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1001 Stories Collection

Kashmiri Cinderella

Added on 30th June 2020

Oral tradition Indian folktale

An oral story that shows a mother's love can transcend any barriers, even when she is turned into a goat.

Story

A husband and wife promise not to eat anything without each other but when feeding her children one day the wife eats a little of their food and is turned into a goat. The husband keeps the goat in the house, but in time he marries again. His new wife dislikes her stepchildren and favours her own daughter, giving her plenty to eat but starving the two stepchildren. The goat protects and magically feeds her own children until the day that the stepmother discovers how the children have been getting food.

Why we chose it

Cinderella stories are found all over the world. This is one told to us by our artist in residence, storyteller Peter Chand.

Where it came from

Peter Chand told us, ‘I first told the story as part of a programme for BBC Radio Four called If the Slipper Fits, a number of years ago. Loftus Productions, recorded ten storytellers telling a different Cinderella story from around the world, then combined them to make one half hour story. It was incredible. I located the story which is a Kashmiri tale and the source was the book Folk Tales from Kashmir by J.H Knowles, which was originally published in 1888. Many Indian stories were collected by the Victorians under the Raj, and many incidents were altered to appeal to (or not shock) Victorian children and their parents. So a lot of gods or goddesses were changed into fairies, or good wizards etc. Part of my job as a storyteller is to try and bring those important elements back, and honour the source of these great stories.’

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.

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

Peter Chand has told a number of stories for our audio collection, including The Cap Seller and the Monkeys, Hungry Ganesh and What is Truth?

Added on 30th June 2020

Oral tradition Indian folktale