Perrault's Fairy Tales
Cinderella or The Little Glass Slipper
Perrault's Fairy Tales
by Charles Perrault
Illustrated By Gustave Dore
Cinderella or The Little Glass Slipper
She wondered how a pumpkin could help her get to the ball
Once upon a time
there was a worthy man who married for his second wife the
haughtiest, proudest woman that had ever been seen. She had
two daughters, who possessed their mother's temper and
resembled her in everything. Her husband, on the other hand,
had a young daughter, who was of an exceptionally sweet and
gentle nature. She got this from her mother, who had been
the nicest person in the world.
The wedding was no sooner over than the stepmother began
to display her bad temper. She could not endure the excellent
qualities of this young girl, for they made her own daughters
appear more hateful than ever. She thrust upon her all the
meanest tasks about the house. It was she who had to clean
the plates and the stairs, and sweep out the rooms of the
mistress of the house and her daughters. She slept on a
wretched mattress in a garret at the top of the house, while the
sisters had rooms with parquet flooring, and beds of the most
fashionable style, with mirrors in which they could see themselves
from top to toe.
The poor girl endured everything patiently, not daring to
complain to her father. The latter would have scolded her,
because he was entirely ruled by his wife. When she had
finished her work she used to sit amongst the cinders in the
corner of the chimney, and it was from this habit that she
came to be commonly known as Cinder-slug. The younger of
the two sisters, who was not quite so spiteful as the elder, called
her Cinderella. But her wretched clothes did not prevent Cinderella
from being a hundred times more beautiful than her
sisters, for all their resplendent garments.
It happened that the king's son gave a ball, and he invited
all persons of high degree. The two young ladies were invited
amongst others, for they cut a considerable figure in the
country. Not a little pleased were they, and the question of
what clothes and what mode of dressing the hair would become
them best took up all their time. And all this meant
fresh trouble for Cinderella, for it was she who went over her
sisters' linen and ironed their ruffles. They could talk of
nothing else but the fashions in clothes.
"For my part," said the elder, "I shall wear my dress of red
velvet, with the Honiton lace."
"I have only my everyday petticoat," said the younger,
"but to make up for it I shall wear my cloak with the golden
flowers and my necklace of diamonds, which are not so bad."
They sent for a good hairdresser to arrange their double-
filled caps, and bought patches at the best shop.
They summoned Cinderella and asked her advice, for she
had good taste. Cinderella gave them the best possible suggestions,
and even offered to dress their hair, to which they
While she was thus occupied they said:
"Cinderella, would you not like to go to the ball?"
"Ah, but you fine young ladies are laughing at me. It
would be no place for me."
"That is very true, people would laugh to see a cinder-slug
in the ballroom."
Anyone else but Cinderella would have done their hair
amiss, but she was good-natured, and she finished them off to
perfection. They were so excited in their glee that for nearly
two days they ate nothing. They broke more than a dozen
laces through drawing their stays tight in order to make their
waists more slender, and they were perpetually in front of a
At last the happy day arrived. Away they went, Cinderella
watching them as long as she could keep them in sight. When
she could no longer see them she began to cry. Her godmother
found her in tears, and asked what was troubling her.
"I should like"I should like""
She was crying so bitterly that she could not finish the
Said her godmother, who was a fairy:
"You would like to go to the ball, would you not?"
"Ah, yes," said Cinderella, sighing.
"Well, well," said her godmother, "promise to be a good
girl and I will arrange for you to go."
She took Cinderella into her room and said:
"Go into the garden and bring me a pumpkin."
Cinderella went at once and gathered the finest that she
could find. This she brought to her godmother, wondering
how a pumpkin could help in taking her to the ball.
Her godmother scooped it out, and when only the rind was
left, struck it with her wand. Instantly' the pumpkin was
changed into a beautiful coach, gilded all over.
