried down dirty laundry and spilling chamber pots. When her long list of chores was done, said Stepmother, "Then you may rest." It happened one day that an invitation came from the King. There was to be a ball and "every girl in the land" was invited. So Cinderella said,"I am invited too!" and danced with joy. That's when her stepmother mocked her, saying, "If you finish your work and if you have something suitable to wear. I said if." No one was surprised when the big night came and Cinderella was left behind. But she was surprised when she went back to her room, because the mice "had been gathering discarded items from the stepsisters' rooms to fix a party dress for her". Her stepmother's coach had not left yet; maybe she could still ride in it! She dressed quickly, then ran out to join her family. But her stepsister's greed was such that they grabbed at her dress, tearing off the little scraps they had once thrown away. Now "Cinderella ran to the garden and cried as though her heart would break." Suddenly, she saw "a sweet-faced little woman" beside her, saying, "I am your Fairy Godmother." Then the old woman asked her to fetch a pumpkin, some mice and "Bruno, the dog". When the lovely orange coach was ready, with a team of mouse-gray horses and a canine coachman, the fairy beckoned for her to hop in. Then Cinderella said, "But my dress—" so the fairy waved her wand once more. Then there appeared "the most beautiful gown in the world, and tiny glass slippers."Away she went to the ball. When the prince saw her enter, he asked her to dance. The King "motioned to the musicians, and they struck up a dreamy waltz." Then Cinderella and the prince "swirled across the dance floor". Suddenly, the clock began to strike twelve. Cinderella ran out the door. "One of her little glass slippers fell off, but she could not stop." She made it home just before her stepsisters. The next day, two things happened. The news came that the prince was seeking the mysterious maiden who had lost a slipper the night before, and planning to marry her! And Cinderella walked around "humming a waltzing tune", which made her stepmother put two and two together. That is why she locked Cinderella in her room, high at the top of a winding, wooden staircase. But her friends the mice promised her that they would find the key. Meanwhile, "the house was in a flurry" because the royal messenger had arrived with the glass shoe. Now "each stepsister tried to forcer her foot into the tiny glass slipper." They could not. While no one was looking, a little mouse climbed Stepmother's apron, and dropped into her pocket. It bobbed up a moment later with the key, and scurried away. A few moments later, just as the royal messenger was about to depart, Cinderella rushed in and said, "May I try the slipper on?" When the messenger agreed, Stepmother "tripped the servant with the slipper. Crash! It splintered into a thousand pieces." But Cinderella drew the other glass slipper from her pocket and slipped it on. Before long she was married and "Princess of the land. And she and her husband, the charming Prince, rode to their palace in a golden coach to live happily ever after!"
From: Walt Disney's Cinderella: A Little Golden Book Classic (1950)
Notes: The illustrations in this book are lovely, with rich colors and many compelling details. What has happened to the Disney books? Why are they so much uglier today than they were in 1950? I have another lovely Disney Cinderella from 1974, and it too has wonderful colors and perspectives. The brand new Little Golden Book Cinderella, (2009) has illustrations that have shrunk by about 2/3 and way too much print. Even the wording from the older books is well done, with rich vocabulary and a succinct story line. This book shows me for the first time that the original Disney Cinderella story was indeed taken from the Perrault version. Here that tale is hewed closely too, with the exception of the dog as coachman and the mice who actually steal the key. Note that the mice do not talk yet, and are show as tiny, mouse sized creatures rather than the grotesque, overgrown and gaudily dressed fake-animals of the current story. 
P.S. I just love the king! I think when I was little I associated him with Old King Cole, that merry old soul, and Santa Claus. The king is a symbol of plenty. 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Cinderella #264 retold by Davidson, S. & Fiorin, F.

