A Canadian expat that has been living abroad in Asia since 2003, Carrie moved from China to Taiwan in 2006 to teach English as a Second Language. Today, she and her husband are co-owners of Reach To Teach Recruiting . Carrie also works as a freelance travel writer and photographer, providing regular content to several publishing companies and travel publications in Asia and North America. Follow Carrie on Google+ or on Twitter @globetrotteri.

53 responses to “Yeh-Shen: The Chinese Cinderella”

  1. Frafallina -Roam 2 Rome

    Beautiful story, then I reach the end and to my surprise it ends with “a shower of flying stones?” oh my!

    How did you come across this? Is this version of the story a common tale in Asia?

    Now that I remember grandmother as a child as she ironed she’d tell about 7 of us grandchildren stories and we sat there in awe… they were also regionalized older tales of what little kids would get on the Disney channel :)

    1. kiriyubel

      I think when they say “a shower of flying stones” they mean a “cave-in”. they did live in a cave after all, so the stepmother and stepsister kept living there until on day the cave collapsed, maybe in an earthquake.

  2. globetrotteri

    I know. Isn’t it messed up? I wish there had been a little more elaboration there, but maybe it’s best there isn’t. And yes, this version is a common tale in Asia.

    Actually, I think this version of Cinderella is quite tame compared to other fairy tales. Perrault also wrote Little Red Riding Hood and Bluebeard. Think of those two gory fairy tales.

    Poor Little Red Riding Hood’s grandmother is eaten by the wolf and Bluebeard is about a violent man and an over-curious wife. He gives the keys to a secret room to his wife. She opens it and discovers the dead bodies of his former wives.

    Flying stones don’t seem so bad now.

  3. Christie

    I’m a college student trying to find the Yeh-Shen that was written by Tuan Ch’eng-shih. Is this the English translation, or an abstract?? I’m doing a research paper on how Disney fairy tales compare to the original versions, this original has been most difficult to find. Any help would be appreciated. Email me if you find it please mom2brownstarbaby@yahoo.com


  4. globetrotteri


    This version of Yeh-Shen has been re-told Ai-Ling Louie. I can only supply the information from the links provided above. Good luck with your search.

  5. Chevy Leonard

    This has been a really good story i am doing a power point at school for this story.I was not going to pick this one then i tought it would be fun ,and it turn out to be great thankyou for makeing this story!!!

  6. Chinese Fairytales: The Story of Double Happiness

    [...] inspiration for this came from Carrie at My Several Worlds and her great post on the Chinese Cinderella. If you’re new here, you may want to subscribe to my RSS feed, or subscribe by email. [...]

  7. sushi

    a bit strange dont you sort of agree? well, it’s nice, but then the end was a bit disturbing, “However, the stepmother and daughter were never allowed to visit Yeh-Shen and were forced to continue to live in their cave until the day they were crushed to death in a shower of flying stones.” ….. ok then, im off to finish my homework D:

  8. sushi

    -sigh- I have to write an essay on this story: Yeh Shen…. :P how very not fun, but on the other hand, Yeh Shen is a very fun and interesting story. :D

  9. McKenna


  10. Fireheart

    THIS is the best story I’ve ever read now I’m more interested in different cultures

  11. Fireheart

    thank you for your reply. May you pleaz give me a list of other books you wrote

  12. Aubrianna

    hi um ya I like just came across this when I was looking for what “bai shen lan” meant.. it is my chinese name… kool story…!

  13. Fireheart

    okay thanks i had a great time talking to you

  14. Kary

    This was a very interesting story and it was a lott more different then the American version to me.. But then again they had their similairities

  15. Clairissa

    I was acually looking for the chinese version of cinderella for my research project so i am glad that i came upon this. I agree with Kary, it was kinda different from the American version but it is very exciting and totally worth reading. I am tooootally putting this website down for my ‘sources’! great story though. Very nice Cinderella :)

  16. shemiyah

    I’ve always loved that story. I had no idea it was originally first before the actual Cinderella story. But i saw this story in animation when i was a little girl on The CBS Storybreak. And i have been trying to find that exact version again ever since.

  17. Lauryn

    hello carrie
    -i love this story
    i thought it was very interesting and had a unike twist to it
    definetly not like american fairly tales

  18. 닉 선생님

    Carrie, In your introduction to the story your write that this is the “first written Cinderella story”. However, the Greek historian Strabo (Geographica Book 17, 1.33) recorded in the 1st century BC the tale of the Greco-Egyptian girl Rhodopis, which is considered the oldest known version of the story. The story is even thought to go back to the days of Aesop. I came across your site and also this information while researching the many versions of Cinderella for a lesson.

  19. Wes

    I have to write a script on this book for social studies…

  20. Tokarev

    what did yeh shen learn??
    i luv the story its awsome

  21. JT

    The Discovery Channel produced a documentary series, Chinese Whisper, in one episode of which they traced the story of Yeh Hsien to a remote tribe in Southern China. They also tried to link the slipper with the Chinese custom of foot binding, which, upon some googling, I find to be dubious: the story is from the 9th Century, whereas foot binding was supposed to originate from the 10th. Nevertheless some form of fascination with small feet could have preceded the customary practice.

