There is a myth that the earliest version of the Cinderella story appeared in Egypt around the first century. If true, since Egypt didn’t have printing presses back then, this may have been an oral story told around camp fires.
However, in 850 AD during the Tang Dynasty, the first known literary version of Cinderella was published in China, and it was about a girl named Yeh-Shen set in the Qin and Han dynasties centuries before the birth of Jesus Christ.
Although there are claims the Chinese Cinderella, Yeh-Shen, had bound feet, foot binding didn’t appear in China until the Sung Dynasty (960-1276 AD), more than a century after this Chinese Cinderella story was first published. – Bound Feet Women
The French version of Cinderella wouldn’t be published by Charles Perrault until 1697 — more than eight centuries later.
Another version of Cinderella would appear in 1867 and again in 1894 in England.
In 1945, the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow would present the premiere of Sergei Prokofiev’s ballet of Cinderella.
Walt Disney wouldn’t publish a version of Cinderella until 1946, more than a thousand years after Cinderella first appeared in China based on a story that is alleged to have taken place about 206 BC.
Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the unique love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.
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This was really interesting. I never would have guessed China as the origins of this story. Thanks for sharing what you learned. http://tabathamorrow.com
You’re welcome. If you want to discover what else China was first in for about 1,500 years up until the 15th or 16th century, I suggest reading “The Man Who Loved China” by Simon Winchester. Fascinating non-fiction book.