Aubrey Beardsley's "The Slippers of Cinderella" (1894)

Aubrey Beardsley’s “The Slippers of Cinderella”
(1894)

“Well, I wonder?” said Sagacia, still removing her raincoat–carefully so as not to drip on anything but the mat. She had walked into the Fairy Tale Lobby just as Csenge Zalka had said,

“As for the most classically-fairy-tale-like, I would say Tündér Ilona, which is another well-known Hungarian folktale involving a fairy maiden, a hero, golden apples, devils, the whole shebang.
Most people would probably say Cinderella.”

“I mean, I wonder if most people would say Cinderella is the fairy tale-est of them all?” Sagacia repeated. “Or did they just say that because Cinderella is the first fairy tale they thought of? What I want to know, that is, what Wondering in Winedale wants to know, is does it include the most fairy tale elements?”

“Well, that depends. What do you mean by ‘elements’?” Simplia asked. “NA?  CL?” she recited. “C12 H22 011?”

“Either salty or sweet is fine with me,” Sagacia replied. “But I was thinking of stories that have the kinds of, well, occurrences . . . or . . . magical possibilities we typically find in fairy tales. Those kinds of elements.”

And, though she had actually said it before they walked into the room Csenge repeated for the Simpletons:

“The type that comes to mind instantly is “The Three Kidnapped Princesses.” Doesn’t usually include fairies (a lot of fairy tales don’t), but it does have the classic hero’s journey, dragon-slaying, princess-rescuing, supernatural-power-using, and magical helpers out the wazoo. Also, the most well-known Hungarian folktale, Son of the White Horse, falls into this type, so it pops into my mind readily. It is also one of the most wide-spread folktale types out there.”

“And it also has ‘three’ somethings in it!” Simplia exploded. She’d been trying to interrupt ever since Csenge gave the title.

“So, hero’s journey, . . . dragonslaying, . . .” Sagacia was counting them out on her fingers. 
“Princess rescuing, . . .”

“and, four, supernatural-power-using, . . . and, five, magical helpers . . . What else?”

“Well, surely we can get our magical friends to help with this one!” Sagacia announced to the room and its assembled company. “What are other elements you want to find in a fairy tale?”

“And which fairy tales have the most of those,” Simplia specified. “That’s what Wondering in Winedale wanted to know.”

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