Once upon a time... there lived an unhappy young girl. Unhappy she was, for
her mother was dead, her father had married another woman, a widow with two
daughters, and her stepmother didn't like her one little bit. All the nice
things, kind thoughts and loving touches were for her own daughters. And not
just the kind thoughts and love, but also dresses, shoes, shawls, delicious
food, comfy beds, as well as every home comfort. All this was laid on for her
daughters. But, for the poor unhappy girl, there was nothing at all. No
dresses, only her stepsisters' hand-me-downs. No lovely dishes, nothing but
scraps. No nice rests and comfort. For she had to work hard all day, and only
when evening came was she allowed to sit for a while by the fire, near the
cinders. That is how she got her nickname, for everybody called her Cinderella.
Cinderella used to spend long hours all alone talking to the cat. The cat said,
"Meow", which really meant, "Cheer up! You have something neither of your
stepsisters have and that is beauty."
It was quite true. Cinderella, even dressed in rags with a dusty gray face
from the cinders, was a lovely girl. While her stepsisters, no matter how
splendid and elegant their clothes, were still clumsy, lumpy and ugly and
always would be.
One day, beautiful new dresses arrived at the house. A ball was to be held
at Court and the stepsisters were getting ready to go to it. Cinderella, didn't
even dare ask, "What about me?" for she knew very well what the answer to that
would be:
"You? My dear girl, you're staying at home to wash the dishes, scrub the
floors and turn down the beds for your stepsisters. They will come home tired
and very sleepy." Cinderella sighed at the cat.
"oh dear, I'm so unhappy!" and the cat murmured "Meow".
Suddenly something amazing happened. In the kitchen, where Cinderella was
sitting all by herself, there was a burst of light and a fairy appeared.
"Don't be alarmed, Cinderella," said the fairy. "The wind blew me your
sighs. I know you would love to go to the ball. And so you shall!"
"how can I, dressed in rags?" Cinderella replied. "The servants will turn me
away!" The fairy smiled. With a flick of her magic wand... Cinderella found
herself wearing the most beautiful dress, the loveliest ever seen in the realm.
"Now that we have settled the matter of the dress," said the fairy, "we'll
need to get you a coach. A real lady would never go to a ball on foot!"
"Quick! Get me a pumpkin!" she ordered.
"Oh of course," said Cinderella, rushing away. Then the fairy turned to the
"You, bring me seven mice!"
"Seven mice!" said the cat. "I didn't know fairies ate mice too!"
"They're not for eating, silly! Do as you are told!... and, remember they
must be alive!"
Cinderella soon returned with a fine pumpkin and the cat with seven mice he
had caught in the cellar.
"Good!" exclaimed the fairy. With a flick of her magic wand... wonder of
wonders! The pumpkin turned into a sparkling coach and the mice became six
white horses, while the seventh mouse turned into a coachman, in a smart
uniform and carrying a whip. Cinderella could hardly believe her eyes.
"I shall present you at Court. You will soon see that the Prince, in whose
honor the ball is being held, will be enchanted by your loveliness. But
remember! You must leave the ball at midnight and come home. For that is when
the spell ends. Your coach will turn back into a pumpkin, the horses will
become mice again and the coachman will turn back into a mouse... and you will
be dressed again in rags and wearing clogs instead of these dainty little
slippers! Do you understand?" Cinderella smiled and said,
"Yes, I understand!"
When Cinderella entered the ballroom at the palace, a hush fell. Everyone
stopped in mid-sentence to admire her elegance, her beauty and grace.
"Who can that be?" people asked each other. The two stepsisters also
wondered who the newcomer was, for never in a month of Sundays, would they ever
have guessed that the beautiful girl was really poor Cinderella who talked to
the cat!
When the prince set eyes on Cinderella, he was struck by her beauty. Walking
over to her, he bowed deeply and asked her to dance. And to the great
disappointment of all the young ladies, he danced with Cinderella all evening.
"Who are you, fair maiden?" the Prince kept asking her. But Cinderella only
"What does it matter who I am! You will never see me again anyway."
"Oh, but I shall, I'm quite certain!" he replied.
Cinderella had a wonderful time at the ball... But, all of a sudden, she
heard the sound of a clock: the first stroke of midnight! She remembered what
the fairy had said, and without a word of goodbye she slipped from the Prince's
arms and ran down the steps. As she ran she lost one of her slippers, but not
for a moment did she dream of stopping to pick it up! If the last stroke of
midnight were to sound... oh... what a disaster that would be! Out she fled and
vanished into the night.
The Prince, who was now madly in love with her, picked up her slipper and
said to his ministers,
"Go and search everywhere for the girl whose foot this slipper fits. I will
never be content until I find her!" So the ministers tried the slipper on the
foot of all the girls... and on Cinderella's foot as well... Surprise! The
slipper fitted perfectly.
"That awful untidy girl simply cannot have been at the ball," snapped the
stepmother. "Tell the Prince he ought to marry one of my two daughters! Can't
you see how ugly Cinderella is! Can't you see?"
Suddenly she broke off, for the fairy had appeared.
"That's enough!" she exclaimed, raising her magic wand. In a flash,
Cinderella appeared in a splendid dress,shining with youth and beauty. Her
stepmother and stepsisters gaped at her in amazement, and the ministers said,
"Come with us, fair maiden! The Prince awaits to present you with his
engagement ring!" So Cinderella joyfully went with them, and lived happily
ever after with her Prince. And as for the cat, he just said "Meow"!