I was working in the elementary school library last week when I came across Glass Slipper Gold Sandal by Paul Fleischman and Julie Paschkis. (A perk of volunteering.) It's a beautiful compilation of the Cinderella story as it crosses the globe. Here's the authors note:
A chameleon changes color to match its surroundings. Stories do the same. The earliest recorded Cinderella tale is thought to date from ninth-century China. Traveling across the globe, it changed its clothes but not its essence. Rivalry, injustice, and the dream of wrongs righted are universal, no matter our garments. When the story reached France, it acquired the glass slippers and coachmen-mice familiar to Western readers. More than a thousand other versions are known.
Actually, Strabo recorded a tale of Thracian courtesan Rhodopis and Pharoah Ahmose II in the 1st Century BC, but try explaining what a courtesan is to your kid....(NOT a good idea.) The Iraqi Cinderella story, while different from the Western version, bears a stronger resemblance to the French tale told by Charles Perrault. No fairy godmother looks out for our heroine, instead a little Red Fish takes up the role and "Cinderella" wears sandals of gold. Here's a line from that version:
Let the king's wife know
They put the ugly one on show
And hide the beauty down below!
So no tower for this Cinderella either, but there's definitely a wicked stepmother!
Iraqi Cinderella Story
Dark Original Version of Classic Fairytale: Cinderella - The Gruesome Ending (socyberty.com)