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Cinderella -- Roald Dahl

Guest poem sent in by Ajit Narayanan
(Poem #1416) Cinderella
 I guess you think you know this story.
 You don't. The real one's much more gory.
 The phoney one, the one you know,
 Was cooked up years and years ago,
 And made to sound all soft and sappy
 just to keep the children happy.
 Mind you, they got the first bit right,
 The bit where, in the dead of night,
 The Ugly Sisters, jewels and all,
 Departed for the Palace Ball,
 While darling little Cinderella
 Was locked up in a slimy cellar,
 Where rats who wanted things to eat,
 Began to nibble at her feet.

 She bellowed 'Help!' and 'Let me out!
 The Magic Fairy heard her shout.
 Appearing in a blaze of light,
 She said: 'My dear, are you all right?'
 'All right?' cried Cindy .'Can't you see
 'I feel as rotten as can be!'
 She beat her fist against the wall,
 And shouted, 'Get me to the Ball!
 'There is a Disco at the Palace!
 'The rest have gone and 1 am jalous!
 'I want a dress! I want a coach!
 'And earrings and a diamond brooch!
 'And silver slippers, two of those!
 'And lovely nylon panty hose!
 'Done up like that I'll guarantee
 'The handsome Prince will fall for me!'
 The Fairy said, 'Hang on a tick.'
 She gave her wand a mighty flick
 And quickly, in no time at all,
 Cindy was at the Palace Ball!

 It made the Ugly Sisters wince
 To see her dancing with the Prince.
 She held him very tight and pressed
 herself against his manly chest.
 The Prince himself was turned to pulp,
 All he could do was gasp and gulp.
 Then midnight struck. She shouted,'Heck!
 Ive got to run to save my neck!'
 The Prince cried, 'No! Alas! Alack!'
 He grabbed her dress to hold her back.
 As Cindy shouted, 'Let me go!'
 The dress was ripped from head to toe.

 She ran out in her underwear,
 And lost one slipper on the stair.
 The Prince was on it like a dart,
 He pressed it to his pounding heart,
 'The girl this slipper fits,' he cried,
 'Tomorrow morn shall be my bride!
 I'll visit every house in town
 'Until I've tracked the maiden down!'
 Then rather carelessly, I fear,
 He placed it on a crate of beer.

 At once, one of the Ugly Sisters,
 (The one whose face was blotched with blisters)
 Sneaked up and grabbed the dainty shoe,
 And quickly flushed it down the loo.
 Then in its place she calmly put
 The slipper from her own left foot.
 Ah ha, you see, the plot grows thicker,
 And Cindy's luck starts looking sicker.

 Next day, the Prince went charging down
 To knock on all the doors in town.
 In every house, the tension grew.
 Who was the owner of the shoe?
 The shoe was long and very wide.
 (A normal foot got lost inside.)
 Also it smelled a wee bit icky.
 (The owner's feet were hot and sticky.)
 Thousands of eager people came
 To try it on, but all in vain.
 Now came the Ugly Sisters' go.
 One tried it on. The Prince screamed, 'No!'
 But she screamed, 'Yes! It fits! Whoopee!
 'So now you've got to marry me!'
 The Prince went white from ear to ear.
 He muttered, 'Let me out of here.'
 'Oh no you don't! You made a vow!
 'There's no way you can back out now!'
 'Off with her head!'The Prince roared back.
 They chopped it off with one big whack.
 This pleased the Prince. He smiled and said,
 'She's prettier without her head.'
 Then up came Sister Number Two,
 Who yelled, 'Now I will try the shoe!'
 'Try this instead!' the Prince yelled back.
 He swung his trusty sword and smack
 Her head went crashing to the ground.
 It bounced a bit and rolled around.
 In the kitchen, peeling spuds,
 Cinderella heard the thuds
 Of bouncing heads upon the floor,
 And poked her own head round the door.
 'What's all the racket? 'Cindy cried.
 'Mind your own bizz,' the Prince replied.
 Poor Cindy's heart was torn to shreds.
 My Prince! she thought. He chops off heads!
 How could I marry anyone
 Who does that sort of thing for fun?

 The Prince cried, 'Who's this dirty slut?
 'Off with her nut! Off with her nut!'
 Just then, all in a blaze of light,
 The Magic Fairy hove in sight,
 Her Magic Wand went swoosh and swish!
 'Cindy! 'she cried, 'come make a wish!
 'Wish anything and have no doubt
 'That I will make it come about!'
 Cindy answered, 'Oh kind Fairy,
 'This time I shall be more wary.
 'No more Princes, no more money.
 'I have had my taste of honey.
 I'm wishing for a decent man.
 'They're hard to find. D'you think you can?'
 Within a minute, Cinderella
 Was married to a lovely feller,
 A simple jam maker by trade,
 Who sold good home-made marmalade.
 Their house was filled with smiles and laughter
 And they were happy ever after.
-- Roald Dahl
There is a certain charm to retellings of old stories that defies analysis.
One gets a certain naughty thrill from reading the works of Guy Carryl, say,
or Roald Dahl's 'Revolting Rhymes' from which the above gem is taken. I
suppose these poems are all the more funny because they're stories which are
familiar, _sacred_ even, and a sudden change in tenor takes one's breath
away!

Roald Dahl is, of course, a master at doing this. Many of his stories for
adults have that sudden and almost sacreligious twist, and his stories for
children (which I will always rate as the better of his works) tick because
of the clever turns that he gives to those old platitudes, those old
fairytales and those nursery rhymes, which children of a certain age grow to
despise with the contempt that comes with familiarity, and which he sends up
with unfailing precision and skill.

More of Dahl's 'Revolting Rhymes' at:
[broken link] http://www.the-artery.co.uk/words/0024.php

More of Dahl at:
http://oldpoetry.com/authors/Roald%20Dahl

Guy Carryl at:
Poem #273 - How a Cat Was Annoyed and a Poet Was Booted
Poem #94 -  The Embarrassing Episode of Little Miss Muffet
Poem #137 - The Sycophantic Fox and the Gullible Raven
and Gutenburg ('Fables for the Frivolous',
http://www.ibiblio.org/gutenberg/cgi-bin/sdb/t9.cgi?
entry=6438&full=yes&ftpsite=http://www.ibiblio.org/gutenberg/ ).

- Ajit Q.

Some other fairy-tale retellings on Minstrels:

Poem #242: The Pied Piper of Hamelin
Poem #961: The Wolf's Postcript to 'Little Red Riding Hood'
Poem #978: Cinderella

18 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

Anonymous said...

Kanye West's Dark fantasy directly mirrors the first 10 lines of this poem:
"You might think you peeped the scene
You haven't, he real one's far too mean
The watered down one, the one you know
Was made up centuries ago
They made it sound all wack and corny
Yes it's awful, blasted boring
Twisted fiction, sick addiction
Well gather 'round children
Zip it, listen!"

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Anonymous said...

that was a bit boring!

Anonymous said...

yes yes yes and cinderella had a dance yes that was so interesting not!

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Anonymous said...

good poem shame he's dead

Anonymous said...

I really, really like Roald Dahl's books, I always read them!
My favorite of them all, is, believe it or not, Roald Dahl's Revolting Rhymes, my favorite rhyme would have to be Cinderella!
I would like to know a lot more about why Dahl decided to write these rhymes?
P.S. In school I'm doing a play of Cinderella Revolting Rhymes! I'm so excited!

Anonymous said...

I am doing this as a play for my school concert but we had to change "slut" to "mutt" It would of been funny if we didn't!

Anonymous said...

how were metaphors and similies used in this poem?

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