Cinderella #264 retold by Davidson, S. & Fiorin, F.
Illustration by
Fiorin, F. 
Once upon a time, an angry voice, belonging to  a cruel stepmother, shouted out,"Cinderella! Come and clean my bedroom at once!". Her stepdaughter came running at once. She had been right in the middle of making lunch for her stepsisters, mixing their "usual revolting dishes" of "sausage trifle and cabbage and custard". As she passed her stepsisters on the stairs, they jeered at her, saying,"What's little Cinders doing today, then?" and "She's sweeping away cobwebs, like a servant."Just then, the doorbell rang. The postman brought an invitation to "a Christmas Ball"! But when Cinderella asked her father if she could go, he "coughed and turned away". Cinderella figured that he was "too scared of Stepmother" to help her. Then the stepsisters went shopping for their party clothes. Grimmella "wanted to wear a hat decorated with stuffed birds". The other stepsister, Griselda, "chose a lime green dress with yellow spots". Even though they wouldn't let Cinderella go to the ball, they made her go shopping with them because she had such good taste. But when she suggested less ostentatious choices, they cried,"We must look grander than everyone else!" And when the night came, and the girls were finished styling their hair and putting their gladrags on, their mother said,"Oh my Tinkerbells, you look wonderful!" Then she turned to Cinderella and said,"Put up the Christmas decorations while we're gone." Once she was alone, however, all Cinderella could do was to sit down and cry. That's when she heard a crash. "There, in the fireplace, covered in soot, was her Fairy Godmother." Apparently she had "missed the door". She hadn't been to see Cinderella in years, but here she was! When she found out the cause of her god-child's sorrow, she declared," Fantastic Felicity is here to help." and sent the girl out for "a large pumpkin", as well as the mousetrap. When she had tapped the pumpkin with a wand, it became "a beautiful golden coach". The inhabitants of the mouse trap, "six mice, one fat rat, all alive", were turned into a team of six horses and driver. Two lizards from behind the water can became lizards. and Cinderella's ragged dress was transformed into "a dazzling dress of silver and gold". Her shoes became "a perfect pair of glass slippers". Off to the ball she went, promising to be home by midnight. Once the prince saw the gorgeous gal in the silver and gold gown, he didn't want to dance with anyone else. But suddenly, "as the prince whirled her around the room, she caught sight of the clock" and fled. She made it home just before her sisters. That's when she discovered that she had lost a shoe! The very next morning, a Royal Messenger came around, carrying a shoe on a pillow. He said that he had orders from the prince to try the shoe on every maiden in the kingdom. When he got to Cinderella's house, Grimmella pushed her way to the pillow, and grabbed the shoes. She tried to jam them on her feet, but they would not go, even though her mother yelled, "Squeeze, Grimmella! You're not trying hard enough." Griselda did no better. The stepmother tried to get rid of the man before he caught sight of Cinderella, but it was too late. Then Grimella said,"She's just a servant. You needn't bother with her!" But just then, Cinderella's father walked in. He started to say something, but was drowned out by his wife. Then he finally shouted, "Cinderella has as much right to try on the slipper as anyone." So she stepped forward, and held out her foot. "Oh Papa!" she said, as the slipper slid easily on. Even though it was obviously a perfect fit, her stepmother screamed, "She can't be a princess. I won't allow it!" She yelled at the messenger to go away, and tried to push him out the door. That's when "the messenger swept off his hat and cloak" and they all realized that he was actually the prince. He told Cinderella that he had looked all over his whole kingdom to find her, and asked, "Will you marry me?" Of course she said that she would. Then the fairy came back and caused a "starry mist" to float over the room. "Time for a little more magic" she declared, and gave Cinderella" a dress twice as lovely as the one of silver and gold. The prince and Cinderella were soon married, and lived together in joy. But Griselda and Grimmella and their mother did not enjoy harmony. Their mother never forgave them for missing the chance to become princesses, telling them, "It's all your fault for having such big feet."
From: Cinderella by Susanna Davidson, illustrated by Fabiano Fiorin (2004) England: Usborne Publishing Ltd.
Notes: This is a really cute little book, divided into five easy reader chapters. 
I love the English touches to this tale: the Christmas ball, the cabbage and custard, the sausage trifle. It is also nice to see Cinderella's father showing some back bone, for once in a blue moon of stories. 

Saturday, September 24, 2011

English Vintage Firework 'Cinderella Joy Bomb'

Cinderella #263: Oh, my, how I want to have this. I so badly want the little dolls, and would so love to turn the box myself.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Cinderella #262 Vesle Brune Oks (Little Brown Ox)

Cinderella #262 Vesle Brune Oks (Little Brown Ox
The Ox of the Wonderful Horns
Once upon a time, in Sweden, there lived a very poor man with many children. When his eldest was barely shaving his beard, he was sent out into the world to earn his own keep. He wandered until he came to a village, then begged for work. He was taken on as ox herd by a cruel, selfish woman who barely fed him enough to keep him alive. At last, when the boy is on the brink of starvation, something amazing happens. One day, "when the rest of the cattle are sleeping, a magic ox amongst them turns his ear to the boy, who finds therein butter, cakes, and cheese." After John has eaten his fill, the ox says, "Drink from my horn.' Thence, he drinks beer, has never tasted better." As John begins to gain weight and strength, his mistress grows suspicious. She sends her daughter to spy upon him then, and discovers his secret. Now the woman orders that the magical brown ox be slain. John begs to be allowed to swing the axe to kill it, and is given leave to do so. But "he takes the axe and happens to strike the mistress on the head. She faints." Then John and the brown ox run away. After some time, they come to an assembly of horsemen. It turns out that each is taking a turn to ride up a very steep mountain, for at the top sits a princess. She "is holding a twig of gold, a twig of silver, and one of tin". If a man reaches the top of the mountain and she's just not that into him, she will give him the twig of tin. If a man rides up and is desirable to her, she will give him the twig of silver. And if a horseman reaches the top of the mountain, and she finds that she loves him, she will "give him the golden twig". No one has made it to the top yet, but John rides his magical ox straight up the mountain. The princess gives him the gold twig and "from that day, the little brown ox stands in the king's stable, and is caressed and cared for like the most beautiful horse."
From: Cox., M. R. (1893/2011) p. 456
Notes: This story is something of a predecessor, it would seem, to the tale of the Princess on the Glass Mountain. It is also strikingly similar to the African folktale of The Ox With the Wonderful Horns. 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Cinderella #261 Guldtæning (Gold-dice;1857)

