The Story of Cinderella
Once Upon a Time…..
Actually, my book starts off,
“Near the fair city of Paris there once lived a gentleman whose wife had died, leaving him to care for their little daughter, Ella.”
My childhood book above, The Tasha Tudor Book of Fairy Tales, in this book is just one of many versions of Cinderella ever written. This one is based on the original by Charles Perrault. In this story the ball lasts two nights and the fairy godmother uses 6 lizards as the footmen.
No one really knows where the original version of Cinderella came from. Every country seems to have their own. In some of the stories Cinderella’s father has died, in others he is just absent and in others he is there but does not care about Cinderella, he is neglectful. In my story above he is alive but is never mentioned other than to say that Cinderella dared not complain to her father about her mistreatment by her stepmother and stepsisters.
In some versions the ‘fairy godmother’ is the ghost of Cinderella’s dead mother who is looking out for her.
In my version Cinderella is French.
(I think that the reason there are so many versions of this story worldwide is because how Cinderella was treated was probably pretty similar to how most young women were treated.)
My Christmas Fairy Godmother
Based on the original by Charles Perrault
Near the fair city of Paris there once lived a gentleman whose wife had died, leaving him to care for their little daughter, Ella. I cannot bring up the child all by myself, he thought. And so he married again. But what a horrible stepmother to Ella this second wife turned out to be! She was a proud, disagreeable woman, and her two daughters were as disagreeable as their mother. Charlotte and Henriette, for those were their names, were lazy and rude, and Ella had to wait on them besides keeping house. From dawn to dark she mopped the floors and scoured the pots and swept the ashes from the hearth. At night she slept on a hard straw bed in the attic, while her two sisters lay on mattresses of swansdown in gilded bedrooms hung with mirrors and silken draperies.
Ella did not dare to complain to her father, but often she would sit weeping in the chimney corner among the cinders. And so she was called Cinderella. But the ragged clothes and streaks of dirt could not hide her lovely face or her gentle manners.
Several years passed, and then the King’s son sent word throughout the kingdom that he was giving a grand ball. Among those invited were Cinderella’s two stepsisters.
At once they began to strut before their mirrors, admiring themselves and planning what they should wear. Bright velvet gowns and ruffled petticoats, and yards of the finest lace and ribbons were strewn around their rooms. They kept Cinderella busy day and night running errands to the shops, starching and pressing their petticoats, and sewing the ribbons and lace on their overskirts.
The night of the ball came at last. Cinderella deftly arranged their hair and helped them into their beautiful dresses, but she sighed to think that she must stay at home.
Charlotte, the younger, heard her and said, “I’m sure you wish that you too could go the Prince’s ball, Cinderella.”
Henriette laughed loudly. “It would certainly make people laugh to see our dirty Cinderwench at the ball!”
Cinderella said nothing. She was as good as she was fair, and she waved and smiled bravely when her two stepsisters climbed into the coach that carried them to the ball.
Cinderella waited until they had drove away, and then rushed to her chimney corner and wept and wept. Suddenly she heard a faint sound. She opened her eyes and there in a blaze of rosy light stood a sweet faced tiny old lady.
“Don’t cry any more, Cinderella,” said the lady. “I am your fairy godmother, and since you want to go to the ball so very much, you shall go in a manner fit for a Princess. Dry your eyes now and run into the back garden. You will find a pumpkin growing there. Bring it to me, and hurry, for there is no time to be lost!”
Cinderella ran into the dark garden and brought back the pumpkin. Her fairy godmother scooped out the inside, leaving the rind. Then she touched the pumpkin lightly with her wand and at once it turned into the most beautiful golden coach you have ever seen.
“Now fetch me the mousetrap from the pantry,” said her godmother. Cinderella did as she was told, and there in the trap sat six mice, which her fairy godmother tuned into a team of six prancing white houses.
Cinderella clapped her hands for joy. “Perhaps there is a rat in the rattrap,” she said, “and we can make a coachman of him.”
Sure enough, when Cinderella brought the rattrap, there sat a huge rat with fine whiskers. The fairy released him and touched him with her wand and he at once turned into a fat coachman with a fine moustache.
Then the godmother said, “You will need footmen. Go into the garden and you will find six lizards near the well. Bring them to me.”
Cinderella brought the lizards, and in a wink the magic wand had turned them into six footmen in green and gold livery, who climbed nimbly up to their places on the coach.
Cinderella gazed happily at the coach and horses but then her face fell. “What is the matter? Aren’t you pleased with the fine coach which will take you to the Prince’s ball?” asked the fairy godmother.
“Yes, it’s beautiful! But how can I go in these rags?” asked Cinderella.
“We will soon change all that,” said the fairy godmother. She touched Cinderella with her wand and Cinderella turned into a real Princess, from the tips of the snowy ostrich plumes in her powdered hair, to her glass slippers that sparkled like diamonds. Her gown was made of the finest satin and embroidered with jewels and lace.
“Now go and be happy as you deserve,” said the godmother. “But I warn you that you must leave the ball before midnight. If you are even one moment late you will find yourself again in rags, and you will have to walk home, for your coach will again be a pumpkin, your horses mice, your coachman a rat, and your footmen lizards.”
