Robin Redbreast

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

Monday, October 31, 2011

Cinderella #300: Cinderella Rockafella Halloween Pumpkin

Cinderella #300
Notes: I love this!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Cinderella #299Miku Hatsune - Romeo and Cinderella [HD] - English Subs

Cinderella #299 Romeo and Cinderella
Notes: That indescribable Japanese something...they are the coolest! This is somehow oddly enchanting.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Cinderella #298 Nell Gwynn

The Darling Strumpet,
by Gillian Bagwell
Cinderella #298 Nell Gwynn, The Darling Strumpet of the Crown
Once upon a time, in London during the 1660's, there lived a little girl named Nell. She was not having a very good time of it. Her story opens here, as she awakened one morning, in pain. "Her body ached from the beating her mother had given her the night before." Soon, she decides that rather than endure further such treatment, she will strike out on her own. This, though she is not yet twelve years old. And how might she earn her keep? By joining her sister in the oldest profession in the world. All the while Nell is growing up, someone else is passing the years in London as well. This was Charles ll, who had ridden triumphantly into London after the death of Oliver Cromwell. Nell's path is to cross with that of Charles, and the tangle of their emotions continues over the decades. They meet as a result of Nell joining the King's Company. With the other players, she  acts upon the stage and becomes a recognizable personality. As their passion grows, Nell is challenged in many ways. Yet she manages to ride a course from rags to riches, and the legacy of her time on our earth is rich.
From: Bagwell, G. (2011) The Darling Strumpet. New York: The Berkley Publishing Group
To read the story of her life, go to:

Friday, October 28, 2011

Cinderella #297: Barbarella

Cinderella #297: Barbarella
Illustration by
Once upon a time, there was "a widower, with a daughter named Barbarella." Then this man "marries a widower named Tatiana, with a daughter named Juliana." In short time,, Tatiana began to dislike Barbarella for her fairness of face, and industrious ways. Her own Juliana seemed to pale by comparison. Before long, she has begun to starve the girl, grudging her anything at all to eat. One day, Barbarella is sent to the well for water. There she sees "a fairy in a robe of silk and shoes of silver"". This fairy asks her for a sip of water, which Barbarella graciously grants. Now the fairy gifts her, saying that "may she be so fair that a king's son will fall in love with her." She also gives her "a calf with golden horns, which she must take of all its life, and always obey." When Barbarella goes home, and her stepmother sees the calf, the woman is enraged. She orders Juliana to go to the well and find the fairy. So Juliana goes, and she does find the fairy, And when the fairy asks her for a sip of water, Juliana is distasteful of sharing her flask. So the fairy curses her "so that she becomes obnoxious to all. She shrivels up and looks like an old woman." The years pass, and Barbarella cares for her calf tenderly. But one day, when her father is away on business, her stepmother orders the calf to be slaughtered. Before this is done, Barbarells creeps out to visit her beloved companion.  All of a sudden, "the calf speaks, bids her collect all its bones wrap them in a napkin, and put them in a certain grotto. The calf tells her that if she does all of this, then every Sunday it will give her a new silk dress. She is to wait until her stepmother and sister have gone each Sunday, then furtively change, and follow them to church. So this just what Barbarella does. Every Sunday she dons a new frock and sits in church. Soon, none other than the son of the king himself has taken note of her. He becomes enamored of her as the weeks pass. One Sunday, as the maiden flees before the benediction, as the calf made her promise to do, she loses a shoe in her haste. But the king's son "finds it, and proclaims that he will wed whomsoever it fits." Every girl in the land tries that shoe on, but none can wear it. At last, Barbarella, "shy and full of doubt" steps forward. Her foot slides right into the shoe, and "the King's son, rejoiced at recognizing her, marries her." As for Juliana the ugly, she "remains unsavoury and ashamed."
From: Cox, M. R. (1893/2011) Three Hundred Forty Five Variants of Cinderlla, Catksin, and Cap O'Rushes (p.137)
Notes: This seems, somehow, an almost realistic tale. No big plot about the shoes, she just loses one. No exotic means of transport to church, she just walks. How interesting it must be to have "an unsavoury sister."

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Cinderella #296 What the Brothers Grimm Really Thought About Perrault

Cinderella #296 What the Brothers Grimm Really Thought About CharlesPerrault
The "fairy tale wife", Dorothea Grimm,
Once upon a time, in the Holy Roman Empire, there lived two little boys. Their names were Jacob and Wilhelm. Life was wonderful for them! They lived in a grand house, with servants, and their mama and their papa and their baby brothers Carl, Ferdinand, and Ludwig.  Their father was the Anteman, or magistrate, of the town of Steinau, which meant that the family lived in the spacious residence assigned him. They boys "were proud of their father, with his pigtail and his uniform.  Herr Grimm wore a blue frock coat with gold epaulettes and a red velvet collar over leather pants tucked into tall boots with silver spurs." But tragedy struck their lives, when Jacob was eleven and Wilhelm just ten, and their father suddenly died. Nothing was worse than losing him, but having to move out of their home was terrible indeed.  They were forced to survive on a tiny pension which their mother had because of brief government employment. Gifts from an aunt kept them clothed.  Jacob and Wilhelm were sent away to school, where they were bitterly homesick. They kept each other's spirits up by telling each other stories. Their favorites were those that their mother used to tell them at night, and the cook when they visited the kitchen, and their governess when she wanted to behave. When they were grown up men, Jacob and Wilhelm began a search for as many of these old wives' tales and fairy tales as they could find. During their adolescence, wars in the area broke out several times. The French Revolution, Napoleon's defeat, and the collapse of the Holy Roman Empire (united as Germany in 1806) were live action events for the brothers. Childhood poverty and loneliness, and the experience of being trapped behind combat lines, or prevented from returning home because of the dangers of war, marked them deeply. Years later, when they encountered a story called Cinderella, composed in French by a man named Charles Perrault, they did not like it. In the first place, they believed that "there is really nothing more difficult than using the French language to tell children's stories." Without being pretentious, that is. They knew that fairy tales are from the salt of the earth, and cannot be stripped of trauma and violence without also being stripped of their true nature. The tale as they had grown up hearing it involved knives, bloody feet, and brutal family relations.  No fairy godmother aids the girl, but the spirit of her own mother, in the form of a bird.  This little dove builds its nest on the tree growing on the girl's mother's grave, and throws down whatever the girl requests. Seeking an accurate source for this tale, they were fortunate to meet with "a peasant woman named Dorothea Veighman, who lived on the edge of Kassel, the brother's hometown. It was she who told them the tale of AshenpĆ¼ttle, as well as thirty four others. 
"Oh, you tame pigeons, you turtledoves, and all you birds under heaven, come and help me pick The good ones for the little pot, the bad ones for your little crop."
From: Hettinga, D.R. (2001) The Brothers Grimm: Two Lives, One Legacy. and Zipes, J. (2003)The Complete Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Cinderella #295Lesley Ann Warren/Celeste Holm - In My Own Little Corner (Reprise) & Imp...

