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I was doing a little bit of light reading this evening and I happened upon an article that caught my interest. It was discussing the literary and social significance of the fairy tale, "Cinderella".


So, being the type of guy who doesn't just take one source for granted as truth I looked it up on Wikipedia. What I found there (mostly) validated the original article I was reading and it gave me a much needed smile.


The tale of Cinderella is well-known throughout the ages. There are versions of it from China and some believe that there is a tale, resembling Cinderella, which may have been told in ancient Egypt! But the version known in modern times comes from Charles Perrault in 1697.


Now, HERE is the interesting part! Some scholars believe that, sometime around the late 1600's or early 1700's, somebody mistranslated or misinterpreted the meaning of the words "glass slipper"... referring to the slipper Cinderella tries on to prove that she's the Prince's. They believe that her slippers weren't made of glass but were made of FUR instead!


The discussion stems from the fact that the French words, "vair" (fur) and "verre" (glass), are homphones. Some scholars believe that, over time, the story was told and retold until "fur" became "glass", so that's the way it was passed down to us.


Here is a quote from an article about Cinderella on Wikipedia:


Interpreters unaware of the value attached to glass in 17th century France and perhaps troubled by sartorial impracticalities, have suggested that Perrault's "glass slipper" (pantoufle de verre) had been a "fur slipper" (pantoufle de vair) in some unidentified earlier version of the tale, and that Perrault or one of his sources confused the words.


So! There you have it! Cinderella wore FUR slippers! Not glass! Fur slippers would be MUCH nicer anyway!


I bet you're all sitting there, in front of your computers, wiggling your toes, imagining your feet being surrounded in a nice, soft pair of fur slippers! Aren't you?


I am!

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This is actually a rather well-known translation error and (according to QI) the slippers in the original story may have been squirrel fur. Like most european fables though, the variations on the Cinderella story were far more gruesome than the Disney films portray.



Mr Mockle

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I remember on New Years Day 2001 watching a play based on Cinderella filmed on the Isle of Man starring Kathleen Turner and also (i think) Jim Broadbent and Jane Birkin. It was rather an oddity but featured quite a lot of fur; but no fur slippers.

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I was certain that at least a few of you would already know this!


If you go to www.systransoft.com you'll find that "pantoufle de vair" translates directly to "squirrel fur slipper" in French.


Honestly, I can't imagine wearing shoes made of glass, either. Okay, okay. They were MAGIC shoes, of course. But, still, it's hard to imagine Cinderella dancing with the Prince and capturing his affections while stumbling around in glass shoes.


Now, FUR shoes! There's something to think about! Cinderella spent her entire day drudging about, doing housework. Probably barefoot! Don't you think that the "Furry Godmother" would, somehow, reward her for her hard work? Nice, yummy-soft, fur slippers would certainly do the trick after a hard day's work in the skullery. Don't you think?


Besides... We all KNOW the Prince had a fur fetish!

Why ELSE would he not be able to identify his True Love? He was spending all his time staring at her FUR SHOES! (And her fox fur stole!) He couldn't REMEMBER what Cinderella looked like! THAT's why he had to send his minions out to scour the kingdom to find her!


But, you see... Since Disney sanitized all the fairy tales he probably took out all the fur, too. Everything has to be totally "P.C." Doncha' know! That's typical with Disney, though. He sanitizes and bawlderizes ALL the fairy tailes. Right or wrong, that's just the "Disney way".


When "Pocahontas" came out, most of the comments from the historical community could be summed up with the statement, "Too much clothing. Not enough violence."


So... Why do you think fur slippers were turned into glass?


Do you think it was simply a translation error? Or, do you think the fur was removed on purpose?


I think it was a little of both. In the 1700's fur wasn't as much a political issue as it is today but, as time goes on, the issue such as this can certainly tip the balance toward the more P.C. end of the sartorial scale.


I think I'm going to look for an original translation of the Perrault fairy tale to see what Cinderella was REALLY like!

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Disney didn't sanatize everything. That's today's "Family Friendly" Disney.


