In some versions of Cinderella, her wicked stepsisters, at their wicked mother’s insistence, cut off parts of their feet in order to fit into the glass slipper. And then, the stupid Prince Charmhead doesn’t notice until talking doves and pidgeons point out on the way to Charmhead Castle, “There’s blood in the shoe!”
And of course the Prince is so dense that he goes through this particular ordeal twice with the two wicked stepsisters.
He doesn’t get it right until Cindy puts the slipper on without any blood spurting that gets noticed by talking birds.
Dang! Prince Charmhead is a real dumbhead. What kind of a local ruler would a man be if he picks the love of his life simply because she fits a shoe he likes?
But it is obvious that fairytales, especially the old ones that have been retold by a lot of fairly stupid people and changed with each new teller, deserve most of the criticism they receive.
My current work in progress is a fairytale (in that it is thoroughly infested by many kinds of fairies, mostly the little three-inch-or-smaller kind.) It is called The Necromancer’s Apprentice.
The book is a comedy, meant primarily to entertain and be funny, though. like Shakespeare’s comedies, it is intended to demonstrate themes of romance and love, and how they percolate emotionally in spite of obstacles (and the manipulations of evil fairies.)
But it will undoubtedly get criticized for its exploitation of fairies. Especially young girl fairies who agreed to pose nude for illustrations in the book.
This will not, however, be fully justified. I, as the artist, paid each nude fairy model a fair wage. Sure, it was mostly in pennies. But they are all between two and three inches in height. A penny is heavy and unwieldy for tiny arms to carry. And a penny buys a lot in Gerry-go-Gompert’s General Store for Sylphs, Elves, and Butterfly Children (no Gobbuluns allowed!)
And it you consider the context of a fairytale trying to portray fairies as they really are, you have to remember that Butterfly Children normally don’t wear clothing because it interferes with the flight of delicate butterfly wings. And all forms of actual fairy-kind are immune to heat and cold, and don’t need clothing for those reasons.
On top of that, most fairies believe in naturism and nudism as a healthy lifestyle and don’t object when I write a novel that promotes that idea a little bit.
So, once I am finished with this book, I am almost certain that it will be just as controversial as Little Red Riding Hood who climbs into Grandma’s bed with a big bad wolf, or Snow White who lives alone in the woods with seven little single men. But controversy can be a good thing for a story. Readers love a lurid tale. Even when the subjects are less than three inches tall.