Robin Redbreast

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

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. 

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