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It is very harmful to skip the ball, especially when you deserve it!

(film “Cinderella”)

Stories about mad stepmothers, hard-working stepdaughters, a lost shoe at the ball and a wedding with a prince exist in some way in every nation. That’s why “Cinderella” is one of the most popular fairy tales of all time.


It has been confirmed that the earliest version of the fairy tale “Cinderella” was found in Ancient Egypt. The story told about a charming courtesan that was bathing in the river when an eagle stole her sandal and carried it off to the Pharaoh.

The first person to write this kind of plot was an Italian by the name of Giambattista Basile, but more famous versions that have stood the test of time are the stories edited by the Grimm Brothers and Charles Perrault.

In the fairy tale of Giambattista Basile the name of the main character is Zezolla, and she is as harmless as the Cinderella we all know today. In the Italian story the girl comes to an arrangement with the nanny. She then breaks her stepmother’s neck with the lid of a chest and persuades her father to get married to the nanny. Zezolla loses a slipper that has soles made of cork.


In Charles Perrault’s tales “the rich widower” gets married to a mad woman that makes Cinderella do all the dirty work around the house. The tired stepdaughter rests, sitting in cinders and ashes after a long, full day of work, which was the very reason the arrogant stepmother’s daughters called her “Cinderella”. In this version a wonderful fairy appears (who is also her godmother), and because of her Cinderella gets the chance and clothes to go to the ball where she will lose her shoe and get married to the prince. It is curious that in Charles Perrault’s original text the glass slippers were trimmed with vair. With time the word “vair” (the fur used for trimming) was transformed by misinterpreted into the word “verre” meaning “glass”. As a result the shoes turned into refined glass slippers. Charles Perrault’s Cinderella also generously forgives her mad sisters and helps them to get married to court nobles.



The Brothers Grimm modified the plot a bit. The name “Cinderella” comes from the girl sleeping in ashes. The fairy disappears from the plot, but at the same time a white bird that makes dreams come true appears. It comes flying onto the branches of the tree grown by the girl on her mother’s grave. “Shake and quiver, little tree, throw gold and silver down to me.”

In the fairy tale there are “tamed pigeons” that help Cinderella with sorting out lentils.

In this version the king arranges a festival in order to choose a bride for his son. The prince grows tired of Cinderella escaping from him during these two days while she hides in a pigeon coop or in a pear tree. Finally, the prince spreads the pitch over the stairs. Cinderella tries to escape again and this is when she loses her shoe. The shoe in this version is made of gold.


Apart from an attempt to “kill” Cinderella on the stairs another brutal thing happens. However, this is the Grimm’s style. One of the sisters cuts off her toe in order to put on the shoe. The prince takes her on his horse and rides away with her, but the two white pigeons are singing on the nutwood that “blood is running out of her shoe”. The prince immediately turns the horse around. The same situation happens with the other sister when she cuts off a “piece of her heel” instead of her toe.

During the wedding of Cinderella and the prince, stepsisters are part of the ceremony at the church. “The elder one was on the right of the bride and the youngest was on the left; and the pigeons pecked out one eye from each of them. Afterwards, as they came out of the church, the older one was on the left side, and the younger one on the right side, and then the pigeons pecked out the other eye from each of them. And thus, for their wickedness and falsehood, they were punished with blindness as long as they lived”.


Such stories happened to girls who were losing their shoes at balls. So, ladies, if you want to get married you shouldn’t save money on shoes!

Psychologist Valentina Shapovalova