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Cinderella is a popular fairy tale with ancient origins. The most enduring version is probably one by the Brothers Grimm, a darker rendition of a version by Charles Perrault, (Cendrillon) which was in turn based on an Italian tale, La Cenerentola. The noun "cinderella" has entered the English language and describes a person who triumphs or receives eventual reward after enduring a period of hard work, deprivation or injustice. Cinderella liberty is a nickname for a military leave ending at midnight (after the curfew set by Cinderella's Fairy Godmother). Fairy godmother is used for a bountiful and usually unexpected gift-giver.

Cinderella has been told in countless ways, in stories, radio productions, films, plays and television. It is a staple of pantomime in the United Kingdom. There are revisionist Cinderallas, spoofs of Cinderella, gender-reversed Cinderellas, politically-correct Cinderellas--the list is practically endless. The Disney cartoon Cinderella is considered one of their classic films, while the Rodgers and Hammerstein Cinderella has itself spawned many productions. Rossini's 1817 opera La Cenerentola is also frequently performed.