The German Cinderella

“Okay, Horus. We have all heard your story. Now let us tell our story of the real Cinderella,” said the first of the pigeons.

“We watched over her from the time she was a little girl,” chimed in the second pigeon. “I was the one to first see her, so I will tell you the story. A long time ago, I saw the happiest family in all of Germany lose its matriarch. A great woman got ill and died, leaving behind a doting husband and pious daughter. After the mother's death, I saw the daughter plant a tree on her mother’s grave but I did not think much of it. This tree later proved to be magical and to embody the soul of the little girl’s loving mother.

                Not long after the woman’s death, her husband got remarried to a horrible woman. She was vile and treated the lovely girl like a servant. The little girl tried to be kind to her new stepmother and two new stepsisters, but found it very hard considering how poorly they treated her. Her father became distant and missed his ex-wife so much that he kept himself locked in his room most days and never saw the horrors his daughter faced. The stepsisters called the girl Cinderella because she was always covered in ashes and dust from her manual labor. Cinderella only wanted to be a normal girl and have a normal life, but she would soon be much better than merely normal.

                The king announced that he would be throwing a beautiful ball lasting three days. During the ball, his son was to choose a woman to be his wife. Cinderella’s sisters made her fix their hair and help them get ready. The sisters told Cinderella she would be an embarrassment if she were to go to the ball and made her stay home and do more chores. This is where we felt the need to step in and provide assistance. Cinderella’s chore for the night was to sort lentils, but our beaks are much better suited for such a task than her fingers so we offered to help. We had the lentils sorted in no time and we helped Cinderella climb to the pigeon roost to see the lights of the first night of the ball. The look of amazement on her face is one I will not soon forget.

                When her eldest sister heard of Cinderella watching the ball, she got unjustifiably angry and tore down our pigeon roost! Cinderella helped her sisters get ready for night number two of the ball and then they gave her a huge pile of seeds to sort the good from the bad. When her sisters had left, we flew in again to help her sort. This time we finished even faster and we wanted Cinderella to have the chance to go to the ball like she desired. This is when we shared the magic of her mother’s tree with her. We had seen this type of magic only once before in a far away land. A mother’s love helped her son with whatever he needed. So Cinderella went to the tree and asked for a beautiful dress. The tree instantly obliged with beautiful clothing and even a carriage and servants to take her to the ball. Cinderella was amazed and we were happy.

Cinderella doing her chores
Image Source: Malinda Lo

                Cinderella went to the ball and danced all night with the prince who easily fell in love with her. She knew she had to return home before her sisters though, so she left at midnight. She asked the tree to take back the clothes and as soon as she said it, they were gone. The next night she once again helped her sisters get ready and they gave her peas to sort. We flew in to help for a third and final time and urged her to go to the final night of the ball. She got a fancier dress from the tree and set off for the ball once again. The prince was waiting for her and they danced and fell in love all over again.

                We had warned Cinderella that she must return home before her sisters and as the clock chimed midnight she had to leave her prince and rush home. She was in such a hurry that she left one of her golden slippers.

                The prince vowed to find his bride using the slipper if it was the last thing he did. He went to every house in the village to find the woman he loved. Cinderella’s stepmother wanted her daughters to be princesses so badly that she told them to cut their feet up to make them fit the slipper. We were not about to let them get away with this, so we told the prince of their trickery and he left them. He spotted Cinderella though and forced her to try the slipper. She put the slipper on and it fit like a glove and she showed them the matching slipper she had in her pocket. The prince had found his bride and we were pleased,” the pigeon said, concluding his story. “So as you can see, we without a doubt knew the true Cinderella.”

Author's note:

For this story I chose to us the German Cinderella story from the Grimm books. I like this version of the story because it is fairly similar to the traditional story that everyone has heard. I wanted to tell the story from the viewpoint of the pigeons to continue with the animal theme of my story book. The pigeons are very proud and believe their friend is the true and best Cinderella. The elder pigeon tells the story because he feels a connection to Cinderella since he saw her trials when she was a young girl. I changed the original story slightly in that in my version the pigeons do not speak in rhyme. They are still very protective of Cinderella and hate to see her abused by her step-family members, but they are not as sing-song when they help her. This German version is probably my favorite one of the four stories I will tell.  I like the idea of her mother still helping her even after her death; it adds to the magical feeling of the story. In my story I made her father distant because in the original story they did not mention him again after his wedding.


Story Title: Cinderella

Book Title: Kinder- und Hausmärchen

Book Author: Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

Year Published: 1812

Web Source: Cinderella