Feminist Fairytale - Cinderella
I assume we’re all familiar with Cinderella...overworked and underappreciated by her evil stepmother and stepsisters, surprisingly cheerful, soft spot for rodents. Instead of retelling the entire tale, let’s jump to the end for a reimagined, less gag-inducing version.
Upon arriving at the ball, Cinderella descended the grand staircase into the ballroom, where she was greeted by the backsides of hundreds of other eligible maidens all vying for the attention of the prince. Well, they can have him, she thought. I’m finally out of that dreadful house and preening for the attention of a pompous, soft-handed royal is not my idea of fun.
As she skirted the edges of the ballroom, she noticed a group of young men off to the side, openly staring at the maidens and choosing which of the prince’s cast-offs to approach. Barbaric ritual, she inwardly muttered.
Finally, she spotted the man she was seeking. He was short, rotund, balding, and stank of stale wine. He was an unforgettable man, to be sure.
“Excuse me, sir. I believe we’ve met.”
The Grand Duke was so astonished at being approached by a lovely young lady that it took him a few minutes to place her.
“One and the same, Duke.”
“My goodness, I don’t believe I’ve seen you since your father’s funeral, years ago. What a lovely surprise. You know, as I was leaving the graveyard that day, your stepmother told me of your decision to stay with your aunt overseas. What brings you back?”“Well, sir, my stepmother lied. Actually, I am here tonight under extremely lucky circumstances after my stepmother made it quite impossible for me to attend otherwise. I never went overseas; I’ve been here all along, forced to act as servant to my stepmother and her wretched daughters. To be honest, I have been essentially enslaved and haven’t left that awful house in years.”
“My dear, how dreadful! What can I do to help?”
“There are two things I’d like to ask of you, if it isn’t too much trouble. I have written a letter to the magistrate requesting an opportunity to present my case and lay claim to my rightful inheritance. I would like you deliver it for me, and I would also ask that you bear witness to my identity as my stepmother has destroyed my personal documents,” said Cinderella.
“Why, those requests won’t be any trouble at all, dear. But, really, you needn't go to all that trouble. My wife and I would be happy to offer you our home. That is, until you find a husband. Now that you’ll be back in society, I’m sure it won’t be long at all until some lad takes you to wife!”
“If it is all the same to you sir, I’d like to proceed with the magistrate. I have sorely missed my independence these past few years, so I have no intention of marrying any time soon. In fact, I have one thing to thank my stepmother for, believe it or not. I have become quite an accomplished seamstress trying to meet her insatiable desire for new gowns, and I’ve found that I quite enjoy the work.”
“A seamstress? You must be joking, Cinderella!”
“I assure you, Duke, I am not. I intend to use my inheritance to set up my own shop. Should I decide to marry, it will be to a man who is comfortable with an entrepreneur as a wife. I simply cannot imagine going back to a life of vanity, idleness, and tedium after experiencing the satisfaction of accomplishing something each day. Though I thank you very much for your kind offer, all the same.”
The Grand Duke was surprised, but rather impressed with his old friend’s daughter. He had never met a girl quite like her before, and it was a refreshing change from the simpering gossip-parrots his son paraded around town.
The clock began to strike midnight and Cinderella realized her time at the ball was ending. She quickly handed the Grand Duke her letter for the magistrate, thanked him, and dashed for the stairs. In her haste to return to return to her carriage, she lost a glass slipper on the staircase, but paid it no mind as she fully expected it to disappear along with the beautiful gown, just as her fairy godmother said they would.
Cinderella returned home full of excitement for her future. She finally had a way to fulfill her dreams, and she was going to achieve them on her own. She settled back into her servant routine with a new spring in her step, knowing that it was only a matter of days until the Grand Duke would arrive to escort her to the magistrate for her appointment. I cannot wait to see the look on Stepmother’s face when I walk out the front door, she thought.
It turned out that she was wrong about the glass slipper. Though the rest of the magic vanished at the last stroke of midnight, the glass slipper remained, and Cinderella cherished it as a reminder of the night she chose her own path.
Carrie Gaiuque's submission:
Once upon a time, there were three little girl pigs. Now these three little pigs were tormented by a Big Bad Wolf. Every day the Big Bad Wolf would come and huff, and puff and try to blow their self-esteem down. He would wolf whistle as they walked by and make derogatory comments. The three little pigs decided to defend themselves against the attacks of the Big Bad Wolf.