Cinderella #295 "In My Own Little Corner", 1965
Notes: I can still picture the little black and white tv set I watched this on. Age? Probably seven or eight. I ♡ this movie!!!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Cinderella #294: Le Pays Des Brides (or, Walnut, Almond, Hazel-Nut)

Cinderella #294: Le Pays Des Brides (or, Walnut, Almond, Hazel-Nut)
A bowl of nuts, with
magical dresses hidden inside! 
Once upon a time, there lived "a prince, who has a beautiful daughter whose godmother is a sorceress." The family falls on hard times, and both father and daughter must seek work. Now the girl goes to town in search of a position; while she is there, "her godmother appears to her, gives her a walnut, an almond, and a hazel nut." These are to be cracked only in time of great need, the sorceress tells her, then vanishes. The girl hides the nuts and takes a job in the scullery of a fine house. She "dresses shabbily and goes unwashed, and is quite unrecognizable". One day as she scrubs dishes, she overhears the young master in the courtyard, preparing for a special evening. She runs out and before the servant can put the horse's saddle on, she has put on the bridle instead and pushed the horse out the door. When the master sees his horse, he calls his servant "and gives her a good blow with the bridle". By then, the false scullery maid has returned to her chambers where she now "cracks the walnut and takes out a lovely dress with a pattern on it like the sea and fishes." Next "she combs her hair and instantly it is golden and falls into ringlets on her shoulders." Then she goes to the ball, where she meets the young lord. He is so smitten with her that he asks who she is. All she will say is, "From the Land of Reins", before she runs away. The young man is so crestfallen that he asks his mother for advice. She counsels him to give a second ball the following night, in hopes that the young lady will come. So he does. The next night, the girl makes a huge fuss, crying and weeping because she is denied permission to go to the ball. Banished to her chamber again, the maiden takes out "her almond, and finds a dress with the sun embroidered on it."She goes to the ball again, and, when it is time for her to ride away, grabs "a whip from her pocket, she gives [the master's son] a cut across the eye and disappears".  Now she is irresistible! He simply must find out who she is. He calls out the question,.but all she yells back is that she's from "Saddle Land." So he announces that he will hold one more ball the next night. Again the maiden is denied permission to go, and again, she sneaks out her nuts. Now she cracks the hazel-nut and "a lovely dress falls out with the moon embroidered on it." Then she goes to the ball, dances with the young lord, and runs away. Teasingly, she yells, "Stirrup Land!" as she runs away. Now the young man takes to his bed, sick with longing for his love. Before long, it is announced that he will die soon. Now the maiden, dressed as the scullery maid, goes to the lady of the house and begs to be allowed to prepare a meal for her son, as it may cure him. The mother dislikes this idea, yet can think of no other remedy, and so consents.  And the maiden has already vanished. At "the hour of the ball, she dons the moon dress, and presents herself before the invalid." He recognizes her at once! He swallows a bit of broth, and then a bit of bread, and leaps from his sick bed. Calling for his mother, he introduces the young lady, dressed now in her lunar gown. The lady approves, and so the maiden "tends him until he is well and then marries him."
From: Cox, M.R. (1893/2011) p. 125

Monday, October 24, 2011

Cinderella #293 More Riddles by R.H.C

The fairy bear! 

Cinderella #293 More Riddles by R.H.C
Q: What do you call a sandwich spread made from chocolate, nuts... and a few cinders?
A: Nutarella
Q: Which small mammal with black and white fur and a bushy tail emits a stench when chased by the prince?
A: Skunk-a-Rella
Q: Who went over a mountain to see what she could see, then saw another mountain, and that's what she could see?
A: Cin-Bear-Ella

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Cinderella #292: Dragonflight (Anne McAffrey)