Cinderella #261 Guldtæning (Gold-dice;1857)

Illustration by
Arthur Rackham
Once upon a time, as a farmer's wife told the tale, there was " a king who has three daughters, the youngest named Guldtæning." It happened that war broke out in the kingdom. To keep his daughters safe, the king buries them in a mound with "victuals for seven years". But the war drags on. The king himself is killed, and the seven years have passed. There is no more food, and "after they have eaten the dog and the cat, the two elder die of hunger." The younger girl survives, and digs her way to the surface. There, she catches a little mouse, "which she skins and eats". This gives her enough strength to make her way over the burned and scarred landscape, to the castle, which once belonged to her father. She begs for work there, and is given tasks, "first as gooseherd, then as cook". It turns out that the king of the castle has been betrothed to a woman he has never met. When she arrives for the wedding ceremony, the servants see that she is "very ugly". Furthermore, she "gives birth on the wedding day". Then this bride-to-be sends for a servant to change places with her. Guldtæning is sent, and switches clothes with her. The ugly bride warns her not to speak a word to anyone on the way to church, and not to reveal her face. But when Guldtæning approaches the horse, "it knows her instantly, and bows to her." She whispers to it,"Bow not to me, Dear Black, my steed. The last maid that rode thee was I, indeed." When the prince asks what she just said, she does not reply. Next they ride over a bridge, and she says,"The bridge was built firm by my father, they say. Not to tremble on Guldtæning's wedding day. Now a raven flies by, and the disguised former princess sings,"The raven black o'erhead is flying; the bride in the oven-hole is lying. She bears a son, there's no denying." She won't answer the prince's queries about why she has sung these lines. As they walk on, Guldtæning sees "a mouse-skin, fastened to a stick." She says, very quietly, "Ah! The gray mouse still is there. These little fingers skinned it bare. If only less cruel had been my need, I would rather have died than have done this deed." They go on to church and are married. Then the prince gives her one of the gloves that he is wearing, telling her to put it on. When they get back to the castle, the women exchange dresses again, and the true, ugly bride goes to the prince. He asks her immediately what she told the horse. She excuses herself and runs quickly to ask Guldtæning what she had said. Then she goes and tells the prince. But now he wants to know what she told the bridge. Again, she runs away and returns a few minutes later. Exasperated, the prince demands that she tell him, at once, what she sang to the raven, and that she return his glove. When she refuses, he becomes suspicious. That's when the prince hears a voice! It is Guldtæning and she has snuck up behind the ugly bride. She holds out the glove, which the prince accepts. Then "the princess is sentenced to death, for deception, and prince and heroine live happily together."
From: Cox, M. R. (1893/2011) p. 228
Notes: This story gives a whole new twist to the mouse as animal helper. What would Disney say if Cinderella ate Gus instead of stitching him a beret? Even Mouse-Skins, and the Princess in Mouse Skins, didn't actually eat the mice...

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Cinderella #260 by Marineau, M. & Pratt, M. (2007)

