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Reply To: Multi-Cultural Cinderella Tales: Equals, but not the Same””


I enjoy your comments here, Robert, from the roots of the names to your associations with glass and transparent to transcendent to the association with the phoenix rising from the ashes. “Ella” as “fairy maiden” is quite appropriate because in some ways the Fairy Godmother is not the only magical fairy in the tale. Cinderella is also a fairy maiden. In the French Cinderella magical animal helpers (birds, e.g.) come to her aid, so she is magical enough to appeal to the birds for help. When animal helpers come to call, there is most always an unusual human at hand to lend a hand to. In the German version, “Ashputtle,” she practices magic when she asks her father to bring home a hazel branch from his trip and plants it and it grows into a tree which she then speaks charms/prayers/magical chants (spells) upon to do her will; the tree in the German version holds the soul of her mother who watches out for her. In the Chinese version “Yeh Shien,” she has a magical fish that speaks to her. There is so much magic in Cinderella from the folk magic of the old world.

I like your association with the phoenix to this,  and even more directly feel that same association of the phoenix more with the “Sleeping Beauty” or “Snow White” motif tales–or what are called “The Coffin Tales” (and there are so many others!); that is where I would really like to quote you and to place the quote here: “funeral pyre motif the ashened White grey corpse also the Divine Black feminine comes into play for me,” you wrote. Some cultural Cinderella motif tales have no fireplace or “cinders” per say, yet all contain the death of the old self and troubles and the resurrection so to speak, and all do contain that transcendent element where the character bridges over to the new “side” of her life that was, to her, once “way over yonder.” (Here I think of the Carole King song by that title.) The Jewish name “Asher” also means “bearer of salvation” (among other things possibly). Ashputtle/Cinder Bottom means sitting by/among/in the ashes. Sometimes the German Ashputtle is called Ashenputtle, implying perhaps what you are saying about the ashened color of the corpse, or one’s skin that is ashened.

This simple tale is so rich with associations and amplifications from other myths we could go on about it throughout the ages here!

The moral at the end of these tales when justice/retribution is served, as you mention at the end of your post response, brings the happily ever after after the battle of Cin/Sin as you included, and I would put the quote from Campbell here–as found on this jcf website, so here is the link: