I realised this afternoon that my Mother had no idea what was in the books I read as a child. Mum is severely dyslexic, she doesn’t read unless she has to, but she realised how much I loved reading as a child and filled my room with books included an edition of Grimm’s Fairy Tales. The version I have has a lot of the original German names so my Cinderella was the lovely Aschenputtel.
The reason for this post is from a conversation I had with Mum this afternoon. For some reason she thought all fairies were Tinkerbell clones with sparkly wings doing good. I had to set her right and explain about the courts then tell her a few of my favourite stories. She asked me where I had read them and was shocked when I told her it was in a book for 7 year olds that I still have. It horrified her that she had bought me books with stories about kidnappings and child abductions (changelings). Okay it probably didn’t horrify her but she was a bit shocked. So I had to go a bit further and ask if she knew what was in the Grimm’s Fairy Tales book. She smiled and listed Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel. Yeah, those stories are in it but not the sanitised versions from Disney. I got the full blood thirsty, vicious, messed up close to original versions. I told her about Aschenputtel, and by the time I finished she was shaking her head and laughing. One of my many versions of Aschenputtel has a verse near the end, ‘coo coo there is blood in her shoe, this girl is not the bride for you’. I walked away singing that to let my mum know she might be responsible for my, strange to her, reading habits.
In case you haven’t guessed from the title of this post Aschenputtel is the name of an early version of Cinderella. This version has no Fairy Godmothers and magic pumpkin carriages. This version has a tree that grew on her mother’s grave and really nice birds who were very helpful if you knew how to ask for help in a rhyme.
We all basically know the story, the Mother dies then the Father marries the wicked stepmother with the two ugly daughters then he dies leaving his daughter to slave away for the ungrateful steppies. Thank you Disney for spreading the word but you changed it a little too much for my liking. First off the Father doesn’t die he just turns into a Douche-Bag and the two stepsisters where ‘beautiful and fair of face, but vile and black of heart’. From the minute they stepped into the house poor little Aschenputtel was pushed into the role of kitchen maid – and her Father let it happen.
Now one day good old let’s turn a blind eye Dad was going to the fair, he asked the girls what he should bring them back. The stepdaughters asked for beautiful dresses and jewels, his own daughter asked for the first branch that knocks against his hat on the way home. He was okay with that, luckily that branch when planted on Mum’s grave and watered twice a day with Aschenputtel’s tears became a tree that a magic little white bird liked to sit on.
Dad felt nothing when his wife made a bad bargain with his daughter to make her miss the Ball and when it was all over and the two stepsisters has cut off part of their feet to fit into the ‘golden slipper’ only to be caught out, he fell even further by saying he had no other daughter. He admitted that there was another female in the house but she was a ‘little stunted kitchen wench that his first wife had left behind’. Nice.
We know how it ends, our girl gets the prince and they live happily ever after. In Aschenputtel the two stepsisters get their eyes plucked out by the very helpful birds and live out their days in blindness as a punishment. But nothing happened to the Father or the stepmother which as a child I thought was totally unfair. But it didn’t stop me from loving the story. I’m glad my Mum didn’t know that I had the non-Disney fairy tales and I’ll thank her for it forever. Now how to let her know that the romance books she bought me as a teenager featured kidnapping, rape and the Stockholm Syndrome.
update on The New Way, I’ve been told Mr Nasty is about to voted off the committee due to way he treated the horse competitors and cancelled some major horse events. I feel like dancing a little jig, maybe the New Way can become the Lets Not Do It This Way.