Once there lived a poor servant girl.
Her days were long and grueling—filled with the most tiresome and tedious chores.
Scrubbing floors. Washing clothes. Dusting shelves. And cooking meals.
She was made to work from dawn until dusk without a single penny in return for her long-suffering hardship.
It was the most terrible injustice.
You see, her mother had died and her father soon remarried. But his new wife was a simply wretched woman. And she had—from a previous marriage—two equally wretched daughters of her own.
They would tease the poor girl dreadfully each day. And one day, while she swept the cinders from the fire, they taunted her and chanted,
“Cinders… cinders… sweep sweep sweep,
In those rags in which you sleep,
From this day your name will be,
Cinderella… hee… hee… hee!’”
And—sure enough—from that day forward the servant girl’s real name was forgotten and she became known across the land as Cinderella.
She was a meek and mild-natured young lady.
Despite years of torment from her wicked step-mother and beastly step-sisters, she did not once raise her voice to them or try to avenge them. Nor did she wish them ill.
She simply continued with her duties in the hope that one day—when she was older—she would escape and live the wonderful life of which she had often dreamed.
One day, came a knock on the door.
Cinderella opened it.
In front of her stood a small, rotund man dressed in royal regalia, carrying an important looking scroll. Behind him stood two armoured knights flying flags embossed with the King’s Arms.
The little man unrolled the scroll and began to read aloud.
“It is my duty to announce,” he said, formally, “that his majesty the King sends forth an invitation. To all the young ladies of this fine kingdom to attend The Royal Ball at the palace.”
Hearing this, the step-sisters ran to the door and pushed Cinderella aside.
“Oh goodie!” they cried, clapping their hands with delight.
The little man continued.
“The prince—and heir to the throne—seeks a princess. And he would like to meet each lady of the kingdom in the hope of finding true love. The palace doors will open at 8 p.m. this Saturday.”
The little man then turned, mounted his horse and galloped off—followed closely by the two knights.
The step-sisters closed the door and—not able to contain their excitement—let out an almighty shriek.
The step-mother entered.
“What is the meaning of all this hilarity?” she cried.
“Oh… Mamma… we have been invited to The Royal Ball and I feel sure that one of us will be picked as the new princess.”
“Of course you will,” replied the step-mother, breaking into a hideous smile, “what prince would not want to marry my precious little munchkins.”
Cinderella watched on, desperately trying to avoid a fit of the giggles. For she knew—as it was plain for all to see—that any prince would rather have lived a life of solitude than marry either of these wretched, selfish brutes.
The step-mother turned to Cinderella.
“Prepare the gowns!” she hollered.
“Of course, Ma’am,”
You have to know that Cinderella longed—more than anything—to go to the ball. But she daren’t ask her wicked step-mother, for she already knew the answer. And she didn’t want to hear it. So she simply busied herself for the following days with her chores and, of course, preparing her step-sisters’ ball gowns.
The evening of The Royal Ball arrived.
A splendid horse-drawn carriage pulled up to the front door. And the step-sisters—adorned in their painstakingly hand-stitched gowns—promptly climbed aboard.
Cinderella looked on with great sadness as the carriage set off down the drive towards the palace.
She sighed deeply.
“If only I had a single wish,” she said to herself, “I would attend The Royal Ball and—for just one night—be spared my frightful chores.”
Suddenly, there was a flash.
A tiny fairy appeared in front of Cinderella—hovering like a hummingbird at Cinderella’s eye level and clasping a tiny wand.
“And you shall,” said the fairy.
“Shall what?” Cinderella replied, looking confused.
“You shall have your wish, for I am your fairy godmother. Oh how you have suffered in silence all these years. You are a kind soul. A mild and gracious young lady. And you shall go to the ball. Your wish—my dearest Cinderella—is my command.”
“Oh my,” she exclaimed, with glee.
Then she stopped—and a frown came upon her face.
“But I am not prepared, fairy godmother.
My clothes are threadbare. And my shoes are tattered. I cannot possibly attend the palace like this.”
“Worry not, Cinderella,” said the fairy godmother, with a smile.
“For all I will need to grant your wish is a pumpkin, a rat, two mice and four grasshoppers.”
Cinderella looked mystified.
“Hurry along then, dear.”
And she did.
First, Cinderella went to the garden and returned with a large, ripe pumpkin. The fairy godmother tapped it once with her wand and—in an instant—it transformed into a majestic, golden carriage.
Then, she went to a trap in the kitchen and returned with a rat.
“Excellent, dear,” said the fairy godmother, “now, if you wouldn’t mind just placing it on the coachman’s seat for me.”
Another swoosh of the wand and, this time, a resplendent coachman appeared. The two mice—which Cinderella found in the pantry—were turned into two smartly attired footmen. And the four grasshoppers into four magnificent white horses.
“And now,” said the fairy godmother, “for my final touch.”
She tapped Cinderella’s shoulder with her wand.
A spark flew up.
The ragged clothes in which she stood a moment earlier were replaced with a picture of sublime elegance—Cinderella in a magical, sparkling ball gown fit for a princess. And, upon her feet, the finest pair of shimmering glass slippers that your eyes could behold.
