Fiary Tales that Teach Millions of Lessons

Cinderella Emerging Victorious

When people say the words fairytale many words pop into your head. Some words might be hero, knight, happily ever after, magic, and an evil sorcerer. There are many fairy tales in the world and most of them have strong meaningful messages and lessons to be taught.  In the story of  “Cinderella” by Jakob and Wilhem Grimm, there are many differences with their story and the other versions of “Cinderella”. In this version of  “Cinderella” her mother became very sick and told the daughter to always be very good and pious and that God will help her. Once her mother passed Cinderella wept at her grave and remained pious and good. Her dad became married again to a lady who had two daughters who now became Cinderella’s stepsisters and mother. Her evil stepmother and sisters took all of her things and stuck her in dirty clothes and wooden shoes. They made her do chores from sunrise to sun set. Her father went to the fair and asked the daughters what they wanted him to bring back from them. Cinderella asked for the first branch that knocks into his hat and when her father gives Cinderella the branch she plants it at her mother’s grave, transforming the branch into a tall tree by watering it with her tears. A white bird appears at the tree and will bring Cinderella anything that she wishes for. One day the King decided to hold a three day festival for his son to choose a bride. Cinderella had wanted to go to the festival as well, and her stepmother said no because she had no clothes, but if she could pick all the lentils out of the ashes she could go to the festival (Grimm 241-242) She was still not allowed to attend the festival but, she wished for a dress to wear to the festival. A bird threw a gold and silver dress down to her along with silk slippers (Grimm 242-243).  The King’s son danced with her the entire night. She attended the festival, and got away from the King’s son all three nights of the festival. The last night the King’s son put pitch on the stairs so when she left her shoe would stick to the stairs. When the King’s son picked up the shoe he said “No one shall be my wife but she whose foot this golden slipper fits.” The two stepsisters tried on the shoe, but they did not fit into it. (Grimm 244-245). The King’s son went back to the house and discovered that Cinderella was still there, and he demanded that she try on the shoe. The shoe fit Cinderella and when they left on his horse past the hazel tree, two white doves sang that there was no blood that the true bride is with you. The day of their wedding, her stepsisters came and wanted to get on Cinderellas good side just for her good fortune. That day pigeons pecked out their eyes to punish them for eternity for their wickedness (Grimm 245).

   Fairy Tales are interpreted in many different ways to many different people. Some people think that fairy tales have a hidden meaning, others feel that they are to help us with our problems and teach us about the world. Some people believe that they are simply a waste of time. Child psychologist Bruno Bettelheim believes that ‘…fairy tales have a powerful therapeutic value, teaching children that a struggle against severe difficulties in life is unavoidable. If one does not shy away…but steadfastly meets unexpected and often unjust hardships, one masters all obstacles and at the end emerges victorious’(Tartar 231). Bettelheim describes the definition of a true fairy tale by using an analytical tool that explains that a fairy tale is; emotionally helpful to the reader, teaches the reader that there will be life struggles that are unavoidable, and that if the reader can overcome all the obstacles given to them they will sooner or later become victorious. The version of “Cinderella” that Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm wrote shows that characters must endure hardships in order to emerge victorious.

People face discouraging obstacles everyday in life that are unavoidable, and most fairy tale authors make their characters endure many problems as well. In the version of “Cinderella” by Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm, her mother became ill and passed away. Her father married a wicked lady who already had two evil daughters. Cinderella’s stepmother and daughters took away all of her nice clothes, and gave her wooden shoes and rags to wear. They also forced her to do many of the chores such as carry water, light fires, cook and clean. Another reason to show that her stepmother was evil was she took away Cinderella’s bed. She had to sleep by the fire in the pile of ashes, and this is why her stepmother and sisters called her Cinderella, because she was always dusty and dirty. Her stepsisters were very cruel to Cinderella, they would mock her and dump out the lentils into the ash so Cinderella had to pick them out one by one (Grimm 241). The evening of the festival for the King’s son, Cinderella helped her demanding stepsisters get ready for the night. Once she was done making them look beautiful, she asked her stepmother to go to the festival as well. Her stepmother said no at first, but then she dumped a bowl of lentils into the ash and told Cinderella that if she could pick them out in hour she was able to go to the festival. Cinderella asked for help from birds, and in under an hour they picked all of the lentils out of the ash. Cinderella asked her stepmother if she could go to the festival now and her stepmother said “All this will not help thee; thou goest not with us, for thou hast no clothes and canst not dance; we should be ashamed of thee” (Grimm 242). Cinderella faced many heart wrenching problems that she could not avoid, proving that the first part of Bettelheim’s analytical tool is correct, some problems in life are unavoidable.

When people stay positive and good hearted, they eventually overcome any obstacle thrown their way and emerge out of the fight with a victory.  Cinderella stayed pious and good the entire story, even though her stepmother and sisters were cruel to her. For example, when she was told that she was not allowed to attend the festival she went to her mothers tree and began to weep, and wished for a dress so she could go to the festival.  Cinderella received the dress and attended the festival all three of the nights (Grimm 243-244). She was the prettiest girl there and nobody knew that it was her. She never told anyone or bragged to her sisters that it was her who the King’s son loves. When the King’s son had possession of Cinderella’s shoe he asked Cinderella’s step sisters to try it on to see if they are his bride. They cut off parts of their feet in order for the shoe to fit. They were willing to lie and cut off parts of their feet in order to be with the King’s son (Grimm 244). When the King’s son took the girls out on his horse, two pigeons said “Turn and peep, turn and peep, there’s blood within the shoe, the shoe it is too small for her, the true bride waits for you” (Grimm 244). The King’s son went back inside to have Cinderella try on the shoe, and it was a perfect fit. He realized that second that she was his soon to be bride (Grimm 245). The day of their wedding, her stepsisters attended the wedding pretending to love her, so Cinderella can share some of the wealth she has gained by becoming the princess. Before and after the wedding ceremony two pigeons pecked out both of their eyes, causing them to be punished forever for their dishonesty (Grimm 245). Cinderella suffered through all of her stepmother and stepsisters treatments, but did not give up and ended up victorious with the happy ending.

This version of “Cinderella” by Jakob and Wilhem Grimm proves; having “a powerful therapeutic value” is in every fairy tale. This story shows that Cinderella has had many unavoidable problems forced upon her, such as her mother dying, having an evil step family, and becoming their servant (Grimm 241). She ended up overcoming those problems by staying positive and never giving up. Cinderella visited her mothers grave any time she needed help, and her mother helped her by sending birds to her aid. Even though her stepmother and sister were evil she did every chore she was supposed to, knowing that in due time she was going to able to leave. Cinderella was the servant to a wicked family, then she married the King’s son and escaped by becoming the princess (Grimm 245). Cinderella shows therapeutic value because at the end of the story she is victorious and endured all of the problems thrown her way. Children should read all fairy tales because they are not just written for entertainment; they have true meanings, and lessons to be taught. Children who are facing hardships at home might receive inspiration from reading fairy tales, and might make the child push harder to become victorious and not give up. Children know the world has evil in it, but we can not tell a child some of the horrible things that go on in the world, because they have to learn as they grow older. This fairy tale helps readers understand that any obstacles they face can be overcome and they can achieve their dreams.


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