C is for…

Cinderella - Anne Anderson
‘Cinderella’ by Anne Anderson (1874-1930)

… Cinderella, source of one of the most famous translation myths in the world. It’s widely believed that the glass slippers are the result of pantoufle de vair (fur slipper) being mistaken for pantoufle de verre (glass slipper) when Charles Perrault’s French version of the tale was translated into English. I couldn’t remember where I first read a debunking of this idea, but it seems quite likely that it was on fellow translator Jill Sommer’s blog: Were Cinderellas Glass Slippers a Mistranslation? quoting snopes.com. Certainly fur slippers sound more comfortable than glass ones, but somewhat out of place at a royal ball!

I was also surprised to read the Grimm brothers’ version of the story in which the fine clothes and slippers first “embroidered with silk and silver” and then “of pure gold” are thrown down – on three occasions – from a hazel tree over her mother’s grave by a white bird who grants her wishes – no fairy godmothers, pumpkin coaches or enchanted footmen in sight. I wonder why Perrault’s telling has stuck in this country rather than any of the countless other variations out there…
C is also for Clementine by Sebastian Loth and Chih-Yaun Chen, author of Guji-Guji – two books which sound like a lot of fun and which I am adding to my mental wishlist for the boys…  Reviews can be found at Outside In Inside Out.

Guji-Guji by Chen Chih Yuan

“Once upon a time, a very strange egg rolled into Mother Duck’s nest. When a baby crocodile hatched, she thought nothing of it and raised Guji Guji along with the rest of her ducklings… as a duck. Everyone gets on fine until some big bad crocodiles turn up one day. The big crocs make Guji Guji question who he is and want him to place his duck family in danger. What will Guji Guji do? Is he a crocodile? Is he a duck? Will he save his family or side with his species?”


Clementine by Sebastian Loth

“Clementine the snail loves everything round—hoops, wheels, balls, balloons and most of all, the moon. She longs to glide gently over the moon’s surface so she makes a daring decision— “I’m going to fly to the moon,” she whispered into the night . . .” Her best friend Paul helps her to find an ingenious way to travel to the moon and soon Clementine is setting out on the most amazing journey.”  


 If you’ve read either of these, I’d be happy to hear what you thought of them!

About forwardtranslations

I'm a freelance literary translator from German and French to English. The title of my blog comes from Mary Schmich's description of reading: it struck home with me, and seems especially apt for translated fiction. Here are some of my musings on what I'm reading, re-reading, reading to my children, and translating.
This entry was posted in A-Z of Children's Fiction in Translation, Books, Children's Books, Translation and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to C is for…

  1. Lise Capitan says:

    Thank you Rachel for this great series of posts. I'm loving reading about these a little more everyday (Many French references for now;)).

  2. Pingback: Clementine by Sebastian Loth – the power of dreams | a discount ticket to everywhere

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