Cinderella’s Gold Slipper

Spiritual Symbolism in the Grimms' Tales

Samuel D. Fohr

Hillsdale, NY: Sophia Perennis, 2004.
184 pages
ISBN: 0-900588-63-2
Price: $18.95 US
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ISBN: 1-59731-011-5
Price: $33.95
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Samuel D. Fohr holds that the Grimms’ tales are not just childish ‘fairy tales’, but are filled with spiritual symbolism, and as such have value for adults as well as children. Snow White, for example, is a story of creation and spiritual growth, and its message parallels Hindu and Judaic creation myths. Hansel and Gretel and Cinderella both portray the journey back to God. Fohr also looks at recurring themes in the stories, and answers such questions as: Why are giants always evil and dwarves always good? What is the symbolic significance of the hungry wolf who appears in many stories? Exactly what are genies, and why are they always trapped in bottles? A delightful but serious examination of cherished stories, this book reveals new meaning in familiar tales. Also included is an extensive bibliography and an Appendix on the authenticity of the Grimms’ tales.

Table of Contents

Preface—Acknowledgments—Children's Tales or Something More?—Cosmology and Wolves—A Suitable Companion—Five Extraordinary Men—The Great Thirst—Table-Be-Set and Other Tales of Gluttony—Thumblings and Giants—Stepmothers and Dwarfs—Clashing Rocks—Cinderella and All-Kinds-of-Fur—Witches, Curses, and Spells—Folktales as Spiritual Teachings—Appendix: The Authenticity of the Grimms' Tales—Bibliography—Index to Folktales


Fairy Tales, like Scriptural stories, can be interpreted on several levels—literal, moral, and metaphysical. Professor Fohr has provided us with examples of all of these, but his emphasis is on the metaphysical. Or rather, he starts out with the deeper meanings, and as such explains how the simple fairy tale (not every one of course, but many) in fact portrays the manner in which God manifests himself within the created world. This is a courageous and cogent book that goes a long way toward revalidating a literary genre that modernity has irresponsibly trivialized.
Huston Smith, author of The World's Religions

About the Author

Samuel Fohr is a professor of philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford. He received his Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Michigan and has taught courses in both Western and Eastern Philosophy. He is the author of Adam and Eve: The Spiritual Symbolism of Genesis and Exodus, and editor of more than a dozen volumes of The Collected Works of René Guénon.