Cinderella lived with her mean stepmother and her two nasty stepsisters, who pinched her, yelled at her and made her do all the work while they went shopping for new clothes or sat in front of a mirror, trying to make themselves look beautiful.
One day an invitation arrived from the royal palace, inviting all the young ladies in the kingdom to the prince’s birthday ball. The two stepsisters almost fainted with excitement and immediately started ordering poor Cinderella about. She didn’t know if she was coming or going. They eventually departed in a whirlwind of fine silks, ribbons and perfume, leaving poor Cinderella all alone in the kitchen. How she wished she could have gone to the ball too!
Suddenly, an old woman stood before her. ”I am your fairy godmother,” she said, gently wiping the tears from Cinderella’s face. “And you shall go to the ball!” With a flick of her wand she turned a pumpkin into a beautiful golden coach, and six white mice magically grew into six sleek and graceful white horses. Cinderella looked down and gasped as she saw a soft sparkling gown and the tips of two exquisite glass slippers. “But remember! The magic only lasts until the stroke of midnight,” the fairy godmother warned, as she waved Cinderella off in the coach.
Cinderella had a wonderful evening at the palace! Her stepsisters didn’t recognise her. The prince lavished her with attention and danced with her all evening. She was having such a good time that she didn’t notice that it was nearing midnight. As the clock started to strike midnight, she panicked and rushed from the palace, losing one of her glass slippers on the stairs as she disappeared into the night.
The prince was heartbroken and determined to find the mysterious princess. Every girl in the land was ordered to try on the tiny glass slipper and he announced that he would marry the one whose foot it fitted. At last he came to Cinderella’s house. The two sisters pushed and shoved one another, each wanting to be the first to squash and squeeze her foot into the slipper. The prince became impatient and turned to leave, when he spotted Cinderella, who was sweeping the courtyard below. In spite of the stepsisters’ loud, wailing protests, the prince slipped the shoe on to Cinderella’s foot. It fitted perfectly!
The delighted prince looked into her eyes and recognised her at once. He asked her to marry him and, smiling happily, she agreed. Her stepsisters looked on with sour, angry faces.
© Hamilton Trust