CINDERELLA OR THE LITTLE GLASS SLIPPER
: Types Of Children's Literature
Once upon a time there was a gentleman who married, for his
second wife, the proudest and most haughty woman that ever was
seen. She had two daughters of her own, who were, indeed, exactly
like her in all things. The gentleman had also a young daughter, of
rare goodness and sweetness of temper, which she took from her
mother, who was the best creature in the world.
The wedding was scarcely o
er, when the stepmother's bad temper
began to show itself. She could not bear the goodness of this
young girl, because it made her own daughters appear the more
odious. The stepmother gave her the meanest work in the house
to do; she had to scour the dishes, tables, etc., and to scrub the floors
and clean out the bedrooms. The poor girl had to sleep in the
garret, upon a wretched straw bed, while her sisters lay in fine
rooms with inlaid floors, upon beds of the very newest fashion, and
where they had looking-glasses so large that they might see themselves
at their full length. The poor girl bore all patiently, and
dared not complain to her father, who would have scolded her if she
had done so, for his wife governed him entirely.
When she had done her work, she used to go into the chimney corner,
and sit down among the cinders; hence she was called Cinderwench.
The younger sister of the two, who was not so rude and uncivil as
the elder, called her Cinderella. However, Cinderella, in spite of
her mean apparel, was a hundred times more handsome than her sisters,
though they were always richly dressed.
It happened that the King's son gave a ball, and invited to it
all persons of fashion. Our young misses were also invited, for
they cut a very grand figure among the people of the countryside.
They were highly delighted with the invitation, and wonderfully
busy in choosing the gowns, petticoats, and head-dresses
which might best become them. This made Cinderella's lot still
harder, 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 elder, "I will wear my red velvet suit
with French trimmings."
"And I," said the younger, "shall wear my usual skirt; but then,
to make amends for that, I will put on my gold-flowered mantle, and
my diamond stomacher, which is far from being the most ordinary
one in the world." They sent for the best hairdressers they could
get, to make up their hair in fashionable style, and bought patches
for their cheeks. Cinderella was consulted in all these matters,
for she had good taste. She advised them always for the best,
and even offered her services to dress their hair, 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?"
"Young ladies," she said, "you only jeer at me; it is not for
such as I am to go there."
"You are right," they replied; "people would laugh to see a
Cinderwench at a ball."
Any one but Cinderella would have dressed their hair awry, but
she was good-natured, and arranged it 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 lace themselves
tight, 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
"I wish I could--I wish I could--" but she could not finish for
Her godmother, who was a fairy, said to her, "You wish you
could go to the ball; is it not so?"
"Alas, yes," said Cinderella, sighing.
"Well," said her godmother, "be but a good girl, and I will see
that you go." Then she took her into her chamber, and said to
her, "Run into the garden, and bring me a pumpkin."
Cinderella went at once to gather the finest she could get, and
brought it to her godmother, not being able to imagine how this
pumpkin could help her to go to the ball. Her godmother scooped
out all the inside of it, leaving nothing but the rind. Then she
struck it with her wand, and the pumpkin was instantly turned into
a fine gilded coach.
She then went to look into the mousetrap, where she found six
mice, all alive. She ordered Cinderella to lift the trapdoor, when,
giving each mouse, as it went out, a little tap with her wand, it was
that moment turned into a fine horse, and the six mice made a 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--we may make a coachman
"You are right," replied her godmother; "go and look."
Cinderella brought the rat-trap to her, and in it there were three
huge rats. The fairy chose the one which had the largest beard,
and, having touched him with her wand, he was turned into a fat
coachman with the finest mustache and whiskers ever seen.
After that, she said to her:
"Go into the garden, and you will find six lizards behind the
watering pot; bring them to me."
She had no sooner done so than her godmother turned them into
six footmen, who skipped up immediately behind the coach, with
their liveries all trimmed with gold and silver, and they held on
as if they had done nothing else their whole lives.
The fairy then said to Cinderella, "Well, you see here a carriage fit
to go to the ball in; are you not pleased with it?"
"Oh, yes!" she cried; "but must I go as I am in these rags?"
Her godmother simply touched her with her wand, and, at the
same moment, her clothes were turned into cloth of gold and
silver, all decked with jewels. This done, she gave her a pair of
the prettiest glass slippers in the whole world. Being thus attired,
she got into the carriage, her godmother commanding her, above all
things, not to stay till after midnight, and 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 would become just as they were before.