Cinderella #292: Dragonflight (Anne McAffrey)
Illustration by
Herbert Cole.
Once upon a time, on a planet called Pern, there was a young girl named Lessa. She existed, now, as a scullion, working for the conqueror who had killed her noble father. And the rest of her family as well. It happened that one morning, she had been awakened early, with a feeling of unease. Now "she picked her way among the sleeping drudges, huddled together for warmth, and glided up the worn steps to the kitchen proper. The cook and his assistant lay on the long table before the great hearth, wide backs to the warmth of the banked fire." Once outside, she can see no obvious signs of danger.  Yet something for bodes action.  Alerted by "the watch-wher", a kind of dragon-dog mutt mix, she scurries to safety. The only friendly presence among the invaders who live in her home now is this ugly animal. Now she ran to it, "oblivious to the stench of its rank breath, she hugged the scaly head to her, scratching its ears and eye ridges." The day was to be life changing, as Lessa soon found out.  The cause of her unease, and the target of the watch-wher's warning were the dragonriders. Led by F'lar, a a daring young man who flew dragons like fighter planes, the dragon men bore down. "F'lar, on bronze Mnementh's great neck, appeared first in the skies above the Chief Hold of Fax, so-called Lord of the High Reaches. Behind him, in proper wedge-formation, the wingmen came into sight." Little did Lessa  know that before long, she would see her dream of revenge on her family's murderer accomplished. All day, she bided her time. "Lessa was shoveling ashes from the hearth when the agitate messenger staggered into the Great Hall. She made herself as inconspicuous as possible..." Much later, as Lessa becomes the proud hatch-mate of a golden dragon queen, she fights for the right to ride her. "If a Queen isn't meant to fly, why does she have wings?" she demanded of F'lax and his men. As the relationship between dragon man, scullion, dragons and watch-wher deepens, Lessa is pulled into a leading role in a plan to save the planet Pern.  Exhilarating  adventures follow, and, eventually, Lessa and F'lax fall in love. Now about flying that Queen dragon? The story ends with Lessa asking,"Did the meeting go well?' she emerged from the bathing-room, drying cloth wrapped tightly around her slender figure." Then she told him,, "I am the only Weyrwoman who can speak to any dragon!" F'lax cannot resist this rebellious young woman any longer. He snatches the cloth from her and Lessa "responded to his kiss as ardently as if dragon-roused." And they lived happily ever after, through the fourteen other novels of Pern. 
From: McAffrey, A. (1968) Dragon Flight. New York: Del Rey Books
Notes: This is sooo a Cinderella story, and contains classic fairy-tale elements. It has taken me some time to realize this. We have the displaced wealthy daughter, the animal helper (in this case a watch-wher!), an unlikely encounter with a young lord, and a happy ending. No longer a drudge but a respected Weywroman. 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Cinderella #291: Historic Relevance of Golden Spinning Wheels

Cinderella #291: Historic Relevance of Golden Spinning Wheels
A piece of handwoven cloth
in North Carolina. 
Once upon a time, somebody figured out how to process fibers into thread, and thread into cloth. Wearing clothes was so much nicer than either going naked or wrapping oneself up in furs or bark that weaving cloth suddenly became an important part of human culture. But weavings were not only practical. According to Elizabeth Wayland Barber, "textiles mark special people, places, and times and announce specific information about them." For example, even during Neolithic times, "stone age cloth makers" were weaving "stripes, checks, triangles, braided fringes, beadwork and fancy edgework". (p. 91)Also cloth "can be used as a vehicle for recording information, such as history or mythology.' Barber said,"In the third book of the Iliad (lines 125-127) Helen of Troy is described as weaving into her purple cloth 'the many struggles of the horse-taming Trojans and the bronze-tunicked Achains.' (p.153) By learning that "European folktales are full of references to the making of magical garments, especially girdles, in which the magic seems to be inherent in the weaving". In other words, the pattern is a message, not just a decoration. Remember too that "Fate, to the Greeks, was spun as a thread. Both thread and time were linear, both easily and arbitrarily broken." As to the history of golden spindles and spinning wheels, "The earliest golden spindles lay in opulent tombs dating to the middle of the 3rd millenium B.C., in the early Bronze Age." "That we have so many from so early an age suggests that constructing a precious metal spindle was not just the passing whim of one eccentric noblewoman." She cites "Homer's description of gold and silver spinning gear" given as gifts from one wealthy lady to another. (p.207-9) 
Notes The Catskins and Thousand Furs and Allerleiraughs who begin life as wealthy maidens, and then end up as drudges in castles, eventually proving themselves to be of noble birth through displaying their golden weaving tools, sprung from historic truth. Stranger than fiction!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Cinderella #290 Allerleiraugh

Cinderella #290  Allerleiraugh
Glittering gold! 
Once upon a time, there lived a wealthy man, whose wife and daughter were as beautiful as a summer day. Alas, tragedy struck the family: the rich man's wife fell ill. Before she died, she extracted from her husband a promise.  That if he remarried, it would be only to a woman who bore her exact resemblance.  Then she was gone. The little girl, whose name was Allerleraugh, was heartbroken but her father went grimly on with life. One day, when the girl's grief was too much for her to bear, she went into her dead mother's chambers and took out one of her best gowns. Wanting only to feel the softness of it enveloping her, she slipped it on. At that very moment, her father passed by in the corridor. The sight of a beautiful young woman, in his wife's chambers and wearing her gown, caused him to stop in his tracks. That is when his own sorrows overcame him: blinded by grief, he mistook his own daughter for her mother, and swept her off of her feet. Then he demanded to marry her, the very next day.  Now Allerleiraugh demanded the right to consult with her old governess. So her father released her and she fled.She found the old woman and this is the counsel she gave: Allerleiraugh must consent to marry him only after she received a gown woven entirely of sliver. Since this could never be produced, the girl would be safe.  So Allerleiraugh returned to her father and made this request. For two weeks she felt at ease. Then, one morning, her father knocked at her chamber door. She opened it to find him holding out a gown of silver. So Allerleiraugh thanked him and put it on, and then ran again to consult her nurse. Now the old one said that she must consent to marry her father only after she was given a gown woven entirely of gold. So Allerleiraugh returned to her father, and asked for that dress. For one week, she felt at ease. Then, one morning, there was a knock at her chamber door. It was her father, holding a golden dress. Allerleiraugh thanked him and put it on, and fled to her nurse once more. This time she counseled that only after receiving a gown made from nothing but diamonds, rubies and pearls should Allerleiraugh marry her father. When she had gone back to her father's hall and made this demand, she felt at ease for one day. Then her father knocked on her chamber door and presented her with such a jeweled dress as she desired. And that is when Allerleiraugh took all three dresses and ran away. She ran all day and when darkness fell, she climbed a tree and went to sleep. That is where the king's men found her in the morning, asleep in one of the king's trees. So they took her back to the castle and put her to work as a kitchen drudge.A ball is held, and Allerleiraugh secretly attends, dressed in her silver gown. When she flees at midnight, the prince still hasn't learned her identity. The following night a second ball is held, and the drudge attends in her gown of gold. Once more, the prince is enchanted by her, but fails to learn who she is. On the third night, Allerleiraugh goes in dress of jewels. But this time, when she tries to run, the prince manages to push a ring onto her finger. Now comes a time of trial for the prince, as he yearns to identify the mysterious woman he has fallen in love with. As his illness deepens, Allerleiraugh begins to slip trinkets into his food to give him clues. First she drops the ring into his dish.  When he finds it, his suspicions are aroused. The next day, she lets fall a "golden reel" in his plate, and on the third day, "a golden spinning wheel". The prince has meanwhile added up the clues and demands that the kitchen drudge be brought before him. She "flings a disguise over her ball dress [but] omits to blacken one finger", thus giving herself away. Allerleiraugh and the prince are soon wed, and live on in happiness. 
From: Cox, M.R. (1893/2011) p. 63
Notes: It may seem absurd to picture a golden spinning wheel floating (or sinking!) in a bowl of soup. It becomes more believable, however, when we do a bit of archeological research into women's work, especially the spinning of cloth. This was such a time consuming task, apparently, that even noble women and princesses often did their own spinning. But they spun finely dyed linens and wools on golden spindles, and wrapped the finished thread on gold and silver bobbin wheels.(From: Women's Work: The First 20,000 Years. Women, Cloth and Society in Early Times, by Elizabeth Wayland Barber. New York: W.W. Norton & Co. (1994) Fairy tales, understood in their historic context, make a bit more sense! 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Cinderella #288 Aschenputtel (Grimm's Grimmest)