Cinderella #260 by Marineau, M. & Pratt, M. (2007)
Illustration by
Pratt, M. 
Once upon a time, in Canada, "Cynthia lived with her father in a little house in a big city." Life was great, until her dad found another wife. During the ceremony, the new wife's two daughters "cried and carried on." That's when Cynthia realized that "life with these two is not going to be fun." Boy, was she right. Her lazy stepsisters soon found that they could make poor Cynthia do all of the housework while they "slept, watched TV, and slept some more". At night, tired from working all day, she "curled up in front of the fireplace, with only the cinders to keep her company." That's how her sisters got the idea to call her Cinderella. It happened one day that an announcement came from the king. It said that "he would throw a ball, and the whole family was invited." But the stepmother and her girls just laughed and said, "God heavens! How silly!" and told her to get back to work. When she was finally alone, Cynthia just sat down and cried. Then she heard a familiar voice. It said, "Stop feeling sorry for yourself this instant! You must take charge and change your own life, young lady." Now Cinderella said that she had no clothes, or jewels, or means of transportation, the fairy said that she needed some raw ingredients. She told Cinderella to get her "a nice ripe tomato, some vanilla yogurt, raisins, and...and...a dog." When these had been brought, she tapped each, once. There now appeared a bright red coach, a creamy silk gown, and "an usual chauffeur". The fairy wished her well, told her to be back by midnight, else the magic wear off, and reminded her "Smile! Without a smile, all the other stuff doesn't count." It was true: once the prince saw her, he watched her cross the room. When he smiled at her, and she smiled back, he was charmed. They spent the evening dancing together. Suddenly, the clock struck twelve. "Cinderella ran so fast that she lost her shoe." When she got home, all she could think was, "Wow!". She thought the prince was the most charming man she had ever met. Then her stepmother and sisters got home. All they could say was, "Wow!". They thought that the prince was the most charming they had ever met. It turned out that another of his personality traits was perseverance, for he undertook a thorough search for the girl who ran from the ball. So he travelled, and made people try and fit their feet into the shoe. But no one could. At last, "one morning, a delicate little foot slid gently into the shoe." When the prince saw the rest of the girl on the other end of the foot, he knew that he had found the one he sought. He asked her to marry him, and she said yes! "How could she resist those brown eyes, that noble profile, that speckled shirt?" The wedding was followed by a huge party, and "Cinderella and the prince lived happily ever after, surrounded by tomatoes, dogs, and lots of children."
From: Cinderella retold by Marineau, M., illustrated by Pratt, M. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Cinderella #259 Puppet Plays from Favorite Stories (1977)

Cinderella #259 Puppet Plays from Favorite Stories (1977)
by Mahlman, L. & Cadwalader Jones,D.
That's when her
Fairy Godmother appeared! 
Once upon a time, in a puppet theater run by children, there were the following characters: Narrator, Cinderella, Lena, (the skinny sister), Fatima (the fat sister), Stepmother, Oscar (the page), Prince Charming, and the Fairy Godmother. 
Scene 1
Setting is the kitchen hearth; Lena and Fatima are going through a trunk of clothes. The Narrator tells us that "there were once three girls who lived with their stern mother in a little house not far from Prince Charming's castle." Lena and Fatima were not kind to Cinderella. They said things like,"lazy good-for-nothing". Her own mother ordered her around, making her do all the work. She often said something like,"You haven't picked up after your sisters! Look at this mess!" And when Cinderella pointed out that she'd been doing her other chores all day long, they all sneered. So, when an invitation to the prince's special ball came, this is what they said: Fatima:"Cinderella thinks she's going to the ball. The prince certainly wouldn't look at her." Lena: "Not in those rags she wears." 
Scene 2
Narrator: "And so the two vain sisters and their wicked mother got ready for the Prince's ball". They made Cinderella help them, with stitching and ironing, curling and braiding. When finally they have gone, Cinderella sits down to cry. And that is when she hears a voice! It says,"I am your fairy godmother! I heard you crying. May I help you?" And then she provides  beautiful gown, and dancing slippers. Then she says, "Here are some mice for horses, two lizards for coachmen and a pumpkin for the coach. Now watch!" And with a flick of her magic wand, they are transformed into a team of  horses and a fine carriage. Now Cinderella promises to be back before midnight, and away she goes. 
Scene 3 
"The courtyard in front of the castle...a large clock face is on the wall." Inside, the prince's page, Oscar, asks him,"Are you having a good time at your ball, Prince?" And the prince replied, "I guess so." But he didn't sound like he meant it. And when Oscar asked whether he'd chosen a bride, the prince said no. None of the girls were just right. That's when Oscar asked him about "the third sister" who had come with their mother. They had met three girls at the house; where was she now? And then Cinderella arrived! The prince saw her and said, pretending that he was not the prince, "I'm sure the prince would welcome a beautiful lady such as you at any time. Let me take you inside," They danced together all evening, but suddenly, Cinderella shouts, "I must go!" and runs away. Though the prince pleads with her, she will not come back. In running away, one slipper is left behind. 
Scene 4 
Narrator: "Cinderella rushed back to the little house as the coach disappeared and a pumpkin rolled into the gutter." All night, she dreams of the man she danced with, and the next morning she is late getting up. Her mother scolds her, but just then, "there is a knock at the door". It is, of course, the prince, carrying Cinderella's lost shoe. Of course Fatima and Lena try like anything to get their feet into the shoe. But Fatima's foot is "about a foot too long" and Lena nearly breaks the shoe in half, her feet are so wide. Then the prince says, "Perhaps we had better let the other girl try." And Cinderella steps into the room saying, "I've finished cleaning." That is when the fairy godmother appears, and says, "Let her try [the slipper on], my good woman." to the mother. So Cinderella does, and the shoe fits. "Impossible!" cries the stepmother, denying that the slipper fit, and that Cinderella had been to the ball. But the prince recognizes her and says, "Will you marry me?" Cinderella says that she will, and that she loves him "with all my heart". 
Narrator:"And so the prince married Cinderella and they all lived happily ever after — except for Lena and Fatima — ever after. (Curtain)
From Puppet Plays from Favorite Stories by Mahlman, L. & Cadwalader Jones, D. (1977)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Cinderella #258 Hello Kitty in "Cinderella" - Part 1

