Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Cendrillon: A Cajun Cinderella

Sheila Herbert Collins has written a traditional version of the Cinderella tale in Cendrillon: A Cajun Cinderellawith unique Cajun cultural language and traditions. She has provided translations for French words children may not be familiar with that she drops in between the English.

In this version, Cendrillon's father marries, brings her a stepmother and sister and dies leaving her among unfriendly territory. Her stepmother cannot afford the home and they must move to less expensive lodgings. The ball for this version occurs during Mardi Gras. The Prince is Ovey Thibeaux, the son of the wealthiest man in the City. His father wants him to marry and has had his son named Rex, or King of the Carnival.

This version follows the traditional tale of Cinderella, which has her stepmother promising she can attend if she has the clothes and finishes her chores. Her animal friends provide her with a dress and she does finish in time to make it to the carriage. In their jealousy, her sisters destroy her dress and she is left in despair until the arrival of her fairy godmother. This version continues with the shoe.

The author does not cite any historical tradition for this story. I am not sure if it is one she has heard, or one she wrote utilizing her knowledge of the Cinderella story and Cajun culture. Based on the comments in the notes I am inclined to believe it is a story she wrote to promote Cajun culture and not a traditional Cajun Cinderella story she is retelling.

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