“Cinderella” from “East of the Sun and West of the Moon”

“Cinderella”

The version of Cinderella most people are familiar with is the Disney-esque version involving singing bluebirds, blue dresses and blonde hair, glass slippers and fairy godmothers. Well, the version I have always loved the most is the one I decided to illustrate, by the brothers Grimm. The Grimm version, is, well, grim. Which is why Walt Disney did not choose to base his animated tale on that version.

It is well-known that Walt Disney almost always changed fairy tales and other stories to suit his vision. And all in all, there are 345 known versions of the Cinderella story floating around in the world. So there were plenty of stories from which to pick and choose! But I would imagine that the main reason Disney did not animate the Grimm’s version of Cinderella was that it included the chopping off of feet. Pretty sure that would have gotten Disney some bad press. Plus, how do you write a song about that?

Here are some of the ways the Disney version is different from the Grimm version:

  • Disney took more of his inspiration from the Charles Perrault version of the fairy tale than he did from the Brothers Grimm. The Grimm version seems far more in line with an Alfred Hitchcock tale than it ever would with the tales of Disney.
  • In Disney’s version, the slippers are made of glass. Pure Disney – there are no glass slippers in any other version of the tale. In the Grimm fairytale they were made of gold.
  • In Disney’s version, the King holds a ball to introduce the Prince to all the single women in the land in an effort to get him engaged. In the Grimm fairy tale, it’s a three day festival and the Prince is given three chances to find Cinderella (or Ashpet, as she is called in some variations). He manages to narrow his search down to one household. Oh, and in Grimm’s tale, she didn’t just lose her slipper – the Prince had the stairs of the palace coated in pitch after she escapes him twice and that’s how he gets his hands on the golden slipper.
  • In the Disney version, it’s the Duke who tries the slipper on everyone. When he arrives at Cinderella’s house she has to escape from her room to get to him and when the shoe is shattered, she stuns everyone by producing the matching slipper. In Grimm’s version, the step-sisters cut off parts of their feet in order to fit into the slipper, but the blood on the shoe betrays the women and when Cinderella tries it on, the shoe fits fine.
  • In Disney’s version, Cinderella and her Prince marry and live happily ever after. They marry in the Grimm’s version too – only in the Grimm Fairytale, the step-sisters have their eyes pecked out at the wedding. Cool, right?
The scene I chose to illustrate is one of the most poignant scenes in the story, in which Cinderella prays at the tree planted over her mother’s grave, and waits for her bird friends to appear. My beautiful model here was Jada, who braved a bitterly cold day to pose for me!

My 12×12 book, “East of the Sun and West of the Moon”, which contains the entire exhibition including the beautiful accompanying story pages, is available for purchase online here in hardcover and softcover.

 If you would like to view the entire exhibit in person, you can visit  The Bank of Jackson on Oil Well Road, second floor, until May 31.

Girl looking at bird in tree, picture, Carrie Prewitt Photography

 

Quote from Cinderella Story, Brothers Grimm

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