Cendrillon: A Carribean Cinderella: Fairy Tales in Different Cultures

This week we will get back to celebrating Black History Month and travel to a place I wish I could be right now--the Caribbean. (Oh, how I wish to have some warm weather right now and not all this snow!) A bit about the Caribbean first.


The Caribbean is the area that consists of the Caribbean Sea and all the islands in it. It comprises of more than 7000 islands including Aruba, Barbados, Bonaire, the Cayman Islands, Saint Croix, The Bahamas, Antigua, Cuba, Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Dominica, Montserrat, Saba, Saint Kitts, Saint Lucia, Saint Thomas, Saint John, Tortola, Grenada, Saint Vincent, Guadeloupe, Martinique, and Trinidad & Tobago. The climate is tropical, but rainfall varies greatly. The Caribbean Islands are remarkable diversity in animals, plants and fungi, because of the diverse terrestrial and marine ecosystems. (Source) I know when Steve and I went to St. Croix for our honeymoon, one half of the island is desert-like and the other side is rainforest.
St. Croix
The ecosystems of the Caribbean have been devastated by deforestation, pollution and human encroachment. Many animals, plants and fungi have gone extinct or are in danger of becoming extinct. Since there are several different countries in the Caribbean, I will leave it with the European settlers first started growing tobacco and later sugarcane to be imported to Europe. (Source)

Now onto our Cinderella story for this week. This week we are looking at Cendrillon by Robert D. San Souzi. In the author's note it is stated that this story is loosely based on the French Creole tale "Cendrillo" in Turiault's Creole Grammar from the nineteenth century. San Souzi chose to incorporate elements from the West Indian culture and costume as well as drawing on details of life on the island of Martinique.

Cendrillon is told by the point of view of the godmother. The godmother is a poor woman who on her mother's deathbed, her mother gave her a mahogany wand and told her to tap it three times to change one thing to another for a short time and it would only work to help someone she loved. As an orphan she has no use for this wand since she had no one to love or to love her. 

She survived to become an adult and became a washer woman. One of her clients was a kind woman who was often sick. She nursed this client when she was sick and in return the client made her godmother to her baby girl, Cendrillon, when she was born. The client died shortly afterwards. Cendrillon's father married a cold woman who treated Cendrillon like a house servant. Soon the stepmother had a daughter of her own whom she spoiled. 

Even with the mistreatment, Cendrillon stayed happy and was always smiling, joking and singing. When she was old enough she would see her godmother and the other washer women by the river every day so she could wash the family's laundry. There she joked, sang and smiled. One day however she came and was sad and the women could not cheer her up. Finally she told her godmother about the party that she wanted to go to that night, but her stepmother would not allow her to join them. The party was for the birthday of the son of a wealthy man. The son was good looking, intelligent and kind. The godmother promised Cendrillon she would find a way for her to go. After praying she remembered the wand.

The godmother rushed over to Cendrillon's house. The family was running late so the godmother helped out since both the stepmother and stepsister were yelling at her for help. As soon as they were gone the godmother told Cendrillon to find a piece of fruit from the garden. She came back with a round breadfruit, which the godmother tapped three times with the wand and they had a beautiful coach. Changing six agoutis to horses, five brown field lizards to footmen and a plump manicou to a coachman, completed the way they would get to the party. Then the godmother tapped Cendrillon and her rags became a beautiful sky-blue velvet gown with a matching turban with a pin of gold and a pale rose silk shoulder scarf and elegant pink slippers. She also had gold rings in her ears, bracelets, and necklaces with gold beads bigger than peas. Afterwards the godmother tapped herself since any proper young woman would need a chaperone and off they went. The godmother warned Cendrillon that the magic would not last long so they would need to leave by midnight. Cendrillon agreed.

Cendrillon made quite an entrance turning all the heads. Paul, for whom the party was for, asked her to dance and would only dance with her. The godmother was off enjoying the food especially the chocolate sherbert. They lost track of time and the bells started to toll midnight so the godmother told Cendrillon that they had to leave and she followed. Paul tried to stop her, but the people at the party got in his way. Cendrillon tripped on the stairs and lost a slipper. They barely made it out and found themselves a short bit away in the middle of the street with a smashed breadfruit and animals running for hiding.The only part of the magic that stayed was the one pink slipper on Cendrillon's foot. Cendrillon said she would keep it forever to remember the wonderful night she had.

The next day Cendrillon did not come to the river to do the laundry. The godmother stopped by to check on her and found she was sick in bed with a broken heart. Her stepmother and stepsister just thought she was lazy. While talking with Cendrillon the godmother heard a commotion and investigated. She found Paul had come and was asking all the single young women on the island to try on the pink slipper. The stepsister tried it on but could not get her large foot into it. The godmother rushed back into Cednrillon's room and begged her to come out. She did. The godmother tapped her three times with the wand, but Cendrillon said no more magic. Paul immediately fell to his knees and put the slipper on her and then he asked her to marry him. The godmother claimed there was no bigger celebration even for a king and queen. It lasted three days and she had only left to tell the story.

Here is my Cinderella Sheet to compare stories for Cendrillon.

For crafts we made two types of wands. The first are with milkshake straws and blue painters' tape for bumps. Then we taped them.

The second one I followed this wonderful tutorial shared on Sharing Saturday awhile ago by Hideous! Dreadful! Stinky! I used a wooden dowel and my glue gun to make the bumps. What do you think?

Also some coloring pages:


  1. I actually got to see an exhibit of the artist's work, and remember being intrigued by this story.

  2. I am thrilled to find stories that represent Caribbean children in them and shall be using in the upcoming new educational year. Thank you for the inspiration.


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