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Many well-known fairy stories share a common format: a forlorn, orphaned young person, cast out from his or her former home, after various trials and tribulations is rescued and united with a loved one -- a parent or royal personage. Cinderella serves as a good model: the orphaned child is trapped and bullied by her wicked stepmother and ugly stepsisters, meaning that the human soul is estranged from its spiritual nature or "father in heaven" and comes under the unpleasant control and influence of the lower side of nature. These are not her natural blood relatives, suggesting that the human soul rightly belongs to its better side. Dislodged from its proper status, the soul struggles to recover its legitimate state. By purity and virtue it gains the support and help of its fairy godmother, the spiritual soul. Many tales use the godmother and giver of gifts to represent the soul's finer qualities unfolded through merit. "This elven power uniting the human soul with its divine source is the channel (or elf) which confers on its child all earned spiritual endowments" (Masks of Odin, p. 6).