|Textiles were among the very first industries to benefit from the Industrial Revolution.
Cinderella vs. Ash-Lad sounds like a Big Time Wrestling fight card, doesn't it?
Nearly everybody is familiar with the Cinderella story as documented by the Brother's Grimm in the early-mid 1800s and made into countless movies.
Quick recap: Wealthy if bumbling widower father marries greedy woman with two daughters. Widower father dies leaving younger, innocent Cinderella at the mercy of woman and older, more capable step-sisters.
Fairy godmother raises Cindy out of the ashes, magically gives her the appearance of wealth. Cindy meets the Prince but must flee back home before her trappings of wealth revert back to pumpkins and vermin.
Cindy's true quality shown through and enchanted the Prince who finds her and elevates her to her true position.
In summary: Cindy's good fortune did not result from anything she did. Her good fortune was because of who she was and the intervention of others.
As told in Norwegian folk-tales, Ash-Lad was the youngest of three sons and is an analog for Norway, the poorest of the three Scandinavian countries. He acquired his name because his job was to blow through a straw to rekindle the fire from the embers left the night before. This is a job typically assigned to the youngest, weakest and least valued member of the household; typically the youngest child or a failing elder.
The two oldest sons go off on quests (Viking?) and Ash-lad, loath to be left at home, follows them.
Ash-lad, in Br-er rabbit fashion relies on guile, cunning and keen observation to acquire his fortune. His brothers rely on time-honored brute force. The typical Ash-lad story ends with him owning half the kingdom and the pretty girl while his brothers eat slops with the rest of the hired hands.
Why did Brothers Grimm change the story?
One possibility is that the Industrial Revolution was a time of chaos and unrest. The story of Cinderella, as told, is a story of primogeniture. That is, the right of the first born, legitimate blood-relative to inherit everything.
The moral of Cindy's story is that any who attempt to usurp primogeniture will be smote by God, by King and by fate. Good girls should know their place and let outside forces work things out for them.
The Ash-lad stories are very different. The moral of the Ash-lad stories is that the bold and those who dare to disrupt "the natural order" will be rewarded. This is not a message that the rich-as-kings industrialists wanted bandied about.
Personally, I would rather hoist a few beers with Ash-lad than to have to endure Cindy. She is not my kind of people.