Cinderella’s story has fascinated children over many generations. The classic tale has been rendered in several versions and languages. The story is all about hope and being fair in the face of injustice, which makes it an excellent fairy tale to tell your child. Here, MomJunction presents the complete story of Cinderella along with charming illustrations.
Once upon a time, in a vast kingdom lived a family of three sisters and their mother. The youngest of the three sisters was a lovely lass called Cinderella. Cinderella’s mother died when she was young and left her to the care of her father and stepmother.
The stepmother and her daughters never loved Cinderella. They would mock her for her plain clothes, make her do all the household chores, and treat her like a slave. Cinderella was made to clean the cinders – the soot and dust left at a fireplace – which left her hands, face, and clothes dirty, getting her the nickname “Cinderella.”
Cinderella always followed her mother’s advice to be good with everyone and have a kind heart. She never held any resentment or anger towards her stepmother and stepsisters. She loved them and treated them with the utmost respect.
One day an invitation to a royal ball arrived at their cottage. The prince was looking for a bride, and the king invited women of marriageable age to the event. Cinderella’s sisters and their mother were elated and asked Cinderella to stitch the most beautiful dresses for the royal ball, which she did.
Just before the ball, Cinderella discovered a gown that once belonged to her mother. The dress was old, but a bit of decoration would make it lovely again. So Cinderella stitched some beads to the gown, added frills to the rough edges, and stored it away in the attic, where her sisters cannot find it. She wanted to wear it to the ball.
The evening of the ball, excitement filled the entire kingdom. Cinderella helped her sisters get dressed for the ball and went to the attic to try her mother’s dress. She wore it and looked gorgeous! Feeling happy, she burst into a song while she combed her hair and got decked for the ball. The song caught the attention of her sisters and stepmother, who were astounded to see Cinderella in such a lovely gown.
“Where do you think you are going?” yelled the stepmother.
“I thought I could join the ball with you. I want to come, please.” said a scared Cinderella.
“There is no place for servants at balls! How dare you wear a gown!” screamed her two sisters.
Saying so, the sisters pounced on Cinderella in a fit of rage and tore her gown to tatters. They ripped the frills and broke the beads despite Cinderella’s repeated protests. The stepmother watched silently making no objections to her daughters’ behavior. Once they were sure Cinderella’s dress was ruined, they left home leaving a shattered Cinderella alone.
Cinderella lay sobbing on the floor. “Now I will never be able to go to the ball” she lamented. As she laid there with her sorrow, all alone by herself, she heard a voice, “Do not cry, my child.”
Cinderella turned around and there stood behind her an old lady with a kind expression on her face and a wand in her hand. Cinderella stood up.
“Who are you, lady?”
“I am your fairy godmother. You have suffered a lot of injustice, my dear Cinderella. But your happiness is important too. You shall go to the ball just like your sisters.”
Saying those words, the fairy godmother waved her magic wand and turned Cinderella’s torn clothes into a beautiful gown. She also turned a pumpkin in the garden to a grand coach. Cinderella’s two pet mice transformed into coach-drawing horses while the other two became the coachmen. Cinderella was overjoyed. She didn’t know how to thank fairy godmother.
“Now go enjoy yourself at the ball. But remember, the magic ends at midnight. You must return home. Otherwise, your gown will turn back to tattered clothes.”
Cinderella hugged the godmother and assured her that she would be back before midnight.
The beautiful Cinderella had everyone’s attention at the ball. She was received by a royal duke and the king, the prince, and the guests thought that Cinderella was a princess from another kingdom. Charmed by Cinderella’s beauty, the prince danced with her all evening, making her feel very special.
Lost in the joy of the moment, Cinderella forgot time. But just as the clock shows ten minutes to midnight, she realized and excused herself from the ball and hurriedly returned to her coach. The prince and the duke ran after her to ask her name, but Cinderella was in a great hurry. Her scurry down a flight of stairs caused one of her glass sandals to fall off.
Rather than going back to collect it, Cinderella rushed home and arrived just in time before the magic ended. Luckily for her, her sisters and stepmother had not reached home yet and did not know that the lovely girl at the ball was Cinderella.
Back in the palace, the young prince had fallen in love with Cinderella. But he was disappointed and sad that he did not know Cinderella’s name nor how to trace her. The king, seeing his son like that, asks the duke to find Cinderella using the sandal. Whoever the shoe fits perfectly must be Cinderella, the girl that his son wants to marry.
The Duke visited each house in the kingdom and tried the sandal on all the girls who attended the ball. Every woman tried fitting their foot in the glass sandal but to no avail. The sandal was made for the delicate feet possessed only by Cinderella.
Even Cinderella’s sisters excitedly try the sandal when the Duke visits them. Cinderella, knowing that the king is looking for her, also wanted to try the sandal. So she feebly asked her stepmother, “Can I try the sandal when the Duke arrives?”
Cinderella’s request annoyed her sisters and stepmother. “You? How can you? The sandal is for a princess and not for house servants!” thundered the stepmother. Her furious sisters dragged her and locked her in the room.
The Duke finally arrived at the house. The sisters only had one chance and tried hard to fit their foot in the sandal forcefully, almost damaging it!
“Stop it, lady, you may break the sandal! If it does not fit once, then it does not fit at all. Is there any other woman in the house?” said the Duke.
“No my lord. My daughters are the only ones here.” said the stepmother.
“Very well. Your house has been marked as visited, and will not be revisited.” said the Duke.
As the Duke was about to turn to the exit, Cinderella cried out loud, “Respected Duke! May I try the sandal too?” She got out of the room with the help of her pet mice.
Shocked, her stepmother said, “She is just a servant my lord. There is no way she would have visited the ball,” she exclaimed to the Duke.
But there was something about Cinderella’s feet and her face that made the Duke stay. He felt he had seen the girl before. Could it be the same girl who came in the grand coach on the night of the ball?
“No, the girl can try the sandal. There has to be a fair chance for everyone,” said the Duke.
Cinderella sat on the chair, and Duke walked towards her with the sandal in hand. Furious and worried that her stepdaughter, and not one of her daughters, would become the princess, Cinderella’s stepmother slyly placed her walking cane on the duke’s path, causing him to trip and drop the glass sandal. The sandal fell on the floor and shattered. The Duke was aghast. What will he now say to the King and the Prince? The stepmother and sisters watched cunningly as the Duke bent on the floor collecting the pieces of the sandal.
“I am sorry my lady. There is no glass sandal now for you to try.” said the dismayed Duke.
“No problem noble sir. What if I told you I have the other sandal?” Cinderella spoke with a smile.
She took out the other glass sandal from the pocket of her apron and handed it over the Duke. The Duke was overjoyed. He spared no moment and slid it into Cinderella’s foot. Hallelujah! It fit perfectly! The Duke was thrilled. He finally found the love of the prince. The stepmother and the three sisters stood there motionless with an expression of shock and despair on their faces. They wondered how it could be Cinderella? How did she get good clothes and a grand coach to visit the palace? But there was nothing that could be done. The Duke took Cinderella to the palace right away.
The Prince was elated to meet the girl with whom he had danced at the ball. The king was happy to see a smile back on his son’s face. Cinderella and the Prince got married with huge fanfare. Cinderella had faced injustice all her life and thus made a princess who ruled her kingdom justly. She also forgave her stepmother and sisters. The Prince and Cinderella lived happily ever after.