“Cinderella; or, 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, 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 stepmother 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 cleaned madam's chamber, and those of misses,
her daughters. She slept in a sorry garret, on a wretched straw bed, while her sisters slept in fine
rooms, with floors all inlaid, on beds of the very newest fashion, and where they had looking
glasses so large that they could see themselves at their full length from head to foot.
The poor girl bore it all patiently, and dared not tell her father, who would have scolded her; for
his wife governed him entirely. When she had done her work, she used to go to the chimney
corner, and sit down there in the cinders and ashes, which caused her to be called Cinderwench.
Only the younger sister, who was not so rude and uncivil as the older one, called her Cinderella.
However, Cinderella, notwithstanding her coarse apparel, was a hundred times more beautiful
than her sisters, although 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 those of quality. They were
mightily delighted at this invitation, and wonderfully busy in selecting the gowns, petticoats, and
hair dressing that would best become them. This was a new difficulty for Cinderella; for it was
she who ironed her sister's linen and pleated 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 cloak, and my diamond stomacher, which is far from being the
most ordinary one in the world."
They sent for the best hairdresser they could get to make up their headpieces and adjust their
hairdos, and they had their red brushes and patches from Mademoiselle de la Poche.
They also consulted Cinderella in all these matters, for she had excellent ideas, and her advice
was always good. Indeed, she even offered her services to fix their hair, which they very
willingly accepted. As she was doing this, they said to her, "Cinderella, would you not like to go
to the ball?"
"Alas!" said she, "you only jeer me; it is not for such as I am to go to such a place."
"You are quite right," they replied. "It would make the people laugh to see a Cinderwench at a
Anyone but Cinderella would have fixed their hair awry, but she was very good, and dressed
them perfectly well. They were so excited that they hadn't eaten a thing for almost two days.
Then they broke more than a dozen laces trying to have themselves laced up tightly enough to
give them a fine slender shape. They were continually in front of 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. When she lost sight of them, she started to cry.
Her godmother, who saw her all in tears, asked her what was the matter.
"I wish I could. I wish I could." She was not able to speak the rest, being interrupted by her tears
This godmother of hers, who was a fairy, said to her, "You wish that you could go to the ball; is
it not so?"
"Yes," cried Cinderella, with a great sigh.
"Well," said her godmother, "be but a good girl, and I will contrive that you shall go." Then she
took her into her chamber, and said to her, "Run into the garden, and bring me a pumpkin."
Cinderella went immediately to gather the finest she could get, and brought it to her godmother,
not being able to imagine how this pumpkin could help her go to the ball. Her godmother
scooped out all the inside of it, leaving nothing but the rind. Having done this, she struck the
pumpkin with her wand, and it was instantly turned into a fine coach, gilded all over with gold.
She then went to look into her mousetrap, where she found six mice, all alive, and ordered
Cinderella to lift up a little the trapdoor. She gave each mouse, as it went out, a little tap with her
wand, and 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, Cinderella said, "I will go and see if there is not a rat in the rat
trap that we can turn into a coachman."
"You are right," replied her godmother, "Go and look."
Cinderella brought the trap to her, and in it there were three huge rats. The fairy chose the one
which had the largest beard, touched him with her wand, and turned him into a fat, jolly
coachman, who had the smartest whiskers that 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
"Oh, yes," she cried; "but must I go in these nasty rags?"
Her godmother then touched her with her wand, and, at the same instant, her clothes 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 past 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 that her clothes would become just as they
She promised her godmother to leave the ball before midnight; and then drove away, scarcely
able to contain herself for joy. The king's son, who was told that a great princess, whom nobody
knew, had arrived, ran out to receive her. He gave her his hand as she alighted from the coach,
and led her into the hall, among all the company. There was immediately a profound silence.
Everyone stopped dancing, and the violins ceased to play, so entranced was everyone with the
singular beauties of the unknown newcomer.
Nothing was then heard but a confused noise of, "How beautiful she is! How beautiful she is!"
The king himself, old as he was, could not help watching her, and telling the queen softly that it
was a long time since he had seen so beautiful and lovely a creature.
All the ladies were busied in considering her clothes and headdress, hoping to have some made
next day after the same pattern, provided they could find such fine materials and as able hands to
The king's son led her to the most honorable seat, and afterwards took her out to dance with him.
She danced so very gracefully that they all more and more admired her. A fine meal was served
up, but the young prince ate not a morsel, so intently was he busied in gazing on her.
She went and sat down by her sisters, showing them a thousand civilities, giving them part of the
oranges and citrons which the prince had presented her with, which very much surprised them,
for they did not know her. While Cinderella was thus amusing her sisters, she heard the clock
strike eleven and three-quarters, whereupon she immediately made a courtesy to the company
and hurried away as fast as she could.
