Behind the Fairy Tale: Cinderella

This is some far out perfume.

This is some far out perfume.

Cinderella, Cinderella, do the laundry, do the dishes, yadda yadda.  I’m sure quite a few children pictured themselves Cinderella at some point.  Of course, then these little girls grow up and they really DO have to do all the work, while children cry “Mommy, Mommy” instead of Cinderella and Prince Charming hides under his car.

But I digress.  The story of Cinderella begins much the same way as Snow White.  Mom promptly drops dead of “Disney and/or fairy tales in general hate mom syndrome.”  Cinderella is left with dumb Dad, who once again gets her an evil stepmother and then drops dead.  Thanks, Dad.  This time, it’s worse, though, because Cinderella also gets two mean stepsisters to go with the mean stepmother.  Instant dysfunctional family!

We are fam-i-ly!  Woot.

We are fam-i-ly! Woot.

And like Snow White, Cinderella is made a servant in her own home.  Only difference is she’s some sort of nobility instead of a princess.  And she likes to sit by the cinders in the fireplace, so they call her “Cinder-ella.”  Good thing she didn’t like sitting by the cow chips.

Cinderella puts up with the abuse with a happy smile, just like all women should.  She sings while she cleans (Wtf with the singing while you clean?  I never once was tempted to sing while I cleaned.)  Also, she has help with her work.  From the vermin.  Yes, that’s right, even the disease infested rats love Cinderella.  She feeds them and protects them from Lucifer (uh huh) the cat and knits them tiny clothes in all her spare time, and in return they keep her company.  Reminds me a little of that show “Infested”.

Great mouse mistake - yeah that's one way to refer to the Black Plague.

Great mouse mistake – yeah that’s one way to refer to the Black Plague.

So her miserable life goes on, with stepmom and stepsisters (who the story points out are ugly, which automatically equals evil in fairy tale logic) loading chores on her while they lay around being ugly and whatnot.  Until one day they get this invitation to the prince’s ball.  He’s bride shopping, and any girl who shows up gets a chance at the bidding block.  Woot!  Stepmother decides that her daughters are going to attract the prince, because she’s somewhat delusional.  We’re talking an episode of “The Bachelor” here, not “Beauty and the Beast.”

Cinderella wants to go too, and so stepmom says that sure she can go, as long as she finds herself suitable clothes and finishes the impossible list of chores she gives her.  What a saint.  So Cinderella cleans and cleans.  The vermin realize she’s never gonna get her chores done, so after wasting time singing a song about how mean everyone is to her “Cinderelly, Cinderelly” (oh how I hate that song) they get down to business and together they fix up this old dress for her with cast offs the stepsisters toss down.

Oh, yeah, there were birds, too.  Girl talks to birds and mice.

Oh, yeah, there were birds, too. Girl talks to birds and mice.

Now I hate mice, but if I found some that could sing and sew, I would say “Heck with you stepmom, I’m goin’ on the road.”  She could have made a bloomin’ fortune!  Oh, well.  Cinderella is sooo happy when she gets back and realizes the dress is all ready.  She puts it on and rushes to join her stepfamily.  They promptly rip her dress to shreds when they realize part of her dress once belonged to them.  At this point, you’re beginning to think these guys might not be very nice people.

Heck, even Cinderella has finally figured this out, and breaks down and cries in the garden.  But never fear, her fairy godmother appears out of nowhere and gives her a heart attack.  She’s there to help the girl go to the ball!  So now we’re in an episode of “What not to Wear” combined with “Pimp my Car” and “Say Yes to the Dress.”  This is one big freaking reality show.

Oh that is sooo gross, girl, we're gonna have to throw out your whole closet!

Oh that is sooo gross, girl, we’re gonna have to throw out your whole closet!

