My Favorite Fairy Tale
And the winner is...
There are a number of fairy tales I’ve enjoyed over the years, but I’ve always been rather fond of Cinderella. I figure it’s because I was an only child who got stuck with washing the dishes or sweeping and dusting the house. Especially scrubbing the pots and pans. Argh. I could totally resonate with Cinder.
When I was young, I *adored* the notion that a fairy godmother would appear out of nowhere, offer me a luxe evening out in a fancy gown, transported to the ball in a gilded carriage (formerly a pumpkin) with a fat coachman (a rat) and footmen (who were once lizards). Then I’d spend the evening waltzing with a handsome prince. How cool was that? Of course, our house was entirely free of any of those kinds of critters, and I was shy one fairy godmother. Still, a girl can dream, right?
Of course, now that I’m older, I see the holes in the story (especially Disney’s version). First off, Cinderella’s family doesn’t recognize her at the ball? How does that work? Apparently she also had a third-rate fairy godmother or the enchantment would have lasted until dawn. As soon as the clock struck midnight – POOF — the gown, the coach and the footmen are history. Except for that lone glass slipper (or the pair of them if you’re into the Disney version). I don’t know about you, but dancing the night away in a glass shoe sounds like agony. Blister city. Still, there it is just waiting for the prince to pick it up right after Cinderella flees the castle. A prince, I might add, with no name other than ‘Charming’. If that’s the best his parents can come up with, I worry about that family.
But then let’s be honest — Prince Charming isn’t that bright. He spends hours dancing with Cinder, falling madly in love with her, but does he ever bother to ask her name? Nope. If that’s not bad enough, the next morning (after he’s found the girl of his dreams), Charming can’t remember what she looks like. Instead, he goes around jamming the glass slipper on every maiden in the kingdom in hopes it’ll fit. What would have happened if another girl had the same size feet? He could have ended up marrying Matilda the milkmaid instead of his beloved Cinderella. Still, he is a dashing hunk, an accomplished dancer, and comes with a title and a castle, so we can cut him some slack. This is a fairy tale after all.
In Disney’s quest to sanitize the Grimm’s often gruesome tales, they didn’t bother to mention that the two evil step-sisters perform radical surgery on their feet in an attempt to fit into that slipper. As if our erstwhile royal wouldn’t notice the maimed and bloody footsies. Euuu… Cinderella, of course, slips her dainty toes into the shoe and bingo, she’s claimed by her guy. And instead of taking that opportunity for payback, the chance to kick some step-sister butt, Cinder is so sweet she forgives her cruel siblings and offers them a place to live in the palace.
Okay, I admit that’s the adult me talking. The little girl in me still loves the idea of a night on the town with a handsome (though fairly clueless) prince, dancing in a gorgeous gown while being admired by the entire kingdom.
Every girl should have at least one night like that. Cinderella got hers and that’s why I love this tale to this day.
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