Cinderella #288 Aschenputtel (Grimm's Grimmest)
Illustrated by
Dockray, T. 
Once upon a time, there was "a rich man, whose wife lay sick" Really sick. So sick that she knew she would soon die. When the time came, she called her child to her and said," Dear child, be pious and good, and God will always take care of you, and I will always look down upon you from heaven, and will be with you." And then she closed her eyes for the last time. She was buried out back, in the family's garden, and when winter came, "The snow covered the grave with a white handkerchief". Too soon her father married again, "and the new wife brought two daughters with her.' They were neither kind nor caring, and they soon made the widower's daughter miserable. In fact, "they took away her pretty dresses and put on her an old gray smock and laughed at her and sent her to the kitchen." She was made to do hard, heavy, work while her stepsisters lolled about. "And as she always looked so dusty and dirty, they named her Aschenputtel." One day, her father announced that he was going to the fair and asked what trinkets he could bring for each girl. "Fine clothes!" one cried. "Pearls and jewels!" shouted the other stepsister. But Aschenputtel asked only for "The first twig that strikes against your hat on the way home." So he went to the fair, and brought back the gifts each girl had asked for. Then Aschenputtle took her twig, which was from a hazel tree, and thrust it into the ground by her mother's grave, and sat down to weep. Daily, she watered the twig with her tears. Soon it became a sprig, and before long, "it became a fine tree". A little bird nested in it, and granted Aschenputtels wishes.  In this way, she was able to obtain what she needed for her daily life. It happened one day that a royal invitation arrived at her house. When she saw it, her sisters only frowned at her, then chanted, "Comb our hair, brush our shoes, and make our buckles fast. we are going to the feast at the King's castle." Then her stepmother taunted her, saying, "I have strewn a dish full of lentils in the ashes, and if you can pick them all up again in two hours, you shall go with us." So Aschenputtel went into the kitchen and opened the window. Then she sang out," Oh gentle doves, oh turtle doves, And all the birds that be, The lentils that in ashes lie, come pick for me! The good must be put in the dish, the bad you may eat, if you wish!" So the birds fluttered down and with a peck! peck! peck! soon retrieved the lentils. But Ashenputtel's stepmother played her false, and now told her that she couldn't go to the ball for she did not know how to dance. Then she threw two more dishes of lentils into the ashes, and told her stepdaughter to start picking. But the girl called her bird friends a second time, and they came as before, and quickly re-filled the dishes. Again the stepmother played her false, refusing to take her along since she had no fine clothes. After she and her horrid daughters had gone, Aschenputtel ran to her tree. There she called, "Little tree, little tree, shake over me, That silver and gold may come down and cover me." And the bird tossed down a dress and slippers, and Aschenputtel went to the ball. The prince danced only with her, and when others tried to cut in, he told them, "She is my partner." Yet when the music stopped, the girl ran away. The prince had her followed, and saw that she "jumped into the pigeon house." So he asked her father to chop it down, and the father wondered, "Could it be Aschenputtel?". Then he did chop down the pigeon house, but there was no one inside. Ashenputtel was already home by the fire, dressed again in her rags. The following day there was to be another ball, and all transpired as before. This time, after dancing with the prince and running away, Aschenputtel was tracked to "a fine large tree, bearing splendid pears". But when the prince had it cut down, there was no one inside. The third evening brought another ball.  Again the bird gave a fabulous dress and shoes, and the girl went to the palace. Yet this time, the prince had caused a trap to be laid for her. This was to smear pitch across all of the steps, and so when the maiden fled, she forfeited one shoe in the goo. "The prince picked it up and saw that it was of pure gold, and very small and slender." He determined to find its owner, and took it to all the houses. When he got to Aschenputtel's, the oldest sister asked to try it first. She took it up to her room where her mother waited. When she could not put it on her foot, her mother "handed her a knife and said,'Cut the toe off, for when you are Queen, you will never need to go by foot." So the girl did, and the blood poured out, but she bound it up and went downstairs. The prince was fooled and took her upon his steed and headed for the palace. When they passed the tree, the white dove sang out," Go back! Go back! There is blood in the shoe. The shoe is too small. That bride will not do." So the prince took her home, and gave the shoe to the next sister to try. She too carried it upstairs, and the mother looked on again. Of course the shoe would not fit, and now the mother told her second child, "Cut a piece off your heel. When you are Queen, you will never need to go by foot." So the girl did, and again the prince was fooled. Until they past the dove that is, and it chirped its bloody rhyme. When the prince took her back and demanded to know if there were not one more daughter, Ashenputtel's father said, "Only my dead wife left behind her a nasty little Cinderella. It is impossible that she can be the bride." So the prince made him send her out. Of course, when Aschenputtel "drew her left foot out of the heavy shoe she was wearing, and slipped it into the golden one," it was a perfect fit. The stepmother and her daughters "were terrified, and grew pale with anger" but the prince paid them no mind. As the happy couple rode past the dove, it sang a different song. "Coo, coo, no blood in the shoe. She is the right bride, with the prince by her side." The wedding took place the following day, and "as the bride and groom went to the church, the eldest walked walked on the right side, and the younger on her left, and the doves picked out an eye of each of them." On the way back, the girls changed places, but the doves didn't mind. They picked out the girl's remaining eyes. "And so they were condemned to go blind for the rest of their days because of their wickedness and falsehood."
From Tater, M. & Dockray, T. (1997). Grimm's Grimmest. San Francisco: Chronicle Books

