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Why Cinderella Was Wrong

June 3, 2013

I’d managed to negotiate the minefield of paternal death and evil stepmothers. I’d even managed to deal with issues of abuse, destitution and servitude without a peep of enquiry, but we crunched to a resounding stop when we got to the fairy godmother. 

“So a fairy godmother can give you anything you ask for?” H said.

“Yes, sort of – she’s there to make your wishes come true.” I replied.

“And what did Cinderella ask for again?” said H, hoping that it might have changed from the last time that I told him. 

“She wanted a pretty dress, a carriage and to go to the ball that the Prince was holding.”

“What?” exclaimed H. “Why did she ask for those when she could have had Jump Boots?” 

and from that moment, Cinderella lost all credibility in the eyes of my 3 year old. 


It’s nice, but it’s not a Jump Boot…

Jump Boots are one of H’s made up things.  From what I can work out they are just like normal boots but would allow you to jump very high when worn.  I’ve had to break it to him gently that they don’t actually exist but (and here I’d like some acknowledgement of maternal genius please) broccoli does the same job in making you jump higher than ever before.  He’s now asking for broccoli for every meal.  

H had asked me for a story on Sunday morning as I was preparing the roast before heading to church.  There was a certain amount going on in the kitchen so I opted for retelling an old favourite rather than having to come up with my own.  However, I wasn’t far into the story before I started hitting minefields.   

How do you deal with the death of the father? I said that bit very quickly in the hope that H wouldn’t pick up on it and start asking difficult questions.  I know that at some point we’ll have to discuss death and the afterlife and, as Christians, we should probably be looking forward to such an occasion as a chance to share with H the confidence we have in salvation through Christ, but I’d really rather it didn’t happen whilst I was trying to peel a sweet potato.

After we’d dispensed with Cinderella and the disappointing lack of Jump Boots, H asked for another story.  The first one that came to mind was Snow White.  I really wish it hadn’t.  Especially when H substituted his little friend Jane for Snow White.  Try telling a 3 year old that his friend Jane was going to be taken out into the woods by the huntsman, killed, and her heart taken back to the wicked stepmother.  I couldn’t do it.  In my version the huntsman took Jane into the wood and got her lost so she couldn’t find her way back to the castle. 

We watched Dumbo a little while ago too.  We’re not doing that again.  H kept asking where Dumbo’s mother was.  “Well dear, she’s been put in chains and is being kept in a tiny cage which has a sign saying “Mad Elephant” hanging outside.  Unless things change quite considerably Dumbo will never see her again” is what I didn’t say.  No, Mrs Jumbo was on holiday and, oh look, she made it back happily by the end of the film. 

Bambi has been banned for life. 


Photograph courtesy of


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  1. Was Living Down Under permalink

    Ha ha. Always good when you go down a path and don’t realise where you’re headed until you get there and then it’s too late to turn around. Many a tale has been altered in our house as well – if only to avoid a difficult conversation. In our house, Cinderella’s dad went on a business trip and it wasn’t her stepmum, it was her dad’s sister…


  2. If only I’d thought of that….can I use it next time?


  3. I was always a bit worried how the Fairy Godmother might trump God. I mean, God wouldn’t just magic you up a dress and a coach, would he? If you had to choose who to pray to, of the two, wouldn’t the Fairy Godmother win hands down?

    You can tell H that my son eats a ton of broccoli, and is now top high-jumper in his year at school. (Miss out the bit that goes “he eats a ton of broccoli because he is really picky about vegetables and hardly eats any other ones, and his mother once did a deal with him that said he could be picky about the other vegetables so long as he ate double broccoli, without complaining, every day” – since you’ve perfected your selective story-telling skills.)


  4. We haven’t had the Fairy Godmother/God dichotomy to discuss yet, I’m pleased to say. That’s some fun for another day…
    I will, indeed, tell H about your son, and congratulations on having a top high-jumper in the family. We can, currently, only aspire…


  5. I was putting ‘bob’ to bed last night and the question as he was turning out the light was, mum, you know praying… Do you have to actually say the words or does god know what you are thinking…


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