  22. SK

    The story is definitely allegorical of foot-binding. Obviously the story itself didn’t set off the spark of foot-binding, but it speaks to the high value that was placed on small feet even before people started to actively try to reduce their foot size. I read a really well-preserved copy of the book about 10 years ago at the Cooperative Children’s Book Center at UW-Madison, which is a great resource for anyone interested in children’s books.

  23. Miranda

    There is a movie that has a similar storyline to that of Yeh-Shen; it’s called “Year of the Fish”.

  24. katie

    Hello; ^___^ I just want to thank you so much. Sometime in the early 90′s someone made this story into an animated tale. I vaguely remember the story and have been dying to find out the title of the story again. It has been bugging me for over three years. so let me say thanks again.

  25. Lucy

    I love this book but it’s really sad!!!!!!!!

  26. N. I. Mirea

    The goriest version of Cinderella I have ever read states that the stepmother and stepsister had their eyes pecked out by sparrows at the wedding.

    1. Hannah

      @N.I.Mirea Yes, the brothers grimm fairy tales can be very disturbing can’t they?

      @Carrie. Hi! I’m studying this in school (we’re analyzing typical fairy tale conventions and stories from different cultures) but this version isn’t the same as the one in the school English book. I need to find quotes for my essay, but I’m doubting whether to use quotes from here because it is different. Can I? Is this version the one in the actual book by Ai-Ling Louie, or is just a summary? And thank you in advance if you help! :P

  27. kourtney scherlitz

    omg this story waz amazing i want to read it every day all day its sad but exciting but i loved it all day

  28. dakota

    her stepmom and stepsister deserved getting crushed by rocks. they were horible people.
    Plus it is time that there is something cool going on in this story. :)

  29. Leslie

    i really love the story about fairytales like cinderella

  30. Gwendolyn Dees-Austin

    I have heard that the original story was about a man from China who married a princess

  31. jhoi

    oh,this story was very wonderful i was grade 6 student and it was on our book!! :)

  32. sandy

    I have read another version of this story which was directly translated from the original Chinese story. And the writer made some interesting comments at the end. You may like to have a look at it. Chinese Cinderella–Ye Xian

  33. jojo

    any one that has any questins please email me at “jojostallings@gmail.com” here is what i typed about the story and what i thought about it please rate it and telll me what you think

    I think that this story was good. It had many interesting things that taught me about the Chinese culture. This story was a lot like Cinderella because it talked about a girl who lived with her evil stepmother and step-sister. But this story is about a thousand years older than Cinderella so it is likely that Cinderella was based off of it. The part that I found really interesting was the end when the stepmother and her daughter, who were the antagonists, were squashed and killed by a boulder (more dramatic than Cinderella). This was a good end for them because they were mean to Yeh-Shen, especially the stepmother. The stepmother even thought that she was more beautiful than her own daughter which was wrong. On the other hand Yeh-Shen, the protagonist, got married to the king; they had children; and lived happily ever after. If I were to rate this story on a scale of one to ten, I would give it a 5.5. My reason for this score is that, although it is an interesting story, it was kind of predictable and very similar to stories I have read before.

  34. Robyn

    well this helped my A LOT! i am doing a research paper of “Cinderelle” stories around the world, and this was a lot of help!! Thanks!!


  35. Audrey

    i remember watching the 1980′s cartoon of this, and would love to get it for my daughters to watch…. but it’s only on VHS. thanks for sharing this with everyone!!!

  36. kass

    hi im kass and i love this story.its so colorful and i like colorful things.who ever made this story nice imagination

  37. bulldog

    i loved this fairy tale except for the ending it was really scary ” getting crushed by falling stones” but its a verry good story!

  38. Gracie

    I believe you haven’t commented in over a year but I was wondering if you had any other versions of other fairy tales I could look up. I looked up Bluebeard, Little Red Riding hood, and Sleeping beauty by Perrault. I find them really interesting. :)

  39. alex

    we had a version here in the Philippines that resemble that one…
    but the cinderella character has three stepsisters, the father murdered his wife to marry the stepmother, the prince meets cinderella at the ball, the midnight curfew, and the helper was a crab, which the stepmother killed and ate for dinner.

  40. victor

    I’m 8years old. I’v already read to text book at school. I like this story. because there are magic sprit.

    thank you.

  41. John

    this is an amazing story. I learned about the different cinderellas back in fourth grade, this was my favorite version then and still is, i have recently chose this for an art assisignment in which we must tell the story using paintings that we must paint ourselves. Im truley thankful for this story!

  42. 雨欣(yu xin)

    I am Chinese,and I can’t believe that American people would like this story. (No offense) I like it too, but it is werid to read it in english.

  43. kiriyubel

    I read the egypto-greek version of Cinderella, it was very nice. I figured there has to be a chinese version but I haven’t seen it untill now. very nice. but rags-to-riches is the kind of thing that can happen anywhere regardless of calture. and in the end we are all humans who share the same basic hopes and dreams.
    Also, I think when they say “a shower of flying stones” they mean a “cave-in”. they did live in a cave after all, so the stepmother and stepsister kept living there until one day the cave collapsed, maybe in an earthquake.

  44. Kim

    Do you think killed by a stone shower could mean stoned to death? I know this is even more morbid, but I came across it in another version.

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