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1001 Stories Collection

Cinderella or Aschenputtel

Added on 26th June 2020

Oral tradition European folktale
Cinderella collected by Charles Perrault in Tales of Mother Goose (1697)
Aschenputtel collected by the Brothers Grimm in Children’s and Household Tales (1812)

A classic tale filled with cruel step-sisters, magical transformations and romance (as well as the occasional ball or two).

Story

When Cinderella’s mother dies her father remarries. His new wife and her daughters are cruel to Cinderella. When an invitation arrives for a ball at the palace, where the prince will choose a bride, the stepsisters tell Cinderella that she cannot go, but she has other ideas…

Why we chose it

Cinderella stories are found all over the world. We asked visitors to our Ever After exhibition to tell us their favourite traditional tale and Cinderella was the most popular story. Cinderella herself was the most popular character and the ball the most popular story moment.

Where it came from

The first telling of the story is unknown, but similar tales were told in 9th century China. Perrault’s version most closely resembles the Cinderella we know today with the fairy godmother and the glass slippers. In Grimm’s Aschenputtel , Aschenputtel plants a hazel tree on her mother’s grave and a white bird who lives in the tree grants her wishes and drops the ball gowns down to her.

Where it went next

Hundreds of films have told or adapted the story. The classic Disney animation was released in 1950 and reimagined in a live-action film in 2015.

In Britain Cinderella is a favourite pantomime. Prokovfiev’s ballet Cinderella was first performed by the Bolshoi Ballet in 1945. Cinderella herself is a main character in Steven Sondheim’s Into the Woods.

Associated stories

‘Cinderella stories’ are told all over the world – stories with cruel stepmothers and stepsisters, kind and gentle heroines helped by magical intervention and punishment for those who were cruel to her. In the Scottish story Rashin Coatie a little red calf who grants the wishes. In English story Mossycoat the girl is given a magic coat by her mother, sent out make her fortune and loses a slipper at a ball.

Other ‘Cinderella’ stories in our 1001 collection are Chinye from West Africa, a Kashmiri Cinderella, and the Iroquios story Little Burnt Face.

Added on 26th June 2020

Oral tradition European folktale
Cinderella collected by Charles Perrault in Tales of Mother Goose (1697)
Aschenputtel collected by the Brothers Grimm in Children’s and Household Tales (1812)