Study Guide > The Egyptian Cinderella


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"The Egyptian Cinderella" is a story that has toured nationally several times. This page is for teachers to use to extend the learning experience after your school assembly.

The script is available for school productions.

On this page: Cast of Characters| Synopsis | Language Arts | Math | Geography | Fine Arts

Cast of Characters

Kimberly as Captain Snard
Kimberly Goza as Rhodopis - The Egyptian Cinderella, The Advisor, Horus puppet

Dennis as Sailor/Pirate
Dennis Goza as the Prince, pirate, Master, Horus puppet

Music by Dennis; sets and costumes by Kimberly; props by Dennis and Kimberly

Horus puppet made from an old bootHorus the puppet falcon plays hide and seek with the Prince

Synopsis

The Egyptian Cinderella, considered to be the oldest of the many Cinderella stories, may be based on true events. It first appeared in written form in the First Century BCE, written by the Roman historian Strabo. The pharaoh Amasis II, who ruled from 570 to 526 BCE, was said to have married a Greek slave girl named Rhodopis, meaning rosy cheeks, who was said to have served with a slave named Aesop, the legendary teller of fables. As for the rest, who knows?

Language Arts

Discuss: How is the Egyptian Cinderella story similar to the classic Cinderella story we've always heard? How is it different?

Related Reading

One excellent retelling of the Egyptian Cinderella is The Egyptian Cinderella by Shirley Climo (HarperCollins 1989)

Other Cinderella books:

  • The Korean Cinderella by Shirley Climo (HarperCollins 1996)
  • The Persian Cinderella by Shirley Climo (HarperCollins 2001)
  • Yeh-Shin: a Cinderella Story from China by Ai-Ling Louie (Puffin Books 1982)
  • The Golden Sandal: a Middle Eastern Cinderella Story by Rebecca Hickox (Holiday House 1999)
  • The Rough-Face Girl (Native American) by Rafe Martin (Putnam & Grosset 1998)
  • The Irish Cinderlad by Shirley Climo (HarperCollins 1996)
  • Cinderella (The Oryx Multicultural Folktale Series) (The Oryx Press 1992) This book compares Cinderella stories from 25 cultures!

At your local library 398.2 and j398.2 is where you will find more folktales from around the world.

Listen to the The Rough-Skinned Girl Podcast by Act!vated Story Theatre players.
Direct download: Rough_Skinned_Girl.mp3

Vocabulary

Falcon a type of a bird

Hieroglyphics ancient Egyptian pictorial writing system

Horus the Egyptian sun god, often depicted as a falcon

Pharaoh a ruler or king in Egypt

Servant/Slave: what is the difference?

Writing

The Egyptians had more than one system for writing. Hieroglyphics is the best known and perhaps the oldest, but it was used mainly for formal purposes such as inscriptions, as it was more picturesque and elaborate. Heiroglyph means "holy writing", because it was believed to be a gift from the gods. The symbols were both pictographic and phonetic; it was common to write a word such as "cat" by including both a picture of a cat and the symbols that spelled out the word for cat.

The symbols were not necessarily written in a straight line, however, but could be arranged any way the writer pleased.

Our hieroglyphic tablet from the show
Our interpretation of hieroglyphic writing. The two human figures in the middle are a couple getting married. The horseshoe shaped symbols on the bottom left are 10s. 2 of them plus the 1 = 21. Followed by a beatle. In the bottom right corner you will notice a Pharaoh sitting on his thrown. Therefore it reads "You must get married by your 21st birthday or else your daffy uncle will become Pharaoh", or so we like to think.

After doing a bit of research have your students write in hieroglyphs. Additional Resources for learning hieroglyphics: http://www.greatscott.com/hiero/ (no affiliations)

Social Studies

Culture

Egyptians believed in more than 100 different gods. They also believed that the gods communicated to them with omens from animals or other things in nature. In the show the falcon is a symbol of the sun god Horus.

No Bullies

Discuss: Why do the servants tease Rhodopis? Because she is different from them. She is from Greece and doesn't look like they do. They think they are better than her because she is a slave and although they are servants they get paid for their work. What is wrong with their behavior? How does Rhodopis deal with their bullying? What can we learn from it?

Geography

Egypt and Greece are located not far from each other, just across the Mediterranean Sea, a major trade route for all kinds of cargo (including slaves). The capital of Egypt, where the Pharaoh lived, was called Memphis. It was located on the Nile River, not far from the Mediterranean Sea. Its ruins can now be viewed just outside the modern city of Cairo.

History

Learn more about pharaoh Amasis II, who ruled from 570 to 526 BCE

Amasis link to WikipediaMore about Pharaoh Amasis II at Wikipedia

Egyptian Math

  • We like this site http://www.eyelid.co.uk/numbers.htm (dead link) for learning more about how the Egyptians used and developed mathematical concepts. (no affiliations)

Fine Arts

You may use the following music clips from the show for the Dance and Music activities

Dance

In ancient Egypt the workers would often work in time to music in the field. What types of repetitive movements might they have used while working? Have the students demonstrate and experiment with movement.

Music

Notes from the Composer: To suggest the music of ancient Egypt, I composed the dance tune using what is sometimes called the Egyptian scale: C-D-Eb-F#-G-Ab-B-C. (This is only one scale to be called the Egyptian scale.) Additionally, I used modern instrument sounds that suggest some of the instruments that would have been used: the oboe, the harp, the tambourine and the trumpet. The Egyptians played a double-barreled reed instrument called the zummara that might have sounded somewhat like the modern oboe or clarinet.

Theatre

Have your class put on their own version of the Egyptian Cinderella play using the script by our award winning playwright.

Puppetry

What was the falcon puppet made out of? An old boot and a feather duster. Does this give you any ideas about how to use common objects to create something new? What could you use to make a puppet out of?