Once upon a time, in a kingdom filled with songbirds and laughter, lived a kind-hearted girl named Cinderella. She had the gentlest touch and the sweetest smile, but her life was far from easy. Her wicked stepmother made her do all the chores, while her stepsisters, Anastasia and Drizella, laughed and spent their days trying on new gowns.
“Cinderella! Have you polished our shoes for the ball yet?” Drizella screeched one morning.
“Yes, I’m doing it now,” Cinderella replied, her voice as soft as a whisper.
As Cinderella worked, she dreamt of dancing at the royal ball. But when the night came, her stepmother tore her handmade gown to shreds. “You shall not go to the ball!” she sneered.
In her despair, Cinderella fled to the garden, her tears reflecting the moon’s glow. Suddenly, a warm light enveloped her. A kindly old woman appeared, her eyes twinkling.
“Dry your eyes, child,” she said gently. “I am your Fairy Godmother. You shall go to the ball, but remember, at the stroke of midnight, the magic will vanish!”
With a flick of her wand, Cinderella’s rags turned into a dress spun from starlight and glass slippers that twinkled like dewdrops. “Oh, thank you!” Cinderella exclaimed.
At the ball, Cinderella’s beauty and grace caught everyone’s attention, especially the Prince’s. “May I have this dance?” he asked, offering his hand.
“You may, kind sir,” Cinderella replied, her heart fluttering like the wings of a butterfly.
They danced through the night, but as the clock began to chime, Cinderella remembered her Fairy Godmother’s words. “I must go!” she cried, fleeing so fast that one of her glass slippers was left behind.
The Prince, smitten and determined, searched the kingdom with the slipper. When he arrived at Cinderella’s home, Anastasia and Drizella tried to squeeze their feet into the slipper, but it was no use.
“Please, may I try?” Cinderella asked, stepping forward.
“Ha! It will never—” But before her stepmother could finish, the slipper glided onto Cinderella’s foot as if it had always belonged there.
The Prince knew he had found his true love. “Will you marry me and be my Princess?” he asked.
With a heart full of joy and eyes brimming with happy tears, Cinderella nodded. “Yes, I will.”
Cinderella’s kindness and courage shone brighter than any jewel, and it wasn’t long before the kingdom had a wise and compassionate new princess. And so, Cinderella and the Prince lived happily ever after, proving that goodness and love always prevail.
Also read: The Nutcracker Story
Follow Up Questions
Asking questions about the story of Cinderella is a great way to gauge a child’s comprehension and to encourage them to think more deeply about the themes and messages within the tale. Here are three questions you might ask:
- Why couldn’t Cinderella go to the ball at first, and how did her Fairy Godmother help her?
This question checks if the child understands the plot’s conflict and resolution regarding the ball, a central event in the story.
- What were the special instructions that the Fairy Godmother gave to Cinderella, and what happened when Cinderella stayed at the ball too long?
With this question, you’re assessing whether the child grasped the conditions of the Fairy Godmother’s magic and the importance of time in the story.
- How did the Prince figure out that Cinderella was the girl he danced with at the ball?
This question helps determine if the child followed the story to its conclusion and understood how the glass slipper played a crucial role in the story’s outcome.
Background of the Story
The story of Cinderella is one of the most enduring folktales, with versions of the story dating back to antiquity. The version most familiar in the Western world, which includes elements like the fairy godmother, the glass slipper, and the pumpkin carriage, was popularized by the French author Charles Perrault. His tale “Cendrillon, ou La petite Pantoufle de Verre” (“Cinderella, or The Little Glass Slipper”) was published in 1697 in his collection “Histoires ou contes du temps passé” (“Stories or Tales from Times Past”).
Before Perrault, there was a version of the story written by Italian author Giambattista Basile in 1634, called “La Cenerentola.” Even earlier, around 1 CE, the Greek historian Strabo recorded a story called “Rhodopis,” about a Greek slave girl who married the king of Egypt. This story is considered one of the earliest Cinderella tales.
The Brothers Grimm also included a version of the Cinderella story, called “Aschenputtel,” in their folk tale collection in the 19th century, which presents a grimmer (no pun intended) version than Perrault’s.
Each version of the Cinderella story reflects the culture and morals of the time it was written, but the theme of overcoming adversity and triumphing through kindness and virtue remains consistent.