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NCE upon a time there was a girl whose father and
mother had died, and she had gone to live with a family
of wealthy relatives. They did not like to be burdened
with her and they treated her very badly, though she
was the sweetest, best-tempered creature that ever was.
The lady of the house was proud and disagreeable, and
she had two daughters who were very much like her. They
made their poor relative work in the kitchen and do all
the household drudgery. It was she who washed the
dishes and scrubbed down the stairs and swept the
floors. She had to sleep in the garret on a wretched
bed of straw, while the rooms of the two sisters were
very elegant, and were furnished with nice feather-beds
and had full-length looking-glasses in which the young
ladies could admire themselves all day long.
The poor girl bore her troubles with patience and never
complained. When she had finished her day's work she
used to sit in the chimney-corner on a low stool among
the ashes and cinders, and so the
nicknamed her Cinderella. But Cinderella, in spite of
hard work and shabby clothes, was a hundred times
prettier than they were, decked out in all their
It happened after a time that the king's son gave a
grand ball which was to continue for two nights and to
which he invited all persons of fashion for miles
around; and as the two young ladies made a great figure
in society they, of course, received invitations. "We
shall certainly go," said they, "and perhaps we may
have the chance to dance with the prince."
So they were wonderfully busy choosing such dresses as
might be most becoming, and could talk of nothing but
their fine clothes day in and day out. "I shall put on
my red velvet dress with point lace trimmings," said
"And I," said the younger sister, "shall wear my
gold-brocaded train and my circlet of diamonds."
Their preparations made no end of trouble for
Cinderella, and she was kept constantly engaged in
plaiting ruffles, sewing, arranging bows and ribbons,
and in washing and ironing the sisters' linen. But she
helped willingly all she could, and when the great day
came, offered to dress the young ladies' hair. They
were glad to have her do that, and
 while she was
brushing and combing they said to her, "Cinderella,
would not you like to go to the ball?"
"Yes," said she, "but so grand a ball as this is to be
is not for such as I am."
"You are quite right," they said, "for every one would
laugh to see a ragged kitchen girl there."
Cinderella finished the young ladies' hair and assisted
them to dress, and they never before in their lives had
been arrayed half so becomingly. Indeed, they were so
delighted that at dinner-time they could scarcely eat a
morsel; and, besides, it was not easy to eat much, for
they had laced very tight to make their waists as
slender as possible.
What they had said to Cinderella about the ball set her
to thinking how nice it would be if she really could
attend it, and finally she asked the sisters' mother,
who chanced to come into the kitchen while she was
washing the dinner dishes, to let her go.
"You, Cinderella!" exclaimed the lady. "Why! you are
wearing the only dress you have- and just look at it!
What could put such an idea into your head? But, see
here," said she, taking up a dish of peas that was on a
shelf, "I will throw this basinful of peas into the
ash-heap behind the house,
 and if you can get
every pea picked out of the ashes in an hour's time you
can go to the ball with my daughters."
Then the lady, followed by Cinderella, carried the peas
out and threw them into the ashes. "Here is the basin,"
said she, handing it to the girl, "and you can go at
your task as soon as you choose."
She returned to the house, and Cinderella stood looking
at the ash-heap. "I could not find all those peas in a
week's time," said she; "I must have help." And she
began to call,
"Hither, hither, through the sky,
All you little songsters fly!
One and all, come help me quick,
Make haste, make haste—come pick, pick, pick!"
At once a great number of little birds came chirping
and fluttering to the ash-heap and commenced to pick,
pick, pick. Cinderella held the basin and they brought
the peas one by one and dropped them into it. In a
short time she had all the peas out of the ashes and
carried them in to her mistress overjoyed at the
thought she could now go to the ball. But the lady
said, "No, no, you haven't clothes. I spoke in jest
before. You shall not go; for you would only put us to
Evening came and the two young women set off
the ball, and Cinderella watched them until they were
out of sight and then stood by the fire and wept. At
this moment a good fairy appeared and asked her what
was the matter.
"I wish—I wish—" began the poor girl, but her voice
was choked with tears.
"You wish that you could go to the ball," interrupted
"Indeed I do," said Cinderella, with a sigh.
