Kao And The Golden Fish: A Cinderella Folktale From Thailand

September 30, 2012 in All Posts, Preschool, Preschool Literacy

We’ve been invited by Becky of KidWorldCitizen to participate in a Cinderella Around The World book review project that examines the various culturally diverse “Cinderella”-type written stories and oral traditions that have been in circulation long before Disney’s Cinderella came into existence.

 Kao & The Golden Fish: A Cinderella Story from Thailand

For our Cinderella story, we chose a tale from Thailand: Kao and The Golden Fish, as remembered by Wilai Punpattanakul-Crouch and retold by Cheryl Hamada.

Kao and The Golden Fish has the typical Cinderella story elements: a wicked stepmother, a mean stepsister, and a kind young girl who is forced to work in rags for her new, uncaring mother, until she meets and marries a prince and moves to the palace.

What’s different about this story is that the young girl’s mother doesn’t just die and leave the picture, but she comes back in the form of a golden fish, an eggplant, and finally, a pair of trees.  I liked the idea of the young girl being able to seek comfort in these other beings in which her mother was reincarnated and that she could continue talking to her mother, especially through the sad and lonely times. My daughter was relieved that the mother didn’t die and go away forever, like in the other fairytales she is used to, like Disney’s Snow White, Cinderella, and Bambi.

If you’re interested in buying this story, you can find it on Amazon, but be aware that it is not an illustrated book with words on each page.  Rather, the story is found at the back of the book, and you are free to tell the story in your own words as you flip through the peaceful watercolor illustrations.  This feature makes this book great for all ages and readers since any child can remember and retell the story the way she likes – though it wouldn’t be a good book to use to teach children to read.

Please stay tuned for an update to this post with links to other Cinderella-type stories from Greece, Korea, Mexico, Serbia, and more.

Did you grow up with a favorite non-Disney Cinderella story or do your children have a favorite fairytale whose origins are in another culture or country besides the U.S.?


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Chrissy – who has written posts on The Outlaw Mom® Blog – Creative Living in a Conventional World.

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