Once upon a time, there was a nobleman who re-married. His second wife was the most haughty and vain woman in the world. With her former husband, she had two daughters, who were exactly like her in all things. A nobleman, just like her, had a young daughter from his first marriage. She was likewise sweet and good just like her mother.
As soon as the wedding ceremony ended, the girl's stepmother began to show her real face. She couldn't stand her good qualities because she made her daughters appear more odious. She gave her the meanest and dirtiest work in the house - washing the dishes, tables, cleaning her and her daughter's chambers. She made her sleep in a garret, on a wretched straw bed, while her stepsisters got fine rooms with the most comfortable beds and large mirrors.
"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 patiently endured all and didn't dare to complain to her father, who would scold her, because he was under the influence of his new wife. Only then, the girl would lose her father's love and support, so she endured it all bravely and with a smile.
When she finished all the work, she would sit in the ashes, so everyone in the house called her Cinderella. Even such, in an old torn wardrobe and stained with ashes, was much more beautiful than her stepsisters, who were always nicely dressed.
One day, the young prince decided to have a royal ball. All important persons in the kingdom were invited. Two of Cinderella's half-sisters were also invited. This brought misery to Cinderella as she now had to work all the time. It was necessary that she arranged all the clothes, put decorations on the dresses, and make her stepsisters look as beautiful as possible. Everyone was focused on the ball.
When they chose what they would wear, each time they called Cinderella to beautify them. Although always dirty and poorly dressed, she had good taste and knew how to make beautiful hairstyles.
"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 ball."
Someone else, after much teasing and everything, would be mad, but Cinderella was always good-hearted and not angry. She tried to make them as beautiful as possible. Finally, that long-awaited day has come. Her stepsisters got ready and went to the ball, and Cinderella watched them sadly. Then she started crying.
Her fairy godmother appeared and asked why she was crying. When Cinderella told her, her godmother asked her if she would also like to go to the ball. Cinderella said that she would very much like it and a good fairy answered that she would help her because she is a very good girl and she deserves it.
First, she told her to go to the garden and pick one pumpkin. Cinderella did that and she couldn't understand how the pumpkin would help her get to the royal ball. The good fairy carved a pumpkin and turned it into beautiful gilded carriages with her magic wand. Then they went to the mousetrap, where they found six mice. Cinderella lifted the lid of the mousetrap, and the fairy touched the mice one by one with a wand and turned them into six beautiful horses.
"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."
Cinderella found a rat and the good fairy turned the rat into a beautiful boy who became the coachman of this magical carriage. After that, Cinderella went to bring six lizards, which the fairy turned into six footmen in suits with golden threads. The new footmen immediately climbed into the carriage and behaved with as much dignity as if they had always done so.
Cinderella was delighted with the prepared carriages. The only thing that didn't fit into this perfect picture was the tattered clothes she was wearing.
"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."
Satisfied, Cinderella climbed into the carriage and was ready to go to the royal ball. Her godmother told her to have a good time, but that she should not stay longer than midnight. If she stays even a minute longer, the carriage will turn into a pumpkin, horses into mice, footmen into lizards, and her beautiful dress into ordinary rags. Cinderella promised to leave before midnight and left with the biggest smile on her face.
The king's son was informed that a very beautiful unknown princess had arrived, so he hurried to meet her. He took her hand as she got out of the carriage. He led her to the ceremonial hall where the guests were. When she came in, everyone silenced, the dancing stopped, and the musicians stopped playing - everyone was so amazed by the beauty and great looks of the unknown girl.
Everyone watched Cinderella with enthusiasm. Even the king was delighted with her beauty and whispered to the queen that he had not seen such a beautiful princess for a long time. All the ladies at the ball watched her so that the next day they could make the same hairstyle and sew the same dress.
The prince took Cinderella to the most honorable place to sit. Then he invited her to dance. She was so beautiful while dancing that everyone in the hall admired her. Even when the dinner arrived, the prince did not taste a bite. He watched the beautiful, unknown princess all the time. During that time, Cinderella sat next to her half-sisters and talked amicably. They were both amazed because no one knew this princess.
"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!""
While having fun, Cinderella heard the clock tick fifteen minutes to midnight. She quickly got up from her seat, bowed to everyone, and hurried to the exit. When she got home, she looked for her godmother to thank her for everything and to tell her that the prince had invited her to come to the ball the next day. While she was telling her godmother how she spent her time at the ball, her half-sisters arrived home.
""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 was beside herself when she heard their stories of an unknown princess. She asked them if they knew the name of the beautiful princess, and they told her that no one knows and that the prince himself tried in every way to find out who she was, but that he didn't succeed. Cinderella just laughed sweetly. When she asked one of the sisters to lend her a dress so that she could go to the ball and see that beautiful princess for herself, they just laughed. They didn't want to lend their dresses to "dirty Cinderwench", as they called her.
The next day, the stepsisters got dressed again and went to the ball, and this time Cinderella was even more beautifully and lavishly dressed. The prince was by her side all evening. She had so much fun that she forgot what her godmother had told her. She forgot to watch what time it was and not to stay longer than midnight. Then suddenly she heard the clock ticking midnight. She quickly got up and ran out of the hall, and the young prince followed her, but he couldn't reach her.
While she was running, a glass shoe fell off her foot, which the prince carefully took. Panting, Cinderella arrived home without a carriage or footman, in her usual rites. Of the lavish dress and everything, she was left with only one glass shoe, the same as the one she lost.
The prince ordered that this beautiful girl needs to be found, so he questioned the guards, but they claimed that no beautiful princess passed by them, but only an ordinary girl, in tattered clothes. She certainly didn't look like a princess.
When her half-sisters returned, Cinderella asked them how they had spent their time and whether a beautiful princess was there. They told her that she was and that she was even more beautiful this time, but that she ran out of the hall at midnight and that she lost a glass shoe. They also told her that the prince was looking for her and that he fell very much in love with the mysterious beautiful princess.
The prince announced throughout the kingdom that he would marry the girl to whom the glass shoe would fit. And so all the princesses and duchesses, and even the other girls in the court, began to try on this famous shoe, but in vain. One day the procession came to Cinderella's house. Her two half-sisters tried it. They did their best to put their foot into a small shoe, but they didn't 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.""
Then, Cinderella asked if she could try on a glass shoe. The two girls started laughing out loud and making fun of her. The man who brought the shoe looked carefully at Cinderella's face and saw that she was very beautiful. He was ordered to try on the shoe by all the girls in every house, so he took Cinderella and sat her down on a chair. He brought the shoe to her little foot and it fit her effortlessly. The sisters were amazed. Cinderella then took out the other shoe and put it on.
Then a good fairy appeared and touched Cinderella's shoulder with her magic wand. Her dress became even brighter than the one she wore to the balls. Then her half-sisters realized that Cinderella was actually that beautiful unknown princess. They fell to their knees and begged her to forgive them for always being evil and behaving badly towards her. Cinderella, who has always been good-hearted, passed over everything with a smile this time as well. She hugged her half-sisters and said that she forgives them with all her heart and that from now on she wants to live with them in harmony and love.
Then they took Cinderella, so beautifully dressed, to the prince. Now he liked her even more and after a few days, they got married. Cinderella, who was as good as she was beautiful, brought her half-sisters to the court, and on the same day, they married two of the king's courtiers.