The Irish Cinderlad
by Shirley Clino and illustrated by Loretta Krupinski
This is another version of Cinderella but was very different from any Cinderella story I have ever heard. A young boy named Becan is born and he is very small for a boy, but his feet keep growing and growing. One day his mother died, and his father remarried. His new stepmother and stepsisters are evil and make him herd the cows and they don’t ever feed him. One day he becomes friends with the speckled bull that is feared by many in the town. The bull becomes his best friend and he allows Becan to pull food out of his ears daily because his family doesn’t feed him. When Becan’s stepmother hears of this she plans to kill the bull. Becan and the bull runaway and then the bull tells Becan he is going to die soon when he fights a grey bull they will meet. He tells Becan to take his tail and it will protect him. Sure enough, the bulls fight and the speckled bull dies. Becan takes the speckled bull’s tail and continues traveling. He comes across a man on a horse who asks him to come be his herdman. One day Becan is herding the cows and encounters the giant next door. The giant tries to kill him, but Becan uses the bull’s tail to choke him and then takes his boots. He lets the giant go and he runs away. Later, Becan hears of a princess who is going to be eaten by a huge dragon. He goes to save her and ends up suffocating the dragon with the tail. As he is fleeing the scene, the princess takes his boot. She searches everywhere making men try on the boot to find the man she wants to marry who saved her. Finally, she finds Becan and they get married and live happily ever after. This book is a very different version of Cinderella. I would use this book in the classroom after I had read other Cinderella versions so that the students could compare and contrast. Also, I would use it to introduce them to books from different cultures.