The story that I chose to read was “The Baba Yaga”, a Russian Cinderella story written by Aleksandr Afanasyev. While reading this story I realized that I have actually read it before in a children’s book years ago. Never knew this could fall under the category of a Cinderella story. Now that I read this story through the lens as such, I can see the similarities despite the many differences. First things first are the roles of the characters which are very familiar: the main heroine, father, stepmother, and the fairy godmother (though in the context of this story it’s the aunt).
The father is alive and present, while the stepmother still serves a role of an antagonistic character but not the prime one. The aunt supports the young protagonist by giving items and advice to ensure her survival. The surprising element of this story comes from the mention and introduction of the Baba Yaga, something unique and serves the primary role of a villain in this story. When Cinderella comes to mind, often the name leads to the thought of a story involving evil step-sisters and a ball. Instead, the young girl is at risk of being cooked and eaten by the Baba Yaga, having been sent to its hut by her evil stepmother. The main story beats are still the same though, as it still follows the tale of the main protagonist escaping from unfavorable conditions to a more safer and welcoming life.
What I find most interesting is the end of this story in which the father takes matters into his own hands. Finding out that his wife attempted to murder his own daughter, he decided to take the violent route and kill the evil stepmother. The story still ends happily with both father and daughter living peacefully in the forest. Different from marrying into royalty, but still considered to be a good ending in which the villains are punished for harming the main character.
I read The Wicked Stepmother (India). This story is kind of similar to the Cinderella story but in kind of version of a ancedote. In this story there was a family who loved each other and one day the husband and the wife promised each other not to eat anything without each other otherwise if one of them breaks the promisepromisethey would turn to goat. And one day the wife tried her kid’s food(baby food) while feeding them when her husband was not home. So she turns into a goat because she broke the promises. And her husband found out when he got home, he tied his wife in his house yard.
Years later he remarries and his second wife (stepmother) treats hus kids badly and she gives them very little food. Later on the goat find out about it and give her kids food securely from the stepmother. And the stepmother gives a birth to a one eyed daughter. When her daughter starts to talk and walk she sends her daughter to play with kids and find out how her stepsiblings secretly eat food. So when stepmother finds out that the goat gives her stepchildren food, she tries to kill the goat andpretends tobe sick and tells her husband that she needs to eat goat meat in order to get better.
When her stepchildren hears it, they run and tell to goat about it. The goat tells her children its better to die instead of living this type of life. So they kill the goat, stepmother and her daughter eats all meat, her stepchildren eats the bone. One day when her stepchildren were washing their face on the river one of the stepdaughter’s nose rind falls in the water. So, the fish eats the girl’s nose ring and the kind of the country orders fish for his lunch and servant catchs the fish from river and serves the king and when king finds a nose ring from his plate he tell to find to wh does the nore ring belongs to. When he finds out the ring belongs to the girl, he calls her to his kingdom and he falls in love with her beauty and marries her and supports her family.
The story that I chose was “The Story of Tam and Cam” from Vietnam. Some aspects that are familiar in other cinderella stories are evident right away. Tam, the protagonist of the tale, is locked away in her room, while her father and new bride celebrate their marriage by hosting a banquet in their house. Later on in the story, the father and Tam’s new step mother have a new baby girl named Cam. The stepmother loves Cam and despises Tam. Soon, Tam’s own father starts to hate Tam because of the lies that his wife had been feeding him about Tam.
We later learn that Tam is physically abused by her step mother, and made to do physically grueling work in hopes that Tam accidentally dies. From these events, the reader can make the connection to other Cinderella stories where the protagonist is neglected, abused, and has a wicked family.
One aspect that was unfamiliar was when Tam was reincarnated into a songbird. Not only that, but she was also reincarnated into a tree and a fruit later on in the tale.
What I found most surprising of this tale was when Tam died. When I watch, read, or listen to a story, I have become so accustomed to the main character never being able to be killed, even when the situations they were in would almost certainly guarantee death, so this part of the story was very unexpected.
The most telling part of this tale was when Cam wanted to become as beautiful as Tam. Cam asked Tam how to become as white as her. Tam suggested taking a bath in boiling water to become as white as her. This was very telling of the beauty values of Vietnam, and suggested to me that white skin is considered very attractive in Vietnam.
So I decided to read “The Little Red Fish and The Golden Clog“–from Iraq. It’s a great twist to the original story. Obviously it follows the original story of curses, Prince Charming and evil step mothers. What is different is this little red fish. I personally feel like it symbolizes her mother. This little red fish saves and takes care of this young woman. I love the twist to this story is that the young woman finds her prince and the other sisters are left with their mother but when one of them do get married the mother ends up ruining her. Karma came back and bit her! This story is obviously a little different because it talks about different cultures like small details like henna, the classical dress wear and the way of living. Also it was very similar like going to the ball and having the symbolic object that grants you desired things. In this story it’s the little red fish. I feel like theres a lot of symbolism in this story. What surprised me was how the other sisters ended up. I feel like this showed how humble and kind she was because she went through all this mistreat and never said anything. She is the one that came out with the best outcome. So overall i enjoyed this story because she came out with happiness while the others were stuck in the house with their nasty mother. Also she forever remembers her mother through that fish. I wish the father played a bigger role. i also love how they have animals play a stronger role on her happiness, getting a snow white feel. Overall great story and a great second read