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Cinderella #287:Webster's New Twentieth Century Dictionary (1979)

1965: A fairy tale castle

Cinderella #287:Webster's New Twentieth Century Dictionary (1979)
According to  "The heroine of a fairy tale, who is treated as a household drudge by a stepmother and stepsisters: a fairy godmother equips her to attend a grand ball, given by a prince, where she loses a glass slipper. The prince finds the slipper, and by means of it, discovers Cinderella, whom he marries, to the great discomfiture of her taskmistress; hence, a girl whose beauty or merit is, for a time, unrecognized. 
From Webster's New 20th Century Dictionary (Unabridged, 2nd Edition, 1979). New York: Simon & Schuster's 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Cinderella #286 by David Delamare

Cinderella #286 by David Delamare
Illustration by
David Delamare
Once upon a time, in Italy, "a young merchant in search of his fortune moved with his wife and baby daughter to a fantastic city".  The streets were made of water, and curved and gurgled through town. His luck was good and his business savvy strong; he prospered. As his child grew so did his wealth.  He bought a fabulous grand house, and outfitted it with every convenience for his family.  All that his wife and little Ella lacked was "the merchant himself.  He came home only once a year, when autumn winds and tides brought his ship back from the Far East." The years passed and soon a celebration for Ella's 16th birthday was being planned. It was to be a grand affair with "a traveling circus with acrobats, clowns, a magician, a fire-eater..." There were even monkeys who "swung from bush to bush by their tails...and even a baby elephant to ride!" Yet Ella was keenly aware of her father's absence. She determined to make the best of it and enjoy the day, and, as she gazed out the window, she saw "a gondola drift slowly by.  A boy her own age leaned on its railings, longingly watching the party."  He smiled wistfully as he passed and then he had sailed on.  Later, her dear mother came to speak with her, knowing of her sadness.  But when Ella answered, she spoke not of her father's absence but the mysterious boy on the gondola. That's when her mother told her that "That boy is young Duke Fidelio, son of the Grand Duke. One day, he may be Grand Duke himself." Then mother hugged daughter, each  holding the other tightly, lost in her own sorrow.  The very next day Ella's mother fell ill. Despite urgent messages sent to her father, he could not be alerted. By the time he finally returned home, his wife was dead. With no other means of caring for Ella, he send her away to a school. This was hard for her but worse times were coming soon. After only two years at school, her father summoned her home, telling her that he had joyous news. He had taken a second wife, a lady with two young daughters just older than Ella. Their names were Livia and Zenobia, and they were as unpleasant as two stepsisters can be. When it happened one day that "a messenger delivered a scroll" inviting all young ladies to "a masked ball", there was a flutter of excitement, But when Ella asked her stepmother if she might go too the woman snapped at her. "Rude girl! What do you mean by interrupting?" Then she doubled Ella's chores, and taunted her by saying, "Of course you may go, IF you have all your chores done in time!". And Zenobia and Livia repeated, in an ugly sing-song, "Done in time! Done in time!" And of course she did not. When the big night came, and the stepfamily had finally gone, Ella sat alone and wept. Suddenly, "a tiny, winged woman hovered" before her, saying, "Don't cry, daughter." It was her "fairy-mother", called forth by Ella's tears. She told the girl that she could go, and asked her to bring a large pumpkin. When Ella did so, the fairy "clapped her hands over the pumpkin", causing it to swell "like a balloon.  [Then] it floated over the balcony railing and dropped into the canal with a splash." When a fish leapt up, it was transformed into "a gondolier in a velvet-and-lace waistcoat". Then in a twinkling, the fairy mother changed Ella's clothes into "a glittering, beaded gown. On her feet a pair of tiny glass slippers sparkled in the moonlight." With a hasty promise to be back by midnight, Ella departed. Of course the young duke could not take his eyes off of her, and of course Ella forgot the time. That is why she lost a slipper running away, and why the duke held it tightly as a clue to her identity. Within days, Stepmother answered a knock at the door, and found a messenger from the Duke. He was bearing a tiny glass slipper on a pillow, and  asked the resident ladies to try it on. So Zenobia "pushed her toes into it. She grunted and groaned" but no matter what, she could not make the shoe fit. So her sister Livia "shoved her toes into it...Suddenly, with a sharp crack, the slipper shattered into a thousand pieces." The page was horrified. He wailed, "Now Duke Fidelio will never find his true love! I'm afraid his heart may shatter just like the slipper." But that is when Ella "took the other glass slipper from her apron pocket, sat down, and slid her foot easily into the slipper." The page ran out to signal the Duke by running "to the garden and set[ting] a torch blazing that could be seen from the palace across the canal."  A gondola was dispatched at once, and the young Duke himself brought over. "So it was you!' he exclaimed" when he saw Ella, and told her that he had been dreaming of her since the glimpse so long ago. Ella said that she had "been dreaming of the boy who sailed past my garden on the day of my 16th birthday." The had much to discuss, and wanted to avoid the unpleasant stepfamily, so they "hurried to the gondola and set off for the palace, where they were married the very next day."
From Cinderella, by Delamare, D. (1993) New York: Green Tiger Press
Notes: The illustrations are just spectacular, reminiscent of Grahame Williams' Animalia, as well as Roy Gerrard (Rosie and the Rustlers, etc.) Them is "a fantastic Venetian setting" according to jacket notes, and this book does not dissapoint. 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Cinderella #285 Tattercoats Number Three (Cox)

