I grew up in Germany, with the fairytales of the world-famous Grimm Brothers.
When I took a Children’s Literature class at UCLA for my English degree, I wrote a research paper about the fairytale Little Red Riding Hood.
I was granted access to their antique archives and looked at many vintage versions of that story.
It was fascinating how many different endings that story had!
In one, Little Red Riding Hood gets eaten by the wolf, in another she rescues the grandmother by cutting her out of the wolf…
I guess different publishers had different sensitivities about what children should be reading.
One fairytale that always has the same ending, as far as I know, is Cinderella (Aschenputtel).
It’s my favorite for several reasons:
- Cinderella stays true to herself, doesn’t complain, and works hard, and the moral of the story that hard work always pays off resonates with me deeply. I’m a big believer in that.
- Beauty is on the inside: the mean step-sisters might have had the most beautiful dresses and advantages in their upbringing, but Cinderella is pure in her heart and beautiful under the dirt-covered face — and gets the prince in the end!
I really like that message, especially for little girls nowadays. Makeup or the trendiest T-shirt are not what make you a caring and loving person, have a kind heart is what makes you attractive.
Since compassion is not something we are born with and have to teach our children, Cinderella’s story can illustrate that lesson.
Which fairytale character do you find most inspiring and why?