The Golden Slipper--Vietnamese Cinderella

This year I am going to do my Multicultural Mondays a bit different by exploring some fairy tales that are in different cultures. We are first going to focus on Cinderella. I did an introduction to Cinderella with the most common version of the story by Charles Perrault. Today we are going to look at the Vietnamese version of the story called The Golden Slipper or The Brocade Slipper.

Vietnam Flag (Source)
Before I share about the story, however, let's look at some information about Vietnam. Vietnam is bordered by China, Laos, Cambodia and the South China Sea. The capital is Hanoi as of 1976.  It is the twelfth most populated country in the world.


Vietnam is a country that has had many influences. It has been inhabited since Paleolithic time. It has been under the rule of many other countries like China and France as well as its own dynasties. Now it has a Socialist Government. This fairy tale however takes place when there were emperors and princes.

Throughout history Vietnam has been known for its wet rice cultivation. However, Vietnam now has open trade with most of the world and has become the second largest rice exporter, the world's largest black pepper and cashew producers. Its poverty levels have also significantly dropped and are lower than China, India and the Philippines.  (Source)

The Golden Slipper: A Vietnamese Legend
A poor rice farmer lives with his daughter, Tam. The mother passed away, and her father remarries a woman who is cruel to Tam. The stepmother has another daughter named Cam. Cam is lazy, yet her mother gives her everything and praises Cam while she beats and punishes Tam. Their father dies of a broken heart watching his new wife mistreat his beloved daughter. The stepmother then makes Tam work the fields all day and do all the housework while she and Cam relax and enjoy their days.
Tam Peg Doll

One day Cam and Tam go to the pond to catch prawns for dinner. Cam plays by the pond while Tam works and fills her basket with prawns. Cam asks Tam to pick a flower for her out in the pond. While Tam is picking it for her, Cam takes all of prawns and goes home. Tam cries when she realizes what has happened and a woman appears dressed in the royal colors, golden yellow and deep orange and tells her "A princess should not be crying."

They have a conversation where the woman tells Tam she is a princess and tells her to listen to the animals that surround her with her heart and everything around her will take care of her. The woman disappears but in her basket, there is an orange and golden yellow catfish. Tam rushes home and puts the catfish in a nearby pond. She then sneaks out each night to feed the catfish.
Each morning Tam is awoken by the crowing rooster. She goes out to feed him some rice from her bowl. She notices one morning that he has golden yellow and deep orange feathers and jokes with him being a royal rooster.
Then working out in the field she notices with the dew on him and in certain light that the old horse looks a bit golden and orange as well. She stops often so the old horse can eat some grass.
While she is out in the rice field, she realizes the annual harvest festival will be soon. During the harvest festival all the farmers stop working for a few days to thank the gods for their harvest and the prince comes to their village. Tam dreams of meeting and marrying the prince as does Cam. Cam is of course getting a new outfit for the festival. Tam is not. The day of the festival arrives and the stepmother tells Tam that she must harvest and hull all the rice in the huge mountain of rice plants before going to the festival. She leaves her with work that will take one person several days to complete. Then comments on how lovely Cam looks in her new outfit--the same outfit Tam dreamed of having. Cam and her mother leave and Tam looks at the work and begins to cry. The mysterious woman appears and says work is no fun alone and the next thing Tam knows there are hundreds of ricebirds doing her work.
The ricebirds turn the hulls of the rice into a silk blouse in golden yellow and deep orange (of course). Tam puts on the blouse and runs to the pond to see her reflection. The catfish comes and splashes her pants and they turn into the flowy black pants she wanted. Next the rooster comes over and pecks near her feet until the edge of golden brocade slippers appear. She puts them on. She is now dressed like royalty. When she gets back to the house the woman has the old horse ready with a new saddle and rein and the horse even looks royal. 

Tam rides the horse to the festival. The horse starts out slow and then speeds up so fast near the royal house that all Tam can do is hold on and she loses a slipper. She tries to stop the horse, but he will not stop. Later when the prince and his entourage are coming to the festival a soldier finds Tam's slipper and gives it to the prince. The prince had never seen anything so beautiful or such wonderful work and word spreads that he wants to meet the owner of the slipper. All the women begin to try on the slipper. First the royalty and then the court and then it is open to anyone. The slipper does not fit anyone. The stepmother pushes Cam up to the front of the line and gets upset when it does not fit. At that point the old horse brings Tam forward and of course the slipper fits her perfectly. The prince falls in love with her and they get married.

Now I made a sheet to compare each story to the original Cinderella. The one with my answers can be found here. A blank copy can be downloaded here.

As you can see from my pictures, I made a small peg doll into Tam. We also used some coloring pages for the animals that were in the story and helped her (and really helped with the magic). Since Hazel cannot write I thought this would be a good activity for her with the story. We also glued on orange and yellow feathers for the two birds. For a copy of the coloring pages visit:
I hope you will join us next week for another version of Cinderella and discovering a new culture/country!


  1. Very interesting! This sounds like such a wonderful series to explore. Thanks for sharing at the After School Link up.

  2. Oh, I am so excited for this series! Can't wait to read more.

  3. What a fantastic idea!! I love the theme of Fairy Tales from other cultures and I know my girls would too! I can't wait to see what else you do!

  4. We recently got the movie Cinderella Moon which was filmed in China and it's fabulous!!! Have you talked about China yet?

  5. You are invited to join my new weekly link-up "Say it Two Ways Thursdays"!  I would love for you to link up activities like this that teach your child about other languages and cultures.  Link up at

  6. What a great story. What a wonderful way to learn about other cultures! Thanks so much for sharing on Super Sweet Saturday.

  7. I like the idea of studying other cultures through books. Thanks for sharing your great ideas!

  8. Wow - this is so creative! I love how you're teaching on the topic of other cultures. Thanks for sharing on Family Fun Friday. You're a blessing.

    In His Grip,

  9. Love your activities, plus the background research you've done. Thanks for sharing at the Culture Swapper!

  10. What an interesting story. I love reading Cinderella stories from other cultures. Thanks so much for linking up to Multicultural Children's Book Day!


I love to hear your comments and ideas. Thank you for reading and contributing!