Cannibalism removed from Vietnam’s Cinderella tale
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The ending of Tam and Cam story - Vietnam’s most famous fairy tale - has been changed in the official literature textbook for tenth graders with the cannibalistic element cut out.
A scene of Tam and Cam story Photo: Internet
However, there have been different reactions from teachers and parents about the modification of this traditional fairy tale.
Tam and Cam is a Cinderella story about a young beautiful girl called Tam who lives with her wicked step-mother and step-sister Cam.
In the end, Tam got married to a king and was brought back to his palace.
When Cam asked Tam about her beauty secret, the Vietnamese Cinderella told her evil step-sister to take a bath in boiling water. Cam, the antagonist, did as suggested and died after being boiled alive.
Cam's body then was cut apart and used to make a jar of food. The protagonist Tam 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.
Le Thi Hong Thuy, head of literature teachers at Nguyen 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 Tam’s cruel revenge may affect students’ morality in society.