Cinderella #285 Tattercoats Number Three (Cox)
Up close and personal, or
should I say, taking a gander?
Tilden Little Farm
Berkeley, CA
Once upon a time, a child is born. But as she draws her first breath, her mother draws her last.  Care of the babe falls to her grandfather, who cannot stand the sight of her. Thus the child is reared among the servants, given scant food and clothing to survive on. Her only true friend is the boy who herds the geese. One day, her grandfather "goes to meet the king". How his granddaughter wants to go! As she weeps evermore bitterly, the goose boy "proposes to take her", saying that at least, they can witness the spectacle. With these kind words, the two set off. Along the way they meet with a mounted youth. He dismounts and  walks along with them, delighted at the fluting of the herd boy. Talking with the maiden in rags was so delightful that the "rich youth, (who is the king's son)" is smitten with love for Tattercoats. He then "persuades her to go that night to [the] ball with her geese, and in torn petticoat and with bare feet, and promises to dance with her." That is when "the herd boy plays his pipes and the heroine's rags become silk", a golden crown appears on her head, and the geese themselves are transformed. They "become page-boys, bearing her train", and when Tattercoats walks into the ball the music stops. The prince declares his love for her before all, and they are soon married. 
From Cox, M. R. (1893/2011)
Notes: This is reminiscent of The Turkey Girl the American Indian Cinderella in which the turkeys actually preen and dress the girl, and follow her around in a flock. The flock of doves and pigeons that help Cinderella in other versions is supersized here, with big birds in a big gaggle.  

Friday, October 14, 2011

Cinderella #283: More Riddles

Cinderella #283: More Riddles by Rachel 
Q:Who sits among the cinders tracing mournful words?
French ladies with Big Hair!
A: Cinderspella
Q:Who wears rags, does chores and stinks oh-so-bad?

A: Cindersmella
Q: Who mops, scrubs, and picks the ashes from the lentils whilst playing a string instrument?
A: Cindercella
Q: Who sells sea shells by the seashore (after doing her chores, of course!)
A: Cindershella

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Cinderella #281: As Interpreted by Anthony Stevens

Cinderella #281: As Interpreted by Anthony Stevens
Go ahead: climb that tree!
On Trees: [Which Cinderella sat under and wept for her dead mother, then received gifts from the birds in.]"That they have always been climbed for fruits and lookout points makes trees obvious symbols of aspiration, development, growth, and consciousness." (p.379)
On Ash Trees: Often the wood used to make wooden wands or walking sticks. "Sacred to Scandinavian and Germanic peoples as the world tree, Ygdrasil, eternally green
On Doves: [Remember who Cinderella called on? 'O little doves, white turtledoves, help to put  the good ones in the pot.the bad ones in your crops. ' So wrote the Grimm Brothers.]
"Because of its billing and cooing, a symbol of love and conjugality." It is also  a bringer of peace and goodwill." (p.361)
On the Fairy Godmother [Yes, there is always a wise woman, somewhere along the way, who helps Cinderella.]"Everywhere, the Good Mother Occurs as the source of life and abundance; she is the nutrient earth, the conucopia, the ever-fruitful womb....Whether she manifests as Isis, Hathor,Cybele...Lakshmi, ...Demeter...or Mary [or the fairy godmother!] she is invariably benificent, nourishing, and creative." (p. 188)
On Rats: [Remember the jolliest one that Perrault's "godmother, who was really a fairy?" selected to be coachman?] Over most of the world, rats are "considered aggressive, filthy, and greedy. Mediterranean civilizations ...regarded them as carrying similar psychopompic propensities and serpents and moles.
On Shoes: "Elaborate, handsome boots or shoes emphasize dominance, while poor, inadequate footwear and bare feet symbolize subdominance." (p.399)
On Feet: A single foot is phallic, as when fitting into a shoe. (p.406)
From: Stevens, A. (1998) Ariadne's Clue: A Guide to the Symbols of Humankind. Princeton University Press
Notes: I really love saying the word psychopomp, which means a guide that carries us deep within ourselves. If feels like saying pomplemousse, which is the French word for grapefruit. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Cinderella #280: My First Fairy Tales Storybook with CD