“Sensational!” exclaimed the fairy godmother.
“But remember,” she said, shortly, “as the clock strikes midnight this magic spell will be broken and your clothes with return to rags.”
“I understand,” said Cinderella, kissing her fairy godmother on the cheek, “and a thousand thank yous for your wonderful kindness.”
Cinderella stepped into the carriage, then—with a single swish of the coachman’s reins—the horse-drawn, golden carriage departed for The Royal Ball.
A trumpet sounded as the golden carriage drew up at the palace gates.
Cinderella received a royal welcome.
Lords bowed low.
And many heads turned as she entered the ballroom—including that of the Prince, who was immediately struck by Cinderella’s elegance and the warmth of her smile.
The Prince approached.
“M’lady,” he said, bowing his head slowly and offering his hand, “would you be so kind as to take my first dance?”
“I would be delighted,” said Cinderella.
She could feel her cheeks beginning to blush as she accompanied the Prince to the dancefloor.
The orchestra began to play.
Every eye in the ballroom was upon them—including those of her step-sisters. But, such was her transformation, they simply didn’t recognise her. Instead, they stared in envy, longing to take her place before the Prince.
But they never did.
From that moment forth, the Prince had only eyes for Cinderella. The two of them spent the whole evening dancing in each other’s arms and greatly enjoying each other’s company.
Many hours drifted by.
Suddenly, Cinderella looked up at the clock—it was 11:59 p.m and she only had one minute before the magic spell was broken.
“I must go,” she said to the Prince.
Without delay, she darted out of the room, past the guards and through the palace. But—as she reached the hall—she lost one of her glass slippers. And in her haste to get away, she left it.
The clock struck midnight.
Cinderella found no coach outside the palace. Only a pumpkin. Even the rat, mice and grasshoppers were nowhere to be seen. And now—clad in her original rags—Cinderella had no choice but to run home alone in the darkness of the night.
A few days passed.
Cinderella returned to her daily chores. And her step-sisters continued their relentless beastliness towards her.
Everything was back to normal.
The evening of The Royal Ball began to blur and fade in Cinderella’s mind like a magical dream.
Had the pumpkin really turned into a golden carriage?
And the rat into a coachman?
Had she really danced all night with the Prince—as her step-sister's watched on in envy?
She was beginning to doubt it.
Suddenly, came a rap upon the door. Cinderella opened it.
In front of her stood the same round little man that had announced The Royal Ball—the same two knights behind him as before.
“I present,” he said, triumphantly, “his majesty The Prince.”
A trumpet sounded and the armoured knights parted to reveal the Prince, holding a sparkling glass slipper—the very same slipper that had escaped Cinderella’s foot as she fled the palace a few nights earlier.
Cinderella’s eyes widened.
“It really happened,” she thought to herself.
She locked eyes with the Prince and held his gaze for a moment. Not for long—but enough time for him to know the lady with whom he had danced that magical night was standing before him.
All of a sudden came the heavy stomping of feet and the step-sisters came rushing to the door—barging Cinderella aside so hard she nearly lost her footing.
The little man continued.
“His majesty is visiting every home in the land to find the rightful owner of this glass slipper. The foot that fits this shoe belongs to the lady that he will ask to marry.”
The sisters yelped with excitement.
Now, at this point, the Prince already knew that the sisters’ feet would not fit the shoe, but he had not the heart to tell them. So—for the following ten minutes—a quite ridiculous charade took place as the sisters, in turn, tried on the slipper.
The first sister’s foot was so wide that it barely made it halfway in. And—to avoid the slipper shattering under the pressure being exerted upon it—the little man was forced to intervene.
The second sister had more luck. She eventually managed to compress her foot into the slipper, only for the sides of her foot to spill over the edges like a river bursting its banks.
Then came the turn of Cinderella.
The sisters’ scoffed in unison at the mere thought of Cinderella—in her threadbare rags—trying on such an elegant shoe.
The Prince stepped forward with a knowing look in his eye, knelt down and carefully slid the glass slipper on Cinderella’s foot.
The Prince smiled.
“A perfect fit!” he said.
Without a moment’s hesitation Cinderella reached into the pocket of her ragged servant’s dress. Then—bending slowly forward—she placed the matching slipper upon her other foot.
“A matching pair,” exclaimed the Prince with delight, “there is no doubt that you, Cinderella, are my one true love. I have not been able to stop thinking about you. Would you do me the grand honour of becoming my wife?”
Cinderella looked upon her rags and then back to the Prince.
“I am but a poor servant,” she said.
“You are,” replied the Prince, “a Princess in my eyes. And it matters not to me of the clothes upon your back, for we share something more valuable than the gold of a thousand kingdoms…”
He looked longingly into Cinderella’s eyes and said,
“We share love.”
I am pleased to say that Cinderella gladly accepted the Prince’s proposal and—shortly after—they were married. Before long, they ruled as King and Queen, and dedicated their lives to the happiness and prosperity of the people in their wonderful kingdom.