Rhodopis – The Original Version of Cinderella

Rhodopis – Rosy Cheeked (The Ancient Egyptian Cinderella)

“Rhodopis” (Greek: Ροδώπις) is the original ancient version of the “Cinderella” story. First recorded in the 1st century BCE by the Greek historian Strabo, it is considered to be the oldest Cinderella story.

Rhodopis & Pharoh Amasis

Once upon a time, there was a girl who got kidnapped from Greece.  Her name was Rhodopis.  It meant “rosy cheeked.”  The people who kidnapped Rhodopis were pirates, and she was taken across the Nile river.  When she reached Egypt she was sold as a slave.

When she saw the house-girl servants, she felt different and she was.  She had pale skin and her cheeks were rosy.  Her hair was gold and blew when the wind was windy, and their was black and stayed straight.  Her eyes were green and theirs are brown.  They would tease her and make fun of her.  They made sure that she did all the work, like washing clothes, weeding the garden, and making their food for them.  But her master was kind and old.  When the days were hot, he would sleep underneath a fig tree.

Rhodopis found friends with the animals.  But one day her master awakened and saw her dance and said, “No goddess is more quiet!”  Then he said, “Such a gift deserves a reward.”  Then he demanded a pair of red-rose gold slippers. When the servant girls saw Rhodopis’ slippers they were very jealous.

Then one afternoon, the master of the servant girls learned that the pharaoh was holding court.  There would be music, dancing, and lots of food.  “Sorry, Rhodopis.  You can’t go,” said Kipa.  “You have to wash the linen, grind the grain, and weed the garden.”  So the next day they left to go to the court.  Kipa was wearing blue beads, the second was wearing colored bracelets, and the third wore a colored sash. But one of Rhodopis’ friends was the hippopotamus. When Rhodopis sang to him he would usually enjoy it, and when the servant girls left she sang to him.  He soon got tired of her singing the same song over and over.  Then he splashed her new slippers and she scolded him.

After she cleaned her shoe, she put it behind her and did the rest of her chores.  The god Horus came down from the sky as a falcon and took her slipper.  Then she started to cry.  When the falcon reached the pharaoh,  he gave the pharaoh the slipper, since it was bright he thought it was scrap of the sun.  Then he realized that it was a gift and said, “All the gods and goddesses give us pharaohs something so we know who’s the perfect wife for us.” 

Then he immediately set out to find whoever could find fit the slipper.  A lot of the girls wanted to try on the slipper but no ones foot could fit in the slipper.  So he set out to go by the Nile River, and finally found the last little house.  He raised the slipper the servant girls knew whose it was, but they tried it on anyway.  Neither one’s foot could fit.  Then the pharaoh saw Rodopis and asked if she would try on the slipper.  She did and it fit.  Then she became the queen.

(taken from http://library.thinkquest.org/J002037F/egyptian_cinderella.htm)


"The Egyptian Cinderella" by Shirley Climo; Illustrated by Ruth Heller

The Cinderella Effect for me, and those who REALLY know me will understand, is the falcon. In my own life, this part of the fairy tale mirrors my adoration of hawks. It is said that hawks mean God is listening/He hears you. I have a fond attachment to the majestic birds of prey. They do not frighten me, even though I thoroughly respect their power as a predator. To me, the represent peace, calm, serenity.


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