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Archive for January 29th, 2009

The fairy tale story that is in the heart of every child even adults and is already 300 over years old. Charles Perrault – the author of modern Cinderella in 1690s. There are over 500 versions of Cinderella in Europe alone.

Cinderella means little ash girl

Cinderella means little ash girl

Why is Cinderella so popular, why does it touch everyone’s heart? Let’s us look into the ingredients of a good evergreen fairy tale story. It has a good, evil & magic in the story line. The 3 main ingredients needed to make a fairy tale story. Good will always prevail over evil and with magic. If we look closely, it spells out our own feelings of our own encounters  in life. The required deeds that we do to over come our own problems using our own wisdom as the magical force to attain our success of a certain matter. The hardship we go thru’ and the rewards after that from a sudden awakening of our own mind like magical force we were able to see more clearly our rewards after the hardship.

Did you know that Cinderella originated from China. Yes China, popularly known as Yeh Hsien told in the 9th century, 800 years before European created Cinderella. If you read the story of Cinderella, the most significant part of the story is the “glass Slipper or golden shoes” in some stories, the evil step-mother, the ugly sisters, the ball or party, the king/prince and of course the magic.

I was watching Discovery Channel – China Whisper, I was fascinated with their discovery of how they trace the origin of Cinderella. The search started from Shanghai then up to the north-west and down to the south. Surprisingly, the story came from a native tribe in Nanning – The Zhuang tribes.  According to the author who wrote the story during the Tang Dynasty, it was supposedly told by a servant.

Cinderella - a servant's story, only one who has been will know what it is like to be a servant and the hardship of chores

Cinderella - a servant's story, only one who has been will know what it is like to be a servant and the hardship of chores

The first Cinderella story is about a young girl – yeh hsien being bullied by her step-mother and step-sisters, always giving her the worst household chores to do. One day they found out that yeh hsien has a “pet fish”, her only friend and enjoyment, and the step-mother stole the fish and cooked it and ate it.

Yeh Hsien -a Chinese Cinderella,  a story in the 9th century being told 800 years before the 1st modern Cinderella was told in Europe in the 17th Century

Yeh Hsien -a Chinese Cinderella, a story in the 9th century being told 800 years before the 1st modern Cinderella was told in Europe in the 17th Century

Poor Yeh Hsien cried and she took the remains of the fish bones and kept it in a box and when night falls, the box will glow and has magical powers. What yeh hsien wants, it will grant her wishes. One night she wish she could attend the village festival party and her wishes were granted and she got a beautiful dress and a pair of golden cloth shoes. She attend the party, being worried that the step-mother and sisters could recognise her, she ran home but left one shoe at the party in a hurry to run home. A trader found the golden shoe and present it to a neighbouring village chief and the hunt for the owner of the shoe began. bla bla.. at last they found that  yeh hsien foot fits the shoe and the village chief brought her home and married her…

Walt Dinsney's Cinderella is the most popular of them all

Walt Disney's Cinderella is the most popular of them all

Anyway, it is believed that the story must gave been told to travellers along the silk road and that’s how the Yeh Hsien’s story reached Europe. If you read about Chinese ancient history, you will realize that shoes can differentiate  and signifies some royalty values. Foot binding – to have small feet signifies power and royalty. You can’t have small feet if you are a peasant girl because you need to work for a living. Therefore finding a small feet among the villager becomes something intriguing.

Foot-binding - a chinese customs - a painful and pitiful custom to prove that you are from a royal or wealthy family. To criple yourself so that you can't walk without assistance, a privilege only the royalty and the rich could afford.

Foot-binding - a chinese customs - a painful and pitiful custom to prove that you are from a royal or wealthy family. To criple yourself so that you can't walk without assistance, a privilege only the royalty and the rich could afford.

Another fact that they found out is that the Zhuang tribes have annual “mating festivals” – a day when the women and men will sing their hearts out to woo one another finding their future mate.

A Zhuang trible woman - Cinderella would probably look like this

A Zhuang trible woman - Cinderella would probably look like this

The Chinese were the first to round the world, hundreds of years before Columbus did and now Cinderella was copied from China. I think there will be alot of fascinating discoveries as the search for more historical facts begins as China opens their country to the world.

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