Retelling a Fairytale

As a kid, Cinderella used to be my favorite fairytale, besides the three little piggies of course. I even dressed up as Cinderella for a fancy dress competition once. I have read and watched various versions of the tale; some with three balls, some with birds as her friends, some with gold slippers and so on. However, today I am going to retell the tale of Cinderella – from the point of view of the youngest step-sister.

Some girls have all the luck

I think it was mother who first called her Cinderella. Way back when I was four or five and father had just passed away. Father loved her the most; he always did. He would give her the first fruit from his basket, he would buy her the prettiest ribbon, and he would even let her eat from his plate. Yes, Cinderella was father’s favorite daughter.

Mother makes her work hard and I am glad for that. She cleans, she washes, she cooks and she does not even do a very good job of it. Even so, she manages to use all this to her benefit. All neighbors and friends pity her. Everyone has a good thing to say about her. “Oh, Cinderella is so untiring,” “Poor girl, look at her beautiful hands doing all the dirty work,” “Cinderella looks beautiful even when her eyes are wet.” I am tired of listening to all this. The artful step-sister of mine, she manages to twist everything to suit her. At least, she does not have pretty gowns like me. Nor does she get to eat the scrumptious cake she baked this morning.

I am very excited today. The prince has just come back to town and the King is throwing a ball for him. The whole town is invited. Sister is going to wear her blue satin gown and mother will wear her pink dress. They are out shopping for matching ribbons and shoes. Cinderella is in the kitchen garden. She is not going and why should she? Her dirty clothes will only disgrace the enchanting gathering of the prince. She does not even know how to dance. Ha ha.

I am going to wear my prettiest gown today. It is emerald green and brings out the color of my eyes. I will let my hair fall on my shoulders and tie a green ribbon loosely on top. Mother has also given me her jewels for the occasion. Sister is elder to me and therefore much more experienced. But I am the innocent one and also the prettier one. Yes, some people think Cinderella is the prettiest of us all but I think she is a witch. She manages to charm people with her huge blue eyes. Bah. Let me get ready for the ball.

—-

The palace is so magnificent. I have often walked past the lawns of the palace but have never seen it from inside before. And oh, every girl in the town has worn her best gown today as if the prince is looking just at her. But isn’t the prince handsome? I think he is even more beautiful than the womenfolk’s description. His blue jacket with golden embroidery matches the blue of his eyes. Only if I could have one dance with him! I must try to make my way to the area where he can set his eyes on me.

Oh look! Who is that girl? Her white flowing gown is so fine-looking and the stars in her hair sparkle! Even her jewels; I wish I had jewels like hers. Where is sister? I must ask her if she knows who this girl is. But look, everyone has stopped dancing and is looking at the new girl. Even the King and the prince!

It has been two hours since this strange girl walked in and the prince has not danced with anyone but her since then. No one knows her but she is dazzling everyone with her beauty and grace. Let me try to catch the prince’s eye once again.

Oh what is happening? The beautiful girl is running away and oh my, the prince is following her! Gasp.

—-

It has been three days since the grand ball and the whole town is in frenzy. The beautiful girl slipped away at midnight. The prince ran behind her and asked her to wait but she did not pay heed. So much so, she did not even give her name. But in the hurry, she left one of her shoe behind on the staircase. So now all the prince has of her is a left shoe. They say it is made of glass!

The prince is hunting for her, the strange but beautiful woman. He had announced a prize for anyone who gave any news of her. But that did not help. So now he is scouting the town along with his two soldiers. He is visiting each and every house and asking the maidens of the house to try the glass shoe on. They say he will marry the girl whose foot fits in the shoe. Oh my! What a golden chance! I wish and hope the shoe fits me. Actually, sister wishes so too. But she is larger than me and the beautiful girl was petite. There is no way under the sun that the shoe would fit sister.

—-

Ah! The prince looks so fine. I cannot believe he is here – in my house. I also cannot believe that even mother wants to try the shoe on. The shoe is so extraordinary. Glass shoe…I cannot wait to fit my foot in it. Let the sister be done first. Dear Lord, what would I not give for one appreciative glance from the prince! Ooh, this seems tight but I must try. Let me try one more time, oh please let me try. Alas. If I could I would have cut my toes off to fit in the shoe. But how would I walk on the palace stairs then?

What do they mean they want Cinderella to try the shoe as well? Oh mother, tell the prince she is a mere maid and has never set her foot in the palace. Oh prince! What is wrong with you? Why-o-why are you looking into those huge blue eyes? Lord, please do not let Cinderella weave her magic over the prince. He seems lost. Gasp. What is this? Are my eyes fooling me or has Cinderella’s left foot actually fit in the glass shoe? Mother, sister! Stop the girl. Stop this horrid step-sister of mine. Prince, you must believe us when we say this dirty girl has never seen a ball, forget been to the grand one that you threw.

—-

They can say whatever they want but I will not believe Cinderella. Fairy Godmother? Pumpkin turned into carriage? Mice turned into horses? Ridiculous! The prince bought these concocted tales of step-sister but I refuse to believe them. She is now the princess of the magnificent palace and all say she deserves to be. But I think that some girls have all the luck.

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