There was once a very rich
gentleman who lost his wife; and having loved her exceedingly, he was
very sorry when she died. Finding himself quite unhappy for her loss, he
resolved to marry a second time, thinking by this means he should be as
happy as before. Unfortunately, however, the lady he chanced to fix upon
was the proudest mid most haughty woman ever known; she was always out
of humour with every one, nobody could please her, and she returned the
civilities of those about her with the most affronting disdain. She had
two daughters by a former husband, whom she brought up to be proud and
idle: indeed, in temper and behaviour they perfectly resembled their
mother they did not love their books, and would not learn to work; in
short, they were disliked by everybody.
The gentleman on his
side, too, had a daughter, who, in sweetness of temper and carriage, was
the exact likeness of her own mother, whose death he had so much
lamented, amid whose tender care of the little girl he was in hopes to
see replaced by that of his new bride.
But scarcely was the
marriage ceremony over, before his wife began to show her real temper;
she could not bear the pretty little girl, because her sweet obliging
manners made those of her own daughters appear a thousand times the more
odious and disagreeable.
She therefore ordered her
to live in the kitchen and, if ever she brought anything into the
parlour, always scolded her till she was out of sight. She made her work
with the servants, in washing the dishes, and rubbing the tables and
chairs: it was her place to clean madam's chamber, and that of the
misses, her daughters, which was all inlaid, had beds of the newest
fashion, and looking-glasses so long and broad, that they saw themselves
from head to foot in them while the little creature herself was forced
to sleep up in a sorry garret, upon a wretched straw bed, without
curtains, or anything to make her comfortable.
The poor child bore all
this with the greatest patience, not daring to complain to her father,
who, she feared, would only reprove her, for she saw that his wife
governed him entirely. When she had done all her work she used to sit in
the chimney corner among the cinders; so that in the house she went by
the name of Cinderbreech: the youngest of the two sisters, however,
being rather more civil than the eldest, called her Cinderella. And
Cinderella, dirty and ragged as she was, as often happens in such cases,
was a thousand times prettier than her sisters, drest out in all their
It happened that the
king's son gave a ball, to which he invited all the persons of fashion
in the country; our two misses were of' the number; for the king's son
did not know how disagreeable they were; but supposed, as they were so
much indulged, that they were extremely amiable, he did not invite
Cinderella, for he had never seen or heard of her.
The two sisters began
immediately to be very busy in preparing for the happy day: nothing;
could exceed their joy; every moment of their time was spent in fancying
such gowns, shoes, and head-dresses as would set them off to the
greatest advantage. All this was new vexation to poor Cinderella, for it
was she who ironed and plaited her sisters' muslins. They talked of
nothing but how they should he dressed.
"I,'' said the eldest,
''will wear lily scarlet velvet with French trimming."
"And I," said the
youngest, "shall wear the same petticoat I had made for the last ball;
but then, to make amends for that, I shall put on my gold muslin train,
and wear my diamonds in my hair; with these I must certainly look well."
They sent several miles
for the best hairdresser that was to he had, and all their ornaments
were bought at the most fashionable shops.
In the morning of the
ball they called up Cinderella to consult with her about their dress,
for they knew she had a great deal of taste. Cinderella gave them the
best advice she could, and even offered to assist them in adjusting
their head-dresses; which was exactly what they wanted, and they
accordingly accepted her proposals.
While Cinderella was
busily engaged in dressing her sisters, they said to her, "Should you
not like, Cinderella, to go to the ball?"
"Ah," replied Cinderella,
"you are only laughing at me; it is not for such as I am to think of
going to balls."
"You are in the right,"
said they; "folks might laugh indeed to see a Cinderbreech dancing in a
Any other than Cinderella
would have tried to make the haughty creatures look as ugly as she
could; but the sweet-tempered girl, on the contrary, did every thing she
could think of to make them look well.
The sisters had scarcely
eaten anything for two days, so great was their joy as the happy day
drew near. More than a dozen laces were broken in endeavouring to give
them a fine slender shape, and they were always before the
At length the
much-wished-for moment arrived; the proud misses stepped into a
beautiful carriage, and, followed by servants in rich liveries, drove
towards the palace. Cinderella followed them with her eyes as far as she
could; and when they were out of sight, she sat down in a corner and
began to cry.
Her godmother, who saw
her in tears, asked what ailed her.
I wish—I w-i-s-h," sobbed
poor Cinderella, without being able to say another word.