"Well, then, stop crying," said the fairy, "and I think
I can contrive to have you go not only this evening,
but to-morrow evening, too. Run into the garden and
bring me a pumpkin."
Cinderella hurried out and brought back the finest
pumpkin she could find, though she could not imagine
what the fairy wanted of it. But the fairy took a
knife, scooped out the pumpkin quite hollow and touched
it with her wand. Immediately it was changed into a
splendid carriage." Now," said the fairy, "isn't there
a mouse-trap set in the storeroom?"
"Yes," replied Cinderella.
"Go and see if there are any mice in it," the fairy
Cinderella soon returned, bringing the trap with six
mice inside." Lift the trap door a little and let
 "There's likely to be a rat in the trap in the cellar
if you could make a coachman out of him," suggested
"That's a good thought," the fairy responded. "So look
at the trap without delay."
Cinderella was quickly back with the trap, and in it
was a rat with a tremendous pair of whiskers. The fairy
touched the rat with her wand and it became a fat jolly
coachman with the smartest whiskers ever seen.
"The next thing for you to do," said the fairy to
Cinderella, "is to go again to the garden. You will
find two lizards behind the watering-pot. Bring them."
The lizards were no sooner brought than the fairy
turned them into footmen with laced liveries, and they
skipped up to a seat at the back of the coach just as
naturally as if they had been footmen all their lives.
"Well," said the fairy, "here is your coach and six
horses, your coachman and your footmen to take you to
the ball. Are you not pleased?"
"Oh, yes!" replied Cinderella, "but must I go in these
The fairy smiled and tapped her with her wand, when her
rags were changed to a dress of cloth of
 gold all
decked with costly jewels. This done, she gave her a
pair of the prettiest slippers in the world, made of
"These slippers," said she, "I give you to keep always,
but the other things are enchanted into the forms they
have at present for only a short time."
Cinderella now got into the carriage, and as she was
about to start the fairy said, "Do not on any account
stay after midnight, for if you do the coach will be a
pumpkin again, your horses mice, your coachman a rat,
your footmen lizards, and your beautiful clothes the
rags you wear every day."
Cinderella promised the fairy she would not fail to
leave the ball before midnight, and drove away in an
ecstasy of delight. When she arrived at the palace the
guards and attendants were so struck by her magnificent
equipage that they supposed her to be some rich
princess. At once the carriage was surrounded by
courtiers who assisted her to alight and conducted her
to the ball-room. The moment she appeared all voices
were hushed, the violins ceased playing, and the
dancing stopped short. Everybody was admiring the
stranger's beauty. "How handsome she is! How
surpassingly lovely!" and similar expressions were
heard on all sides, and the old king whispered to
 the queen that he had not seen so comely a young woman
in many a long day.
All the ladies busied themselves in considering her
clothes and head-dress, that they might have garments
of the same pattern, provided they could find such rich
materials and seamstresses capable of making them up.
The prince came forward to receive Cinderella, and he
so admired her beauty and manners that he promptly
offered her his hand to dance. Cinderella, pleased
beyond measure at this gracious reception and at the
splendor of all she saw, danced with the greatest
animation. The proud sisters, in whose home she lived,
were vexed to have any one attract more attention than
themselves; but they did not recognize the ragged
kitchen girl in the superb garments she now wore.
A fine supper was presently served, and the young
prince helped Cinderella to every delicacy, but was so
taken up with gazing at the fair stranger that he did
not eat anything himself. Time passed fast, and she
never looked at the clock until it was a quarter to
twelve. Immediately she rose, made a low courtesy to
the whole assembly, and retired in haste. Her carriage
was ready at the door of the palace and she jumped into
it and drove home as fast as she could.
When she reached the house the coach, horses,
servants all disappeared and Cinderella found herself
clothed in her old ragged gown. She waited beside the
fire for the return of the sisters, eager to know what
they would say; but she determined to tell them nothing
other own experiences. At length they came knocking at
the door, and when Cinderella let them in she pretended
to yawn, and rubbed her eyes, saying, "How late you
are!" just as if she had been waked out of a nap.
"You would not have thought it late if you had been at
the ball," said one of the sisters, "and seen the
beautiful princess who was there."
