Glass slipper, a mistranslation

I just learned that Cinderella’s glass slipper was made out of fur. That is, in the French. The word was mistranslated in an early version (Phin, Seven Follies, p. 208). And that leads me to believe that mistranslation, intentional or un-, can often be the cause of really wonderful things.

How much more poetic, more heartbreaking, more magical is it that her slipper became more than just a fur-covered item, but one of delicate, dangerous, utterly unique glass. Half the women at the ball probably wore fur slippers, but no one else had slippers of glass.

And how much more vividly grotesque is it to imagine her wicked stepsisters’ blood pooling in the bottom of the transparent glass? How much more hauntingly dangerous the admonition to be home by midnight, lest perhaps shards of a broken glass slipper pierce her sole?

This mistranslation added magic to a story about magic, inventive originality where the original was expected. And so. We have a translator to thank for Cinderella’s glass slipper.

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