The plots of both fairy tales are very similar in many ways. Both stories tell of a girl’s destiny to wed the prince of her dreams. Both tales implicated the goodness of their monarchs. Both had a good ending that lived happily ever after.
One will notice that both stories dealt with the riches to rags to riches theme. In Disney’s Cinderella, the main character was supposedly a daughter of a kind and rich nobleman. She was forced to become a servant when her father died and her cruel stepfamily reigned in the household. In Donkey Skin, the princess was an adopted child of a good king but was forced to run away from home and become a servant in another kingdom’s royal farm due to her fear of being married to her adopted father. Both main characters were females who were forced to suffer the humiliation of having to serve others.
However, the twists in the story were a little different. In Disney’s movie, Cinderella attended a ball and caught the prince’s eye. Donkey Skin on the other hand, did not even know that the prince saw her when he peeped through her room’s keyhole. Cinderella danced with her prince all night and fell in love with him. Donkey Skin and her prince fell in love just by having a short glimpse of each other on separate occasions at that.. At least in Cinderella, the couple had a chance to get to know each other and find out they were attracted to each other. In Donkey Skin, the couple will have their chance of knowing more about each other after Donkey Skin’s true identity was revealed.
The plots of both stories also show that the respective kingdoms were peaceful. People loved their kings and queens. The monarchs on the other hand, were respectful of their loyal subjects.
Both stories had a happy ending but Disney’s Cinderella was more exciting. The glass slipper that the duke used as a sample broke into pieces which left the audience tense and hanging because it might not be a happy ending after all. Of course, Cinderella took the other half of the slipper’s pair from her pocket so the audience was not disappointed and managed to breathe a sigh of relief after the scene.
In Donkey Skin, however, the tension came from the possibility of the prince rejecting Donkey Skin because although the ring may fit her finger, her outside appearance was still ugly and dirty. The climax was pre-empted when beneath the ragged appearance of Donkey Skin, she held out a little delicate white hand to try the ring. With the story teller’s description of a refined hand being extended, the audience already knew that things were really going for Donkey Skin. There was no tension to pique the audience’s curiosity anymore.
The stories shared a lot of similar characters in their tales but there were differences to their roles in the story. The main characters were both females with almost the same personality. Both had fairy godmothers and adopted or step parents. Both stories had monarchs who were looking for a bride for their prince. Both had a charming prince to marry. The difference lay in how these characters were portrayed.
Cinderella and Donkey Skin had the same physical attributes. They were both supposedly beautiful underneath the dirty clothes they were wearing. Both were gentle and uncomplaining with what life had to offer.
However, Cinderella tended to be more of the ideal heroine while Donkey Skin was a bit more realistic. Cinderella only lost her temper at Lucifer, the cat, because he was after her mice. Donkey Skin on the other hand was portrayed to be getting irritated at the failures of her fairy godmother. Cinderella, although she was a bit frustrated with the misgivings of her fairy godmother, was still smiling and patient all throughout.
The king father of the princess in Donkey Skin was shown to be a kind man at first while the stepmother of Cinderella was immediately presented as cruel from the very beginning. Hate for Donkey Skin’s adopted father only built up in response to the frustration of him being able to overcome the impossible requests of his adopted daughter who did not want to marry him. Cinderella’s stepmother, on the other hand, was consistently hard on her and scheming.
Cinderella had to be patient with her complaining and fault-finding stepsisters while Donkey Skin suffered ridicule from her co-servants.
The fairy godmothers were both comic relief for the stories. Both had magical powers but with different personalities. Cinderella’s fairy godmother was there to comfort her and turn everything that was bad into something pretty or good. Donkey Skin’s fairy godmother, on the other hand, was there to give advice and protection… she never used a magic wand to make Donkey Skin feel better.
The princes in both stories were supposedly handsome and charming. Both were smart but the prince of Donkey Skin had an advantage over the other prince charming. He knew where to find Donkey Skin and he contrived a plan to get her to his side. Cinderella’s prince charming only had a glass slipper for a clue to find his true love.
There were many items or events that were similar in both stories. Both had a personal effect or article that could only fit the main characters of the story. Although both heroines wore ugly clothing, both also had beautiful gowns that made these leading ladies even more attractive to their princes. Both had to live in a harsh environment. Both had nicknames picked for them out of ridicule.
Cinderella had a magical glass slipper while Donkey Skin had a ring. Cinderella’s shoes were delicate and impossible to find in a normal kingdom while Donkey Skin’s ring could really have been anyone’s jewelry! Both items were fit by every maiden in the kingdom until at last it fits its owner.
Cinderella had rags for her clothes because she had no other clothes to wear. Donkey Skin also had no choice in what to wear but this is because she needed to disguise herself. by wearing the animal’s hide.
Both also had beautiful gowns that fit them perfectly. However, Cinderella’s gown was magically made for her by her fairy godmother. Donkey Skin’s gowns were made for her by seamstresses who were hired by the king. Cinderella lost the gown at midnight but Donkey Skin never lost hers. What was magical with Donkey Skin’s gowns though, were that she only had to tap the ground to get them from underneath instead of pulling it out of thin air.
Cinderella was maltreated by her stepfamily and had to live at the topmost room of their abode. It was a cold and very small room while Donkey Skin had her own tiny space at the end of the hall. Both had doors that had keyholes big enough to peep through.
Both were given nicknames out of ridicule. Cinderella got her name from being very dirty whenever she had to clean the cinders while Donkey Skin tagged her name from the dirty animal skin she was wearing.
Both fairy tales had so many similarities to its plots, characters and themes. This just shows how even stories can adapt to the changes of society.