What do squirrels have to do with the Cinderella story?

Excerpted from “Squirrels – The Animal Answer Guide” by Richard W. Thorington and Katie Farrell:

In the story of Cinderella, her fairy godmother provided her with a coach and horses, fancy dress, and all the other accoutrements of a princess, including glass slippers. If you think about how uncomfortable glass slippers would be, you will realize that this was a very strange choice of footwear. As it turns out, in the original tale, Cinderella did not wear glass slippers, but instead wore squirrel slippers. The explanation to this conundrum lies in the similarity of two French words, “verre,” which means glass and “vair,” which means squirrel. The white belly hair of the Russian squirrels (Sciurus vulgaris) commonly was used to decorate the clothing of royalty. (White furs of other animals were also used.) Presumably, when the tale of Cinderella finally was written down, the fur (“vair”) slippers were transmuted into glass (“verre”) slippers, surely much to the discomfort of Cinderella.

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