A Story From: France
Read Time: ["3 to 5mins","6 to 10mins"]
For Ages: 8 to 10yrs., 10 to 14yrs.
Cinderella #MeToo Fairytale ~ Fairytales for Today's Girls
This Classic Tale is reimagined with a modern twist with Cinderella as the strong female character and the true meaning of love beyond looks. Cinderella #MeToo Fairytale is brought to you by Stories to Grow by.
Once upon a time there was a girl named Cinderella who lived with her Stepmother and two Stepsisters. It could be because she was the youngest – or who knows why – but her Stepmother and Stepsisters made Cinderella do all the hard work around the cottage. Who got up when it was still dark to get the fire going? Cinderella. Who tended to the chickens and the goats? Cinderella. Who cooked each meal and cleaned up after? It was Cinderella, of course.
The work was hard and dirty. Ashes got into Cinderella’s hair and dirt smudged her apron. Her Stepmother and Stepsisters laughed at her in sharp, mean voices. “What a mess you are!” they would laugh. But Cinderella thought, “Even if they talk mean to me, I’m not going to talk the same way back to them. Someday I’ll get out of here.”
One day, exciting news came to the village. The King and Queen announced they were going to host a ball. Every maiden of the age to marry was invited to come. Their son the Prince would choose his bride. Well, you can imagine how excited Cinderella’s Stepmother and Stepsisters were to hear about that! At once, they turned to Cinderella and pointed their fingers at her.
“Cinderella, I need a new dress!”
“Cinderella, make me a new veil!”
The girl worked as fast as she could, her fingers flying. She sewed ruffles and buttons and flounces onto two dresses for her Stepsisters in the latest styles the Stepsisters had seen in town.
“This ball could be the chance I’ve been waiting for,” Cinderella thought as she sewed. She looked to her Stepmother. “When may I start my own dress?”
“YOU?!” snapped the Stepmother. “What makes you think YOU’RE going to the ball?”
“I just thought–“
“Think again!” The Stepmother turned her back to Cinderella. To her daughters, she said, “Girls, get ready! Soon our carriage will be here.”
The Stepsisters primped and fussed, and Cinderella sank into a corner. When the carriage arrived at the door, the Stepmother and Stepsisters, their noses high in the air, stepped into the carriage. Off they all rode.
Now let’s go back a few days. As the day of the ball was coming closer and closer, the Prince was beside himself. His mother and father told him it would be easy to choose a bride from among the ladies who would come to the ball. Yet how could he tell just by looking at a row of ladies, which one to marry?
At last the Prince settled on a plan. It so happened one of his loyal servants was about the same size and age as he, and the servant looked very much like him. “If my servant and I were to switch clothes,” thought the Prince, “and I became a servant for that night, I could find out more about these ladies by watching them when they don’t think anyone is paying attention.”
You can be sure the servant was very glad to pretend to be the Prince for one night! He practiced talking like the Prince and acting like him. At the night of the ball, the pretend Prince stood ready to receive his guests. And the pretend servant was put to work.
Now that you know what was really going on at the royal palace, let’s return to Cinderella. As the carriage turned the bend and disappeared, she called out to no one in particular, “It’s not fair!”
“Lots of things in life aren’t fair,” said a voice behind her. Cinderella spun around.
“The question is,” said a Fairy, who was holding a sparkling wand, “what can be done about it?”
Cinderella could hardly speak. “Well… What… I mean...”
“Oh, fiddle faddle!” said the Fairy with a toss of her head. “Am I your Fairy Godmother, or am I not?”
“You ... are?” said Cinderella.
“Of course!” said she. The Fairy Godmother wove her wand. At once, a gold-trimmed carriage appeared out of thin air with a driver and four fine horses.
“I can’t believe this!” said Cinderella.
“Believe it,” said the Fairy Godmother. “Oh, and one more thing.” With another wave of the wand, Cinderella’s rags were gone and she was wearing the loveliest blue gown she could ever imagine. “Beware,” warned the Fairy Godmother. “At the stroke of midnight, the spell will wear off. All of this will be gone, and everything will go back to the way it was before.”
“I will remember,” said Cinderella.
“What are you waiting for?” said the Fairy Godmother. “Get inside your carriage!”
Cinderella stepped in. The horses and carriage seemed to fly through the air. With the speed of wind, her carriage was headed to the ball.
Now let us leave Cinderella and go back to the palace. That very moment, the pretend Prince was having a fine time. In fact, he had never had such a good time! Each lady, and this included Cinderella’s Stepsisters, laughed very loudly at any remark he happened to make. They adored him completely. They wanted nothing more than to let him talk on and on about himself. This he was more than happy to do.
When Cinderella arrived at the ball, she caught the eye of the pretend Prince. He waved to her as if to say, “You! Next!” Cinderella was a bit surprised, thinking that was rather like the way her Stepmother and Stepsisters called to her. But she went over to the pretend Prince and bowed. And they started to dance.
“No doubt you want to hear all about me,” he said.
“Well, all right,” said Cinderella. The Prince chatted on. All the while he wondered, “Why isn’t this lady laughing loudly? Why isn’t she adoring me like the others?” As soon as the song ended, he turned around. Three finely-dressed ladies were waving to him from across the room and shouting, “Me, me! MY turn, Your Highness!” He pointed to one of the ladies, and the other two groaned with disappointment. The one he pointed to shrieked with delight and ran toward him. Cinderella stepped back. The prince danced off with the new lady. Cinderella was left to wonder, “What just happened?”
