Once upon a time…
There was a family, beautiful and rich. The parents had one child, a girl who was lovely and good in every way. Tragically, the mother died and the father remarried.
His new wife had two daughters of her own, but they were cruel. The father disappeared from the story, while the step-mother and step-sisters abused the poor child. They forced her to sleep in the kitchen with only the cinders of the cooking fire to warm her. She is named for the first time: Cinderella.
Cinderella was good and strong and kind. She bore the abuse and completed the chores they gave her. She scrubbed and cooked and folded and sweated from sun up to sun down. She fell from her former status of well-to-do young lady to poor scullery maid.
One day, the prince of the land announced a ball. Cinderella’s step-family pulled out all the stops to prepare for the party with gowns and feathers and jewels. Cinderella helped the step-sisters dress for the ball. Cinderella wanted to go, too, but she had nothing to wear and no way to get to the palace. Devastated, she sobbed, and her fairy godmother appeared.
One pumpkin, some transformed creatures, and a fair amount of magic later, Cinderella was dressed and ready to go to the party in a gown that revealed her beauty and her true riches. The crowning glory of her outfit was a pair of perfect glass slippers that fit her like a glove—Cinderella apparently has the tiniest feet in the kingdom. The fairy godmother cautioned Cinderella that the magic would only last until midnight. Once the clock finished chiming the hour, all the objects would return to their normal state.
At the palace, Cinderella was announced as a princess from far away. The Prince was immediately taken by her beauty. He quickly fell in love with her grace and her manners: remember, she was raised as a lady in a wealthy household. The king, the queen, and all the guests are entranced by her loveliness.
Cinderella and The Prince danced together all evening. However, the clock started to strike midnight and Cinderella remembered the magic will disappear. She fled the scene, leaving behind a single glass slipper. She returned home before anyone realized she ever left.
The prince was determined to find and marry this wonderful, mysterious woman. He took the dainty glass slipper from household to household for all the ladies to try. When he reached Cinderella’s house, he went down the line from step-sister to step-sister to step-mother. Their feet were all too large.
Finally, Cinderella put it on and it was a perfect fit, of course. She produced the matching slipper from her pocket and put it on, too. Her rags were once more transformed by the fairy godmother into a beautiful gown. The Prince swept her off to palace where they lived happily ever after.