If I were Cinderella, I might be asking why this lady didn’t show up like ten years ago when all this mess started.  But better late than never, I guess.  She creates a coach out of a pumpkin, and makes the mice and dog into horses and coachmen (talk about identity crisis) and then makes Cinderella a brand new dress complete with glass slippers.  Wow, talk about – freaking uncomfortable.  In case you didn’t know, many believe that the glass slippers come from a mistranslation of the original and Cinderella was supposed to be wearing fur slippers.  But what woman would wear fur when she could destroy her feet with breakable high heels, huh?

She gets to the ball, with the warning that the magic will end at midnight STAT.  The prince sees her, and BAM instant love connection.  He’s found his bachelorette.  They dance and forget the time and then Cinderella realizes and runs away so he won’t know that she really wears rags and drives a pumpkin.  Good choice, there.  On the way, she loses a slipper (plot point!).  The other slipper stays in her pocket.  So she got to keep the most uncomfortable part of the magic.  Thanks, FG!

Wanna get married?  It's like a million dollars, here.

Wanna get married? We’re talking like a million dollars, here.

The prince finds the slipper, but no girl.  Word gets out that the prince will marry the girl whose foot fits the slipper.  So he’s betting on there being only one size 0 in the entire kingdom.  What if some other girl wore the same size?  Then what?  Would they put them in a line up and see if Prince Genius can remember which one he danced with?

Honestly, I’m pretty sure Cinderella’s prince gets the prize for most useless.  He’s not even given a name, unless he really is named “Charming” which is the lamest name ever.  It’s his father who, unlike the prince, is short and dumpy and freaky looking, who gets all the screen time.  He wants grandchildren, so he’s ready to force his son into picking a wife right away.  No word from what the son thinks about all this.  Eh, who cares.  In this story, the prince is not the rescuer but the prize!  He’s so pretty, and look at all the ways you can pose him, Cindy!

A lackey is sent around with the enviable task of trying shoes on millions of stinky women’s feet.  Joy.  The stepmother figures out it is Cinderella the prince is looking for, and locks her up in her room when the shoe guys show up.  The stepsisters try on the shoes, but they don’t fit.  True fact: In the original fairy tale, the stepsisters are so eager to fit into the shoes, they actually chop their toes off.  No lie.  I’m guessing the shoe guys noticed all the blood building up in the shoes, because it didn’t work.  Later, birds come and peck out the eyes of the sisters.  Cinderella’s like “see ya suckers” and takes off with the prince.  I like that version, personally.

Okay, when we're done here - go for their eyeballs.

Okay, when we’re done here – go for their eyeballs.

In the Disney version, we can’t have blood or any of that fun violence, so the mice get the key and free Cinderella.  The stepmother destroys the glass slipper, but Cinderella has the other one.  That right there pretty much proves who she is, but they try the shoe on anyway, it fits, and Cinderella has won her man.  It pays to have size 0 feet, ladies.

If the shoe fits, wear it.  Just don't step too hard - that could be painful.

If the shoe fits, wear it. Just don’t step too hard – that could be painful.

So Cinderella marries the prince, and lives happily ever after with trophy man and creepy grandpa who I can only assume sits outside their bedroom until word of an impending grandchild arrives.  Oh, and the mice apparently come along and infest the castle, probably infecting the entire populace with the plague, but it was good while it lasted.

Next up, everyone’s favorite narcoleptic, Sleeping Beauty.

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46 responses

  1. ok there you go, destroying my favourite fairytale with your humour!!! Very well written, though. I always like how they say that Cinders was ‘as good as she is beautiful’. AS am I.

    1. Of course! I wouldn’t have been a very good Cinderella. I hate cleaning and I’m allergic to birds and furry things.

  2. This was brilliant, looking forward to the next one :) xx

  3. I never understood Cinderella either … and I, too, like the original and more ghastly versions from Grimm and friends.

    1. They are interesting, aren’t they? I guess life was a lot scarier back then, so getting eaten by a wolf or chopping off your toes was like, eh, no biggie.

  4. Oh, I’m loving this series of yours. Favorite line, mainly because it’s such an excellent point: “If I were Cinderella, I might be asking why this lady didn’t show up like ten years ago when all this mess started. But better late than never, I guess.”

