What is the reason for the timeless and universal appeal of the popular fairy tale Cinderella?
It is a story that has been immortalized on film, has been the subject of ballets and ice dances and theatres the world over. Thousands of books bear its title and hardly a child anywhere has not heard the name Cinderella. The story has been told from age to age and across many different cultures. It has not lost its appeal and never will.
The tale begins with Cinderella as the neglected stepchild of a wicked woman and her two daughters. They mistreat Cinderella, using her as their servant. She never complains but suffers in silence. One day a great ball is announced for the prince of the land and all the young ladies are invited. The stepmother and sisters try to prevent Cinderella from going to the ball but through wonder and magic, she goes to the ball, a mysterious, unknown beauty. The prince sees her and falls in love. Cinderella must leave before midnight when the magic will end and in her rush to leave, she loses her glass slipper. The next day, the prince uses the dainty slipper as a test to find Cinderella. The stepmother and sisters do all they can to keep her away but finally she tries it on and the prince realizes that he has found the woman of his dreams. They are married and live happily ever after.
What is it that draws mankind so deeply to this story of a girl who makes her journey from rags to riches? Is it that wonderful note of eternal promise that sounds in our hearts when we read it? The promise that all our problems will one day melt away, making our deepest wishes come true?
Is it the comforting truth that money, wealth and power can never buy that which is most precious of all, true inner beauty and goodness?
All good fairy tales live in the heart of a culture because they embody some deep truth that people intuitively know is precious and important. Cinderella is about the prince or princess in all of us who longs to find our rightful place and be set free from all that holds us back. It is about our belief that goodness and right will prevail over deceit and falsehood and that there is divine justice that will, in the end, right all wrongs.
Cinderella is the princess who embodies all that is good and true and who, in the end, is answered with the eternal promise that it is the meek who shall inherit the earth.