Once upon a time there was a worthy man who married
second wife the haughtiest, proudest woman that had ever been
seen. She had two daughters, who possessed their mother's temper
and resembled her in everything. Her husband, on the
other had, had a young daughter, who was of an exceptionally sweet and
gentle nature. She got this from her mother*,
who had been the nicest person in the world.
The wedding was no sooner over than the stepmother began to
display her bad temper. She could not endure the excellent
qualities of this young girl, for they made her own daughters
appear more hateful than ever. She thrust upon her all the
meanest tasks about the house. It was she who had to clean the
plates and the stairs, and sweep out the rooms of the mistress of
the house and her daughters. She slept on a wretched mattress in
a garret at the top of the house, while the sisters had rooms
with parquet flooring, with beds of the most fashionable style,
with mirrors in which they could see themselves from top to toe.
The poor girl endured everything patiently, not daring to
complain to her father. The latter would have scolded her,
because he was entirely ruled by his wife. When she had
finished her work she used to sit amongst the cinders in the corner of the
chimney, and it was this habit that she came to be known as
The younger of the two sisters, who was not quite so
spiteful as the elder, called her Cinderella. But her wretched
clothes did not prevent Cinderella from being a hundred times
more beautiful than her sisters, for all their resplendent
It happened that the king's son gave a ball, and he invited
all persons of high degree. The two young ladies were invited
amongst others, for they cut a considerable figure in the
country. Not a little pleased were they, and the question of
what clothes they would wear and what mode of dressing the hair
would become them best took up most of their time. And all this
made fresh trouble for Cinderella, for it was she who went over
her sisters' linen and ironed their ruffles. They could talk of
nothing else but the fashions in clothes.
"For my part," said the elder, "I shall wear my dress of red
velvet, with the Honiton lace."
"I have only my everyday petticoat," said the younger, "but
to make up for it I shall wear my cloak with the golden flowers
and my necklace of diamonds, which are not so bad."
They sent for a good hairdresser to arrange their double-
frilled caps, and bought patches at the best shop.
They summoned Cinderella and asked her advice, for she had
good taste. Cinderella gave them the best possible suggestions,
and even offered to dress their hair, to which they gladly
While she was thus occupied they said:
"Cinderella, would you not like to go to the ball?"
"Ah, but you fine young ladies are laughing at me. It would
be no place for me."
"That is very true, people would laugh to see a cinder-slut
in the ballroom."
Anyone else but Cinderella would have done their hair amiss,
but she was good-natured, and she finished them off to
perfection. They were so excited in their glee that for nearly
two days they ate nothing. They broke more than a dozen laces
drawing their stays tight in order to make their waists more
slender, and they were perpetually in front of a mirror.
At last the happy day arrived. Away they went, Cinderella
watching them as long as she could keep them in sight. When she
could no longer see them she began to cry. Her godmother found
her in tears, and asked what was troubling her.
"I should like--I should like--"*
She was crying so bitterly that she could not finish the
Said her godmother, who was a fairy:
"You would like to go to the ball, would you not?"
"Ah, yes," said Cinderella, sighing.
"Well, well," said her godmother, "promise to be a good girl
and I will arrange for you to go."
She took Cinderella into her room and said:
"Go into the garden and bring me a pumpkin."
Cinderella went at once and gathered the finest that she
could find. This she brought to her godmother, wondering how a
pumpkin could help in taking her to the ball.
Her godmother scooped it out, and when only the rind was
left, struck it with her wand. Instantly the pumpkin was changed
into a beautiful coach, gilded all over.
Then she went and looked in the mousetrap, where she found
six mice all alive. She told Cinderella to life the door of the
mousetrap a little, and as each mouse came out she gave it a tap
with her wand, whereupon it was transformed into a fine horse.
so that there was a fine team of six dappled mouse-gray horses.
But she was puzzled to know how to provide a coachman.
"I will go and see," said Cinderella, "if there is not a rat
in the rattrap. We could make a coachman of him."
"Quite right," said her godmother, "go and see."
Cinderella brought in the rattrap, which contained
three big rats. The fairy chose one specially on account of his elegant
As soon as she had touched* him he turned into a fat coachman
with the finest mustachios that were ever seen.
"Now go into the garden and bring me the six lizards which
you will find behind the water-butt."
No sooner had they been brought than the godmother turned
them into six lackeys, who at once climbed up behind the coach in
their braided liveries, and hung on there as if they had never
done anything else all their lives.
Then said the fairy godmother:
"Well, there you have the means of going to the ball. Are
"Oh, yes, but am I to go in my ugly clothes?"
Her godmother merely touched her with her wand, and on the
instant her clothes were changed into garments of gold and silver
sloth, bedecked with jewels. After that her godmother gave her a
pair of glass slippers, the prettiest in the world.
Thus altered, she entered the coach. Her grandmother bade
her not to stay beyond midnight whatever happened, warning that
if she remained at the ball a moment longer, her coach would
again become a pumpkin, her horses mice, and her lackeys lizards,
while her old clothes would reappear on her once more.
She promised her godmother that she would not fail to leave
the ball before midnight, and away she went, beside herself with
The King's son, when he was told of the arrival of a great
princess whom nobody knew, went forth to receive her. He handed
her down from the coach, and led her into the hall where the
company was assembled. At once there fell a great silence. The
dancers stopped, the violins played no more, so rapt was the
attention which everybody paid to the superb beauty of the
unknown guest. Everywhere could be heard in confused whispers:
"Oh, how beautiful she is!"
