The Cinderella fairy tale has been adored by children all over the world for centuries. Since the Brothers Grimm version was published in 1812, thousands of other versions have been written and retold. All of them share the endearing main character, Cinderella, who is taken for granted despite her pure and kind heart.
The Well-Loved Tales version of Cinderella, by Vera Southgate, is a retelling for second and third graders. It begins with Cinderella and her two elder sisters, whose mother recently passed away. They lived with their father and Cinderella was forced to do all the work. Her two sisters were beautiful, but because of their terrible tempers, they became ugly. Cinderella worked from dawn until dusk and slept by the hearth of the fire. As she was always dirty, she came to be known as Cinderella. People in the town thought she was a maid because she was only seen in rags.
When the king arranged a grand, three-day feast for his son, the prince, Cinderella’s sisters were invited, but she was not. Her sisters thought it was absurd that Cinderella would even desire to go to the ball. When her sisters left for the ball, she wept. Her sadness was interrupted by the kind voice of her fairy godmother. After hearing Cinderella’s troubles, she gave her instructions to get a pumpkin, a mouse trap with six mice in it, a rat trap with one rat in it, and two lizards. With a few touches of her magic wand, the fairy godmother transformed the items into the most wonderful carriage imaginable, six fine grey horses to pull the carriage, a coachman, and two footmen. The final touch was the transformation of Cinderella’s rags into a beautiful, pink silk ball gown with satin slippers.
After giving careful instructions to return to return home before the clock struck twelve, her fairy godmother waved farewell to Cinderella, and she was off to the ball! No one recognized her, but everyone noticed her. The prince immediately took a liking to her, and refused to dance with anyone else all night long. Cinderella remembered her godmother’s warning, and left the ball just in time. She arrived at home as the clock struck twelve and was quickly transformed back to her former self. Her sisters could talk of nothing but the beautiful princess that stole the prince’s attention and how nobody knew her name.
The next evening, Cinderella’s sisters left again for the second ball. Once again, Cinderella’s godmother appeared and Cinderella was transformed into a princess. This time, she was even more beautiful and wearing a blue satin gown. She danced with the prince all night, but remembered her godmother’s warning with five minutes to spare. She dashed out of the ballroom and was halfway home when the clock struck home and the magic disappeared. She had to run the rest of the way home, but made it and was sitting by the fire upon her sisters’ return. Again, they went on and on about the mysterious princess.
On the evening of the third and final ball, Cinderella’s godmother arrived just as her sisters left for the ball. Her third and final gown was the most beautiful – gold and silver with a diamond tiara. Everyone was stunned with her beauty, and Cinderella lost track of time. She left in such a hurry that she lost her glass slipper. Cinderella ran all the way home in her rags, but the prince found her shoe. He vowed only to marry the woman who fit the dainty shoe.
The prince searched high and low, and many women tried to squeeze their foot into the shoe. He finally arrived at Cinderella’s house and her sisters tried to squeeze their feet into the shoe until their feet bled. The prince asked Cinderella’s father if he had any other daughters. He said she was much too dirty, but the prince insisted.
The shoe fit perfectly, and the prince knew at once this was his bride. Cinderella’s fairy godmother appeared one more time and transformed her into the princess. The prince lifted her onto his horse and rode away with her.
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