Arriving home, she ran to seek out her godmother, and, after having thanked her, she said she
could not but heartily wish she might go to the ball the next day as well, because the king's son
had invited her.
As she was eagerly telling her godmother everything that had happened at the ball, her two
sisters knocked at the door, which Cinderella ran and opened.
"You stayed such a long time!" she cried, gaping, rubbing her eyes and stretching herself as if
she had been sleeping; she had not, however, had any manner of inclination to sleep while they
were away from home.
"If you had been at the ball," said one of her sisters, "you would not have been tired with it. The
finest princess was there, the most beautiful that mortal eyes have ever seen. She showed us a
thousand civilities, and gave us oranges and citrons."
Cinderella seemed very indifferent in the matter. Indeed, she asked them the name of that
princess; but they told her they did not know it, and that the king's son was very uneasy on her
account and would give all the world to know who she was. At this Cinderella, smiling, replied,
"She must, then, be very beautiful indeed; how happy you have been! Could not I see her? Ah,
dear Charlotte, do lend me your yellow dress which you wear every day."
"Yes, to be sure!" cried Charlotte; "lend my clothes to such a dirty Cinderwench as you are! I
should be such a fool."
Cinderella, indeed, well expected such an answer, and was very glad of the refusal; for she
would have been sadly put to it, if her sister had lent her what she asked for jestingly.
The next day the two sisters were at the ball, and so was Cinderella, but dressed even more
magnificently than before. The king's son was always by her, and never ceased his compliments
and kind speeches to her. All this was so far from being tiresome to her, and, indeed, she quite
forgot what her godmother had told her. She thought that it was no later than eleven when she
counted the clock striking twelve. She jumped up and fled, as nimble as a deer. The prince
followed, but could not overtake her. She left behind one of her glass slippers, which the prince
picked up most carefully. She reached home, but quite out of breath, and in her nasty old clothes,
having nothing left of all her finery but one of the little slippers, the mate to the one that she had
The guards at the palace gate were asked if they had not seen a princess go out. They replied that
they had seen nobody leave but a young girl, very shabbily dressed, and who had more the air of
a poor country wench than a gentlewoman.
When the two sisters returned from the ball Cinderella asked them if they had been well
entertained, and if the fine lady had been there.
They told her, yes, but that she hurried away immediately when it struck twelve, and with so
much haste that she dropped one of her little glass slippers, the prettiest in the world, which the
king's son had picked up; that he had done nothing but look at her all the time at the ball, and that
most certainly he was very much in love with the beautiful person who owned the glass slipper.
What they said was very true; for a few days later, the king's son had it proclaimed, by sound of
trumpet, that he would marry her whose foot this slipper would just fit. They began to try it on
the princesses, then the duchesses and all the court, but in vain; it was brought to the two sisters,
who did all they possibly could to force their foot into the slipper, but they did not succeed.
Cinderella, who saw all this, and knew that it was her slipper, said to them, laughing, "Let me see
if it will not fit me."
Her sisters burst out laughing, and began to banter with her. The gentleman who was sent to try
the slipper looked earnestly at Cinderella, and, finding her very handsome, said that it was only
just that she should try as well, and that he had orders to let everyone try.
He had Cinderella sit down, and, putting the slipper to her foot, he found that it went on very
easily, fitting her as if it had been made of wax. Her two sisters were greatly astonished, but then
even more so, when Cinderella pulled out of her pocket the other slipper, and put it on her other
foot. Then in came her godmother and touched her wand to Cinderella's clothes, making them
richer and more magnificent than any of those she had worn 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, said that she forgave them with all
her heart, and wanted them always to love her.
She was taken to the young prince, dressed as she was. He thought she was more charming than
before, and, a few days after, married her. Cinderella, who was no less good than beautiful, gave
her two sisters lodgings in the palace, and that very same day matched them with two great lords
of the court.
Moral: Beauty in a woman is a rare treasure that will always be admired. Graciousness, however,
is priceless and of even greater value. This is what Cinderella's godmother gave to her when she
taught her to behave like a queen. Young women, in the winning of a heart, graciousness is more
important than a beautiful hairdo. It is a true gift of the fairies. Without it nothing is possible;
with it, one can do anything.
Another moral: Without doubt it is a great advantage to have intelligence, courage, good
breeding, and common sense. These, and similar talents come only from heaven, and it is good to
have them. However, even these may fail to bring you success, without the blessing of a
godfather or a godmother.
