Vietnamese Cinderella Version

Here is the link to the Vietnamese Cinderella version:

I have not read this version for a while. After I reread it for this post, I found some interesting points I did not notice before, such as Tam has only one step-sister who is born after Tam’s father remarries. Besides, I did not know the Vietnamese version has many similarities compared to the Chinese version until I read the synoptic of Chinese Cinderella in From the Beast to the Blonde of Marina Warner.

This version does not end when Tam is married to the King. Tam still struggles to defeat her step-mother and Cam’s wickedness after her marriage. How important is the role of the Goddess of Mercy? And is the ending too violent or fair for what the step-mother and Cam have done to Tam?

There is also another more brutal ending in some other versions:

“When Cam was in the hole Tam ordered the servants to pour in the boiling water, and so her stepsister met her death. Tam had the body made into mam, a rich sauce, and sent it to her stepmother, saying that it was a present from her daughter.

Each day the woman ate some of the mam with her meals, always commenting how delicious it was. A crow came to her house, perched on the roof ridge and cawed, “Delicious! The mother is eating her own daughter’s flesh Is there any left? Give me some.”

The stepmother was very angry and chased the bird away, but, on the day when the jar of mam was nearly empty, she saw her daughter’s skull and fell down dead.”

I also found an illustration version for this version; however, it is in Vietnamese. It is more likely that you will not understand it but if you follow along the written version, you will get the plot of the illustration one. Or if you want to know more, I will be more than happy to translate.



About Elisabeth Gruner

English professor, University of Richmond
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2 Responses to Vietnamese Cinderella Version

  1. hjordan811 says:

    This is a very interesting version. Though I would agree that the stepmother only got what she deserved, seeing as she did in fact kill Tam, Tam’s vengeance on Cam seems petty. Throughout the story Cam is portrayed more as stupid, spoiled, and ignorant, than as someone worthy of death. She did kill Tam, but at that time Tam was only a nightingale who was stealing her husband. I also found it interesting how Tam’s tale seems to come full circle. She is helped by a goddess and then helps another woman.The explanation for Tam’s leaving the ball was excellent. It is completely logical though it leaves the king in love with only her beauty.

  2. Danielle Vance says:

    Yeah, this is definitly one of the most interesting versions of a Cinderella story we’ve seen so far. Even more interesting, this story won the 2006 National Parenting Publications Honors Award!
    One thing that struck me was the color-consciousness of this story, as Tam’s beauty seems to mainly stem from her white skin and smooth hair. Some of the other Cinderella characters are described as having blond hair, blue eyes, fair skin, etc., but they all seem to be in context with the culture they spring from. Since “Catskinellla” is an African American folktale, it makes sense that she’s of African American descent. Having an Asian character be beautiful for her incredibly white skin seems to introduce hints of racial hierarchy, making the intent of the story seem a bit seedy.

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