Cinderella stories date back to 850 A.D., when the earliest written version of the Chinese tale Yeh-Shen was published. Charles Perrault of France wrote and published the most popular contemporary version in 1697. The story has been translated into many languages, including English, French, German, Russian, and Indonesian.
Yeh Shen means "Cinderella" or "Little Cinderella." It is a traditional Chinese story that dates back at least 1,500 years. The first written account of the story is called "The Story of Princess Yang Kuei-fei," which was written around 850 AD. It was followed by several other stories about princesses who lost their shoes to pigs, goats, dogs, or horses but were saved by handsome princes. In the 13th century, another writer named Li Yu wrote about a girl named Yeh Shen who lost her shoe to a mouse but was saved by a prince. This story was probably based on ideas from both earlier writers; hence, it can be said that there are actually two versions of Cinderella: one written in 850 and the other written in 1350.
Both versions have many similarities, such as a royal family who lived in a palace with seven maids inside it. One day, the king went out hunting and never returned home.
This ancient fairy tale is recounted by Ai-Ling Louie and beautifully drawn by Ed Young in A Cinderella Story From China. Yeh Shen tries to steal the slipper at night, but she is apprehended. Her identity is revealed once she tries on the slipper, and she marries the king. This story has many similarities to "Cinderella."
In addition to telling stories about good girls who win the heart of handsome princes, Chinese legends also include stories about bad girls who escape punishment. One such story is that of Yeh Shen, or Mrs. Goodheart. She steals the king's slipper to marry him, but when everyone goes to sleep, she escapes through a window. Her husband follows her and finds her another shoe. They have two children who lead happy lives until they die. After their death, their spirits come back to visit their parents' graves every day at noon to seek forgiveness for their sins.
Yeh Shen is found by the king during the Second Battle of Guiling Mountain when she attempts to rescue her friend from being killed by an arrow. She is then made the queen of Chu. This story can be seen as a variant of "Cinderella" where the good girl wins the heart of the prince instead of the other way around. It also shows that even though Chinese legends are often based on real events, they are still fictional stories that are told to teach children right from wrong.
One of the world's first Cinderella stories, Yeh-Shen (also known as Ye Xian Xie Xian), was published in the 9th century (!!!) in an anthology of stories called Miscellaneous Morsels from Youyang. The story tells of a poor young woman named Yeh-Shen who lives with her cruel stepmother and kindhearted but foolish father. One day, when her father is away on business, Yeh-Shen sees a beautiful dress in a shop window. She runs to get her money together so she can buy it, but no one will give her enough cash. Then, just before she leaves, her father adds more money to her purse! When Yeh-Shen returns home, she finds that her father has arranged for her to marry his friend, the rich Mr. Liu, today. But first, she must go through with the marriage at a small inn where only bread and water are served as dinner for everyone involved.
Yeh-Shen refuses to marry Mr. Liu, but he forces her into it. After the wedding ceremony, when Mr. Liu goes to sleep, Yeh-Shen sneaks out of the inn and goes back to her parents' house. There, she throws off her ugly clothes and takes a bath, which makes her look even more beautiful than before. She writes a letter telling her husband what has happened and giving him permission to divorce her.
Yeh Shen is a kind young lady who generously shares her modest quantity of rice with a wonderful fish in a neighboring pond. The fish is so grateful that it returns the favor by carrying Yeh Shen up into the sky where they fall in love. They are married, but when war breaks out between China and its northern neighbor, Mongolia, Mongolian soldiers invade China looking for talented musicians to serve as generals. They hear about Yeh Shen's beauty and talent and choose her as their commander. However, since she is now rich and famous, Yeh Shen refuses to lead the invasion.
Yeh Shen then makes her way back home where she finds that her husband has been killed in battle. Overcome with grief, she commits suicide. But just before she dies, she tells her husband that there is still one person out there who needs his help. She explains that if he goes to the north gate of their village with his eyes closed, he will find food and water for himself and his horse.
Shen becomes aware of a little girl who looks like her dead wife. The girl tells him that she is locked up in a tower because she is dangerous and able to kill anyone with a glance. She also warns him that if he wants to save himself, someone else must die.
During the Shang Dynasty of 1600-1046 BCE, Chinese writing originated with the act of divination. Readers of oracle bones drew pictographs (similar to hieroglyphs) on the bones, which became known as jiaguwen writing. This was the foundation for what would eventually become the script that is still in use today.
The oracle bone writing system consisted of two parts: phonetic symbols and semantic pictures. The phonetic symbols were used to pronounce words and sentences before they were put into action by the gods. The semantic pictures were used to convey ideas and messages outside of simple speech. For example, when asking what kind of animal someone was, you would draw a picture of an ox to represent "man" and another picture of a pig to represent "animal." By combining these two elements, the reader could understand how to treat them during a ritual.
Chinese writing developed gradually over time, with oracle bone writing being the first form of written language. It was followed by the Shu (1100-221 BCE) and Qin (221-206) scripts before finally reaching its modern form with the invention of paper around 220 CE. Although scholars believe that there were traders from China who reached Europe by 300 BCE, the first actual evidence of the presence of Chinese people in Europe comes from 1506, when Portuguese sailors spotted Chinese writings on board a ship they had captured.
The oldest widely acknowledged evidence of Chinese writing come from the time of King Wu Ding of the Shang Dynasty (1250-1192 BC). These were ox scapulae and turtle shells with divinatory writings on them. The characters used for this purpose are said to be similar to those still in use today.
During the Zhou Dynasty, which lasted from 1046 to 256 BC, scholars started using bamboo strips with carvings on them instead. They were called "chalkboards" because people wrote lessons on them using a quill pen. By the time of the Han Dynasty, which began in 25 AD, people had developed a script of their own choosing that was identical to the Roman alphabet. This is the script we know today as Chinese handwriting.
Before the invention of printing, people learned to write well because they needed to be able to communicate accurately when sending letters via post or over long distances by messenger bird. In addition, there were calligraphers who made money by decorating expensive books with beautiful writings. These days, handwriting is coming back into style because it can be done quickly and easily on the internet. It has also been found that people enjoy writing with a fountain pen online.