A charming twist on the well-loved fairy tale, “Cinderella,” Ella Enchanted is a treat of a novel from award-winning author Gail Carson Levine. Ella has been cursed since birth with the spell of always having to obey commands given to her. After her mother dies and she is sent off to finishing school, the curse begins to take its toll on her and she sets out to right her situation with the very fairy that cursed her.
After finishing the novel, I wanted to compare it to the original fairy tale and, luckily, we had a copy of Perrault’s Fairy Tales sitting around the apartment, thanks to my husband’s summer class. The moral of the story is written below:
Beauty is a treasure rare
Who complains of being fair?
Yet there’s still a something more
That good fairies have in store.
‘Tis that little gift called grace,
Weaves a spell round form and face,
Of each word makes magic, too,
Lends a charm to all you do.
This it was–and nothing less–
Cinderella’s fairy dress!
And if you would learn the way
How to get that gift today–
How to point the golden dart
That shall pierce the Prince’s heart–
Ladies, you have but to be
Just as kind and sweet as she!
Godmothers are useful things
Even when without the wings.
Wisdom may be yours and wit,
Courage, industry, and grit–
What’s the use of these at all,
If you lack a friend at call?
Even though the original tale differs quite a bit from the story of Ella, the moral seems to be the same. In the end, the Prince will accept and love the one that catches his eye, not because of beauty or poise, but because of character and kindness. We all have trials (or spells) we must overcome, but when we endure, a certain charm lends itself to our lives.
by Gail Carson Levine
Originally published in 1997