CINDERELLA (i.e. little cinder girl), the heroine of an almost universal fairy-tale. Its essential features are (1) the persecuted maiden whose youth and beauty bring upon her the jealousy of her step-mother and sisters, (2) the intervention of a fairy or other supernatural instrument on her behalf, (3) the prince who falls in love with and marries her. In the English version, a translation of Perrault's Cendrillon, the glass slipper which she drops on the palace stairs is due to a mistranslation of pantoufle en vair (a fur slipper), mistaken for en verre. It has been suggested that the story originated in a nature-myth, Cinderella being the dawn, oppressed by the night-clouds (cruel relatives) and finally rescued by the Sun (prince).
See Marian Rolfe Cox, Cinderella; Three Hundred and Forty-five Variants (1893); A Lang, Perrault's Popular Tales (1888).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)