Beauty and the Beast
Jeanne-Marie LePrince de Beaumont
There was once a very rich merchant, who had six children, three sons, and three daughters;
being a man of sense, he spared no cost for their education, but gave them all kinds of masters.
His daughters were extremely handsome, especially the youngest. When she was little everybody
admired her, and called her "The little Beauty;" so that, as she grew up, she still went by the
name of Beauty, which made her sisters very jealous.
The youngest, as she was handsomer, was also better than her sisters. The two eldest had a great
deal of pride, because they were rich. They gave themselves ridiculous airs, and would not visit
other merchants' daughters, nor keep company with any but persons of quality. They went out
every day to parties of pleasure, balls, plays, concerts, and so forth, and they laughed at their
youngest sister, because she spent the greatest part of her time in reading good books.
As it was known that they were great fortunes, several eminent merchants made their addresses
to them; but the two eldest said, they would never marry, unless they could meet with a duke, or
an earl at least. Beauty very civilly thanked them that courted her, and told them she was too
young yet to marry, but chose to stay with her father a few years longer.
All at once the merchant lost his whole fortune, excepting a small country house at a great
distance from town, and told his children with tears in his eyes, they must go there and work for
their living. The two eldest answered, that they would not leave the town, for they had several
lovers, who they were sure would be glad to have them, though they had no fortune; but the good
ladies were mistaken, for their lovers slighted and forsook them in their poverty. As they were
not beloved on account of their pride, everybody said; they do not deserve to be pitied, we are
very glad to see their pride humbled, let them go and give themselves quality airs in milking the
cows and minding their dairy. But, added they, we are extremely concerned for Beauty, she was
such a charming, sweet-tempered creature, spoke so kindly to poor people, and was of such an
affable, obliging behavior. Nay, several gentlemen would have married her, though they knew
she had not a penny; but she told them she could not think of leaving her poor father in his
misfortunes, but was determined to go along with him into the country to comfort and attend
him. Poor Beauty at first was sadly grieved at the loss of her fortune; "but," said she to herself,
"were I to cry ever so much, that would not make things better, I must try to make myself happy
without a fortune."
When they came to their country house, the merchant and his three sons applied themselves to
husbandry and tillage; and Beauty rose at four in the morning, and made haste to have the house
clean, and dinner ready for the family. In the beginning she found it very difficult, for she had
not been used to work as a servant, but in less than two months she grew stronger and healthier
than ever. After she had done her work, she read, played on the harpsichord, or else sung whilst
On the contrary, her two sisters did not know how to spend their time; they got up at ten, and did
nothing but saunter about the whole day, lamenting the loss of their fine clothes and
acquaintance. "Do but see our youngest sister," said they, one to the other, "what a poor, stupid,
mean-spirited creature she is, to be contented with such an unhappy dismal situation."
The good merchant was of quite a different opinion; he knew very well that Beauty outshone her
sisters, in her person as well as her mind, and admired her humility and industry, but above all
her humility and patience; for her sisters not only left her all the work of the house to do, but
insulted her every moment.
The family had lived about a year in this retirement, when the merchant received a letter with an
account that a vessel, on board of which he had effects, was safely arrived. This news had liked
to have turned the heads of the two eldest daughters, who immediately flattered themselves with
the hopes of returning to town, for they were quite weary of a country life; and when they saw
their father ready to set out, they begged of him to buy them new gowns, headdresses, ribbons,
and all manner of trifles; but Beauty asked for nothing for she thought to herself, that all the
money her father was going to receive, would scarce be sufficient to purchase everything her
"What will you have, Beauty?" said her father.
"Since you have the goodness to think of me," answered she, "be so kind to bring me a rose, for
as none grows hereabouts, they are a kind of rarity." Not that Beauty cared for a rose, but she
asked for something, lest she should seem by her example to condemn her sisters' conduct, who
would have said she did it only to look particular.
The good man went on his journey, but when he came there, they went to law with him about the
merchandise, and after a great deal of trouble and pains to no purpose, he came back as poor as
He was within thirty miles of his own house, thinking on the pleasure he should have in seeing
his children again, when going through a large forest he lost himself. It rained and snowed
terribly; besides, the wind was so high, that it threw him twice off his horse, and night coming
on, he began to apprehend being either starved to death with cold and hunger, or else devoured
by the wolves, whom he heard howling all round him, when, on a sudden, looking through a long
walk of trees, he saw a light at some distance, and going on a little farther perceived it came from
a palace illuminated from top to bottom. The merchant returned God thanks for this happy
discovery, and hastened to the place, but was greatly surprised at not meeting with any one in the
outer courts. His horse followed him, and seeing a large stable open, went in, and finding both
hay and oats, the poor beast, who was almost fami...
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