Just then, Cinderella noticed something glinting in the corner of her eye. It was a silver tray leaning against the wall. What she didn’t know is that the pretend servant, the true Prince as you know, had been given a silver tray to fill with pastries to offer the guests. He had set it down to move closer to hear some of the ladies talking. While he was gone, the tray was moved. It was gone! He couldn’t think about listening to any more ladies until he found his tray.
Cinderella noticed a servant in the distance who seemed to be dashing about, looking for something. She picked up the silver tray and took it over to him. “Excuse me,” she said. “Could this be what you’re looking for?”
The servant, who as you know was really the Prince in disguise, smiled with gratitude. “Thank you,” he said with a bow. “I was looking everywhere for it. I can’t tell you how glad I am that you brought it to me.” There was something about the lady that made him smile. How kind of her to seek him out to return his tray. And to him, a lowly servant! The pretend prince wanted to talk more to this lady. He said, “If I may ask, how are you enjoying the ball, my lady?”
“It’s fine,” said Cinderella. “But in a way, it’s not quite what I thought.”
“How do you mean?” asked the pretend servant.
“It’s hard to say,” said Cinderella slowly. “I suppose I came to dance with the Prince. Which I did. But somehow, I thought it would be different.”
The musicians started a new song. “My lady,” said the pretend servant, “may I have a quick dance? So you can compare, I mean.”
“Why not?” said Cinderella.
At the next beat of music, the two of them whirled around. As they danced, they laughed, and it seemed to Cinderella as if they were one person.
Then she stopped. “Oh dear!” she said. “I must not keep you from your duties.”
“Of course,” said the pretend servant. He quickly picked up the silver tray, gave a quick bow to Cinderella, and off he went to the kitchen to fill it with pastries for the guests.
Just then the clock began to chime. “Dong, dong!” it rang.
Cinderella did not hear it. She was lost in thought. There was something about that servant that stayed with her.
“Dong, dong, dong!” rang the clock again.
“Oh, my!” Cinderella remembered – she must leave the ball right away! As soon as the clock struck midnight, the spell would vanish. Everything would return to how it was before!
The clock kept on chiming as Cinderella ran up the steps to the front door. She ran so fast, one of her glass slippers fell off. Yet she had no time to pick it up. Hobbling with one shoe, she ran to the carriage. “Quick, Cinderella, get inside!” called out the driver.
As soon as Cinderella was safely in the carriage, the horses raced out of the palace grounds. Just then, the clock struck midnight. The carriage, the four horses, and the driver all vanished in a puff of smoke. Once again, Cinderella was dressed in her ordinary rags. She was far from home. It was very late by the time she tiptoed inside, not that anyone noticed. Her Stepmother and Stepsisters were already sound asleep and snoring loudly.
What Cinderella did not know was that while she was running up the steps, the pretend servant, the true Prince, had noticed her running out of the ball and had followed her. By the time he got to the front door and looked around, there was no trace of her. Oddly, he noticed one glass slipper on the ground. He picked it up in wonder. He did not know the name of the young woman he had met. The only clue he had was this one glass slipper. He knew that he must find her. But how?
The next day, there was a royal announcement. The Prince was going to go to every cottage in the kingdom, looking for the young woman whose foot would fit the glass slipper that was left behind by the mysterious lady at the ball.
As he visited one cottage after another, eager young women would try to squeeze their feet into the glass slipper. Of course, the Prince could tell right away they were not the same person as the lady he had met at the ball. But he was a gentleman and gave each one a turn. At last each woman would give up and he would move on to the next home.
At Cinderella’s cottage, her Stepmother and Stepsisters waited for the Prince with great excitement. Each Stepsister was sure she would be the one to get her foot into the glass slipper. After all, wasn’t her dance with the prince the best in all the evening?
The Stepmother noticed Cinderella. “You must not be here when the Prince comes!” she said sharply.
“That’s fine with me,” Cinderella said in a low voice, thinking of the Prince who could talk of nothing but himself.
“Go to your room, Cinderella. Now!” barked the Stepmother. “And do not come out until I say so.”
“Fine,” said Cinderella. She went up to her attic room and shut the door.
Before long, the Prince arrived at the cottage of Cinderella’s Stepmother and Stepsisters. Each Stepsister tried to fit her foot into the glass slipper with all their might, but their feet did not fit. Both were discouraged and sat there in quiet disappointment. Even the Stepmother had nothing to say. It was so quiet that Cinderella, thinking the Prince must be gone by now, came down from her attic room.
“Oh!” she said, surprised to see the Prince still there. He looked up. At once he recognized her and knew she was the very same young lady who had returned his tray at the ball. He did not know why she was now dressed in rags, but that was of no matter.
Remembering what she had said when she had returned his tray, the Prince now said, “Excuse me. Could this be what you’re looking for?” And he smiled.
Hearing these same words and seeing the smile, Cinderella took a step back, astonished. Why, this was the very same servant she had danced with at the ball! Why was he now standing there, dressed as the Prince, she had no idea. Yet remembering what he had said when she had returned his silver tray, Cinderella now bowed and said, “Thank you. I was looking everywhere for it. I can’t tell you how glad I am that you brought it to me.”
I’m sure you can guess the rest! Of course, Cinderella’s foot fit the glass slipper perfectly. The Stepmother and Stepsisters were amazed, but Cinderella and the Prince took each other’s hands. Soon the two of them were wed, and they lived happily ever after.