Cannibalism removed from Vietnam’s Cinderella tale

The ending of Tấm and Cám story – Vietnam’s most famous fairy tale – has been changed in the official literature textbook for tenth graders with the cannibalistic element cut out.

However, there have been different reactions from teachers and parents about the modification of this traditional fairy tale.

Tấm and Cám is a Cinderella story about a young beautiful girl called Tấm who lives with her wicked step-mother and step-sister Cam.

In the end, Tấm got married to a king and was brought back to his palace.

When Cám asked Tấm about her beauty secret, the Vietnamese Cinderella told her evil step-sister to take a bath in boiling water.

Cám, the antagonist, did as suggested and died after being boiled alive.

Cám’s body then was cut apart and used to make a jar of food.

The protagonist Tấm sent that jar to her stepmother, who ate and later found it was her daughter’s flesh.

She then died of shock.

However, in the latest version, the stepmother died of a broken heart after seeing her daughter being boiled in hot water.

Lê Thị Hồng Thúy, head of literature teachers at Nguyễn Du high school in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 10 said it is the karma that counts.

“Many teachers are still debating if the end of a fairy tale should be modified.

The basic methodology is to let students discuss about the ending.

We also need to explain to them this is a folk story, thus has different versions.

The core message is good people get rewarded and bad people get punished in the end,” she said.

Local literature teachers explain this change in the ending is originated from educators’ fear that Tấm’s cruel revenge may affect students’ morality in society.

Source: Tuổi Trẻ Online



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