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.
Listen to the story while you read along!
Once upon a time there was a girl named Cinderella who lived with her Stepmother and two Stepsisters. Maybe it was because she was the youngest – or who knows why – but Cinderella was the one who had to do all the hard work around the cottage. In the dark of early morning, who got up to get the fire going? Cinderella. Who was the one who had to tend to the chickens and the goats? Cinderella. Who cooked each meal, and who cleaned up after? It was Cinderella, of course.
Working all day long was hard. Ashes stayed in Cinderella’s hair and dirt smudged her apron. Her Stepmother and Stepsisters laughed at her. In a sharp, mean voices they would say, “What a mess you are!” And then laugh. It was hard for Cinderella, but deep inside she thought, “They may talk mean to me, but that doesn't mean I have to talk the same way back to them." And she would think, "I know I look like a mess but I'm not a mess, not really. And someday, somehow, I will get out of here.”
One day, exciting news swept through the village. The King and Queen had announced they were going to host a ball! What was most exciting is that every young maiden was invited to come. At the ball, their son the Prince would choose a bride. Well, you can imagine how excited Cinderella’s Stepmother and Stepsisters were to hear about this! At once, they turned to Cinderella and pointed their fingers at her.
“Cinderella, I need a new dress!”
“Cinderella, make me a long veil!”
The girl worked as fast as she could, her fingers flying. She sewed ruffles and buttons and flounces onto dresses for her Stepsisters and her Stepmother, too. It must be in the latest style, and nothing less.
“This ball could be just what I’ve been waiting for,” Cinderella thought as she sewed. She looked up at her Stepmother. “When may I start my own dress?”
“YOU?!” snapped the Stepmother. “What makes you think YOU’RE going to the ball?”
“What? I mean, I just thought–“
“Think again!” The Stepmother turned her back on Cinderella. To her daughters, she said, “Girls, get ready! Soon our carriage will be here.”
The Stepsisters primped and fussed. 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, giggling and shimmering in their finery.
Now we're going to go back in time a few days. We're going to go to the palace, where the Prince was pacing. The day of the ball coming closer and closer. He was getting more and more worried. His mother and father thad old him it would be easy to choose a bride from among the ladies who were coming to the ball. Yet how, he wondered, could he tell just by looking at a row of ladies, which is the one he should marry?
At last the Prince settled on a plan. It so happened that 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, “I could become a servant for that night. As a servant, I could watch these ladies when they don't think anyone is paying attention, and find out more about them.”
You can be sure the servant was very glad to pretend to be the Prince for one night! He practiced all day 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 true Prince, as a pretend servant, was put to work.
Now that you know what was really going on at the royal palace, let’s return to Cinderella. The carriage turned around the bend and disappeared. She called out to no one in particular, “Why is this happening to me! It’s not fair!”
“Lots of things in life aren’t fair,” said a voice behind her. Cinderella spun around to face - what? - could it be a fairy?
“So life isn't fair,” said the Fairy, holding a sparkling wand. “The question is, 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, not really knowing.
“Of course I am!” said she with a sharp nod. The Fairy Godmother wove her wand. And 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. She was wearing the loveliest blue gown she could ever imagine! Cinderella marveled at her new fine gown. But the Fairy Godmother spoke in a stern voice, “Listen to me! You must beware."
"Of what?" said Cinderella, still in a glow.
"You must know that at the stroke of midnight, this spell will wear off. All of this, everything you see, will be gone. Everything will go back to the way it was before.”
“I will remember,” said Cinderella, who wasn't in the least bit worried. The night was young, and midnight was so many hours away!
“Well, what are you waiting for?” said the Fairy Godmother briskly. “Get inside your carriage!”
Cinderella stepped in, barely believing it all. 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. We're going back to the palace. The pretend Prince, who you no doubt remember is really the Prince's servant, was having the time of his life. 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. Or to a dog. 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 one laughing and giggling? Why isn’t she adoring me like the others?” As soon as the song ended, he gave her a curt nod and 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 his new partner. Cinderella was left to wonder, “What just happened?”
At that moment, 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, who as you know was really the Prince, had been given a silver tray to fill with pastries to offer the guests. He had set it down to move closer to some of the ladies to hear them talking. While he was gone, the tray was moved. When he returned to it, it was gone! He couldn’t think about listening to any more ladies. He must find the 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 would-be servant smiled with gratitude. “Thank you,” he said with a bow. “I was looking everywhere for that tray. 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 this way to bring back 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. And I did that. 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 with a smile.
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, you are right,” said the pretend servant. He quickly picked up the silver tray and gave a quick bow to Cinderella. 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 the chime. She was lost in thought. There was something about that servant. What was it?
“Dong, dong, dong!” rang the clock again.
“Oh, my!” Then 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. 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 her 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. She would have to walk the long way home. It was nearly morning by the time she tiptoed inside, not that anyone noticed. Her Stepmother and Stepsisters were still 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, that is - had noticed her running out of the ball and had followed her. But by the time he got to the front door and looked around, there was no trace of her. 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. Yet he knew that he must find her.
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 had been left behind by the mysterious lady at the ball.
As he visited one cottage after another, eager young women tried to squeeze their feet into the glass slipper. Of course, the Prince could tell right away they were not the same person as the young lady he had met at the ball. But he was a gentleman and gave each one a turn, just the same. At last each of them would give up, and he would move on to the next home.
At Cinderella’s cottage, her Stepmother and Stepsisters were waiting 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? Wasn't he really looking for her?
The Stepmother noticed Cinderella. “You must not be here when the Prince comes!” she said sharply. "Go to your room!"
In a low voice she said, “That’s fine with me,” thinking of the Prince who could talk of nothing but himself.
“Now, Cinderella!” 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 just could not fit. Both were discouraged and sat there in quiet disappointment. Even the Stepmother had nothing to say. It was so quiet, in fact, that Cinderella thought the Prince must be gone by now. So she came down the stairs from her attic room.
“Oh!” she said, surprised to see the Prince still there. He looked up. At once he recognized her. She was the very same young lady he had danced with at the ball! He didn't know why she was now dressed in rags, but that was of no matter.
Remembering what she said when she had returned his tray, the Prince now said to Cinderella, “Excuse me. Could this be what you’re looking for?” He smiled.
Cinderella took a step back, astonished. Why, this there was no doubt about it! This was the very same servant she had danced with at the ball! Why was he standing there now, dressed as the Prince? She had no idea. Yet remembering what he said, too, when she returned his silver tray, Cinderella now bowed and said to him, “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 suppose what happened next. Cinderella’s foot fit the glass slipper perfectly. The Stepmother and Stepsisters were amazed. Even more so, when Cinderella and the Prince took each other’s hands.
Soon the two of them were wed, and they lived happily ever after.
Question 1: Why did Cinderella let her stepsisters be mean to her?
Questions 2: Why did Cinderella think she should go to the ball?