"What princess was she?" asked Cinderella.
"What was her name?"
"We do not know her name," was the reply; "nor does
anybody, and the king's son would give a fortune to
learn who she is."
"If she is so beautiful as all that, how I would like
to see her!" exclaimed Cinderella. "Oh, my Lady
Charlotte," said she, addressing the elder sister, "do
lend me the yellow dress you wear every day, that I may
put it on and go to the ball to-morrow evening and have
a peep at this wonderful princess."
"What! lend my clothes to a common kitchen girl like
you!" cried Miss Charlotte, "I wouldn't think of such a
 Cinderella expected to be refused, and was not
sorry, for she would have been very much puzzled what
to do had the yellow dress really been lent to her.
On the following evening the sisters again went to the
court ball, and shortly after their departure the good
fairy came to Cinderella and told her to prepare to go
also. A touch of the fairy's wand served to clothe
Cinderella even more richly than she had been clothed
on the previous occasion. The equipage she had used the
night before conveyed her to the palace, and she was
ushered into the ball-room with every attention. The
prince was rejoiced to see her and never once left her
side the evening through. He talked so charmingly that
she forgot all about the time, and the clock began to
strike twelve when she thought it no more than eleven.
At once she sprang up and ran as nimbly as a deer out
of the room, and was going in great haste down the
broad staircase that led to the palace entrance when
one of her slippers dropped off. She could not wait to
pick it up, for the clock had reached its final stroke,
and then in a twinkling she was a gay lady no more, but
only a shabby kitchen girl hurrying down the steps. The
splendid coach and six horses, the driver and footmen
 and on the ground lay a scooped-out
pumpkin, while six mice, a rat, and two lizards were
scurrying away to find hiding-places.
Cinderella reached home quite out of breath, and of her
grand apparel nothing remained save a little glass
slipper. When the sisters returned from the ball
Cinderella asked them whether they had been well
entertained and whether the beautiful princess was
 "Yes," they replied, "we enjoyed the ball very
much and the princess was there, but she ran away just
as the clock struck twelve, and no one knows who she is
any more than they did before."
When Cinderella fled the prince had stood in amazement
a moment and then pursued her, but she was too swift
for him. However, as he was running down the stairway
he noticed the little glass slipper that she had lost
and he picked it up. Then he went on and questioned the
guards at the palace gates whether they had seen a
princess going out. "No," said they, "the only person
who has passed out of the gates for over an hour is a
poorly dressed girl just gone, and how such a person as
she happened to be in the palace, we cannot tell."
The prince, during the days following, caused inquiries
to be made everywhere for the princess, and when the
search failed he grew ill with disappointment. Then the
king, who dearly loved his son, called a council and
asked his ministers what they thought ought to be done
in order to discover the princess.
"It is my advice," said the chief minister, "that you
should cause a proclamation to be made all over the
kingdom that the prince will marry her whose foot the
slipper he found will just fit."
 This plan was adopted, and the slipper was tried
on by all the noble ladies of the land—but in vain.
Then it was carried from one fine house to another
among the gentry, until at last it came to the home of
the proud sisters. Each of them did all she possibly
could to thrust her foot into the dainty slipper, but
the attempt failed. Cinderella, who was present, now
laughed and said, "Suppose I were to try."
The sisters ridiculed her. "What an idea!" they said, "
to think of its fitting your clumsy foot."
But the gentleman who had brought the slipper looked at
Cinderella and said that it was no more than fair she
should have the chance she asked, for he had orders to
let every young maiden in the kingdom who pleased try
on the slipper.
So Cinderella sat down while the sisters looked on
contemptuously; yet no sooner did she put her little
foot to the slipper than it went on at once and fitted
like wax. The sisters were amazed, and their
astonishment increased tenfold when Cinderella drew the
mate to the slipper from her pocket and put it on the
Just at that moment the fairy appeared, and touching
Cinderella's clothes with her wand made
 them once
more the robes of a princess, and then the two sisters
recognized her for the beautiful stranger they had seen
at the ball.
Now the gentleman in waiting conducted, Cinderella away
to the palace of the prince. She was received by the
prince with great joy, and in a short time they were
married, and they lived happily ever after.