Hundreds of additional titles available for
online reading when you join Gateway to the Classics
 In the happy days of Long Ago, when every child had a Fairy
Godmother, and every Fairy Godmother had a Magic Wand, there
lived a little girl whose name was Ella. She was a very
happy little girl as long as her mother was alive, but when
her dear mother died all was changed. For, very soon, her
father brought home a new wife who did not like little girls
at all, and only cared for her own two proud, ugly
Now these two daughters were so idle and selfish that they
made their poor little step-sister do all the work. She
washed the dishes and cooked the dinner, she swept the rooms
and made the beds, and when all the housework was finished
she was obliged to wait on her two proud sisters, make their
fine dresses, and brush their hair when they went to bed.
And at last, when everything was done, she would be so tired
 she could only creep near the kitchen fire and rest
among the cinders.
"Sitting among the cinders as usual!" her stepmother would
cry. "You ought to be called Cinder-Ella instead of Ella."
And soon no one thought of calling her anything but
It happened about this time that the Prince, whose father
was King of that country, was nearly twenty-one years old,
and to celebrate his birthday a splendid ball was to be
given at the royal palace. Invitations were sent out far and
near, and great was the delight of Cinderella's step-sisters
when they also received an invitation, sealed with the royal
seal. They were so wild with joy that they could not help
calling Cinderella from the kitchen to hear the good news.
"I suppose it is not meant for me as well?" asked
"You indeed!" screamed the elder sister. "Who would ask a
dusty little ash-sweeper to go to a royal ball?"
"Go back to your work," said the second
 sister with a
scornful toss of her head. "You go to a ball indeed!"
So Cinderella went sadly back to her work, and all the time
she was sweeping and dusting she dreamed of the lovely ball
and the beautiful dresses, and at night she cried herself to
sleep because she could not go.
What a stir there was when the night of the ball arrived.
Poor Cinderella needed a dozen pairs of hands to do all that
she was told to do.
"Come and brush my hair," cried the eldest sister.
"Be quick and fasten my shoes," said the second.
"And fetch my fan."
"And find my gloves."
But at last they were all dressed, and they stepped into the
carriage and drove off to the ball, telling Cinderella to
take care of the house, and to sit up to let them in. Poor
Cinderella! It really was more than she could bear, and she
sat down by the kitchen fire and sobbed as if her heart
would break. She wanted to go to the ball
 so much, and she
was so tired of work. She did not even care to knit, and she
sat sadly gazing into the fire while the black kitten rolled
her ball of wool into a dreadful tangle.
She sat sadly gazing into the fire
"What are you crying about, my dear?" cried a shrill old
voice at her elbow, and Cinderella started with surprise.
She had thought she was all alone, but there by the window,
through which the new moon was peeping, stood a little old
lady. She was dressed in a red cloak, and a queer
black-pointed hat, and in her hand she held a Magic Wand.
"What are you crying about, my dear?" she asked again. And
she smiled so kindly that poor Cinderella felt sure she was
"I am crying because I cannot go to the ball," answered
Cinderella, getting up to drop a curtsey. "Please, may I ask
who you are?"
"Do you not know me, child?" asked the old woman. "I am your
Fairy Godmother, and I have come to-night to give you your
 "Oh, Godmother dear," cried Cinderella, her eyes shining
with joy. "Do you really mean that I shall go to the ball?
But how can I go in this dusty old frock?" And her face
grew sad again.
"Never mind the frock," said her Godmother. "Do exactly as I
tell you, and leave the rest to me. First, go into the
garden and bring me the biggest pumpkin you can find."
Cinderella ran to the garden as quickly as she could, and
brought back a great yellow pumpkin and put it just outside
"Now look if there are any mice in the mouse-trap, and bring
it to me," said the Fairy Godmother.
Cinderella ran to the cupboard and brought the mouse-trap,
with six mice in it.
"Now fetch the rat-trap," ordered her Godmother.
And Cinderella brought the rat-trap from the cellar, with a
fat old rat in it.
"That is well," said the Fairy Godmother, nodding her head.
"There is just one more thing I want. Look on the warmest
 the garden wall, and bring me two green lizards that
you will find there."
"Here they are, Godmother," said Cinderella as she placed
them beside the pumpkin, and the mouse-trap, and the
Then the Fairy Godmother waved her Magic Wand once over the
pumpkin, and in the twinkling of an eye it was changed into
a golden coach! Another wave of the wand, and the mice were
changed into six cream-coloured ponies, the rat into a fat
old coachman, and the two lizards into footmen in smart
Cinderella clapped her hands with delight, but the Fairy
Godmother had not finished yet. She waved her Magic Wand
once more, and the old ragged frock which Cinderella wore
was changed into the most beautiful robe of white shining
gauze, which looked as if it had been woven from moonbeams
and spangled with silver stars.
"O Godmother! Godmother!" cried Cinderella, "how can I
ever thank you?"
"Never mind about thanking me," said her Godmother, "but
remember to do exactly as
 I bid you. You must leave the ball
before twelve o'clock, for when that hour strikes, the magic
spell will lose its power. The coach will be a pumpkin once
more, the ponies will be turned into mice, the coachman will
be a rat again, the footmen will be lizards, and your
beautiful dress will vanish and only your old rags will be
"Indeed, I will do as you tell me," said Cinderella
earnestly. "But, Godmother, how am I to dance in these old
shoes?" And she pointed down to the worn-out shoes which
peeped from beneath her beautiful dress.
