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Cinderella – Lost in Translation


Petra came in all smiles after school on Sunday. It was library day and her teacher picked out a book for her that was both in Arabic and English. Apparently, they translated the English from the Arabic as you will see:

In a beautiful palace surrounded by trees and flowers, there was a rich man and his daughter Cinderella whose mother died and remained alone with her father who granted her all love and sympathy. The father wanted his daughter to enjoy the sympathy of mother, therefore, he got married to a lady who had already had two children: Sali and Lona who have the age of his daughter. The man was happy and thought that his daughter wil enjoy a happy life. But soon he died leaving his only daughter in the hands of his wife who unmasked her gentleness and tenderness to show her real reality, vicious behavior and hatred for Cinderella.

Cinderella became sad because of ill-behaviour of her stepmother as she wondered about the reason of her maltreatment and as she tried come close to Sali and Lona. But jealousy and hatred pushed them to torture her. Thus, Cinderella became a servant in the palace of her father. Her face became pale and her body slim.

One day, an invitation by the ruler reached Cinderella’s house in which he asked all families of the town to attend the palace to share with him the celebration which will be held on the occasion of his 25 years birthday.

Sali and Lona were very happy and decided to dress best costumes and jewelry. Sali mocked Cinderella saying: “Cinderella, aren’t you going with us?”
Cinderella said: “Yes, but I haven’t an elegant robe.”
Lona replied: “Then, I shall give you a robe, if you helped me to dress my hair.”

Cinderella became delighted and began to dress Lona’s hair, decorate Sali with her jewelry and clean her shoes. After they had put on their jewelry, they headed or the door. Cinderella cried: “Won’t you wait for me?”
Lona said: “Do you think that you will go with us?”
Cinderella’s tears were about to drop out of her eyes saying to her: “Haven’t you promised me to give me a robe if I helped you to dress your hair?”

Lona replied: “Yes, but I have changed my mind now and I don’t think of taking you with us, good by.”
Stepmother said: “You could spend this night in cleaning and ironing clothes until we return from the celebration and I promise you that I will tell of what we shall see there.” The cart went off carrying the stepmother and her daughters to the ruler’s palace.

In the meantime, Cinderella heard a voice of a woman calling. She headed for the garden. There was a nice lady saying to her: “Dry up your tears my baby. I shall help you to go to the palace and you will look like the most beautiful girl in that palace.”
Cinderella looked at the lady with surprise saying: “How can I go there but I have neither a robe nor a cart that transport me to there? Forget about it madam, there is no hope to arrive there.”
The lady laughed saying: “Let this matter to me.”
The lady waved by her stick. The calabash was turned into a luxurious cart.

The field’s mice were turned into servants and the sparrow into a driver of the cart. The lady came close to Cinderella saying: “It seems that I have forgotten an important thing. . .well.”
She moved her stick and Cinderella’s dress was turned into a very beautiful robe.

Cinderella’s heart was full of rejoice and she kissed the Lady saying: “I don’t believe what my eyes see. Am I in a dream, thanks, thanks.”
The Lady pushed Cinderella saying: “Come on, we don’t have much time. Remember that you have to return to the house before midnight, otherwise, the cart and your beautiful robe will disappear and you will be unveiled.”

Cinderella’s cart arrived the palace. All were thrilled of her beauty and elegance and questioned about the girl. Who is she, from where did she come. We have not seen her before. But the ruler saw that the girl has meekness and when he talked to her, he felt the goodness of her heart and faithfulness. He hoped that this girl would be his wife.

The ruler’s happiness was not completed. The clock rang midnight. Cinderella remembered the promise she pledged to the Lady. She ran quickly towards the wood, fearing that she might be unveiled if the tricks were removed from her robe. She fell on the ground and one of her glassy shoes was thrown near the palace.

She left it and ran in the wood.
The ruler found the shoe. He ordered his servant to search for the owner of the shoe. He said: “Listen to me, you will take this one of a pair of shoes to be word by every girl in the town until I find the owner of this show who ran away from the palace without knowing her name.”

The servant replied in surprise: “My master, this one shoe may suit the foot of another girl.” The ruler replied: “Then, the girl whose foot suits this one shoe must show up in the second one shoe. Thus, you will be sure that she is the owner of this shoes.”
In the morning, the servant headed for the town’s houses knocking the doors one by one. The girls dreamt that the one shoe suits their feet. When he arrived Cinderella’s palace, her stepmother refused to have Cinderella wear the one shoe. But the servant told her that the ruler has ordered that every girl in the town must wear it.

When Cinderella wore it, all were thrilled. The servant said: “This is marvelous. Now I want the second one shoe Miss.” Cinderella took out the second one shoe amidst the vexation of her stepmother and hear daughters.
Sali and Lona felt that it is a duty to apologize for their ill-behavior, maltreatment and hardness they showed to Cinderella. Cinderella forgave them and headed for the ruler’s palace.
The ruler was waiting for the arrival of Cinderella who told him about what had happened to her at that night and the sufferings she faced in the palace of her father. The ruler said: “From now on, you will become the lady of this palace and the wife of the ruler and nobody will dare to bother you from now on.”
Next dy, the ruler held a big celebration t the town’s and surrounding inhabitants, declaring his marriage to Cinderella. All were happy by the marriage of the ruler to the good-heart girl who were belove by all for her credibility and good behavior.

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3 comments on “Cinderella – Lost in Translation

  1. hilarious but sad at the same time, knowing that kids would learn this level of English and what’s worse it is given away with the teacher’s blessing.
    education aside, it would be funny to translate this back into Arabic and see the gibberish

  2. Oh! I can just hear the accent to go along with this translation.

    • That’s it, Kelli! I need to read with a forced accent. Then it will all make sense! It was the first story I ever read the kids that we didn’t get halfway through. (Oh, I am so sure my atrocious Arabic is something to laugh at as well.)

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