Then she went and looked in the mousetrap, where she
found six mice all alive. She told Cinderella to lift the door of
the mousetrap a little, and as each mouse came out she gave
it a tap with her wand, whereupon it was transformed into a
fine horse. So that here was a fine team of six dappled mouse-
But she was puzzled to know how to provide a coachman.
"I will go and see," said Cinderella, "if there is not a rat
in the rattrap. We could make a coachman of him."
"Quite right," said her godmother, "go and see."
Cinderella brought in the rattrap, which contained three big
rats. The fairy chose one specially on account of his elegant
As soon as she had touched him he turned into a fat coachman
with the finest mustachios that ever were seen.
"Now go into the garden and bring me the six lizards which
you will find behind the water-butt."
No sooner had they been brought than the godmother
turned them into six lackeys, who at once climbed up behind
the coach in their braided liveries, and hung on there as if they
had never done anything else all their lives.
Then said the fairy godmother:
"Well, there you have the means of going to the ball. Are
"Oh, yes, but am I to go like this in my ugly clothes?"
Her godmother merely touched her with her wand, and on
the instant her clothes were changed into garments of gold and
silver cloth, bedecked with jewels. After that her godmother
gave her a pair of glass slippers, the prettiest in the world.
Thus altered, she entered the coach. Her godmother bade
her not to stay beyond midnight whatever happened, warning
her that if she remained at the ball a moment longer, her coach
would again become a pumpkin, her horses mice, and her
lackeys lizards, while her old clothes would reappear upon her
She promised her godmother that she would not fail to leave
the ball before midnight, and away she went, beside herself
The king's son, when he was told of the arrival of a great
princess whom nobody knew, went forth to receive her. He
handed her down from the coach, and led her into the hail
where the company was assembled. At once there fell a great
silence. The dancers stopped, the violins played no more, so
rapt was the attention which everybody bestowed upon the
superb beauty of the unknown guest. Everywhere could be
heard in confused whispers:
"Oh, how beautiful she is!"
The king, old man as he was, could not take his eyes off her,
and whispered to the queen that it was many a long day since
he had seen anyone so beautiful and charming.
All the ladies were eager to scrutinize her clothes and the
dressing of her hair, being determined to copy them on the
morrow, provided they could find materials so fine, and
tailors so clever.
The king's son placed her in the seat of honor, and at once
begged the privilege of being her partner in a dance. Such was
the grace with which she danced that the admiration of all was
A magnificent supper was served, but the young prince could
eat nothing, so taken up was he with watching her. She went
and sat beside her sisters, and bestowed numberless attentions
upon them. She made them share with her the oranges and
lemons which the king had given her"greatly to their
astonishment, for they did not recognize her.
While they were talking, Cinderella heard the clock strike
a quarter to twelve. She at once made a profound curtsy to the
company, and departed as quickly as she could.
As soon as she was home again she sought out her godmother,
and having thanked her, declared that she wished to go upon
the morrow once more to the ball, because the king's son had
While she was busy telling her godmother all' that had
happened at the ball, her two sisters knocked at the door.
Cinderella let them in.
"What a long time you have been in coming!" she declared,
rubbing her eyes and stretching herself as if she had only just
awakened. In real truth she had not for a moment wished to
sleep since they had left.
"If you had been at the ball," said one of the sisters, "you
would not be feeling weary. There came a most beautiful
princess, the most beautiful that has ever been seen, and she
bestowed numberless attentions upon us, and gave us her
oranges and lemons."
Everywhere could be heard "How beautiful she is!"
Cinderella was overjoyed. She asked them the name of the
princess, but they replied that no one knew it, and that the
king's son was so distressed that he would give anything in the
world to know who she was.
Cinderella smiled, and said she must have been beautiful
"Oh, how lucky you are. Could I not manage to see her?
Oh, please, Javotte, lend me the yellow dress which you wear
"Indeed!" said Javotte, "that is a fine idea. Lend my dress
to a grubby cinder-slug like you"you must think me mad!"
