Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Fairy Tale Grimoire: Cinderella

Cinderella is a popular fairy story about a young woman who's life is improved by magic. Everyone familiar with this story will sympathise with an unhappy Cinderella, who was treated badly by her step mother and step sisters. They made her do all the housework without any rewards, and she didn't have any decent clothes to wear apart from rags. She didn't have her own room either. She had to sleep in the kitchen beside a fire in the hearth. When invitations arrived to attend the birthday party of a prince at the palace, everyone was excited to go. The step family didn't want Cinderella to go to the ball with them. They told her to remain at home doing endless chores. After they were dressed up and gone to the royal birthday bash, Cinderella broke down in tears, when the arrival of a supernatural visitor came, the "fairy godmother". She gave Cinderella hope just for the night, instructing her to collect mice, newts, a large pumpkin and a rat. With a wave of her magic wand, the fairy godmother turned the pumpkin into a coach, the mice into white horses, the newts into footmen and the rat was turned into a coach driver. Finally Cinderella was transformed from a raggedly dressed scullery maid, into a beautiful stunner wearing an exotic gown and glass slippers.

"Be warned, Cinderella," announced the fairy godmother. "When the clock strikes midnight, your magic will fade. Your gown will return to rags. The coach will turn back into a pumpkin. The mice, rat and newts will return. So go now and enjoy yourself."

Cinderella understood. She was helped into the coach by the driver, and the white horses pulled the pumpkin coach away towards the palace ball. Everything turns glitzy and glamorous now. The ball is filled with dancers in finery. When Cinderella entered the place hall, eyes turned to look in amazement at her for she was the most beautiful one there. Even the step family didn't recognise Cinderella. The handsome prince was in awe of her and he danced with her all night. The clock struck midnight, and Cinderella had just remembered the fairy godmother's warning. Afraid of transforming back to her old self, she had to quickly leave the palace in a hurry. She ran fast and one of her glass slippers fell off and landed on the palace step outside. As she ran, her usual clothes appeared and the coach was gone. Instead was a pumpkin, newts, mice and a rat. Cinderella ran home and got her breath back. When the others returned home, Cinderella kept quiet about her magical night dancing with the prince.

The prince tried chasing after Cinderella but she had gone. Then he came upon the glass slipper that he'd seen her leave behind. He wanted to search for her. Using the glass slipper and it's unique proportions would help him find exactly where his dancer was. The prince made it official to search every house in the land, wanting every young woman to try on the slipper. No one fitted the shoe. He came upon the dwelling of Cinderella and wanted the tow step sisters to try on the glass slipper. Neither did their big feet fit into the delicate small shoe. The prince was tired and he almost gave up hope, when he turned his attention to the maid dressed in rags. He ordered her to try the slipper on, doubtfully thinking it would make a difference. Cinderella sat on a stool and placed her small foot into the glass slipper, when the discovery was made. Cinderella's foot fitted perfectly. The prince looked at her again and recognised who she was. He announced his love for her and proposed marriage to her there and then. Cinderella became the bride of the prince and they lived happily ever after.  

Cinderella is an enchanting story of a maidservant who was magically transformed into a princess. One of the most popular girl stories and perhaps the most famous. It's a very old story going back centuries, to the time of ancient Greece. The writer and philosopher Herodotus (484 to 425 BCE) compiled "historical" information about a rosy cheeked girl named Rhodopis, who'd lived as the real original Cinderella. 

The fairy story we know is a combination of folklore, magic and ancient legends. The ideas within the story that seem to go unnoticed suggest that Cinderella was not a mortal woman. Her step family, the adoptive unrelations, who were more beastly and selfish, punished Cinderella for being special all along. Her immortality shone through during the night of the prince's birthday party. Cinderella is ruled by time, and has a fairy godmother (her own mother?) guiding her on a life's path. She appears ordinary in the day but for one night she is something more. Now the fairy godmother is also interesting because, like the fairies of other folktales and stories, they have the nature of the goddess about them.

Most people haven't established that the glass slipper is the only object that didn't transform! It remained "magical" because it wasn't a fake or an illusion but the identity code of Cinderella's actual true glorious nature. The pumpkin is a symbol of autumn, witchcraft, Halloween and harvest. Pumpkins are traditionally used as lanterns and guardians of the home, to keep evil entities away. As Cinderella, in her truest form, is driven towards the palace, the coach (a pumpkin in disguise) protects her.

Rats and mice are linked to dark, dirty, dusty things. Newts have always been a creature of healing and white magic, according to old superstitions. Rats, mice, newts and pumpkins are altogether not a very nice vision, so these were given a disguise, to shield the vision of a young goddess hidden in the coach as she's taken towards her future.


Pretty artwork on here is "Cinderella" by Lia Selina   
Cinderella info   

No comments:

Post a Comment