The godmother, who was a
fairy, said to her, "You wish to go to the ball, Cinderella; is not this
"Alas! yes," replied the
floor child, sobbing still more than before.
"Well, well, be a good
girl,'' said the godmother, "and you shall go.''
She then led Cinderella
to her bed-chamber, and said to her, ''Run into the garden and bring me
Cinderella flew like
lightning, and brought the finest she could lay hold of. Her godmother
scooped out the inside, leaving nothing but the rind; she then struck it
with her wand, and the pumpion instantly became a fine coach covered all
over with gold. She next Iooked into her mouse-trap where she found six
mice all alive and brisk. She told Cinderella to lift up the door of the
trap very gently; and as the mice passed out, she touched them one by
one with her wand, and each immediately became a beautiful horse of a
fine dapple grey mouse colour.
"Here, my child," said
the godmother, "is a coach and horse, too, as handsome as your sisters;
but what shall we do for a postilion."
"I will run," replied
Cinderella, "and see if there be not a rat in the rat-trail. If I find
one, he will do very well for a postilion."
"Well thought of my
child!" said her godmother, make what haste you can.
Cinderella brought the
rat-trap, which to her great joy, contained three of the largest rats
ever seen. The fairy chose the one which had the longest beard, and
touching him with her wand, he was instantly turned into a smart,
handsome postilion, with the finest pair of whiskers, imaginable.
She next said to
Cinderella, "Go again into the garden, and you will find six lizards
behind the watering pot; bring them hither."
This was no sooner done,
than, with a stroke from the fairy's wand, they were changed into six
footmen, who all immediately jumped up behind the coach in gold-laced
liveries, and stood side by side as cleverly as if they had been used to
nothing else the whole of their lives.
The fairy then said to
Cinderella, "Well, my dear, is not this such an equipage as you could
wish for to take you to the ball? Are you not delighted with it?"
Cinderella, with hesitation; "but must I go thither in these filthy
Her godmother touched her
with the wand, and her rags instantly became the most magnificent
apparel, ornamented with the most costly jewels in the whole world. To
these she added a beautiful pair of glass slippers, and bade her set out
for the palace.
The fairy, however,
before she took leave of Cinderella, strictly charged her on no account
whatever to stay at the ball after the clock had struck twelve telling
her that, should she stay but a single moment after that time, her coach
would again become a pumpion, her horses mice, her footmen lizards, and
her fine clothes be changed to filthy rags.
Cinderella did not fail
to promise all her godmother desired of her; and, almost wild with joy,
drove away to the palace.
As soon as she arrived,
the king's son, who had been informed that a great princess whom nobody
knew was come to the ball, presented himself at the door of the
carriage, helped her out, and conducted her to the ball-room.
Cinderella no sooner
appeared than every one was silent; both the dancing and the music
stopped, and everybody was employed in gazing at the uncommon beauty of
this unknown stranger: nothing was heard but whispers of :How handsome
she is!" The king himself, old as he was, could not keep his eyes from
her, and continually repeated to the queen, that it was a long time
since he had seen so lovely a creature. The ladies endeavoured to find
out how her clothes were made, that they might get some of the same
pattern for themselves by the next day, Should they be lucky enough to
meet with such handsome materials, and such good work people to make
The king's son conducted
her to the most honourable seat, and soon after took her out to dance
with him. She both moved and danced so gracefully, that every one
admired her still more than before, and she was thought the most
beautiful and accomplished lady ever beheld.
After some time a
delicious collation was served up but the young prince was so busily
employed in looking at her, that he did not eat a morsel.
Cinderella seated herself
near her sisters, paid them a thousand attentions, and offered them a
part of the oranges and sweetmeats with which the prince had presented
her; while they on their part were quite astonished at these civilities
from a lady whom they did not know.
As they were conversing
together, Cinderella heard the clock strike eleven and three quarters:
she rose from her seat, curtsied to the company, and hastened away as
fast as she could.
As soon as she got home
she flew to her godmother, and, after thanking her a thousand times,
told her she would give the world to be able to go again to the ball the
next day, for the king's son had entreated her to be there.
While she was telling her
godmother everything that had happened to her at the ball, the two
sisters knocked a loud rat-tat-tat at the door, which Cinderella opened.
"How late you have
stayed:" said she, yawning, rubbing her eyes, and stretching herself as
if just awaked out of her sleep, though she had in truth felt no desire
to sleep since they left her.
"If you had been at the
ball," said one of the sisters, "let me tell you, you would not have
been sleepy, there came thither the handsomest, yes, the very handsomest
princess ever beheld! She paid us a thousand attentions, and made us
take a part of the oranges and sweetmeats the prince had given her."
