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- Story Hour Readers Book Three - 5/20 -
And serpents crawl along the ground.
Then wicked children wake and weep, And wish the long black gloom away; But good ones love the dark, and find The night as pleasant as the day.
Once upon a time, there was a proud, selfish woman who had three daughters. The youngest was prettier than her sisters, and they were jealous of her beauty. They made her do all the housework, while they went to parties and balls.
The girl washed the dishes and swept the floors. She tended the fire and fed the parrot whose cage hung by the kitchen window. She spent so much time among the ashes and cinders, that her sisters called her Cinderella.
Now it happened that the king was to give a ball, in honor of the young prince. Cinderella's mother and sisters were invited.
How pleased they were to receive the invitation! They could think of nothing but the fine clothes they intended to wear.
They sent for the best dressmaker they could find. The oldest sister chose a pink silk gown. "I shall wear my red satin cloak trimmed with swan's-down," said she.
The second sister chose a gown of green velvet, saying, "The green velvet will show my diamonds to advantage."
The night of the great ball came at last. Cinderella helped her sisters to dress.
"Do you not wish that you were going to the ball?" said one of them.
"Yes, indeed!" sighed poor Cinderella.
But her sisters only laughed.
Cinderella watched them from the kitchen window as they drove away in their fine carriage. Then she sat down by the fire and began to cry.
"Why are you crying, Cinderella?" said some one gently.
There stood her Fairy Godmother.
"I wish I could--I wish I could--" sobbed Cinderella.
"You wish that you could go to the prince's ball," said the Fairy Godmother.
"Yes," nodded Cinderella.
"Stop crying and you may go," said the Fairy Godmother. "Run into the garden and bring me the largest pumpkin that you can find."
Cinderella could not think how a pumpkin would help her to go, but she obeyed.
The Fairy Godmother scooped out the inside of the pumpkin, leaving only the rind. She carried it to the kitchen door. Then she touched the rind with her wand. Instantly there stood a great coach covered with gold.
"Where shall we find horses for such a great coach?" cried Cinderella.
"Bring the mouse trap from the cellar," the Fairy Godmother replied.
"Here are six live mice in the trap," said Cinderella breathlessly.
The Fairy Godmother lifted the door of the trap. She touched each of the mice with her wand as it ran out. The mice became six beautiful white horses standing before the coach.
"Where shall we find a coachman to drive the horses?" asked Cinderella.
"Bring the rat trap to me," replied the Fairy Godmother.
Cinderella brought the rat trap, and in it was a large gray rat.
At a touch of the wand, the rat was changed into a coachman. He sat in state upon the coach.
"Now run into the garden again. You will find two lizards behind the watering pot. Bring them to me."
The Fairy Godmother touched the lizards with her wand. In their place stood two footmen in splendid livery.
They stepped to the back of the coach as if they had been footmen all their lives.
Then the kind Fairy Godmother touched Cinderella's clothes with her wand. The rags became a beautiful costume of satin, covered with pearls. In place of her old shoes were glass slippers that had been made by the fairies. They were the very prettiest little slippers in the world.
Never had Cinderella been so happy!
"Now you may go to the ball, but do not fail to leave before midnight," said the Fairy Godmother.
"If you stay until the clock strikes twelve," added the Fairy Godmother, "your coach will again become a pumpkin; your horses will be mice; your coachman will be a rat; your footmen will be lizards, and your beautiful dress will become rags."
Cinderella stepped into the coach. A few minutes later, the white horses dashed into the royal courtyard.
The door of the coach was flung open, and Cinderella stepped out.
As Cinderella entered the ball room, the prince hastened to meet her.
"Never," said he to himself, "have I seen anyone so lovely!"
Cinderella was so beautiful, so elegantly dressed, and she danced so well, that the prince fell in love with her. He would dance with no one else.
The evening passed away like a dream. Suddenly Cinderella heard a clock chime three quarters past eleven.
She bade the prince good-night and was soon on her way home in the pumpkin coach.
When Cinderella reached home, she found her Fairy Godmother waiting to hear about the ball.
"It was fine!" said Cinderella. "The prince has invited me to attend the ball to be given to-morrow night. Oh, how I wish that I might go!"
"You may certainly go to the prince's ball to-morrow night. I wish to make you very happy, dear child," said the Fairy Godmother.
By the time the mother and sisters had returned home from the ball, the Fairy Godmother had disappeared.
Cinderella was sitting by the kitchen fire in her rags.
"Do you not wish that you had been to the ball?" asked the sisters. "There was a wonderful princess there. The prince would dance with no one else."
"Who was she?" asked Cinderella.
"That we cannot say," answered the two sisters. "She would not tell her name, though the prince, on bended knee, begged her to do so."
The next night, as soon as the mother and sisters had started in their carriage to attend the ball, the Fairy Godmother appeared once more.
Again, at the touch of her wand, the pumpkin became a coach; the mice became horses; the rat became a coachman, and the lizards became footmen.
The Fairy Godmother touched Cinderella's clothes with her wand, and this time her rags became a beautiful costume of silver cloth, covered with rubies. In place of the worn-out shoes were the wonderful glass slippers.
"Whatever you do, remember to leave before the clock strikes twelve," said the Fairy Godmother, as Cinderella drove away.
When Cinderella arrived at the king's palace, the prince met her at the door. He would dance with no one else.
Cinderella was very happy. The hours passed swiftly away, but she left the palace before the clock struck twelve.
The king gave another ball the third night. This time Cinderella wore a costume of gold cloth, covered with sparkling diamonds; and on her feet were the wonderful glass slippers.
The prince met her at the door. He led her to the ball room and again would dance with no one else.
This time Cinderella was enjoying the ball so much that she forgot the warning of the Fairy Godmother.
Suddenly the clock began to strike twelve. With a cry of alarm she fled from the ball room, dropping one of her glass slippers in her haste.
The prince hurried after her, but by the time he reached the royal courtyard the beautiful maiden had disappeared.
As Cinderella arrived at her own gate, the coach became a pumpkin; the horses became mice; the coachman became a rat and the footmen lizards.
Cinderella was again clothed in rags, but in her hand she carried one of the glass slippers that she had worn at the prince's ball.
The mother and sisters came home soon afterwards. They could talk of
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