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Little Cinderella   By:

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In former times, a rich man and his wife were the parents of a beautiful little daughter; but before she had arrived at womanhood, her dear mother fell sick, and seeing that death was near, she called her little child to her, and thus addressed her: "My child, always be good, and bear everything that occurs to you with patience; then, whatever toil and troubles you may suffer during life, happiness will be your lot in the end."

After uttering these words the poor lady died, and her daughter was overwhelmed with grief at the loss of so good and kind a mother.

The father, too, was very unhappy; but he sought to get rid of his sorrow by marrying another wife; and he looked for some amiable lady who might be a second mother to his child, and a companion to himself. Unfortunately, his choice fell on a widow lady, of a proud and overbearing temper, who had two daughters by a former marriage, both as haughty and bad tempered as herself.

Before marriage this woman had the cunning to conceal her bad qualities so well that she appeared to be very amiable; but the marriage was scarcely over when her real character showed itself. She could not endure her amiable step daughter, with all her charming qualifications; for they only made her own daughters appear more hateful. She gave her the most degrading occupations, and compelled her to wash the dishes and clean the stairs, and to sweep her own rooms and those of her sisters in law.


When the poor girl had finished her work, she used to sit in the chimney corner amongst the cinders, which made her sisters give her the name of "Cinderella." However, in her shabby clothes Cinderella was ten times handsomer than her sisters, let them be ever so magnificently dressed.

The poor girl slept in the garret, upon a wretched straw mattress, whilst the bed chambers of her sisters were furnished with every luxury and elegance, and provided with mirrors, in which they could survey themselves from head to foot. The amiable creature bore this ill treatment with patience, and did not venture to complain to her father, who was so completely governed by his wife that he would only have scolded her.

It happened that the king's son sent invitations to a ball, which was to last two nights, and to which all the great people of the land were invited, the two sisters among the rest. This delighted them extremely, and their thoughts were entirely occupied in selecting their most becoming dresses for the important occasion. Poor Cinderella had now more work to do than ever, as it was her business to iron their linen, and starch their ruffles. The sisters talked of nothing but preparations for the ball. The eldest said, "I shall wear my crimson velvet dress, and point lace;" and the younger, "I shall put on my usual dress petticoat, a mantle embroidered with gold flowers, and a tiara of diamonds." They sent to engage the services of the most fashionable hairdresser. They also called Cinderella to their aid; for she had very good taste, and she offered, in the most amiable manner, to arrange their heads herself; of which offer they were only too happy to avail themselves.


Whilst so occupied, the eldest said, "Cinderella, should you like to go to the ball?"

"Alas!" said she, "you are ridiculing me. I am not likely to go to the ball."

"You are right," replied the sister; "people would be amused to see a Cinderella there."

If Cinderella had been at all unamiable she might have dressed their heads all awry, for such unkindness; but she returned good for evil, and did it in the best possible style.

The sisters were in such spirits they could scarcely eat for two days. All their time was spent before the looking glass, and more than a dozen laces were broken in attempts to tighten their waists into elegant shapes... Continue reading book >>

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