Multicultural Monday--Fairy Tales from Around the World

It has been awhile since I have done a Multicultural Monday. I am so sorry!! This year I thought I would take some time to focus on fairy tales with a bit of their known origins and look at different versions of popular stories from our culture. I was inspired by April over at April's Homemaking since I have so enjoyed her 52 Weeks of Fairy Tales series and another blog that I apparently did not record that had a list of ten versions of Cinderella from around the world. If it is yours or know which one I am talking about please let me know so I can give them credit!!

Since we are very much into princesses right now in our house, I figured it was a good place to start. So we will begin with Cinderella. Cinderella is one of the first fairy tales we shared with Hazel because it does not have a very scary part to it.
History of Cinderella:
Cinderella was first published by Charles Perrault in 1697. However the story shares aspects with an ancient Greco-Egyptian tale recorded in 1 BC by Ancient Greek historian Strabo. Many different cultures share the similar bones to the story in their own tales as you will see over the next few weeks/months. (Source)
Gustave Doré's illustration for Charles Perrault's ''Cinderella'' from ''Histoires ou Contes du Temps passé: Les Contes de ma Mère l'Oye''(1697). Source
Sources disagree with how many versions of Cinderella exist. The numbers range from 345 to over 1,500. It is the most recognized tale around the world. Most people are familiar with Perrault's version. However in all the versions the story is about a child whose mother has died and her father is absent, neglectful or something of the sort and has remarried. The stepmother and stepsisters are mean to the heroine and there is a magic guardian who helps her and often there is a piece of clothing (usually a shoe) that helps her find a wealthy marriage and escape from her horrible situation. (Source)
Gustave Doré's illustrations appear in an 1867 edition entitled ''Les Contes de Perrault'' Source

Disney made a film of Cinderella in 1950. It was based on Cinderellon by Charles Perrault. It was the twelfth in the Walt Disney Animated Classic Series. The film received three academy awards. (Source) I would say for me this is the version I am most familiar with and have heard/seen most often. 
Cinderella Poster
Some interesting facts about the Disney film. It cost between three and four million dollars to produce. It was considered a huge risk. If it had failed at the box office, it would have ruined Walt Disney. Luckily it was a huge success. Cinderella's Castle appears at Disney World's Magic Kingdom and Tokyo Disneyland. (Source)
Cinderella Castle.jpg
Cinderella's Castle at the Magic Kingdom Source

Frederick Ashton's Version at Joffrey Ballet 2006 Source
In 1870, Bolshoi Theater asked Tchaikovsky to write music for a Cinderella Ballet. However, it never materialized. Decades later Sergei Prokofiev finished it in 1945, having started it in 1940 with a break due to World War II and other work. There have been many productions set to Prokofiev's score. The most notable is Frederick Ashton the first to stage a full-length production in the West and Ben Stevenson's production which is the most popular in the United States since its premier in 1970. (Source)

The Story:

The story of Cinderella is of a young girl whose mother passes away and her father remarries so his daughter will have a mother. He marries a woman who has two daughters of her own around Cinderella's age. Shortly after their wedding the father dies and the stepmother's true colors come out. She makes Cinderella do all the housework, cooking, etc. for them and serve her and her daughters. One day an invitation arrives for all the fair maidens of the kingdom to attend a ball at the palace. They are all excited however Cinderella is told she must help the others get ready and do her long list of chores before she can get ready herself, plus she needs to find a suitable gown for herself. In the Disney version her animal friends (mice and birds) help makeover an old dress of her mother's. When she comes down dressed the stepsisters rip her dress to shreds so she will not be able to go. They leave for the ball and Cinderella goes out to the garden crying. Her fairy godmother appears and turns a pumpkin into a carriage, mice into horses, other animals into the proper staff for the carriage and her dress into a beautiful gown complete with a pair of glass slippers. The fairy godmother warns her that the magic will be gone at midnight so she must leave the ball before the clocks strikes the last bell of midnight. Off she goes and of course the prince is only interested in this beautiful mystery woman. They dance the night away and all of a sudden the clock is striking midnight. Cinderella runs out on the prince and he chases after her. All he finds is one of her glass slippers. He then says he will marry the woman who the slipper fits. Of course Cinderella's feet are very daintily small and it will only fit her. The stepsisters try to fit their large feet in and cannot. Then Cinderella asks for a turn and of course it fits and she pulls the other slipper out of her apron pocket. She and the prince marry and live happily ever after.

Starting next week we will explore some of the stories of Cinderella from other cultures. I hope you will join us!


  1. Thanks for the shout out. :) I have really enjoyed learning about all the fairy tale versions, and I think it's fascinating how there are versions of well known tales like Cinderella all around the world, the perfect tool for multicultural studies. I look forward to reading more of your posts on the different versions of Cinderella. :)

  2. What a fun theme! We've been working our way through fairy tales, and the Red/Blue?Green ect Fairy Books for the last few years and loving it. Intellego unit studies has a unit of Cinderella around the world also, in case anyone is looking for a pre-made version to explore.


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