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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 humor, 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 mother-in-law 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 scrubbed madam's chamber, and those of misses, her
daughters; she lay up in a sorry garret, upon a wretched
straw bed, while her sisters lay in fine rooms, with floors
all inlaid, upon beds of the very newest fashion, and
where they had looking-glasses so large that they might
see themselves at their full length from head to foot.
The poor girl bore all patiently, and dared not tell her
father, who would have rattled her off; for his wife
governed him entirely. When she had done her work, she
used to go into the chimney-corner, and sit down among
cinders and ashes, which made her commonly be called
Cinderwench; but the youngest, who was not so rude and
uncivil as the eldest, called her Cinderella. However,
Cinderella, notwithstanding her mean apparel, was a
hundred times handsomer than her sisters, though 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 the quality.
They were mightily delighted at this invitation, and
wonderfully busy in choosing out such gowns, petticoats,
and head-clothes as might become them. This was a new
trouble to Cinderella; 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 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 manteau, and my diamond stomacher,
which is far from being the most ordinary one in the
They sent for the best tire-woman they could get to
make up their head-dresses and adjust their double pinners,
and they had their red brushes and patches from
Mademoiselle de la Poche.
Cinderella was likewise called up to them to be
consulted in all these matters, for she had excellent notions,
and advised them always for the best, nay, and offered
her services to dress their heads, which they were very
willing she should do. As she was doing this, they said to
"Cinderella, would you not be glad to go to the ball?"
"Alas!" said she, "you only jeer me; it is not for such
as I am to go thither."
"Thou art in the right of it," replied they; "it would
make the people laugh to see a Cinderwench at a ball."
Anyone but Cinderella would have dressed their heads
awry, but she was very good, and dressed them 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 be laced up close, 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 the matter.
"I wish I could--I wish I could--"; she was not able
to speak the rest, being interrupted by her tears and
This godmother of hers, who was a fairy, said to her,
"Thou wishest thou couldst go to the ball; is it not so?"
"Y--es," cried Cinderella, with a great sigh.
"Well," said her godmother, "be but a good girl, and
I will contrive that thou shalt 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 make her go to the
ball. Her godmother scooped out all the inside of it,
having left nothing but the rind; which done, she struck it
with her wand, and the pumpkin was instantly turned
into a fine coach, gilded all over with gold.
She then went to look into her mouse-trap, where she
found six mice, all alive, and ordered Cinderella to lift
up a little the trapdoor, when, giving each mouse, as it
went out, a little tap with her wand, 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,
"I will go and see," says Cinderella, "if there is never
a rat in the rat-trap--we may make a coachman of him."
"Thou art in the right," replied her godmother; "go
Cinderella brought the trap to her, and in it there were
three huge rats. The fairy made choice of one of the
three which had the largest beard, and, having touched
him with her wand, he was turned into a fat, jolly
coachman, who had the smartest whiskers 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 it?"
"Oh! yes," cried she; "but must I go thither as I am,
in these nasty rags?"
Her godmother only just touched her with her wand,
and, at the same instant, her clothes were 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 till after 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 her clothes become
just as they were before.
She promised her godmother she would not fail of
leaving the ball before midnight; and then away she drives,
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 out of the coach, and led her into the ball,
among all the company. There was immediately a profound
silence, they left off dancing, and the violins ceased
to play, so attentive was everyone to contemplate the
singular beauties of the unknown new-comer. Nothing
was then heard but a confused noise of:
"Ha! how handsome she is! Ha! how handsome 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, that they might have some made next day
after the same pattern, provided they could meet with
such fine material and as able hands to make them.
The King's son conducted her to the most honorable
seat, and afterward took her out to dance with him; she
danced so very gracefully that they all more and more
admired her. A fine collation was served up, whereof 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 hasted
away as fast as she could.
When she got home she ran to seek out her godmother,
and, after having thanked her, she said she could not but
heartily wish she might go next day to the ball, because
the King's son had desired her.
As she was eagerly telling her godmother whatever had
passed at the ball, her two sisters knocked at the door,
which Cinderella ran and opened.
"How long you have stayed!" cried she, gaping, rubbing
her eyes and stretching herself as if she had been just
waked out of her sleep; she had not, however, any manner
of inclination to sleep since they went from home.
"If thou hadst been at the ball," said one of her sisters,
"thou wouldst 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 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,
"She must, then, be very beautiful indeed; how happy
you have been! Could not I 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 a fool."
Cinderella, indeed, expected well such 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
The next day the two sisters were at the ball, and so was
Cinderella, but dressed more magnificently than before.
The King's son was always by her, and never ceased his
compliments and kind speeches to her; to whom all this
was so far from being tiresome that she quite forgot what
her godmother had recommended to her; so that she, at
last, counted the clock striking twelve when she took it
to be no 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, and in her nasty old clothes,
having nothing left her of all her finery but one of the
little slippers, fellow to that she dropped. The guards at
the palace gate were asked:
If they had not seen a princess go out.
Who said: They had seen nobody go out but a young
girl, very meanly 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 diverted, 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 taken
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
What they said was very 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 the slipper would
just fit. They whom he employed began to try it upon
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 thrust their foot into the slipper, but
they could not effect it. Cinderella, who saw all 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,
It was but just that she should try, and that he had
orders to let everyone make trial.
He obliged Cinderella to sit down, and, putting the
slipper to her foot, he found it went on very easily, and
fitted her as if it had been made of wax. The astonishment
her two sisters were in was excessively great, but
still abundantly 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 with
her wand Cinderella's clothes, made them richer and
more magnificent than any of those she had 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, cried:
That she forgave them with all her heart, and desired
them always to love her.
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 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.
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