    1. Yes! I mean, sheesh, the kid is miserable all that time and she only comes when it’s time for her to get a man? Doesn’t that make her more of a matchmaker than a godmother?

      1. Fairy Matchmaker just didn’t have a nice enough ring, I guess.

  5. Please wrote a new “Grimm’s fairy tales”, that’s just great! Now I know it was always common to use fakes to be an eyecatcher LOL

    1. I’m picturing the stepsisters running around with bleeding stumps for feet crying “my eyes, my eyeeeeees.”

      1. yes, that’s perfect for a bedtime story, all kids will love it :o)

  6. Perfectly written. Cindy made me laugh so hard I almost peed myself a bit.

    1. That is the best test of a post – the pee test! I admit it’s much easier once you have children to get to that point . . .

  7. I mean, even if one of the step sisters’ feet had fit into the slipper, is the Prince really going to look at the girl and be “Yeah, that’s her?”

    1. No kidding. You’d think it’d have been easier to just have the prince go around the kingdom looking himself. I mean – surely he’d have been able to figure out which one he’d been dancing with, right? Or does putting on rags do the same thing for a girl that putting on glasses does for Clark Kent?

      1. Well, the step sisters didn’t recognize Cinderella at the ball, so maybe?

  8. This is great! I look forward to more princess undressing…. um, er, roasting!

  9. Check out the size of Prince Charmings hands compared to Cinder’s teeny tiny feet in that pic up there. Makes you kind of hope that the saying about “man’s hands” isn’t true, or I feel sorry for her on her wedding night!

      1. God i’m such a perv,,,,sigh and it’s only been a month without “it”.

        1. Well, that was more than I wanted to know…

    1. There is no “wedding night” in Disney fairy tales. They just marry and live happily ever after.

      1. The END. That’s it, the END, kiddos!

  10. Next on Behind the Fairytale….

    1. Did you know Peter Pan snorted pixie dust? It’s true, man. He’s totally trying to become clean now, though, and word has it he’s found Jesus.

      1. I think Jesus was hiding in the third star to the right….

  11. You don’t sing while you clean? You are definitely cleaning wrong then. It’s the only way to go.
    Throw on some Rage Against the Machines, and scream/sing your way through all those nasty chores.

    1. Well, okay, I do like listening to music when I clean, but I don’t randomly burst into happy song.

  12. You need to see Enchanted. You think Cinderella’s mice are vermin? You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

  13. Ok, now that I know where the nickname Cinderella comes from, I can’t help but wonder if she has an actual name, or is it just “Unnamed female child #1 with name to be determined later”?

    1. I read one place it was “Ella” but I Unnamed Child is also good.

      1. I’m with you on it being “Ella”, which became “Cinderella” because she was always covered in cinders from having to clean out the fires. I have to say though I prefer the Terry Pratchett version in “Witches Abroad” where she gets called “Ember-ella” which sounds rather like the device you put up in the rain to keep your hair dry.

  14. I too miss the gruesome details of the original version.
    I don’t know what Disney resists to show kids what they watch in other shows on the daily basis.

    1. Good point. Quit crying, it’s real life, kids!

  15. Every time I’ve seen any version of this story I’ve wondered why the glass slippers didn’t turn back into some form of rag footwear when the magic ended.
    I’m afraid I can’t enjoy Cinderella until someone explains this to me :-(

    1. Supposedly the fairy left it as a souvenir, or that was her explanation. I think she just screwed up.

  16. I’d forgotten about the Ugly Sisters cutting off their toes to make the shoe fit.

    Random fact: In British Pantomime, the Ugly Sisters are usually played by men. Who may or may not have shaved, ever. They got it right in South Pacific – there’s nothing like a Dame!

    1. Well, men in drag could definitely make good ugly sisters – especially if they are bearded. Lol.

      1. It also allows for comedy bosoms, which you wouldn’t get if you had women playing the roles.

  17. They chopped their toes off? I like this version of the story so much more.

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