 Cinderella #258 Hello Kitty.
Oh my, is this ever cute! The Cinderella story translates very nicely to Japanese culture. This one goes out to all the girls for all the days that we endured under a wicked stepmother. We know who we are!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Cinderella #257 The Cinderella Hour by Katherine Stone (2005)

Cinderella #257 The Cinderella Hour by Katherine Stone (2005)
A pair of little dolls.
Left: An English girl in a gingham gown.
Right: An American mini-doll from the 1960's.
Adult fiction, 346 pages.Once upon a time, in Chicago, there lived an obsessive-compulsive mother with a little girl she called Snow. As a single mother, she supported her child with an assortment of telephone related business endeavours. At first, the mother conducted these in the bathroom, for privacy. But "once Snow was old enough to understand the conversations were make-believe", and her mother knew that she would stay silent, "they'd typically share the same space during the calls." Now, fastforward sixteeen years. The setting is the Hilltop Country Club, the event the Glass Slipper Ball. That is where Snow hears a voice. "Snow! You look radiant!' Fairy-Godmother Vivian exclaimed. 'That pink is fabulous on you!"  But great sorrow was to follow Snow. A baby, conceived in joy, and experienced as a tender, growing spirit, perished suddenly. Tiny Wendy, "wasn't the joyful mermaid Snow had envisioned frolicking in an amniotic fluid sea, swimming lap after lap as her daddy — who didn't want her — did." Through the ensuing years Wendy, Daniel and Thomas, and, of course Snow, suffer through the stages of life and death, grief and sorrow, loss and reunion. In the end, another little girl is born. They call her Julie, and she is healthy and thrives. And "in loving Julie, they loved their Wendy too". They believed that "although she would never grow up to dance and dream, as Julie would, Wendy was dancing somewhere, in a pink satin gown with a sapphire shoe."

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Cinderella #256 Jump at the Sun Fairy-tale Classics: Cinderella

Cinderella #256 Jump at the Sun Fairy-tale Classics: Cinderella
It was her fairy godmother! 
Once upon a time, "there lived a girl named Cinderella, who was very beautiful and very kind." She lived in a house with a red roof. So did "her mean old stepmother and her two evil stepsisters." They did not even let Cinderella go anywhere, except out to do her chores, so she made friends with the little animals. Cinderella's indoor chores included wiping "the cinders from the fireplace". She also had to wait on her stepsisters, doing all of the things that most people do for themselves.  All day, every day, Cinderella cleaned and did laundry, styled her sisters' hair and cooked dinner. It happened one day that "a royal messenger knocked on their door." He read a letter from the king, saying,"Every girl in the kingdom is invited" to a party at the palace. Her stepsisters laughed,"Every girl but Cinderella!". Then they ran off to get their gowns ready for the big event. They were made of silks and ribbons, diamonds and gold. At last the big night came, and "the evil threesome were dressed and on their way." That's when her meanest stepsister sneered,"If yiou were clean of cinders and had something to wear, Cinderella, you could go too!" Then she ran off laughing. Cinderella knew that, by the end of the evening, the prince would have chosen a wife. How sad she felt! And then "a gentle wind of pixie dust and sparkles formed around her. Then someone appeared." It was her fairy godmother! In the moonlight, Cinderella could see that the old woman's skin was a warm brown, just like her own. Now the old fairy said," You will go to the royal ball and meet the prince! Make haste! I need five mice, a rabbit, and a pumpkin." So Cinderella ran to the garden,"called to the animals"  and they quickly came.  Then the fairy changed them into "five sturdy horses". The rabbit became "an elegant coachman" and the pumpkin was transformed into a coach. Before she knew it, Cinderella was on her way to the ball. But she remembered the fairy's warning that the magic would wear off at midnight. She looked so lovely that when she got to the ball, the prince asked her to dance right away. They "danced and they danced and they danced". And then the clock struck the first toll of the midnight hour. So she fled, but "as she ran down the stairs, the prince found the tiny glass slipper she had left behind." The next day, the prince began his search. He stopped at each house in the village, looking for maidens with small feet. When he got to Cinderella's house, "each of her stepsisters tried, but couldn't get one toe into the tiny glass slipper. Then the prince saw Cinderella. As soon as he saw her again, he knew that she was the one for him. So he asked," Will you be my wife?' Cinderella said,"Yes, I will.' And they lived happily ever after."
From: Jump at the Sun Fairy Tale Classics: Cinderella. (2004) New York: Hyperion Books for Children
Notes: In this lovely tale, you will find the traditional Perrault retelling, with a couple of nice twists. The first is that everyone in the whole story is black. The fairy godmother, the prince, the sisters, Cinderella, everyone. Also the appearance of a rabbit! Rabbits are traditional helpers in many cultures, including those of the African continent, and African American derivatives such as Brer Rabbit. 

