Real Name


First Appearance

Lo cunto de li cunti (1634)

Created by

Giambattista Basile


A widowed prince has a daughter, Zezolla, who is tended by a beloved governess. The governess, with Zezolla's help, persuades the prince to marry her. The governess then brings forward six daughters of her own, who abuse Zezolla, and send her into the kitchen to work as a servant. The prince goes into the island of Sardinia, meets a fairy who gives presents to his daughter, and brings back for her, a golden spade, a golden bucket, a silken napkin, and a date seedling. The girl cultivates the tree, and when the king gives a ball, Zezolla appears dressed richly by a fairy living in the date tree. The king falls in love with her, but Zezolla runs away before he can find out who she is. Twice Zezolla escapes the king and his servants. The third time, the king's servant captures one of her slippers. The king invites all of the maidens in the land to a feast with a shoe-test, identifies Zezolla after the shoe jumps from his hand to her foot, and eventually marries her.


  • This is, very obviously, a re-named Cinderella.
  • Lo cunto de li cunti translates to "The Story of Stories."
  • Although the tale of Cinderella was being told long before the story of Zezolla was published in 1634, the story of Zezolla having a magic tree pre-dates the Brothers Grimm version of Cinderella by nearly 200 years.
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