"Tut, tut, I forgot the shoes," said her Godmother. And then
she took out of her pocket the most exquisite little pair of
glass-slippers, which fitted as if they had been made for
"Now away to the ball, and do not forget what I have told
you," said the Fairy Godmother.
So Cinderella stepped into the golden coach, the coachman
cracked his whip, the
 footmen jumped up behind, and the six
cream-coloured ponies went off like the wind.
The dancing had just begun at the palace, and all the fair
ladies were wondering who would be asked to open the ball
with the Prince, when a beautiful stranger entered the
ball-room. The Prince held his breath with surprise; he had
never seen any one half so beautiful before. Every one
turned to look at her, and Cinderella's proud sisters
whispered to each other, "What a lovely dress! She must be
a Princess." They, of course, never dreamed that it could be
their step-sister Cinderella, whom they had left alone by
the kitchen fire at home.
All night long the Prince would dance with no one but the
beautiful stranger, and the time passed so quickly, and
Cinderella was so happy, that she quite forgot to look at
the clock. But just as the Prince had led her out into the
balcony, and wished to know her name, the clock began to
In a flash Cinderella remembered her Godmother's warning,
and she darted away
 and ran down the steps as fast as her
feet could carry her. But in her haste she tripped, and one
of her glass-slippers came off. She could not stop to pick
it up, for the Prince was following close behind, and so she
ran on without it. Just as she reached the great door the
last stroke of twelve sounded, and when the Prince came
running up and asked the guards if any one had passed that
way, they said, "Only a poor girl in rags, your Highness."
Then the Prince went sadly back, for all that was left of
the lovely stranger was the little shining glass-slipper
which he had picked up.
Now what the Fairy Godmother had said was quite true, for
when the last stroke of twelve sounded all the magic was
undone. The golden coach and cream-coloured ponies, the
coachman and footmen disappeared, and only a pumpkin stood
in the courtyard, and six little mice scampered away,
followed by a fat old rat and two green lizards.
Cinderella's beautiful dress vanished, and she had only on
her old patched frock as she
 ran all the way home. The only
thing left was the little glass-slipper, which she hid
carefully away as soon as she reached home. Then she sat
down by the fire to wait for the return of her stepmother
and her two proud sisters.
"Sitting among the cinders as usual," they cried when they
came in. "Come, be quick and help us get ready for bed."
"Please tell me about the ball," said Cinderella humbly.
"What should you know about balls?" said the eldest sister
crossly. She was in a very bad temper because the Prince had
never asked her to dance with him.
"Were there many beautiful ladies there?" asked Cinderella.
"None as beautiful as we were," said the second sister,
"except perhaps a strange Princess who danced all night with
"Do you think I shall ever go to a ball? asked Cinderella
as she brushed their hair.
"A pretty figure you would be at a ball!" they both cried
out together. "Be off to
 bed; you must be dreaming to think
of such a thing."
Meanwhile the Prince could think of nothing else but the
beautiful lady whose name even he did not know, and next day
he sent round heralds throughout the kingdom with a royal
"To each and every subject in our kingdom be it known,
whereas last night a glass-slipper was found in the royal
palace, whomsoever it shall fit, she alone shall be the
And the glass-slipper was placed on a purple velvet cushion
and carried around to every house, that each lady might try
When the herald arrived at the house where Cinderella lived,
the proud sisters were so excited that their hands quite
"I shall try it on first," said the eldest.
"My foot is smaller than yours," said the second, and they
pushed each other very rudely.
But the eldest snatched up the slipper first, and began to
try it on. She pushed
 and tugged till her face grew quite
scarlet, but the shoe would not go even half-way on.
Then the second sister took it and managed to squeeze her
toes in, but the heel would not go on.
"Silly thing; I don't believe it was meant to be worn," she
cried, as she kicked it off and burst into tears.
Meanwhile Cinderella had crept quietly into the room, and as
the herald picked up the shoe, she said in a low voice,
"Please may I try on the glass-slipper?"
"How dare you come in here?" cried the eldest sister.
"You try on the shoe indeed!" cried the second one. "Be off
to the kitchen and sit among your cinders."
But the herald bowed low to Cinderella and offered her the
slipper upon the velvet cushion.
"It is the Prince's command that every one shall try on the
slipper," he said.
Then Cinderella sat down and fitted on the little
glass-slipper as easily as if it had been made for her, and
 one stared with surprise, she took from her
pocket the other slipper which matched it.
"It certainly fits her," said the herald.
"Take it off at once," screamed the two sisters.
But before they could snatch off the shoe, a little old
woman stood in front of Cinderella and waved her Magic Wand.
And in an instant the old ragged dress had vanished, and
there stood the beautiful lady of the ball, in her dress of
woven moonbeams spangled with silver stars.
The Prince did not wait to ask if the glass-slipper had
fitted her, for he knew his beautiful lady at once, and the
wedding-bells were rung that very day.
The two proud sisters were sorry now that they had been so
unkind to Cinderella, but she quite forgot all they had made
her suffer, and was as kind to them as if they had been her
And so Cinderella married the Prince, and lived happily ever
after. She went to all the balls and always wore the
glass-  slippers, for they never grew old, but always looked
as shining and beautiful as on that first night when the
Fairy Godmother had brought them out of her magic pocket.