She promised her godmother she would not fail to leave the ball
before midnight. She drove away, 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 from the coach, and led her into the hall where
the company were assembled. There was at once a profound silence;
every one left off dancing, and the violins ceased to play, so attracted
was every one by the singular beauties of the unknown newcomer.
Nothing was then heard but a confused sound of voices saying:
"Ha! how beautiful she is! Ha! how beautiful she is!"
The King himself, old as he was, could not keep his eyes off her,
and he told the Queen under his breath that it was a long time since
he had seen so beautiful and lovely a creature.
All the ladies were busy studying her clothes and head-dress, so
that they might have theirs made next day after the same pattern,
provided they could meet with such fine materials and able hands to
The King's son conducted her to the seat of honor, and afterwards
took her out to dance with him. She danced so very gracefully that
they all admired her more and more. A fine collation was served,
but the young Prince ate not a morsel, so intently was he occupied
She went and sat down beside her sisters, showing them a thousand
civilities, and giving them among other things part of the oranges
and citrons with which the Prince had regaled her. This very
much surprised them, for they had not been presented to her.
Cinderella heard the clock strike a quarter to twelve. She at
once made her adieus to the company and hastened away as fast as
As soon as she got home, she ran to find her godmother, and
after having thanked her, she said she much wished she might go
to the ball the next day, because the King's son had asked her to do
so. As she was eagerly telling her godmother all that happened
at the ball, her two sisters knocked at the door; Cinderella opened
it. "How long you have stayed!" said she, yawning, rubbing her
eyes, and stretching herself as if she had been just awakened. She
had not, however, had any desire to sleep since they went from
"If you had been at the ball," said one of her sisters, "you
would not have been tired with it. There came thither the finest
princess, the most beautiful ever was seen with mortal eyes. She
showed us a thousand civilities, and gave us oranges and citrons."
Cinderella did not show any pleasure at this. Indeed, she asked
them the name of the princess; but they told her they did not know
it, and that the King's son was very much concerned, and would
give all the world to know who she was. At this Cinderella, smiling,
"Was she then so very beautiful? How fortunate you have been!
Could I not see her? Ah! dear Miss Charlotte, do lend me your
yellow suit of clothes which you wear every day."
"Ay, to be sure!" cried Miss Charlotte; "lend my clothes to
such a dirty Cinderwench as thou art! I should be out of my
mind to do so."
Cinderella, indeed, expected such an answer and was very glad
of the refusal; for she would have been sadly troubled if her sister
had lent her what she jestingly asked for. The next day the two
sisters went to the ball, and so did Cinderella, but dressed more
magnificently than before. The King's son was always by her
side, and his pretty speeches to her never ceased. These by no
means annoyed the young lady. Indeed, she quite forgot her godmother's
orders to her, so that she heard the clock begin to strike
twelve when she thought it could not be more than eleven. She
then rose 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 took up most carefully. She got home, but quite
out of breath, without her carriage, and in her old clothes, having
nothing left her of all her finery but one of the little slippers, fellow
to the one she had dropped. The guards at the palace gate were
asked if they had not seen a princess go out, and they replied they
had seen nobody go out but a young girl, very meanly dressed, and
who had more the air of a poor country girl than of a young lady.
When the two sisters returned from the ball, Cinderella asked them
if they had a pleasant time, and if the fine lady had been there.
They told her, yes; but that she hurried away the moment 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
taken up. They said, further, that he had done nothing but look
at her all the time, and that most certainly he was very much in
love with the beautiful owner of the glass slipper.
What they said was true; for a few days after the King's son
caused it to be proclaimed, by sound of trumpet, that he would
marry her whose foot this slipper would fit exactly. They began
to try it on the princesses, then on the duchesses, and then on all the
ladies of the Court; but in vain. It was brought to the two sisters,
who did all they possibly could to thrust a foot into the slipper, but
they could not succeed. Cinderella, who saw this, and knew her
slipper, said to them, laughing:
"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 every lady try it
He obliged Cinderella to sit down, and, putting the slipper to her
little foot, he found it went on very easily, and fitted her as if it had
been made of wax. The astonishment of her two sisters was great,
but it was still 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 Cinderella's clothes with her wand,
made them more magnificent than those she had worn before.
And now her two sisters found her to be that beautiful lady they
had seen at the ball. They threw themselves at her feet to beg
pardon for all their ill treatment of her. Cinderella took them up,
and, as she embraced them, said that she forgave them with all her
heart, and begged them to love her always.
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 as good as she was beautiful, gave her two
sisters a home in the palace, and that very same day married them to
two great lords of the Court.