The beloved Cinderella story has been told for over a thousand years in a variety of adaptations to young children across the globe. It even was turned into a Wonderful World of Disney classic. Cinderella engulfs the ideas of righting a wrong, of good prevailing over evil, of turning rags into riches and the pleasing cliché ending of "happily ever after-. Additionally, there are common motifs that go deeper than these surface ideas which make this particular story every girl's fairy tale. Although many of these elements are present in each of the versions of this traditional tale, there also are key differences, often marked by their distinct cultural peculiarities.
The original tale from China, Yeh-Shen, predates the western versions of Cinderella by almost 1,000 years. It provides the bone structure for the Cinderella stories to come. Yeh-Shen introduces the central theme of the evil step-mother taking preference for her ugly biological daughter over her beautiful step-daughter, and after considerable conflict, the handsome prince locating his mystery love by means of a unique and unusually small slipper. The subsequent variations of the story have this skeleton structure but include different variables such as: Where is the father figure?; What happened to the original wife and mother?; What happens to the neglected daughter throughout the story?; By what means is the Cinderella able to go to the ball thrown by the prince?; How does the prince locate the eventual princess? .
In the Chinese version, the father figure is absent throughout most of the story. He is mentioned once as a chief who has two wives in the first line of the story when setting up the characters and their status. Yeh-Shen is not allowed to go to the festival where the prince is to pick his wife, and it is through a magical fish that she receives beautiful clothes and golden slippers so she might attend the ball.