The Little Glass Slipper
ONCE there was a gentleman who married, for his second wife, the proudest and most haughty woman that was ever seen. She had, by a former husband, two daughters of her own humor, who were, indeed, exactly like her in all things. He had likewise, by another wife, a young daughter, but of unparalleled goodness and sweetness of temper, which she took from her mother, who was the best creature in the world.
No sooner were the ceremonies
of the wedding over but the mother-in-law began to show herself in her
true colors. She could not bear the good qualities of this pretty girl,
and the less because they made her own daughters appear the more odious.
She employed her in the meanest work of the house: she scoured the
dishes, tables, etc., and scrubbed madam's chamber, and those of misses,
her daughters; she lay up in a sorry garret, upon a wretched straw bed,
while her sisters lay in fine rooms, with floors all inlaid, upon beds
of the very newest fashion, and where they had looking-glasses so large
that they might see themselves at their full length from head to foot.
The poor girl bore all patiently, and dared not tell her father, who would have rattled her off; for his wife governed him entirely. When she had done her work, she used to go into the chimney-corner, and sit down among cinders and ashes, which made her commonly be called Cinderwench; but the youngest, who was not so rude and uncivil as the eldest, called her Cinderella. However, Cinderella, notwithstanding her mean apparel, was a hundred times handsomer than her sisters, though they were always dressed very richly.
It happened that the King's son gave a ball, and invited all persons of fashion to it. Our young misses were also invited, for they cut a very grand figure among the quality. They were mightily delighted at this invitation, and wonderfully busy in choosing out such gowns, petticoats, and head-clothes as might become them. This was a new trouble to Cinderella; for it was she who ironed her sisters' linen, and plaited their ruffles; they talked all day long of nothing but how they should be dressed.
"For my part," said the eldest, "I will wear my red velvet suit with French trimming."
"And I," said the
youngest, "shall have my usual petticoat; but then, to make amends
for that, I will put on my gold-flowered manteau, and my diamond
stomacher, which is far from being the most ordinary one in the
Cinderella was likewise called up to them to be consulted in all these matters, for she had excellent notions, and advised them always for the best, nay, and offered her services to dress their heads, which they were very willing she should do. As she was doing this, they said to her:
"Cinderella, would you not be glad to go to the ball?"
"Alas!" said she,
"you only jeer me; it is not for such as I am to go thither."
Anyone but Cinderella would have dressed their heads awry, but she was very good, and dressed them perfectly well They were almost two days without eating, so much were they transported with joy. They broke above a dozen laces in trying to be laced up close, that they might have a fine slender shape, and they were continually at their looking-glass. At last the happy day came; they went to Court, and Cinderella followed them with her eyes as long as she could, and when she had lost sight of them, she fell a-crying.
Her godmother, who saw her all
in tears, asked her what was the matter.
This godmother of hers, who was a fairy, said to her, "Thou wishest thou couldst go to the ball; is it not so?"
"Y--es," cried Cinderella, with a great sigh.
"Well," said her
godmother, "be but a good girl, and I will contrive that thou shalt
go." Then she took her into her chamber, and said to her, "Run
into the garden, and bring me a pumpkin."
immediately to gather the finest she could get, and brought it to her
godmother, not being able to imagine how this pumpkin could make her go
to the ball. Her godmother scooped out all the inside of it, having left
nothing but the rind; which done, she struck it with her wand, and the
pumpkin was instantly turned into a fine coach, gilded all over with
went to look into her mouse-trap, where she found six mice, all alive,
and ordered Cinderella to lift up a little the trapdoor, when, giving
each mouse, as it went out, a little tap with her wand, the mouse was
that moment turned into a fine horse, which altogether made a very fine
set of six horses of a beautiful mouse-colored dapple-gray. Being at a
loss for a coachman,
"I will go and see," says Cinderella, "if there is never a rat in the rat-trap--we may make a coachman of him."
"Thou art in the right," replied her godmother; "go and look."
Cinderella brought the trap to her, and in it there were three huge rats. The fairy made choice of one of the three which had the largest beard, and, having touched him with her wand, he was turned into a fat, jolly coach- man, who had the smartest whiskers eyes ever beheld. After that, she said to her:
"Go again into the garden, and you will find six lizards behind the watering-pot, bring them to me."
|She had no sooner
done so but her godmother turned them into six footmen, who skipped up
immediately behind the coach, with their liveries all bedaubed with gold
and silver, and clung as close behind each other as if they had done
nothing else their whole lives. The Fairy then said to Cinderella:
"Well, you see here an equipage fit to go to the ball with; are you not pleased with it?"
"Oh! yes," cried she; "but must I go thither as I am, in these nasty rags?"
Her godmother only just touched her with her wand, and, at the same instant, her clothes were turned into cloth of gold and silver, all beset with jewels. This done, she gave her a pair of glass slippers, the prettiest in the whole world. Being thus decked out, she got up into her coach; but her godmother, above all things, commanded her not to stay till after midnight, telling her, at the same time, that if she stayed one moment longer, the coach would be a pumpkin again, her horses mice, her coachman a rat, her footmen lizards, and her clothes become just as they were before.
She promised her godmother she
would not fail of leaving the ball before midnight; and then away she
drives, scarce able to contain herself for joy. The King's son who was
told that a great princess, whom nobody knew, was come, ran out to
receive her; he gave her his hand as she alighted out of the coach, and
led her into the ball, among all the company. There was immediately a
profound silence, they left off dancing, and the violins ceased to play,
so attentive was everyone to contemplate the singular beauties of the
unknown new-comer. Nothing was then heard but a confused noise of:
When she got home she ran to
seek out her godmother, and, after having thanked her, she said she
could not but heartily wish she might go next day to the ball, because
the King's son had desired her.
|"Let me see if
it will not fit me."
Her sisters burst out a-laughing, and began to banter her. The gentleman who was sent to try the slipper looked earnestly at Cinderella, and, finding her very handsome, said:
It was but just that she should try, and that he had orders to let everyone make trial.
He obliged Cinderella to sit down, and, putting the slipper to her foot, he found it went on very easily, and fitted her as if it had been made of wax. The astonishment her two sisters were in was excessively great, but still abundantly greater when Cinderella pulled out of her pocket the other slipper, and put it on her foot. Thereupon, in came her godmother, who, having touched with her wand Cinderella's clothes, made them richer and more magnificent than any of those she had before.
And now her two sisters found her to be that fine, beautiful lady whom they had seen at the ball. They threw themselves at her feet to beg pardon for all the ill- treatment they had made her undergo. Cinderella took them up, and, as she embraced them, cried:
That she forgave them with all her heart, and desired them always to love her.
She was conducted to the young prince, dressed as she was; he thought her more charming than ever, and, a few days after, married her. Cinderella, who was no less good than beautiful, gave her two sisters lodgings in the palace.