Cinderella #280: My First Fairy Tales Storybook with CD
Illustration by Blundell, K. 
Once upon a time, "there was a pretty girl called Cinderella. She lived with her stepmother and two ugly stepsisters." Of course, since Cinderella was more beautiful than any of them, and kind as well, they did not like her. They made her do all of the work, scrubbing the floor and tending the fire. One exciting day, there came an invitation from the Prince.  "There was to be a ball. Every girl in the land could go." But that's not what Cinderella's stepsisters told her. They said that since her clothes were so raggedy they would not let her go. Still, she helped her sisters get ready to go. She really did her best with the hairbrush and a bit of make-up, but "it was no good". She couldn't make her sisters look pretty because "they were just too ugly".  After they had gone off and left Cinderella home crying, something happened! There was a voice, saying, "Don't cry." It turned out to be Cinderella's fairy godmother, who promised that she could go the ball. First, she needed "a pumpkin...six white mice", two rats, "and a frog". So Cinderella went to the garden and got them. Then "the fairy godmother waved her magic wand.  The pumpkin turned into a coach.  The mice turned into horses.  The two rats turned into footmen. The frog turned into a driver." And the fairy changed Cinderella's dress into a fancy gown.   Then she said, "Be home before midnight.  The magic ends at midnight." And Cinderella promised to be home before midnight. When she got to the ball ,the prince said to her," Please dance with me." So she did. She looked so beautiful that even her own stepsisters did not recognize her. Then the clock struck  the first of twelve BONGS! Then Cinderella ran and ran. "She lost her shoe. The prince picked it up. The coach turned back into a pumpkin." The gown turned into an old dress again, and the frog hopped away.  Then the Prince said that "every girl in the land" must try on the shoe he had found. Cinderella's stepsisters tried to get the shoe onto their feet, but it did not fit. "At last, Cinderella tried on the shoe. It did fit!" Then Cinderella and the prince were married, and they lived happily ever after. 
From: Cinderella Parragon, UK (2009) retold by Golstock, G. and illustrated by Blundell, K. Language consultant: Betty Root
Notes: This is another one of those books that I might have dismissed as too cutesy. But I read it, and saw immediately the care taken in putting together a true "easy-reader". This is a great choice for children who are just able to read; the dialogue balloons in the pictures make for fun reading. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Cinderella #279: Den Hvide Hund, El Puti Gryde (The White Dog, or Put Into Pot)

That bad dog! 

Cinderella #279: Den Hvide Hund, El Puti Gryde (The White Dog, or Put Into Pot)

Once upon a time, in Jutland, there lived "a widower with one daughter." He "marries a widow with one daughter" with predictable results. That is, the girls do not get along, and the stepmother soon takes her own daughter's side. Before long, the daughter of the gentleman is doing "all the dirty, menial work". Worse, she is not allowed to attend church . One Sunday, home alone and feeling desperate, she gives in to despair, and begins to cry. That is when "a little dog appears, gives her fine clothes and offers to do her work if she will promise to give him the first two boys she shall bear." It is a hard bargain but she agrees. Then she changes clothes and hies herself to church. After the ceremony, she leaves but "a young man follows her and snatches away her kerchief."  The dog gives her a new one, however, so all is well. The second Sunday, the girl again receives fine clothes from the dog, as well as "a gold apple". Once more the young man follows her, this time snatching the apple from her hands. On the third Sunday, trying to flee from the greedy young man, "she loses her golden shoe".  This is why it happens that a young gentleman soon comes calling to every household, enquiring after a girl who'd been to church in golden shoes and left one behind. When he gets to the widower's house, the Stepsister "cuts her heel and toe to put on the shoe, but fails to produce its fellow." Now the other girl puts out her foot, and the golden shoe fits! She shows the other shoe, and the young man gives her back her kerchief and her apple. They are married amidst rejoicing. Within a year a boy is born, and the second year brings another healthy male child. Now the woman "weeps at [the] thought of losing them." And then a beggar woman comes by, and tells the gentlewoman of a strange sight she has seen. That is "three small boys coming out of a barrow".  As they emerged from the mound, one said to his brothers, "Tomorrow we shall be five, for Father will get the two newborn babes that were promised him." Unless, however, the mother of those boys should chance to say to the bad man, "Shame on you, you red Put Into Pot!". So of course, when the bad dog, who is really the bad man, comes for the boys, the gentlewoman says those very words. That is when she sees the effect on the little white dog, who "instantly flies into flints and potsherds". Then the mother of the little ones, and her good husband take in the old woman who has warned them, and "the beggar lives with them in happiness."
From: Cox, M. R. (1893/2011) p. 233 
Notes: Interesting that in this very different Cinderella story we still have, at the heart of it, something of a fairy godmother. The old beggar who brings the secret fills the very same role as that of the old woman at the well, or a an actual fairy. Dogs in Cinderella stories are unsusual; ironically, it is Disney that seems to have introduced this particular animal helper. Why? Perhaps dogs seemed more appropriate as modern helpers? Yet here we have a bad dog! Woof woof! 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Cinderella #278 Aiko's Cinderella

Cinderella #278 Oh this one is a cutie! I love the close adherence to the Perrault story, and the "little glass slipper" takes the cake! Did it inspire the video?

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Cinderella #277: A Cinderella Story (Based on the Hit Movie Starring Hilary Duff!)

Cinderella #277: A Cinderella Story (Based on the Hit Movie Starring Hilary Duff!)
Lilacs at Descanso Garden,
Pasadena, CA
Once upon a time, in L.A., there lived "a beautiful little girl, and her widowed father." Her name was Sam, and she grew up feeling like part of the greatest team around, just her and her dad. He "owned Hal's Diner, the coziest, tastiest restaurant in the valley. " (San Fernando, that is.) Life was going great right up until Sam's 8th birthday. That's when two things happened at once: she made a birthday wish that "her life would stay exactly as it was", and her new stepmother barged into her life. Sam didn't know it that night, as her dad met the woman, but she would soon discover that Fiona (for that was the lady's name) had two dreadful daughters.  Twins! From her fifth marriage. Their names were Brianna and Gabriella, and "they hardly qualified as human" as far as Sam was concerned.  That's how bad they were.  Her perfect life with her dad was over. She drudged on as best she could in her odd new life. One of her stepmother's first decisions was that Sam should stay home from school every day and work in the diner. They could save money, that way, she said. And her dad agreed. It was true that Sam loved the diner, but she did miss school. The years passed, and then, one day, tragedy struck. Sam's dad died, and she "was on her own with her stepfamily, working in her dad's old diner to earn her keep." Her only friend was  a guy named Carter. By the time she old enough to attend North Valley High School, they were buddies. And when they were both seniors, they went as friends to the Valley Royale Hotel, for a very special dance. "A panel of ...esteemed teachers" were going to choose "a Prince and Princess of the Dance". To find out whether Sam was chosen as Princess, and who the hunky Austin really was, you will have to find this book and read it! 
From: A Cinderella Story (2004) Adapted by Lasserman, R. from a screenplay by Dunlap, L.
New York: Scholastic 

