Sunday, November 3, 2013

Twisted Cinderella Story + Giveaway

All right, you’re not going to believe this, but here it is: I did not write the first Cinderella story. No, really, it’s true. Pick your jaw up off the floor. No, the story of Cinderella has been around for a very long time, and it has many variations. Let’s travel back in time to the 1st century BCE and take a look at one of the earliest version of the Cinderella tale. A tale of a woman named “Rhodopis.”

Rhodopis (“rosy cheeked” or “red cheeked”)

Origin: Greece

Source: Strabo (Greek Historian)

Tale: Rhodopis was a Greek girl captured from Thrace and sold into slavery in Egypt. Unbeknownst to her master, Charaxos, Rhodopis was often mocked and mistreated by the other servant girls. One day, Charaxos caught Rhodopis dancing by herself and found her movements so graceful that he gifted her with a pair of rose-gilded slippers. This perceived sign of favoritism only made her treatment at the hands of her fellow slaves all the worse.

One day, while washing clothes at the river, Rhodopis’s slippers got wet and she left them on the bank to dry. A falcon swooped down and snatched one up, flying to Memphis where it dropped the slipper into the lap of Pharaoh Ahmose II. The Pharaoh believed the falcon to be the god Horus, who had the falcon as his bird, and thought the slipper to be a sign. He immediately declared that he would wed the woman who fit the slipper. Eventually he made it to the home where Rhodopis was a servant and when she tried the shoe on, it not only fit, she was also able to provide its mate.

Debatable Aspects:

Some say that Rhodopis’ master favored her because of her physical appearance. Having been kidnapped from Thrace, Rhodopis was fair complexioned and had blonde hair and blue eyes, a dramatic difference from the darker tone of the Egyptian people.

The slippers may have been gold, and it may have been their worth that caught the eye of the Pharaoh.

Rhodopis may have been a hetaera (a highly educated and skilled woman who often had sex with her patrons, aka a courtesan). In this scenario, rather than being kidnapped and sold into slavery in Egypt, she was in fact brought to Egypt by her master. In this story, Charaxos encounters her as a hetaera and falls in love with her. He purchases her freedom for a great sum of money.

Fun Facts:

She was a slave in the same household as Aesop

The Pharaohs of Egypt at the time of Rhodopis did not have one wife. Rather, they acquired women to be courtesans in their household.

She was apparently first purchased by her Master, Charaxos, with a bag of gold dust.

My fantasy/romance novel, Before Midnight, is a twisted retelling of Cinderella featuring werewolves. It is Book One in my Blood Prince series. Comment on this post between Sunday, November 3 and Wednesday, November 6 for a chance to win a copy. To keep up with the Blood Princes and their twisted tales, join my mailing list here.

Good luck!



Catherine Lee said...

Rhodopis? What an unusual name...and twist on a familiar story.
catherinelee100 at gmail dot com

Sandy said...

Congratulations on the new release and series. Mythology and paranormal storylines are quite popular.


Jennifer Blackstream said...

I adore mythology. I just can't get enough of it, been that way since I was a wee one. I'm really excited about this series. If there's anything that makes mythology sweeter, it's a fairy tale. And goodness knows some of those fairy tale princes needed a little beefing up...