Cinderella had expected this refusal. She was in no way
upset, for she would have been very greatly embarrassed had
her sister been willing to lend the dress.
The next day the two sisters went to the ball, and so did
Cinderella, even more splendidly attired than the first time.
The king's son was always at her elbow, and paid her
The young girl enjoyed herself so much that she forgot her
godmother's bidding completely, and when the first stroke of
midnight fell upon her ears, she thought it was no more than
She rose and fled as nimbly as a fawn. The prince followed
her, but could not catch her. She let fall one of her glass
slippers, however, and this the prince picked up with tender
When Cinderella reached home she was out of breath,
without coach, without lackeys, and in her shabby clothes.
Nothing remained of all her splendid clothes save one of
the little slippers, the fellow to the one which she had let
Inquiries were made of the palace doorkeepers as to whether
they had seen a princess go out, but they declared they had
seen no one leave except a young girl, very ill-clad, who looked
more like a peasant than a young lady.
When her two sisters returned from the ball, Cinderella
asked them if they had again enjoyed themselves, and if the
beautiful lady had been there. They told her that she was
present, but had fled away when midnight sounded, and in
such haste that she had let fall one of her little glass slippers, the
prettiest thing in the world. They added that the king's son,
who picked it up, had done nothing but gaze at it for the rest
of the ball, from which it was plain that he was deeply in love
with its beautiful owner.
They spoke the truth. A few days later, the king's son caused
a proclamation to be made by trumpeters, that he would take
for wife the owner of the foot which the slipper would fit.
They tried it first on the princesses, then on the duchesses
and the whole of the Court, but in vain. Presently they brought
it to the home of the two sisters,who did all they could to
squeeze a foot into the slipper. This, however, they could not
Cinderella was looking on and recognized her slipper:
"Let me see," she cried, laughingly, "if it will not fit me."
Her sisters burst out laughing, and began to gibe at her, but
the equerry who was trying on the slipper looked closely at
Cinderella. Observing that she was very beautiful he declared
that the claim was quite a fair one, and that his orders were to
try the slipper on every maiden. He bade Cinderella sit down,
and on putting the slipper to her little foot he perceived that
the latter slid in without trouble, and was molded to its shape
He perceived that her little foot slid in without trouble
Great was the astonishment of the two sisters at this,and
greater still when Cindsererella drew from her pocket the other
little slipper. This she likewise drew on.
At that very moment her godmother appeared on the scene.
She gave a tap with her wand to Cinderella's clothes, and
transformed them into a dress even more magnificent than her
The two sisters recognized her for the beautiful person whom
they had seen at the ball, and threw themselves at her feet,
begging her pardon for all the ill-treatment she had suffered at
Cinderella raised them, and declaring as she embraced them
that she pardoned them with all her heart, bade them to love
her well in future.
She was taken to the palace of the young prince in all her
new array. He found her more beautiful than ever, and was
married to her a few days afterwards.
Cinderella was as good as she was beautiful. She set aside
apartments in the palace for her two sisters, and married them
the very same day to two gentlemen of high rank about the court.
Beauty is a treasure rare.
Who complains of being fair?
Yet there's still a something more
That good fairies have in store.
-Tis that little gift called grace,
Weaves a spell round form and face,
Of each word makes magic, too,
Lends a charm to all you do.
This it was"and nothing less"
Cinderella's fairy dress!
And if you would learn the way
How to get that gift today"
How to point the golden dart
That shall pierce the Prince's heart"
Ladies, you have but to be
Just as kind and sweet as she!
Godmothers are useful things
Even when without the wings.
Wisdom may be yours and wit,
Courage, industry, and grit,
What's the use of these at all,
If you lack a friend at call?
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The text for "Perrault's Fairy Tales", by Charles Perrault (1628-1703) were first published in France in 1687.
The illustrations are by Gustave Dore(1832-1883) which where first published in 1862 by Hetzel in Paris.