What is True Beauty?: Cyrus Macmillan’s The Indian Cinderella and HappyThankYouMorePlease

18 Jul

Cyrus Macmillan’s “The Indian Cinderella”, suggests that the Fairy Tale’s allegorical purpose is to reveal the importance of honesty and true beauty. This caused me to reflect on a deeper moral: Beauty is so much more than what just meets the eye. It is so much more than “acts of kindness” and outer appearance. It is a hidden truth to be sought for and deeply rooted in the heart. True beauty is being honest in the face of adversity, amid not being granted a reward because the truth is a reward in of itself. In this modern adaptation of the Classic Cinderella, true beauty is revealed.

Macmillan’s “The Indian Cinderella” is a Fairy Tale about a great Indian Warrior who has a wonderful and strange power of invisibility. It was published in his collection Canadian Wonder Tales available from Project Gutenberg Canada. Throughout the fairy tale Strong Wind, the Indian warrior, is seeking a bride to marry and help him with his good deeds and will not marry anyone who is untruthful. He therefore assesses his perspective brides by having his sister test their truthfulness. In the end he marries the only woman who tells the truth.

So, the moral of this fairy tale is that integrity and remaining true to moral convictions (no matter what the circumstances are), can grant us our deepest desires and lead us into a rich and restored life with a ‘happy ending.’ The Indian Cinderella was not forever beautiful and did not win Strong Wind’s affection by mere looks. It was her virtue, purity of heart and honesty that allowed her to see him, metaphorically unveiling her eyes to what matters most: truth.

It is seen as relevant because the moral of telling the truth serves as a symbol that beauty is not based on the outer appearance. It is through honesty and being morally good, especially not for personal gain but rather selflessness, that one’s true beauty is revealed.

When one thinks of fairytales, one does not automatically think about honesty. In fact, happy endings are usual what comes to mind. Even the classics are dripping with deceitful undertones – and that’s coming from, me, one of the most hardcore Disney fan there is. The Little mermaid – which is my ultimate favorite Disney princess and movie – has to basically hastily and forcefully manipulate/trick Prince Eric to fall for her in 3 days or else she’ll turn back into a mermaid. Aladdin lies about his identity in order to win the heart and the throne of Princess Jasmine. Even the classic Cinderella has to hide her identity and completely transform into someone she’s not in order to have one night with the Prince. In one form or another, most classic fairytale has been founded upon a level of deceit or another – in order to equate beauty. This is why I admire Macmillan’s “The Indian Cinderella”.

In the end, her honesty is what transformed her into real beauty. Now – as associative connections go – this particular moment made me think about a movie I saw titled “HappyThankYouMorePlease,” which is available for streaming from Hoopla or can be borrowed on DVD from BCCLS libraries.  There is this particular moment in the movie that embodies this very realization: the dinner scene. Not to give away any spoilers to the movie in question, but in this scene the female lead is told to close her eyes. She was asked this so that she may only hear what her date has to say, rather than also “hear” with her eyes and be clouded by the judgment they bring. It is with her ears that she listens to the truth that comes from her date’s mouth. A truth that is dripping with honesty and what ends up being the real beauty that not only connects with her soul, but also her mind. Check out the movie. It’s worth watching.

I really believe that beauty is in the eye of the beholder – as cliché as clichés go – and that the eyes can be the window to the soul – yet another cliché – so therefore if one’s inner self is true and honesty is beautiful, then shouldn’t that be a fairytale worth basing one’s dreams on? Integrity is so underrated nowadays that we underestimate the power and beauty that lies within it. After all, isn’t that what we want to raise our children on?

Written By:
Sherissa Hernandez
Adult Programming Assistant

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