Cinderella Did Not Lose a Glass Slipper

About the legend of Cinderella who did not originally lose a glass slipper.


Cinderella Did Not Lose a Glass Slipper.

While Cinderella may have valued beauty over comfort, it isn't likely that she would have punished her feet by corseting them in glass slippers. To be sure, none but-by historical standards-the most recent versions of the Cinderella legend make any mention whatsoever of glass slippers, and their presence in the story as most people know it is the result of a translator's error.

There are actually over 500 extant versions of the tale in scores of languages, and the earliest date back to 9th-century China. The original version goes back even further and is thought to have been a nature myth in which Cinderella, representing the dawn, is persecuted by her foul-tempered sisters, representing the dark clouds of night, and is ultimately rescued by the sun-the handsome prince. In all these versions the story turns on a ring or on the magic slippers, but they are made variously of gold, silver, or some other rare metal, sometimes bedecked with gleaming gems-but never of glass. In the earliest French versions, Cinderella wore pantoufles en vair, "slippers of white squirrel fur." These were the versions that the French writer Charles Perrault worked from when he wrote "Cendrillon," his version of Cinderella, which appeared in 1697 in his anthology of fairy tales subtitled Tales of Mother Goose. By that time the word vair had long since vanished from use, and Perrault confused it with verre, pronounced the same but meaning "glass." In all subsequent English translations of Perrault's reworking of the tale, the error has been retained.

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