Once upon a time, there was a beautiful girl named Cinderella who lived with her two step-sisters and step-mother. The step-mother didn’t like Cinderella, so she made her do all the housework. Despite all this hard work and the ragged-dress she was forced to wear, Cinderella remained kind and optimistic.
One day it was announced that the king had decided to give a ball in honor of his son, the prince. Invitations were sent out to all the young, unmarried girls in the kingdom. Cinderella and her two step-sisters were invited. The step-mother began purchasing fancy gowns for her daughters, hoping the prince would fall in love with one of them. Cinderella, of course, was put to work altering the gowns.
“Oh Cinderella,” teased the older step-sister. “Wouldn’t you like to come to the ball?” Both step-sisters looked at each other and laughed merrily.
At last, the step-sisters’ carriage pulled up before the front door. Cinderella waved and watched the carriage roll down the street. Then, the poor girl burst into tears.
“Why are you crying, child?” said a voice. Cinderella looked down and saw a tiny, sparkling woman no larger than a tea cup. “Who are you?”
“I am your fairy godmother.”
“Why are you so sad? You wish you could go to the ball?” “Yes”, wept Cinderella, “but everyone would laugh.”
“Nonsense” laughed the fairy. “I’ll just give you a little help. First, we’ll need a pumpkin”, said the little fairy. Cinderella brought a pumpkin in from the garden and the fairy godmother gently touched it with her wand. Instantly, the pumpkin was transformed into a jeweled coach. Next, her wand transformed mice into prancing horses to draw the carriage. Some frogs became footmen and two rats became the coachmen and the coach driver.
“Now, we must see to your gown.” She touched Cinderella with her wand. Instantly the ragged-dress became a stunning white gown of silk. On her feet were a pair of glass slippers, the most beautiful shoes Cinderella had ever seen.
“Now, go to the ball,” said the fairy godmother. “But be sure to leave before Midnight. At the last stoke of Midnight, the coach will be a pumpkin again and the horses will become mice, the coachmen rats, and the footmen will be frogs.” And, she added, “Your gown will turn back into rags.”
When Cinderella arrived to the ball, the prince gave her his hand and led her into the great hall. The crowd fell silent. So beautiful a pair was the prince and the strange girl that no one could say a word.
Cinderella and the prince began to waltz. Cinderella danced and talked with the prince. Then the clock sounded the hour of twelve. She had time only to kiss the prince softly on the cheek and then, down the steps and hopped into her coach. Cinderella didn’t even realize one of her slippers had fallen off. It was picked up by the prince, who had turned to follow the girl.
Just as they were out of sight of the palace, the coach and horses and coachmen and footmen changed back into a pumpkin and rats and mice and frogs.
A proclamation was issued that the prince would visit every house in town to find the owner of the missing glass slipper. He then began going to the houses of everyone in the kingdom. The two step-sisters knew that he would arrive soon. The doorbell rang. “Welcome your highness,” giggled the first step-sister. The prince asked the girls to remove their shoes. The step-sisters shoved and pried and pushed and squeezed but the slipper would not fit.
At last, Cinderella peeked around the corner. “May I try?”
“Oh, that’s just the cleaning girl” said the older step-sister. “Let her try,” said the prince. Cinderella sat down in the chair and the prince lifted the slipper to her foot. It fit beautifully.
“Are you my princess?”
“I am,” Cinderella said.
“She can’t be! Impossible!” shouted the two step-sisters. From her pocket, Cinderella pulled the other glass slipper and put it on.
The prince took Cinderella’s hand and they lived happily ever after.