While The Fairytale Keeper series is a Snow White retelling, the series itself was inspired by Cinderella. The idea came to me during a children’s literature class when my professor said that nearly all cultures had a Cinderella story. If that’s true, I thought to myself, then either the real Cinderella lived thousands of years ago or the premise is so compelling that most cultures created their own version of the tale.
The Fairytale Keeper series works on the first assumption and attempts to answer two questions: What if all Grimm’s fairytales originated with one person? What if that person was the real Snow White?
In The Countess’ Captive, the “real” Cinderella is a major player. Let’s just say she’s not as good and pious as she seems. To celebrate the release, I thought I would share five little-known facts about the Cinderella story with you today.
1. From Russia to India and Vietnam to Scotland, nations from all over the world have their own traditional telling of the Cinderella story.
A few examples of titles are The Story of Tam and Cam (Vietnam), Baba Yaga (Russia), The Saddleslut (Greece), Pepelyouga (Serbia), Ashey Pelt (Ireland), and Conkiajgharuna (Georgia).
2. Many Native American tribes fused the European Cinderella with their own legends to create unique versions of the tale.
For example, Mi’kmaq Native Americans combined the French Cinderella with their own legends to come up with a version called The Invisible One. Some other Native American versions include The Turkey Herd and The Rough-Faced Girl.
3. The tale was first recorded in 9th century China by Tuan Che’ng-shih, but the tone of the tale suggests it was already a well-known story to its readers.
Despite being recorded hundreds of years apart, the Chinese Cinderella is shockingly similar to the French version. The Chinese Cinderella, Yeh-Shen, is mistreated by her father’s second wife because she is prettier than her half-sister. With the help of magic, Yeh-Shen obtains suitable clothes so she can attend a spring festival. She loses a shoe at the festival that the king later uses to identify Yeh-Shen. They get married and live happily ever after.
4. The next recording didn’t come until over eight hundred years later when Charles Perrault of France published it in 1697.
This version is the one Americans are most familiar with—probably because of Walt Disney. Disney likely chose Perrault’s Cinderella as the basis for his animated movie because it lent itself to a G-rating. Most other versions of Cinderella resulted in the maiming or killing of the wicked stepsisters in the end—something modern parents would not have wanted their young children to see on the big screen.
5. There are approximately 1,500 versions of the tale when one includes retellings, movies, musicals, operas, and picture books!
About the Andrea Cefalo
Andrea Cefalo is an award-winning author and blogger on Medieval Europe. The next three novels in The Fairytale Keeper series will debut in 2015 and 2016. She resides in Greenville, South Carolina with her husband and their two border collies.
About The Countess' Captive (Book Two)
During March of 1248, Adelaide Schumacher-affectionately called Snow White-has lost so much: her mother, her possessions, and now her home.
Adelaide hates abandoning her home city, her family’s legacy, and her first love‒Ivo. More than anything, she hates her father growing closer to her mother’s cousin‒Galadriel. Adelaide plots to end their tryst before her fate is sealed, and she never sets foot in Cologne again.
But good and pious can only get Galadriel so far. Never again will she be destitute. Never again will she be known by the cruel moniker‒Cinderella. Never again will someone take what is rightfully hers. No matter what it takes.
The Countess’ Captive is the much anticipated follow-up to The Fairytale Keeper and is book two in The Fairytale Keeper series. The novel combines Grimm’s fairytale characters with real historical settings and events to create a tale that leaves the reader wondering where fact ends and fiction begins.