Once upon a time there was a rich man whose wife was dying. Just before she died, the wife called their daughter into her room and told her that if she was always good, she would look down on her from heaven.
Over winter the daughter went to her mother’s grave every day. She never forgot what her mother had said – always be good – but when spring came her father remarried and the daughter’s life changed.
The girl’s stepmother was arrogant and proud, and had two daughters just as bad. Together they punished the rich man’s daughter, making her do all the dirtiest work in the house. At the end of the day the poor girl would sit by the fireplace, covered in dirt, among the ash and cinders. The stepmother and sisters called her ‘Cinderella’. Cinderella’s life was terrible, but she tried to keep a good heart, despite her pain at both her own misery and seeing her father live with such a horrible woman.
One day the king’s son, the prince, announced he was to going to hold a ball, to which every young lady in the kingdom was invited. The stepsisters told Cinderella she had to make them beautiful. She tried her best, and on the day of the ball watched as they left her behind.
Cinderella sat down and began to cry. Suddenly, she heard a soft voice at her ear.
“What is the matter, dear?”
“I…I…”, Cinderella tired to talk over her crying.
“You want to go to the ball?”
“Why, yes!” Cinderella said, wondering at how the old woman knew. What she did not know was that this old woman was her fairy godmother.
“You shall go to the ball. Go to the garden and bring me a pumpkin.”
Cinderella went to the garden and brought back a pumpkin, although she did not know why. The fairy godmother took the pumpkin and scooped out the insides, leaving only the rind. She then took out a wand and touched the pumpkin – which immediately turned into a beautiful coach!
“Now, bring me the mousetrap.”
Cinderella went and found the mousetrap, in which six mice were stuck. The old woman told Cinderella to open the trap, and as each mouse ran out, the woman touched them with the wand, turning them into beuatiful horses. A rat ran past, and the women turned it into a fat coachman to drive the coach.
“So, are you happy?” the woman asked.
“Oh, yes!” said Cinderella. “But do I have to go in these rags?”
In a moment Cinderella’s clothes were the most beautiful she had ever seen. On her feet she wore a beautiful pair of glass slippers.
“Go to the ball” the woman said. “But be home by midnight. After midnight the coach, the coachman and the horses shall change back.”
As Cinderella arrived, rumours quickly spread: a beautiful princess had arrived! The prince went to see who this princess was, and thinking her quite wonderful, asked if she would dance with him. As they danced he began to fall in love with him. The crowd looked at them, and the stepsisters – who did not recognise Cinderella – got very jealous.
The couple were enjoying the night so much that Cinderella did not notice the time. The clock began to strike: one…two…three…
“Oh no! Midnight!”
Cinderella began to run. She got outside just before her clothes changed. Nobody else saw, but a moment later the prince came running out and found a single glass slipper outside.
The next morning the prince announced that he would marry the woman to whom the slipper belonged. Men were sent to every house in the kingdom to try it on the feet of all the women, but it did not fit any. It was too small, or too long, or too tight, or too loose.
Finally the men came to Cinderella’s house. The stepsisters got excited, but as much as they tried they could not get their big feet into the slipper.
“May I try?” asked Cinderella.
“You?! Go back to your cleaning, girl!”
The prince’s men, however, said they had orders to try every foot. They tried it on Cinderella’s foot: it was a perfect fit. Then, from her pocket, Cinderella brought out the second slipper.
“Oh, forgive us!” the stepsisters asked.
Cinderella did not forget what her mother had said, and she forgave them. The men then took her to the palace, where she met her prince.
Soon, Cinderella and the prince were married, and Cinderella invited her whole family – stepmother, stepsisters, and beloved father – to come to their palace.