Friday, September 16, 2011

Cinderella #255 A Lovely Night (Rodgers & Hammerstein,1958)

Illustration by Rackham, A.

Once upon a time, in the USA, there were two men who wrote some of the best songs ever heard. While singing about Cinderella, they showed us the excitement of a night at the palace, and gave us a breath of the sweet scent of a summer night. 
"Refrain: A lovely night, a lovely night, a finer night you'll never see. You meet your prince..." well, of course he is "a charming one". Rodgers and Hammerstein go on to visualize "the stars in a hazy heaven" trembling above the two lovers. Then Cinderella runs, with "on her lips, a kiss", which she will always remember, that "lovely, lovely night."
From: The Rodgers and Hammerstein Songbook. Simon & Shuster Inc. and Williamson Inc. (1958)
I don't think this one here, on Amazon, is the one that I used. Mine came from the LINK+ network, via the Berkeley Public Library. 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Grandpa & Grandma Like Cinderella Too!

Notes: Oh, how these people made me laugh! So sweet, so funny! They remind me so much of my own darling Grandma and Grandpa, now gone.

Cinderella #254 Super Why! Cinderella Sticker Stories (With Over 74 Stickers!)

Cinderella #254 Super Why! Cinderella Sticker Stories (With Over 74 Stickers!)
"Hi Cinderella. We're the Super Readers!"
said Super Why. (Grosset & Dunlap,2009)
Once upon a time, there were some Readers who were really Super! Their names were "Alpha Pig with Alphabet Power, Wonder Red With Word Power, Princess Presto with Spelling Power, and Super Why with Power to Read!"  They were all trying to help their friend, Red Riding Hood, with a big problem. She was invited to a princess party, but she doesn't have "princess-y things". The Readers agreed that this was a problem, and then did what they always did when they needed advice. They chanted their magical chant, and "a book floated down from the bookshelf. The title was Cinderella." That's how they got the idea to jump right into the book. "Super-Readers, to the rescue!" the four sang out while they zoomed in. First, Princess Presto uses her Spelling Wand to spell d-r-e-s-s, and a lovely one appears for Cinderella. Then, when the clock strikes twelve, something even better happens. Instead of having to G-O, Super Why helps Cinderella spell S-T-A-Y! 
From Super Why! Cinderella Sticker Stories (2009) Grossett & Dunlap
Notes: I think this story is funny and practical; I like the background message of do your own thing and don't let anyone tell you that you can't do something. At least not until you have had the chance to try it. In any case, if you like stickers, especially Cinderella stickers, you will love this book. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Cinderella #253 Krakskinns-raja (The Crow Skin Cloak)

