Icono Clast

Whence comes Cinderella?

Whence comes

Which country, France, Italy, China, or the United States of America, originated the classic fairy tale

City Hall — Saint Valentine's Day, 1990

The Cinderella story is known throughout the world. It seems that, during the last 2200 years, some form of the story has been created in many, if not most, of the world's cultures.
   The form most familiar to us, in the United States of America and, gen­er­ally, in Western culture, is the one presented to us by the Walt Disney film (released December 21, 1937; first animated feature) of that name.
   The question before the 61st session of The Court of Historical Review, heard at City Hall today, was “Which of the four countries of France, Italy, China, and the United States, originated the classic fairy tale of Cinderella?”
   Supervisor Wendy Nelder argued exclusively for the United States of America. Frank D. Winston (not, because of his significant weight loss, called a blimp by presiding Judge George T. Choppelas) was supposed to have argued against the United States of America but, because of facts revealed by the testi­gants, didn't have to.
   San Francisco Hotel Council Executive Director Robert F. Begley presented background information on the story in literature. Although he wasn't sure, he believed the names of Cinderella's unpleasant step-sisters to be Leona* and Ivana*.
   Board of Education Vice President JoAnn Miller talked about the use­ful­ness of the story in the classroom. As part of her testimony, she explained that the story has harmed her half of the species by making them believe that they needed the other half to survive. This evoked thunderous applause from the members of the audience who lacked a protuberance between their legs and silence from those so equipped.
   Gerald F. Uelmen, Dean of the School of Law at Santa Clara University showed up with a stack of books and explained that he's lived a life signifi­cantly accompanied with fairy tales: that of justice being found in the criminal courts; reviews by and/or of the appellate courts; and applications for admission sub­mitted to the university.
   It is he who presented the strongest, most damaging and, finally, decid­ing, evidence in favor not only of France, but of Charles Perrault, a lawyer, of presenting the tale as we know it in a 1697 book. He is the same person who introduced the “improvement” on fairy tales of each having an instructive moral. The English translation appeared in 1729. It included other tales that had previ­ously existed only in oral tradition. Among them were Sleeping Beauty, Little Red Riding Hood, Bluebeard and Puss in Boots, and were presented under the title Tales of Mother Goose.
   It appears that the Walt Disney film Cinderella has a statement in the opening credits that gives credit, specifically, to Charles Perrault. It was also commented that, in future, Walt Disney will be recognized as one of the most important folklorists of this country.
   Cinderella (Judge Diane Elan Wick), not having much time between chores, showed up dressed in her non-work clothes. She placed before Judge Choppelas a basket inside of which were her only friends; three mice. She had been to only one ball and was looking forward to the next. At the ball she'd attended, she'd charmed the prince.
   You see, in the original story, there were two balls but Walter eliminated one for his own purposes. It seems that, in folklore, such changes are common as, in one version of the story, the step mother cuts off the toes of one of her daughters in order to make that girl's foot fit into the slipper. There is also a ver­sion that makes clear that the house in which Cinderella is subjugated was hers by right of inheritance had her father not married. That same version strongly implies that her father was murdered by his wife.
   Frank D. Winston asked Cinderella where she had attended the ball. “Italy,” she answered. “Northern Italy?” “Yes.” With that, Mr. Winston jumped up, brandished what appeared to be a glass slipper and forced it to fit onto her foot. Suffering with some confusion, Cinderella had repeatedly interjected “Some day my prince will come”. Seeing how pleased was Mr. Winston with the fit of the slipper, she was convinced that her prince had come.
   The couple playfully skipped out leaving the audience to believe that they spent the rest of the day “resting” in one of Mr. Begley's member hotels.
Icono Clast
15 February 1990

NOTE: It seems that the original story used the word vair (different from the modern spelling)
   meaning sable fur, in conjunction with pantoufle to describe Cinderella's dance shoes.
   Verre, meaning glass, is pronounced the same.

*References are to:
“Only little people pay taxes” Leona Helmsley, a.k.a. Queen of Mean and
“Take his wallet to the cleaners” Ivana Trump, each much in the news at time of trial.

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