Tag Archives: Cinderella

“Tam and Cam” (Vietnam)

I read the story of “Tam and Cam”, a Cinderella story taking place in Vietnam. Over the years, I’ve read a few versions of Cinderella stories, and all of them usually contain a plot with a happy ending and no violence involved. However, “Tam and Cam” is very different from other versions. In this story, the Cinderella character, Tam, experiences many violent and gruesome obstacles in her quest to achieve a better future. A common Cinderella tradition that is followed in this story is how Tam meets her husband at the festival, where she loses one of her shoes. An interesting thing about this story is that the Cinderella character is killed multiple times by the step-mother and step-sister. This never happens to the Cinderella character in other stories.

First, the step-mother asks Tam to climb a tree and collect the best nuts to prepare an offering on her father’s death anniversary. During, the climb, the step-mother chops the tree and Tam falls into a deep pond and drowns. However, as this story focuses strongly on reincarnation, Tam is reborn as a nightingale bird and flies off to her husband’s castle. At the castle, Tam’s step-sister, Cam who is now the wife of the king, discovers that Tam is still alive in a bird form. Eventually, Tam is killed again, and her feathers allow her to be reincarnated into a tree. Afterwards, Tam is reincarnated into a fruit, which is given to an old lady who keeps and cares for the fruit. This fruit eventually reincarnates Tam back into human form.

The most gruesome part of this story happens when Cam was surprised by Tam’s beauty and wanted to learn how to become beautiful like her. Tam saw this as a perfect way to finally get revenge and told Cam to get in a hole, which she filled up with boiling water. Eventually, Tam made a sauce out of Cam’s body and sent it to her step-mother, who ended up eating it till she found a skull in the bottom and died from the shock.


 “Cinderella” Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

I have read the “Cinderella” (Aschenputtel) from Germany, written by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. The familiar aspect of this story, is that the beginning it started out that Cinderella mother die, and she had to live and deal with her father new wife, which is her step mother, and the step mother had two daughter. It was similar to the original version, because the step mother and both of the step sister are evil , jealous, greedy, and they would mistreat Cinderella.  The unfamiliar part of this “Cinderella” story is that instead of the fairy god mother helping Cinderella making her wishes come true, it was a white bird/pigeon that grant her all the wishes. Something I’ve notice at the beginning was before her mother die she told Cinderella that ” I will look down on you from heaven and be near you”, and from there  on she was always watch by the bird/pigeon on the tree that she planted on her mother grave, and the bird/pigeon was helping, and granting her wishes. Therefore I believe that the bird/pigeon is her mother who’s looking over her. The most surprising and shocking part about this “Cinderella” story was the step mother telling the two step sister to cut off their toes, and heels in order to fit their feet into the gold shoes. Another shocking part was at the end of the story the two step sister had their eyes pecked out by the pigeon. It was surprising to me that in a “Cinderella” story there would be horror. This is different from the original “Cinderella” because the step sister were punish for their jealousy, greediness, and wickedness. The values, and cultural concept of “Cinderella” came from the Ancient Egypt, and the night-teen century China. The story was told and pass from generation to generation, and the moral/lesson that it’s trying to teach is social and political. The story taught me about karma, due to the fact that the step sister were wicked, greedy, and full of falsehood, and in the end they were punish for it, so I truly think karma plays a huge part in the story. I do favor this version of “Cinderella” over the original, because it is more interesting, and the fact that the step sister gets their eyes peck out as a punishment makes it seem fair for how they were treating Cinderella.

“The Little Red Fish and The Golden Clog“

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


Magnificent (adjective)- marked by stately grandeur and lavishness.

Source: Merriam-Webster

I saw this word while reading the 1812 version of the Brothers Grimm story, Cinderella. Cinderella uses it in reference to the ball her stepsisters attended the night before.

The next morning the two sisters came to the kitchen. They were angry when they saw that she had sorted the lentils, for they wanted to scold her. Because they could not, they began telling her about the ball. They said, “Cinderella, it was so grand at the ball. The prince, who is the best looking man in the whole world, escorted us, and he is going to choose one of us to be his wife.”

“Yes,” said Cinderella, “I saw the glistening lights. It must have been magnificent.”

Here, Cinderella is saying the party was extravagant and high-class. Basically, she’s saying the party looked like a good time.


Reading and responding to “Cinderella” variants

Margaret Atwood’s “There Was Once” inspired me to think about different versions of the Cinderella story–hers, of course, barely gets started, but is interesting for challenging the expected set-up of the story by exposing the value-laden terms used to establish the characters and setting. After reading the Wikipedia entry on Cinderella and the introduction to The Cinderella Bibliography, you are hopefully interested in reading a few versions. Here are a few you might want to choose from:

Tam and Cam” and another version, “The Story of Tam and Cam“–from Vietnam

Yeh-Shen, A Cinderella Story“–from China

The Little Red Fish and The Golden Clog“–from Iraq

This page has many versions. You might be interested in reading (use the links in the Table of Contents, or use CTRL-F or command-F to search, or just scroll down):

Cinderella; or, The Little Glass Slipper“–from France (Charles Perrault)

“Cinderella” (Aschenputtel)–from Germany (Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm [Brothers Grimm]): the 1812 version and the 1857 version

[EDITED TO ADD: From the comments below, I can see that some classmates have chosen a few stories that can expand our list:

“The Hidden One”-Native American Legend by Aaron Shepard (here is one version)

The Baba Yaga” (Russia, Aleksandr Afanasyev)

The Wicked Stepmother” (India)

Cinderella” (Italy)

ALSO: Chinye: A West African Cinderella

Please add more if you want others to read along with you!]


I’d encourage everyone to read Anne Sexton’s poem, “Cinderella,” as a modern telling and critique of these stories.

Please reply here with a comment saying which version you’re reading. That will allow us to balance our groups for our discussion. If you see that one version is neglected, please consider choosing that one! Ideally, a few students will choose the same version so you can talk together about your version before we have a larger class discussions and short presentations.

After you have read your chosen version, please write a blog post (click on the + at the top of the screen when you’re signed in, or just follow this link) in which you highlight the aspects of the story that were familiar, unfamiliar, surprising, and particularly telling of the values or customs of the culture it came from. Since we discussed blog posts being 300 words, approximately, aim to write 300 words. Your short presentation in class on Monday will come from these thoughts and from your discussion with others who read the same version when we meet in class.

If you have time, try to read more than one version, so we can have more of a comparative discussion. They’re all really interesting, and not particularly long or difficult. If there’s another version you want to share, particularly if there’s one you know from your background, please add it to the comments here so we can add it to our reading list. If you also want to mention more popular or contemporary examples, please do as well!