Back in the day, Disney generated a lot of controversy with the death of Bambi's mother and refusing to change the end of Old Yeller.


And Cinderalla was filmed in 1950. Not only would any sanitization be because of the Hayes Office, the anti-fur movement was still a few years away.


So there were likely other reasons to choose the glass slippers. Could have been they were simply easier to draw, as fur slippers would either look bulky and loose their aesthetic appeal or require a lot of small lines to make the fur look smaller.

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I have known about this for some time. It was a translation error rather than anti fur. Waly Disney however, do have to take some of the blame for the world we live in now, and how people have crazy ideas about animals; namely anthropomorphism.


We too in Britain must take some reponsibility.


In the late 19th and early decades of the twentieth century, 50% of the women in london were prostitutes, disease was rife, and viloence and drunkedness a real problem. the answer was not to talk about it, and have a veneer of a morality system. Hence "Victorian values" were and still are presented as very fine, upstanding and decent. NOTHING could be further from the truth; but the veneer was layered on thick to detract from reality.


It was in this time that things were softened up. It was a reaction against the visionary and morally ambiguous writings of Byron and the Shelleys.


Faeries and their true nature became fairies with cute wings. Aesops's fables became popular and so did stories and children's books with the morality entrenched, using animals. Uncle Remus and Peter rabbit etc.


The old fairy tales became whitewashed, sanitised.

The most outrageous example was the story of Little red riding Hood; another french tale of a werewolf sniffing out a menstruating teenage girl,

and they changed its character completely.


Many of our stories started to feature animals, so you could say things without alluding to humans. Animals replaced humans in most kids books because we were prudish. The animals were cute and didn't have any sexual functions.


Errrr......animals are NOT actually like this. A century of this tradition has

resulted in the bizarre pheneomenon that is the animal rights ideology. Disney cashed in on the new tradition. They have given us 70 years of TOTALLY misrepresenting animals. No wonder people are so screwed up.


But the Europeans didn't do this so much. Go to see what French kids read. they do not have comics and children's stories about animals in this way.

We have Mickey mouse and Peter Rabbit.


They have Lucky Luke and Asterix the Gaul. They have vampy women and hard nosed heroes in a variety of belmodo-esque comic books that raise my eyebrows quite often (lots of fur by the way in things like the "XIII" series).


They do not have so much problem with animal rights; unsurprisingly.


The cartoons that bucked the trend in some respects; appealling to a darker side, were Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd, Sylvester and tweetie, Roadrunner and Wile E Coyote ,and of course Tom and Jerry. These were more raw, and played out the true nature of hunter and hunted amusingly. Still anthropomorphic, but nothing like as twee. They were a reaction against Disney's animal portrayal.


Now that is not to say Disney didn't do some great stuff and sometimes still do. But the animal stuff taps into the cute and twee factor too much....

for the obvious commercial results.


Snow White was good, and Cinderella and others masterpieces. Davy Crockett was fabulous...was it their first live action? And "killed him a bar...when he was only three" redressed the balance a bit and must have been responsible of the destruction of so many old furs to make coonskin caps for kids!


But anyway....I will make a seperate post on this next bit as I think it warrants it; you will like to know about them. It is about what French kids are reading when we are reading Peter Rabbit to our kids and taking them to see some of these even worse modern disney animal movies.


They are full of sex violence furs and smoking heroes and heroines...very popular with the kids...they all read them. When English kids go there on holiday their parents are stunned by them!


But then the French have never been prudish or afraid to deal with reality.

I found a copy of a Red Riding Hood book. It was for kids. It was the real deal; werewolf, sex and all.


I also went to see A British movie in the cinema with some french lads I know . It was dubbed into french . Afterwards they were laughing. they are between 16 and 20. I asked them what they thought and why they were laughing. They looked at each other a little embarassed. "You could tell it was an English" the youngest laughed; "there was no kissing in it".


That is the reputation we have; dotty about animals yet unable to express ourselves to other humans...even our lovers.

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