Cinderella #253 Krakskinns-raja (The Crow Skin Cloak)
"Im cold!" complained the apple.
Once upon a time, in Upland, there lived a sad orphaned girl. Her mother had died, and her father remarried. Alas, her dear father then died, leaving her with her stepmother and stepsisters. They were cruel, and ill-treated her. The slow years passed until all three girls were of age. Then there came an invitation that they, along with other maidens in the kingdom, were summoned to the palace. From among them, the prince would choose his bride. The cunning stepsisters would risk no chance of their puny step-sister winning the prince, so they give her "a sleeping draught". By the time the poor girl awakens, they have nearly reached the palace. Meanwhile, Little Crow Skin has awakened. Realizing what has happened, she sets off down the road. As the stepsisters travel the last mile towards the palace, they have some unusual encounters. First an apple, "complaining of cold" is passed on the street. The stepsisters "urge the driver to lash it with a whip". But shortly, they pass a pear blocking the road, complaining loudly of the cold. Again, the stepsisters command their driver to beat the fruit. Next they are blocked by a plum, which is beaten nearly to jam with the whip, and on they go to the palace. When along comes the girl in the Crow Skin Cloak, she too finds a large, red apple in her path, shivering and complaining of the cold. "Poor thing!' she said, and popped it "into her bosom". Along she went, and soon came to the pear. It was yellow, with a green stem, and plump with juice. But it cried out, saying that the weather had turned cold. So Little Crow Skin tucked this fruit into her bosom as well. And no sooner had she taken a dozen steps than she came across a ripe, purple plum, plop! in the middle of the path. It too eyed Little Crow's bosom and said it was cold. Little Crow skin squeezed it in with the apple and the pear, and went along her way. She planned to take service at the castle, and see if she couldn't meet the prince in that way. When she knocked at the kitchen door, the Cook said that she could use a scullery maid, and so began Crow Skin's time of menial service. When Sunday came, she got permission to go to church. First she went into her chamber and drew out the apple, to ask its advice. But it had changed into a fine gown of apple red! So she put it on, and went to church. Who should sit next to her but the prince himself, and so nervous was Little Crow Skin at his presence that she fled as soon as she could. The following Sunday, she thought to consult the pear for advice. When she drew it out, it transformed into a lovely dress of sunshine yellow, a green ribbon at the throat. Again she entered the church, and again the prince sat next to her. The moment the service was over, she fled. On the third Sunday, Crow Skin went to church one more time, this time in a gown of plum-purple. And this time, the prince tried to grab the girl before she could run. Yet he so startled her that as she ran, she lost one of her shoes. All the prince could do was clutch this as she disappeared. The next day, the prince decreed that all maidens must assemble at the palace. They were to "sit behind a curtain and put their foot out", so the girls all went over. A great long curtain had been hung and the line of maidens passed behind this barrier. At a signal, each put out her foot, and the prince tried the shoe upon it. The foot it slides onto is none other than that of Crow Skin. She is pulled from behind the curtain and revealed in her tattered cloak of feathers. That is when she takes it off, revealing the purple gown. Of course the prince recognizes her now, and she has passed the "shoe marriage test"! The wedding is held the following week, and they live happily on. 
From Cox, M. R. (1893/2011) p. 49
Notes: OK, this is a very cool transformation, from fruit to gown. I love the colors invoked by the apple, pear, and plum. They are so rich and vivid when you are fortunate to have real ones around in abundance. I am thankful for that, and so very grateful that I live with fresh fruit outside. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Cinderella #252 Cinderella: Fun with Flaps

Cinderella #252 Cinderella: Fun with Flaps
If only you could turn the flap,
and see the gowns!
Once upon  a time, there lived "a pretty girl named Cinderella". She had two stepsisters, who were so mean that "everyone called them the Ugly Sisters." They made her do all of the cooking and cleaning, and they did not have modern gas and electric appliances. (Note: here Cinderella is on her knees scrubbing while dressed in rags; turn flap to see her stand and blush as she accepts the Royal Invitation). But her stepmother said,"You're not going to the ball, Cindderella!". Then she ordered the girl to make new outfits for the Ugly Sisters. (See Ugly Stepsisters in their ugly uderwear; turn flap to see them in green and blue gowns.) The big day finally arrived, and Cinderella was kept working right up until the Ugly Sisters left. That is when "a lady appeared", saying, "I am your Fairy Godmother. Why are you crying?" When Cinderella said that she was disappointed at not being able to go to the ball, the fairy said that she could go after all! But first,  she would need "a pumpkin, six mice, a rat, and two lizards". Waving her magic wand, the fairy transformed these into a coach, six white horses, a coachman, and two footmen. Cinderella went to the ball, and danced with the prince. But "then the clock started to strike twelve! Cinderella fled." (see her flee, then turn flap to see the prince finding her shoe). In the morning, the Ugly Sisters chatted about the Prince, and how he had found the shoe of the lovely, mysterious girl who had run away from him at the ball. They schemed, saying to each other that the prince was searching each house for the right maiden. They agreed that when he came to their house, they would not let Cinderella try the shoe. One sister said,"I will put on the slipper. Then the prince will have to marry me."...
From: Cinderella with Flaps. Barron's Canada 
NOTE: This book is missing pages, which is really cruel. Let's make up the rest of the story:
When the prince arrived at the Ugly Sister's house, he saw several girls. One of them pushed to the front of the line, and pushed her foot into the shoe. It fit! Kind of. So the prince married her the next day. They had their first fight the next night, and the new bride moved back home a month later. They have since divorced. 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Cinderella #251 The Cinderella Rules by Kauffman, D.

