The Chinese Cinderella was taken down from a family servant, but the text makes clear
that the audience already knew the tale. The ill-treatment from the stepmother and
stepsisters, the festival where Cinderella (Yeh-hsien) loses her shoe, the local
warlord who wishes to marry the owner of the shoe, are all there. There is also
a magical golden fish which appears in the pond and comforts Yeh-hsien, until the
stepmother discovers this and has it killed.
From Animal Helper to Fairy Godmother
The bones of the fish in the Chinese story work the magic which helps Cinderella. In
"Rashin Coatie", the Scottish version of the tale, Cinderella's dead mother returns
in the form of a calf, who helps Cinderella. Even when the calf is killed, it continues
to help and protect her. In the version collected by the Grimm brothers a hazel tree
grows over the dead mother's grave, and the tree shakes down the dresses Cinderella
wears to the ball. It also shelters the dovers which help and protect her, and in the
end peck out the sisters' eyes. The Grimms' version also includes the sisters hacking
off their heels and toes in order to squeeze their feet into the shoes.
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