Shattering the Glass Slipper Myth

Probably everyone on the Intarwebs knows this tidbit except me but I will torture you with it nonetheless.

Apparently the “glass slipper” of Cinderella is the result of a homonym translation snafu. When Charles Perrault, who formalized the telling of certain fairytales for public consumption in his parlor, told his version of Cendrillon, he took the word “vair” (the French word for a type of squirrel skin) and substituted the homonym “vers” (the French word for glass). Originally Cinderella’s slippers were made of squirrel skin, not glass. I always thought those shoes sounded damned uncomfortable.

I learned this tonight at dinner with E/T, the couple I’m staying with. I was telling E/T about how Disney Hong Kong had to change the Cinderella story because the Chinese believe that a glass slipper is bad luck. I learned about this from the Chinese woman working at Disney who helped them in the design. That’s when E, who is French, remarked that the slipper didn’t used to be glass — something I’d heard before but couldn’t remember any details. We checked a French dictionary and it confirmed the tale of vair versus vers in the popular fairytale.

I’m doing better. Still zonking out around 9:30pm even though I slept 9 hours last night. Still, I had a long conversation with E today in French. I can’t believe all that I’ve learned.

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