The king, old man as he was, could not take his
eyes off her, and whispered to the queen that it was many a long day since
he had seen anyone so beautiful and charming*.
All the ladies were eager to scrutinize her clothes and the
dressing of her hair, being determined to copy them on the
morrow, provided they could find materials so fine, and tailors
The king's son placed her in the seat of honor, and at once
begged the privilege of being her partner in a dance. Such was
the grace with which she danced that the admiration of all was
A magnificent supper was served, but the young prince could
eat nothing, so taken up was he with watching her. She went and
sat beside her sisters, and bestowed numberless attentions upon
them. She made them share with her the oranges and lemons which
the king had given her--greatly to their astonishment, for they
did not recognize her.
While they were talking, Cinderella heard the clock strike a
quarter to twelve. She at once made a profound curtsy to the
company, and departed as quickly as she could.
As soon as she was home again she sought out her godmother,
and having thanked her, declared that she wished to go upon the
morrow once more to the ball, because the king's son had invited
While she was busy telling her godmother all that had
happened at the ball, her two sisters knocked at the door.
Cinderella let them in.
"What a long time you have been in coming!" she declared,
rubbing her eyes and stretching herself as if she had only just
awakened. In real truth she had not for a moment wished to sleep
since they had left.
"If you had been at the ball," said one of the sisters, "you
would not be feeling weary. There came a most beautiful
princess, the most beautiful that has ever been seen, and she
bestowed numberless attentions upon us, and gave us her oranges
Cinderella was overjoyed. She asked them the name of the
princess, but they replied that no one knew it, and that the
king's son was so distressed that he would give anything in the
world to know who she was.
Cinderella smiled, and said that she must have been
"Oh, how lucky you are. Could I not manage to see her? Oh,
please, Javotte, lend me the yellow dress which you wear every
"Indeed!" said Javotte, "that is a fine idea. Lend my dress
to a grubby cinder-slut like you--you must think me mad!"
Cinderella expected this refusal. She was in no way upset,
for she would have been greatly embarrassed had her sister
been willing to lend the dress.
The next day the two sisters went to the ball, and so did
Cinderella, even more splendidly attired than the first time.
The king's son was always at her elbow, and paid her endless
The young girl enjoyed herself so much that she forgot her
godmother's bidding completely, and when the first stroke of
midnight fell upon her ears, she thought it was no more than
She rose and fled nimbly as a fawn. The prince followed
her, but could not catch her. She let fall one of her glass
slippers, however, and this the prince picked up with tender
When Cinderella reached home she was out of breath, without
coach, without lackeys, and in her shabby clothes. Nothing
remained of all her splendid clothes save one of the little
slippers, the fellow to the one which she had let fall.
Inquiries were made of the palace doorkeepers as to whether
they had seen a princess go out, but they declared they had seen
no one leave except a young girl, very ill-clad, who looked more
like a peasant than a young lady.
When her two sisters returned from the ball, Cinderella
asked them if they had again enjoyed themselves, and if the
beautiful lady had been there. They told her that she was
present, but had fled away when midnight sounded, and in such
haste that she let fall one of her little glass slippers, the
prettiest thing in the world. They added that the king's son,
who picked it up, had done nothing but gaze at it for the rest of
the ball, from which it was plain that he was deeply in love with
its beautiful owner.
They spoke the truth. A few days later, the king's son
caused a proclamation to be made by the trumpeters, that he would
take for wife the owner of the foot the slipper would fit,
They tried it first on the princesses, then on the
duchesses and the whole of the Court, but in vain. Presently they brought
it to the home of the two sisters, who did all they could* to
squeeze a foot into the slipper. This, however, they could not
Cinderella was looking on and recognized her slipper:
"Let me see," she cried, laughingly, "if it will not fit
Her sisters burst out laughing, and began to gibe at her,
but the equerry who was trying on the slipper looked closely at
Cinderella. Observing that she was very beautiful he
declared that the claim was quite a fair one, and that his orders were to
try the slipper on every maiden, He bade Cinderella sit down,
and on putting the slipper to her little foot he perceived that
the latter slid in without trouble, and was molded to its shape
Great was the astonishment of her two sisters at this, and
greater still when Cinderella drew from her pocket the other
little slipper. This likewise she drew on.
At that very moment her godmother appeared on the scene.
She gave a tap with her wand to Cinderella's clothes, and
transformed them into a dress even more magnificent than her
The two sisters recognized her for the beautiful person whom
they had seen at the ball, and threw themselves at her feet,
begging her pardon for all the ill-treatment they had suffered at
Cinderella raised them, and declaring as she embraced them
that she pardoned them with all her heart, bade them to love her
well in the future.
She was taken to the palace of the young prince in all her
new array. He found her more beautiful than ever, and was
married to her a few days afterwards.
Cinderella was as good as she was beautiful. She set aside
apartments in the palace for her two sisters, and married them
the very same day to two gentlemen of high rank about the Court.
Beauty is a treasure rare.
Who complains of being fair?
Yet there's still a something more
That good fairies have in store.
'Tis that little gift called grace,
Weaves a spell round form and face,
Of each word makes magic, too,
Lends a charm to all you do.
This it was--and nothing less--
Cinderella's fairy dress!
And if you would learn the way
How to get that gift today--
How to point the golden dart
That shall pierce the Prince's heart--
Ladies, you have but to be
Just as kind and sweet as she!
Godmothers are useful things
Even when without the wings.
Wisdom may be yours and wit,
Courage, industry, and grit--
What's the use of these at all,
If you lack a friend at call?