The first little piggy hadn’t been taught by her mother to believe in herself, and instead she saw everyone around her trying to gain the attention of the Big Bad Wolf to try to make themselves feel pretty. The first little piggy made herself a dress of straw colored material which was very revealing and left nothing to the imagination. As she walked by the Big Bad Wolf, he huffed and he puffed and he whistled and hooted, and blew down her self-esteem. The first little piggy ran home crying.
The second little piggy had been taught by her mother that you must prove your worth to others, and so the second little piggy believed she had to win awards to make herself feel smart. She made a car of sticks, which was a unique material and very eco-conscious and entered her design into the science fair. As she drove by the Big Bad Wolf, he huffed and he puffed and he called her design crap, and he blew down her self-esteem. The second little piggy ran home crying.
Now the third little piggy had been taught by her mother that she was important and special, but that her actions toward others are what truly made her a good person. So the third little piggy built a community center out of brick where everyone could gather to do service for others or meet as groups and build their confidence. The Big Bad Wolf walked by and he huffed and he puffed, he whistled and hooted, and he called everything crap. But no one heard him inside and the little piggies never went home crying again.
|Picture by Dydydada, stock.xchng|
Once upon a time, there was a married couple who wished with all their hearts that they may be blessed with a baby. They hoped and prayed and after many years the wife finally became pregnant. She often looked out of their window into the adjacent garden because it was full of the most beautiful flowers, herbs, and vegetables. One day she started developing a strong craving for the Rapuzel lettuce that grew next door.
But the garden belonged to a very powerful witch. She was renowned for her might and feared the world over. The witch treasured her garden, which was surrounded by a very high wall to protect it from unwanted guests.
The wife’s longing for the Rapunzel became so strong that she stopped eating everything else and slowly started withering away. One evening, the husband noticed how pale and sickly his wife looked. He asked: “My dear, is everything alright? You look terrible! Is there anything I can do?” The wife replied: “Oh, I have such a terrible desire to eat the witch’s Rapunzel. It is keeping me from eating anything else and has been occupying my thoughts for weeks.” The husband thought for a while, then replied: “I hate to see you so ill. I will get you some of the Rapunzel tonight.”
The husband waited until night had fallen and dressed himself in black clothing, so that he would not be seen. Just as he was about to climb out of their window into the garden, the wife caught sight of what he was doing. “What on earth are you doing?” she exclaimed. The husband explained his plan to sneak into the garden and steal some of the witch’s Rapunzel. Though the wife greatly feared the mighty witch, she also had a high respect of her neighbor. She said: “My dearest husband, I am so happy that you love me so much that you would steal for me. However, I would never forgive myself for such a crime and must ask you to please abort your plan.” The husband was relieved, yet worried about his wife, and asked: “But darling, how else will you eat the Rapunzel your body so desperately wants? I am worried for you and our baby.” The wife replied: “Do not worry, my dear. I will find a way.”
The following day, the wife gathered all her courage and knocked on the witch’s door. Though they had been neighbors for over a decade, they had never spoken to each other. The witch opened the door with a surprised look on her face: “Yes, may I help you?” The wife smiled and said: “I am so sorry to bother you. I am your next door neighbor, Emily. My husband Joshua and I are expecting a baby. Unfortunately, I have been fighting a terrible pregnancy craving for your beautiful Rapunzel lettuce. Would it be at all possible for me to have some, please? I understand if you say ‘no’, but I had to ask.” The witch, who was about the same age as the wife, stood in silence for a minute. Finally, she replied: “It is so nice to meet you, Emily. I have had terrible trouble with people stealing from my garden. I am so glad you came to ask instead of just taking- I swore that the next person I caught would be very sorry indeed! Won’t you come in?”
The witch and Emily sat together and chatted for a long time. Being a very wise and knowledgeable woman, the witch suspected that Emily’s craving was triggered by a mineral deficiency. Before the wife returned home, the witch mixed her a potion to restore the mineral balance in her pregnant body and picked her enough Rapunzel to last her at least a week.
The cravings soon subsided and Emily had a joy filled pregnancy. She visited her neighbor daily and they became good friends. The witch had always longed for a real friend and was so happy to have someone to talk to.
When the wife went into labor, the husband finally overcame his fear and ran next door to get the witch. He hoped that she would be able to assist them during the birth of their baby. The witch was a great help and the couple had a wonderful birth experience. Emily gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, whom they named Rapunzel in honor of the wonderful friendship that had grown thanks to the craving for lettuce. The witch became Rapunzel’s godmother and protected her with all that she had. Rapunzel learned many wonderful things from her godmother and grew into a confident, empowered young woman.
And they all lived happily ever after.