Cinderella had a wonderful time at the ball. But, all of a sudden, she heard the sound of a clock – the first stroke of midnight! She remembered what her fairy godmother had said, and without a word of goodbye, she slipped from the Prince’s arms and ran out of the castle and down the steps. As she ran she lost one of her slippers, but not for a moment did she dream of stopping to pick it up. If the last stroke of midnight were to sound – oh, what a disaster that would be! Out she fled and she vanished into the night.
The Prince, who was now madly in love with her, picked up her slipper and said to his ministers, “Go and search everywhere for the girl whose foot this slipper fits. I will never be content until I find her!”
So the ministers tried the slipper on the foot of all the girls in the kingdom. Finally, they got to the residence of the Cinderella’s stepmother, and started with the eldest, Drizella. Her foot was enormous, and she couldn’t get all of her toes in the slipper. Then it was Anastasia’s turn.
“Oh, look. Mother! It fits!” she exclaimed.
The ministers’ brows shot up. How could it be? Just at that moment, Cinderella came bursting into the room.
“May I try it on?” she asked quietly.
But Lady Tremaine stepped forward. “Oh, that’s just the maid. She couldn’t have possibly been at the ball. Just look at how awful and untidy she looks. It was Anastasia.”
One of the ministers absentmindedly scratched his head. The other looked merely worried, studying Anastasia. The girl was grinning from ear to ear, and yet she was sitting demurely upon her chair, head down. He sighed and wondered what the Prince would say when he saw her.
“Please,” the poor girl spoke up. “Let me try – ”
“Well, that’s that, then,” Lady Tremaine said loudly. “Come along, Anastasia. Let’s go get you ready for the Prince.” So the ministers had no choice but to wait in the parlor. Cinderella remained behind with them.
The tall minister cleared his throat. “I am terribly sorry, miss,” he began. “But Lady Tremaine is right. There’s no way that you were the girl at the ball. Why, we can’t even tell what color your hair actually is!”
Cinderella automatically put a hand to her hair, and it came away smudged with ashes. “But I can explain,” she said, trying to wipe her fingers off on her apron. “Look, I have the other one right here!” And she pulled it from her pocket.
The ministers were shocked. “Could it be?” said the short one. “But it’s not possible,” said the tall one.”
Suddenly, Cinderella’s fairy-godmother appeared behind the ministers. When her eyes locked with Cinderella’s, she smiled mysteriously and put a finger to her lips. Then she waved her magic wand and whispered her magic words. Poof! All at once, Cinderella’s soiled appearance transformed into the beautiful young girl they had seen the previous night.
“Eep!” The tall minister said, catching the short one, who had fainted.
“Oh dear,” Cinderella exclaimed. The fairy godmother pointed her wand at a table and made a glass of icy water appear. Cinderella hurried over to it and brought it to the ministers. The tall one took it, wiping his brow with his other hand. He sprinkled a little on the face of the unconscious one. The short minister’s eyes fluttered open and he straightened up, looking around. When he saw Cinderella again, he gasped and slumped against the other man again.
The tall minister sighed. “Come on, Thomas,” he said, sprinkling a bit more water on him. Thomas came to again. “Ma-agic,” he stammered, pointing a trembling hand at Cinderella. “Witch!”
“I’m not a witch,” the girl said calmly. “I simply have a fairy godmother. Look, there she is behind you.”
They turned in unison and the fairy godmother smiled wryly and said, “Hi, boys.”
After that, the ministers whisked Cinderella off to the palace before her stepmother and stepsisters came back into the parlor. The fairy godmother went with them, as did all of Cinderella’s animal friends. Cinderella and the Prince were married without incident, for the fairy godmother had cast a spell on the stepmother and her daughters, causing them to fall into a deep sleep that lasted until the newlyweds were off on their honeymoon.
And yes, Cinderella, or rather, Ella and her Prince did live happily ever after.