Cinderella kissed her godmother and promised to remember her warning. When she arrived at the ball, so beautiful did she appear to the Prince that he could not take his eyes from her, and all the ladies and gentlemen of the court praised her beauty and grace, and admired her beautiful gown.
At the Ball
The King himself whispered to the Queen that he had never seen such a lovely maiden. “She has such grace and manners! I’m sure she is a royal Princess,” the Queen whispered back.
The Prince danced every dance with Cinderella, and during the feast which followed he never left her side, so enchanted was he by her beauty.
The Royal Feast
Cinderella, in her joy, shared with her sisters, who were sitting near her, the choicest cakes and fruits on her plate.
Of course they did not recognize the lovely stranger.
When she heard the clock strike a quarter to twelve, Cinderella said good night to all the company and hurried away. She reached home safely, and looked for her godmother to thank her, but she had vanished. Soon her stepsisters came in. Cinderella pretended she had been asleep, and greeted them with a yawn. “How late you have stayed!” she said.
Don’t forget Cinderella. Midnight!
“Ah, if you had been at the ball,” answered Charlotte, “you too would have stayed late. What music! What delicious food! What a handsome Prince! But that is not all. There came to the ball the most enchanting creature we have ever seen. She is a royal Princess. There can be no doubt of that. How beautiful she was! And her dress! It was made of the finest satin and sparkled with diamonds. To both of us she showed the most marked attention. Everyone noticed it, even the Prince.”
“What was the name of this lovely Princess?” asked Cinderella.
“We do not know. Nor does anybody, not even the Prince himself. But they say he would give half his kingdom to see her again.”
At this, Cinderella’s heart leaped for joy, for she had fallen in love with the handsome Prince. “She must have been beautiful,” she said to her sisters. “How fortunate you both were to see her! Perhaps I could borrow your old yellow gown, Henriette, and go to see her for myself.”
Her stepsister laughed scornfully. “What? Do you really think that a Cinderwench like you would be admitted to the Prince’s ball? A pretty picture you would be!
Besides, I would never lend you my yellow gown, or any other clothes, until I have quite worn them out.”
Cinderella smiled to herself. She had been jesting, for she certainly did not want to appear at the ball in Henriette’s old yellow gown.
The following night the two stepsisters again went to the ball, and again Cinderella helped them dress and watched them drive away, wondering if she would be able to follow them to the ball later on.
No sooner than the coach departed than the fairy godmother appeared. As on the evening before she changed the pumpkin to a gilded coach, the mice to horses, the rat to a handsome coachman, the lizards to footmen, and Cinderella’s rags to a gown even more magnificent than the one she had worn before. And again she warned her about the midnight hour. Cinderella promised not to forget.
This time the Prince danced every dance with her. He told her over and over again how beautiful she was and begged her to tell him her name. She refused to do this. But she was enjoying herself so much that she did not remember her godmother’s warning until she heard the palace clock begin to strike twelve.
In alarm she hastily left the astonished prince, and ran through the long halls of the palace and out into the night. As she ran down the steps, one of her glass slippers came off and was left behind. The Prince, in trying to overtake her, came upon the little glass slipper and picked it up most carefully. He asked the guards whether they had seen a lovely Princess leaving the palace, but they only shook their heads. No one had passed, they said, but a young girl dressed in rags.
Cinderella, very tired and out of breath, reached home with the other glass slipper hidden in her pocket. When the two stepsisters returned from the ball, she asked them if the Princess had been there.
“Yes, they replied, she had been there and the Prince had danced only with her. But as the clock struck twelve she had left suddenly, and in such haste that one of her dainty glass slippers had fallen off onto the marble steps. The Prince, they said, had found the slipper and had spent some time looking for its owner and questioning the guards and gatekeeper, but the lovely stranger had vanished.
Cinderella wished that she might see the Prince again, but she knew that was impossible without her fairy godmother, who was probably angry with her for not heeding her warning.
A few days later it was proclaimed that the Prince would marry the girl upon whose foot the glass slipper fitted perfectly. What a stir there was in the land! First the Princesses, then the Duchesses and ladies of the Court, and then the ladies of wealth and position each tried to force her foot into the dainty slipper. But it was too tiny for all of them.
Finally, the messengers knocked at the door of Cinderella’s house. The two stepsisters both tried to squeeze their feet into the tiny slipper, but it was far too small for them. Cinderella, who was standing beside them said, “May I try? Perhaps it would fit me.”
The sisters shouted with laughter. But the royal messenger had noticed Cinderella’s beauty, and courteously asked her to sit down while he tried the slipper on her foot. It fitted her as though made of wax! The sisters were too astonished to speak, but even more surprised were they when Cinderella took from her picket the matching slipper and slipped it easily on her other tiny foot.
Suddenly the fairy godmother stood in their midst. She waved her wand and immediately Cinderella became the enchanting Princess who had been at the ball, dressed even more beautifully than before. And now the two stepsisters fell on their knees, begging her forgiveness for their meanness and cruelty to her.
Cinderella bade them rise and embraced them both, saying she forgave them gladly, and begging them to love her always.
(I have a real problem with that paragraph above.)
When the Prince saw her he fell more in love with her than ever.
So they were married and lived happily ever after.
Time for bed. Sweet Dreams
“No matter how your heart is beating, may you keep on believing, a dream that you wish, will come true.”