Friday, January 12, 2007
Cinderella creator's birthday
Charles Perrault, born on this day in 1628, is credited with capturing the classic European version of the Cinderella story so familiar to us. So, for a change of pace, I thought I might feature my favorite Cinderella poem. This one is by Judith Viorst, author of the classic picture book, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.
… AND THEN THE PRINCE KNELT DOWN AND TRIED TO PUT
THE GLASS SLIPPER ON CINDERELLA’S FOOT
By Judith Viorst
I really didn’t notice that he had a funny nose.
And he certainly looked better all dressed up in fancy clothes.
He’s not nearly as attractive as he seemed the other night.
So I think I’ll just pretend that this glass slipper feels too tight.
From: If I were in charge of the world and other worries
The European tale of Cinderella or the “good sister/bad sister” story told in cultures all around the world may be the most adapted, retold, and reillustrated folktale in children’s literature. There are culturally rich versions as well as nonsensical modernized renditions to choose from. Roald Dahl wrote a rhyming parody in his Revolting Rhymes collection and Shel Silverstein turned his attention to the tale with this gem.
IN SEARCH OF CINDERELLA
by Shel Silverstein
From dusk to dawn,
From town to town,
Without a single clue,
I seek the tender, slender foot
To fit this crystal shoe.
From dusk to dawn,
I try it on
Each damsel that I meet.
And I still love her so, but oh,
I've started hating feet.
from A Light in the Attic
Cinderella is such a part of Americans’ literary heritage that phrases like “if the shoe fits,” “Cinderella complex,” and “until the stroke of midnight” are part of their everyday vernacular. Folklorists have identified more than 3,000 stories that qualify as Cinderella variants worldwide; almost every culture, every nation, has at least one variant, one authentic tale with Cinderella-style characters and motifs. What is it about this girl’s story that has such appeal across generations of listeners and readers, and also across so many countries and cultures?