Friday, August 2, 2013

Cinderella (Aschenputtel) by Līga Kļaviņa

Cinderella at her mother's grave by Līga Kļaviņa
When we see new Cinderella illustrations it's usually based on Perrault's version with the fairy godmother. Perhaps due to Disney's choice to base his Cinderella on Perrault's, it seems rare that we see an illustrated version of Aschenputtel by the Brothers Grimm, especially in English speaking countries.

These illustrations by Līga Kļaviņa (liga-marta on deviantArt), posted here by special permission, have been circulating for a while now but unless you go to her gallery, you don't tend to see them together (and many people don't seem to be aware that they're from Cinderella at all), so I feel it's overdue that Ms. Kļaviņa be credited for her lovely work and a beautiful interpretation of a much grimmer version of Cinderella than most are familiar with.

Ms. Kļaviņa has asked that people not use her art without her permission or linking to her gallery so if you see one of these images around, please help by making sure she's been given credit for the work and if you can link to her gallery on deviantArt HERE, that would be great too.

Here are the rest of her illustrations for this tale, along with a brief reminder of this version of the story in the captions below:
Stepmother with daughters
In this version, the rich father remarries, bringing his new family home. The women  - all beautiful and fair on the outside but evil-minded and ugly of heart - treat Cinderella badly, teasing her, making her work at very difficult tasks and generally making life miserable. Unlike other tales, the father remains in the picture throughout, though I'm rather mystified at why he allows this treatment of his own daughter.
She has to work again...
All her fine things are taken from her and she's given difficult-to-impossible tasks and made to work as the household maid.
Cinderella's father finds a hazel twig for her
Cinderella's father takes a journey at one point and, like Beauty's father, asks each of the girls what they would like for him to bring back. Like Beauty's story the sisters ask for fine clothes,  jewels and pearls (which he buys) but Cinderella asks for "the first twig that strikes your hat".
At mother's grave
Cinderella plants the twig by her mother's grave and waters it three times every day with her tears. The tree flourishes and birds come and grant Cinderella's small whispered wishes - whatever she asks (I have to wonder what those wishes were and why she wasn't more pro-active in changing her own fortune at this point).
Left at home
Though Cinder pleads to be allowed to attend the ball her stepmother doesn't allow it, despite that Cinderella (with help from her feathered friends) manages to complete impossible tasks which are supposed to be a condition of her going. She's left alone at home (where the father disappeared to so conveniently at this point, is unknown).
A walk in the garden
With no one to watch her, Cinderella goes to her mother's grave, weeps and wishes for a dress fine enough to go to the ball...
The first dress
Her wish is granted...
At the ball
...And she remains unrecognized even by her stepsisters and stepmother. She dances with the Prince then avoids him so she can leave undetected, depositing the dress under the tree by her mother's grave at the end of the night.
The second dress
The second night, the events repeat, only with the second gown being more splendid than the first.
The third dress
The third was the most splendid of them all and it was a little more difficult for Cinderella to get away this third time as the Prince had a plan...
Glass slipper
The Prince had cleverly spread pitch over the stairs and though Cinderella manages to get away, she loses a shoe in the trap.
Happy end
In case you were wondering, yes, this is the version in which the sisters do some "self-surgery" in order to make the shoe fit when the Prince (who deduced Cinder had disappeared in the vicinity of this house) comes knocking at their door. The birds in the story are there throughout and alert the prince to blood in the shoe twice before he returns to the house (depositing the fake-Cinders - twice) and demands to see any other daughters that might live there.

And here's the part I understand least of all in this story: even after the stepmother urges both daughters to mutilate themselves in order to catch a prince and they fail, at this point it's the father who says there's only "nasty little Cinderella" and she couldn't possibly be the one the prince was searching for. (Wut?!)

Then there's the whole thing with the stepsisters eyes being plucked out by those "gentle" doves at the wedding (which balances the fact that the prince does, indeed take a more scrutinizing look at Cinderella when the shoe fits and finally recognizes her) but what of the parents? Misery loves company has a whole different shade in this tale!

Ms. Kļaviņa has illustrations for numerous fairy tales on her deviantArt gallery (though this is the most completely illustrated one), along with lots of lovely fantasy illustrations. You can find all those HERE.

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