A Mi’kmaq Indian Cinderella:The Rough-Face Girl

The rags-to-riches Cinderella story is probably the world’s best known story. The first recorded version is called Yeh-shen and dates to 9th centurey AD China. Now somewhere between 350 and 1500 versions of the story exist in cultures all over the world.

Usually when students think of Cinderella, they think of the French version of Cinderella by Perrault (1697). This is the version Walt Disney used as the basis for his Disney Cinderella movie.Yet, could there be a Native American Cinderella with mean stepsisters and a lovely girl who marries the wonderful boy in the end?girl

Our 4th graders are studying Native American legends and recently read The Rough-Face Girl by Rafe Martin and illustrated by David Shannon. The object of reading this book was to listen for similarities or differences between The Rough-Face Girl and the traditional Cinderella stories. Since Native American legends also communicate a lesson for people to learn from, they had to figure out what the lesson of the story was.

Before our students explain about the story, here are some photos to help you to understand the story.


Along the shores of Lake Ontario


Two means sisters dressed up in beautiful clothes to go visit The Invisible Being,

but they couldn’t see him and were sent away.










The Rough-Face girl also dressed up in a birch bark dress she had

made and decorated herself.










She could see The Invisible Being and his bow and arrow.










And his sled runners in the sky….











The sister told her to bathe in the lake where her skin became

beautiful again, and her hair long and glossy.










They married and lived in great gladness.



Now we have a question for you.

Have you ever read a Cinderella story?

If you live in another country, is there a Cinderella story in your culture?

Please send us a comment and let us know!


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2 thoughts on “A Mi’kmaq Indian Cinderella:The Rough-Face Girl

  1. Dear A, B and H,
    I thought you did a terrific job on your film! I loved how you wrote your own script and decide the parts, gave up recesses to practice and filmed it for us to watch! I hope you enjoyed the experience as well!
    From, Mrs. Hembree

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