Cinderella could scarcely
contain herself for joy; she asked her sisters the name of the princess:
to which they replied, that nobody had been able to discover who she
was; that the king's son was extremely grieved on that account, and had
offered a large reward to any person who could find out where she came
Cinderella smiled, and
said, "How very beautiful she must be! How fortunate you are. Ah,
could I but see her for a single moment! Dear Miss Charlotte, lend me
only the yellow gown you wear every day, and let me go and see her.''
"Oh, yes, I warrant you;
lend my clothes to a Cinderbreech! Do you really suppose me such a fool?
No, no; pray, Miss Forward, mind your proper business, and leave dress
and balls to your betters."
Cinderella expected some
such answer, and was by no means sorry, for she would have been sadly at
a loss what to do if her sister had lent her the clothes that she asked
The next day the two
sisters again appeared at the hall, and so did Cinderella, but dressed
much more magnificently than the night before. The king's son was
continually by her side, and said the most obliging things to her
The charming young
creature was far from being tired of all the agreeable things she met
with: on the contrary, she was so delighted with them, that she entirely
forgot the charge her godmother had given her.
Cinderella at last heard
the striking of a clock, and counted one, two, three, untill she came to
twelve, though she had thought that it could be but eleven at most. She
got up and flew as nimbly as a deer out of the ball-room.
The prince tried to
overtake her; but Cinderella's fright made her run the faster. However,
in her great hast, she dropped one of the little glass slippers from her
foot, which the prince stooped down and picked up, and took the greatest
care of it possible.
Cinderella got home tired
and out of breath, in her dirty old clothes, without either coach or
footman, and having nothing left of her magnificence but the fellow of
the glass slipper which she had dropped.
In the meanwhile, the
prince had enquired of all his guards at the palace gates, if they had
not seen a magnificent princess pass out, and which way she went.
The guards replied that
no princess had passed the gates; and that they had not seen a creature
but a little ragged girl, who looked more like a beggar than a princess.
When the two sisters
returned from the ball, Cinderella asked them if they had been as much
amused as the night before, and if the beautiful princess had been
there. They told her that she had; but that as soon as the clock struck
twelve she hurried away from the ball-room, and in the great haste she
made, had dropped one of her glass slippers, which was the prettiest
shape that could be; that the king's son had picked it up, and had done
nothing but looked at it all the rest of the evening; and that everybody
believed he was violently in love with the handsome lady to whom it
This was very true; for a
few days after, the prince had it proclaimed by sound of trumpet, that
he would marry the lady whose foot should exactly fit the slipper he had
Accordingly, the prince's
messengers took the slipper, and carried it first to all the princesses;
then to the duchesses: in short, to all the ladies of the court—but
They then brought it to
the two sisters, who each tried all she could to squeeze her foot into
the slipper, but saw at last that this was quite impossible.
Cinderella, who was
looking at them all the while, and knew her slipper, could not help
smiling, and ventured to say, Pray, sir, let me try to get on the
Her sisters burst out
a-laughing in the rudest manner possible:--"Very likely, truly," said
one of them, "that such a clumsy foot as yours should fit the slipper of
a beautiful princess."
The gentleman, however,
who brought the slipper, turned round, looked at Cinderella, and
observing that she was very handsome, said, that as he was ordered by
the prince to try it on every one till it fitted, it was just that
Cinderella should have her turn.
Saving this, he made her
sit down: and putting the slipper to her foot, it instantly slipped in,
and he saw that it fitted her like wax.
The two sisters were
amazed to see that the slipper fitted Cinderella: but how much greater
was their astonishment, when she drew out of her pocket the other
slipper and put it on. Just at this moment the fairy entered the room,
and touching Cinderella's clothes with her wand, made her all at once
appear more magnificently dressed than they had seed her before.
The two sisters
immediately perceived that she was the beautiful princess they had seen
at the ball. They threw themselves at her feet, and asked her
forgiveness for the ill treatment she had received from them. Cinderella
helped them to rise, and, tenderly embracing them, said that she forgave
them with all her heart, and begged them to bestow upon her their
Cinderella was then
conducted, drest as she was, to the doting prince, who finding her more
beautiful than ever, instantly desired her to accept of his hand.
The marriage ceremony
took place in a few days and Cinderella, who was as amiable as she was
handsome, gave her sisters magnificent apartments in the palace, and a
short time after married them to two great lords of the court.