Cinderella #251 The Cinderella Rules by Kauffman, D. 
Note: Not for kids.
Glitter and pizazz, girls, glitter and pizazz!
Once upon a time, there was a girl named Darby. When she was eleven years old, and her baby sister, Pepper, was not even one yet, their mother died. Their father was rich, however, and maintained a series of housekeepers to care for the girls. They grew up lonely, if in splendor. Two decades later, the sisters have a fractious relationship. In Ch. 1 we learn what Darby really thinks about her sister, during a phone call. "I get the picture.' Darby broke in, trying like hell not to visualize a Braziian guys with brown, stringy coconut balls hanging between his legs." When Pepper had a boyfriend, it usually lasted "about as long as the standard hotel-sized bottle of shampoo". Then we learn the Cinderella Rules. For example, Rule #1: Make decisions with care, because, in the end, yiou have only yourself to blame for the outcome." Rule #5: There is a time and place for everything. However, it always pays to be aware of potential..." Rule #7: "On matters of importance, be aware that tose closest to you may not posess the clarity of mind to provide an objective opinion..." Rule #10: You will deal with others who wear smiles on their faces but but carry malice in their hearts..." Rule #17: The heart is a fickle thing. It doesn't always require extensive time or deep analysis to make up its mind on what it wants. It can happen in a blink. Be prepared..." Rule #21: Sometimes, we're called upon to perform tasks that fall well outside our comfort zone. Just remember that nothing was ever gained by not trying..." And finally, Rule #24 "Occasionally, the right thing does happen at the right time. And you do get a second chance. For heaven's sake, don't screw it up!"
From Kaffman, D. The Cinderella Rules (2004) New York: Random House
Notes: Funny, sexy, a great book to take along on a plane ride or vacation, when you want a can't-put-it-downer.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Cinderella #250 Ed McBain: Cinderella (1986)

Cinderella #250 Ed McBain: Cinderella (1986)
The Brothers Grimm
would likely have become fans
of Ed McBain. 
Note: Not a kids book. Once upon a time in Florida, there lived "a hooker with style, looks, youth — and a one-in-a-million shot at the big money". She had learned that a certain drug dealer, a man who was a "slightly overweight, middle-aged private investigator with a penchant for whiskey and a lonely habit of hanging out in bars." So she followed him one night, on a deserted Florida road. It had begun some time after disguising herself as a "WASP princess from Denver, Colorado...daughter of a rich rancher." With a gown and some coaching, she set her target up. What happened next between Cinderella, Jimmy Legs, Stagg, and a man named Jamie Purchase, you will find out by reading Cinderella by McBain, Ed.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Cinderella #249 The Cinderella Game, by Kelly Link

.Cinderella #249 The Cinderella Game, by Kelly Link (2009) From Troll's Eye View 
Who was that troll under the bridge?
Note: contains violence. Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Darcy whose mommy had abandoned her when she was small. Her daddy had remarried, to a lady with a son of her own. His name was Peter and he was twelve years old, already feeling the surge of testosterone in his blood. He was also resentful of his mother's new husband. And he hated his stepsister, doing all the things he could to torment her. When she asked him, "Why are you so mean?", in a voice like she really wanted to know, he answered,"I'm not mean, I'm just honest. It's not like I'm your real brother. We just happen to live in the same house because your father needed someone to do his taxes and my mother is a certified accountant." To himself he added that her mom was poor, while his dad was rich. It happened one evening that the children's parents were out, and the babysitter, old Mrs. Daly, had been called away on an emergency. Darcy was asleep, but Peter was wide awake. It was well past dark, and he had snuck into his dad's secret study to watch a horror movie. There were leather sofas, and a giant flat-screen tv. Right at the part where the werewolves were coming, Darcy came bargin in, still dressed in a fairy princess outfit that had been "pink and spangled, at one point. Now it looked like something a zombie would wear to a fancy dress party." He was so startled by his bratty little step-sister that he dropped his bowl of popcorn all over the sofa. He stared at the greasy stain it left on the couch. Darcy would not stop pestering him about playing a game with him. She even offered him money, which made him perk up his ears. He got an allowance, but it was never enough, especially since now he was on half-pay scale after "he'd knocked a glass of orange juice over on his laptop, and his mom said she was only going to pay for half of what a new one would cost." So he accepted her offer, on condition that he got to choose the game. He said,"For a lousy twenty bucks, I get to be whoever I want. I'm Cinderella. You can be the evil stepsister."  And Darcy told him,"You can't be Cinderella." And Peter demanded to know why. "You're a boy." she answered. They argued for some time, until Peter said, "I've changed my mind. I'm going to be the evil Cinderella." So Darcy bared her teeth at Peter, and the game began. The evening concluded with a bloody dinner fork, a puncture wound that should have had medical attention, and some unfortunate family dynamics. 
From: Troll's Eye View: A Book of Villainous Tales. England:Penguin Books
Notes: A truly villainous take on Cinderella, quite modern and dark, and sickeningly accurate. Take it from this preschool teacher: children often are not bathed properly each night. Sometimes, they look downright grungy. This vicious description of 8 year old Darcy is fairly I accurate, for some kids...Cinderellas, indeed.