Friday, October 7, 2011

Cinderella #276: According to The Oxford Companion to Fairy Tales

Cinderella #276: According to The Oxford Companion to Fairy Tales
Oops! He's chopped off her head.
Illustration by Roald Dahl
One upon a time, there lived a man named Jack Zipes.  He spent many years translating and researching fairy tales, including those from Jacob and Willlhelm Grimm.  He also edited an authoritative tome on them.  Here is what he has to say about Cinderella. The story "belongs to a group of tales that have enjoyed both temporal and spacial stability." There are written versions from Europe dating back to 1558, (Bonaventure des PĆ©rieres; 1634,(Basile); and 1697, (Perrault). It was in 1812 that the Grimm Brothers published their first collection of tales. Zipes goes on to say,"The story of this persecuted heroine is easily segmented: girl's mother dies, father remarries and brings to household new daughters; stepmother and stepsisters mistreat her; father is either indifferent or malevolent." In fact, says Mr. Zipes, Cinderella's father "threatens death in Cap O'Rushes,and importunes her sexually in Catskin...she must live and work among the ashes on the hearth...Cinderella is aided by a magical helper (fairy godmother, magical bird, magic tree, enchanted cow, enchanted fish)." Zipes says that versions in which Cinderella goes to a ball three nights in a row are "obeying 'Olrick's law of repetition of three'...The shoe  test that proves her identity has fuelled an academic debate as to the material of the lost slipper. (glass, fur, gold, embroidered silk). However, the test itself matters more than the material details." Of the thousands of modern riffs on this classic story, Zipes believes contemporary authors "have explored the complex of the fictional Cinderella in ways that would astound the classical writers of this tale."
From: Zipes, J. (2000) The Oxford Companion to Fairy Tales (p.91)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Cinderella #275: The She Bear (Basile)

Cinderella #275: The She Bear (Basile)
Who wears short-shorts?
SHE wears short-shorts!
Once upon a time,there lived "a king of Roughrock, whose wife, dying in her prime", begs her husband never to marry again. He agrees not to, but she is not satisfied, and insists that she "will pursue him, even into the next world", to avenge him if he betrays her. He swears that he won't, and she dies. But before long he is preoccupied with contemplating his future life "with his only daughter, and the need of an heir for the throne", and breaks his promise.  He proclaims that "all the women in the world are to assemble for the beauty test". He plans to select a second wife from among them. Yet when he has seen the lot of them, and fault with each and every one, he remembers one last young woman who did not answer his summons. That is his own daughter, Preciosa, and he now summons her. Telling her of his intent to marry her, and finding her repelled by the very idea, he bellows with rage at the girl. She flees.  On her way back to her chambers, she encounters an old woman.  It is a lady she knows from past alms she has given, and now the old one offers to help. She gives the girl "a little chip, which she is to put into her mouth, and it will instantly turn her into a bear.  Then she is to rush away into the forest, for her father will not try to detain her."  When she wants to revert to human form, says the old lady, she has only to take the chip out of her mouth. The princess thanks her by giving her "bread and meat", and she will be a woman once more. So the next night, when her father surprises her at a ball by announcing to all that he is going to marry her, she pops the chip in, and POOF! She is a bear! The king is "so much alarmed that he hides under the clothes and dares not look out until morning. Meanwhile, his hirsute daughter has really gone wild: she is living as a bear in the woods. And it happens that, one day "the king of Swiftwater rides by," and is horrified to spy the wild bear. But when he slows his horse, the bear approaches him as a dog would, and begs to be petted.  So he leads it back to his palace, and arranges to have the bear housed in his private garden. So it is that, one day, his son, the prince, looks out the window and sees the bear. But she is in human form, having taken the chip out of her mouth. She is "combing her golden locks" and the king is instantly smitten. But then she puts the chip back in, and becomes a bear again. And he cries out in despair, and the Queen, believing the beat to be attacking her son, orders the servants to try to kill it. One servant takes pity on the bear, and volunteers to lead it to its death.  Then he secretly sets it free in the forest. Meanwhile the prince has fallen ill. Nothing, it seems will restore his health, and his mother begs him to tell her what she can do. That is when he demands the company of the bear. The Queen "thinks he has lost his reason" and sends for the animal, just to coddle him. And when the bear arrives, she immediately "feels his pulse with her paw", which the Queen finds hilarious. Then the prince says, "Won't you cook for me, feed me, and tend me, Little Bear?" She nods, yes. Then she cooks "some fowl" and feeds it to him. Gradually, he regains his strength. There comes a day when he can sit up. That is when he tells his mother of his love for the bear.  He insists that he can never recover fully unless he kisses the bear. His mother, seeing few options, agrees. And when the bear and the prince do kiss, the chip once again falls out, and the bear reverts to human form. Of course the Queen is delighted at this turn of events, and encourages the young lady to tell her story, and is "delighted" for the maiden to marry her son. 
From: Cox, M.R (1893/2011 p. 161
Notes: I really love this story for its uniqueness, in that the girl actually turns into a bear! Bears are not sexy, passive animals. They are powerful, and primal as well. Images of Little Bear, (who made Birthday Soup for himself and his friends, because he though that his Mother Bear had forgotten his birthday), and Sis from the Berenstein Bears fill my mind. Maybe Frances, the Badger is a comparison? You gotta respect a prince who is not afraid of a little body hair!