In a faraway kingdom, there was a young woman named Ella. She had an evil stepmother and two stepsisters, who treated her like a servant. Ella slept by the fireplace and got cinders on her face, so the others called her Cinderella. Though her stepfamily was mean, she was always kind.
One day the Prince announced a ball to choose his wife! It was at the castle, and all the maidens in the kingdom were invited. Cinderella was so excited to go to the dance, but her stepmother said no. After the others had left for the ball, Cinderella sat and cried.
Suddenly, a woman with wings appeared! She was Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother, and she wanted to help Cinderella go to the dance. The Fairy Godmother waved her magic wand, transforming a pumpkin into a carriage and lizards into horses. She waved it again, and Cinderella’s rags turned into a beautiful dress. Then she waved the magic wand a third time, and glass slippers appeared on Cinderella’s feet. Cinderella hugged the Fairy Godmother in thanks and climbed into the carriage.
“Wait!” The Fairy Godmother cried out before Cinderella set off. “Be sure to leave the ball before midnight. At midnight, the transformations come undone and everything changes back to normal.”
Cinderella went off to the ball. When she got there everyone was enchanted by her beauty, and she was so excited! She danced and danced. Many wondered who this girl was, including the curious Prince and also Cinderella’s jealous stepfamily. The Prince went up to Cinderella, bowed, and asked for a dance.
The two of them danced and talked, laughing as the hours passed. The only thing they could see was each other. Still, Cinderella didn’t tell the Prince who she was. Then she realized it was near midnight!
“Oh no!” she cried out, startling the Prince as she raced for the door. The clock started to chime midnight. “I’m sorry, I must go!”
“What?” The Prince blinked. He had been having a wonderful time. He ran after her. “Fair maiden, come back!”
“Goodbye!” said Cinderella as she tripped on the staircase, losing a glass slipper. But she didn’t stop — she just ran for the carriage, leaving the ball in a hurry.
The Prince stood on the staircase, watching the carriage disappear. He was shocked. He’d been falling in love with the captivating woman but didn’t even know her name. That was when he noticed the glass shoe that Cinderella had lost in her rush to leave before midnight. He picked it up and formed a plan.
The next day, Cinderella was back cooking and cleaning for her stepfamily. Her stepsisters talked about the mysterious woman who danced with the Prince all night, not realizing it was Cinderella!
Meanwhile, the Prince wanted to find Cinderella again. He took the glass slipper and went all over the kingdom, putting the shoe on every maiden, trying to find the one with a foot that fit the shoe. He saw big feet, small feet, smelly feet, and sweet feet — all kinds of feet! But no foot fit the glass slipper.
Eventually, he got to Cinderella’s house. The stepmother put Cinderella in the kitchen and ushered the Prince in, insisting that the shoe would fit one of her daughters. On the first stepsister, the shoe was too big. On the second stepsister, the shoe was too small. The Prince asked if there was anyone else in the house and the stepmother said no. He was just about to leave—when Cinderella walked out of the kitchen!
The stepmother tried to get the Prince to leave, but he insisted on letting Cinderella try. So the Prince carefully fit the glass slipper on Cinderella’s foot. It fit perfectly!
Having found each other again, the Prince told her that he didn’t care that she was poor, that he loved her for who she was. So the Prince and Ella left the evil stepfamily’s house and went to the palace, where they got married and lived happily ever after.