For the last few weeks we have been looking at picture book versions of the classic tale of Cinderella and I would like to look at one of my favourite versions today. This is the tale of Cendrillon set in the Caribbean. It was written by Robert San Souci who also brought us Cinderella Skeleton and was exquisitely illustrated by Brian Pinkney. These two also collaborated on another fantastic and lesser known fairy tale called The Faithful Friend. This is a well-told tale full of colloquial French which makes it really charming.
This tale is unusual in that it is told from the perspective of the magical helper. Our narrator was raised poor, but her mother left her a wand of mahogany when she was dying. On her deathbed, her mother told her that the wand could transform one object into another, but only for a short time and will only work if the magic is used to help someone you love.
Many years later, our narrator is a poor washer woman who becomes the godmother to a friend's baby. When Cendrillon's mother dies, our washer woman cares for her and loves her as if Cendrillon is her own child. When her father predictably remarries a terrible woman it is our narrator who nurtures our young girl and helps her grow into a resilient young woman.
When a fete is being thrown in honour of a neighbour's son, Cendrillon wants to go but cannot. It is here that our godmother becomes a fairy godmother. She uses the wand of mahogany to transform a breadfruit instead of a pumpkin into a fine carriage and indigenous animals into coachman and horses. Lastly she changes Cendrillon's calico dress into one of blue velvet, with a matching turban and a silk shawl and the obligatory pink embroidered slippers. She uses the magic to dress herself in red and attends the fete as Cendrillon's chaperone.
As predicted at the fete, Paul (who is as handsome and well spoken as a prince but also kind) falls for our heroine and is left with one pink slipper after their midnight curfew chimes.
Interestingly, we have our heroine take to her bed, grieving with a broken heart instead of the prince wasting away. Her sadness comes from the fact that she believes it was only the magic that attracted him to her ad he will not love her for who she really is. When he comes to the door with the slipper, her sister cannot fit into it with her sausage toes. Her godmother tries to use the magic to change her back to glamorous, but Cendrillon prefers that he sees her as she is---poor and barefoot. He says she is more beautiful that she was the night before, proving he is a keeper and they are married and live (as expected) happily ever after.
Now, here is the problem. I cannot find a video of this story that is both well told and that you can see the illustrations. The video where the story is read so beautifully only shows the cover art and the tale which shows the pictures is poorly read and she mispronounces everything including the name Cendrillon. This is terribly grating as you can imagine. So, i have opted to go for the well-told tale, but will link the video with the illustrations below if you want to watch it with the sound down.
Watch with the sound down to see the illustrations.
That's all for this week. Stay tuned next week as we look at a Fractured Fairy Tale.