Once there was a gentleman who married, for the second time. She was the proudest and most haughty woman that was ever seen. She had, by a former husband, two daughters of her own humour and they were indeed exactly like her in all things. He had likewise, by another wife, a young daughter, but of unparalleled goodness and sweetness of temper, which she took from her mother, who was the best creature in the world.
No sooner were the ceremonies of the wedding over, but the stepmother began to show her true colours. She could not bear the good qualities of this pretty girl; and the less, because they made her own daughters appear the more odious. She employed her in the meanest work of the house; she scoured the dishes, tables, and rubbed Madam’s chamber, and those of Misses, her daughters.
She lay up in a sorry garret, upon a wretched straw-bed, while her sisters lay in fine rooms, with floors all inlaid, upon beds of the very newest fashion, and where they had looking glasses so large, that they might see themselves at their full length, from head to foot.
The poor girl bore all patiently, and dared not tell her father, who would have rattled her off; for his wife governed him entirely. When she had done her work, she used to go into the chimney-corner, and sit down among cinders and ashes, which made her commonly be called Cinder-breech; but the youngest, who was not so rude and uncivil as the eldest, called her Cinderilla. However, Cinderilla, notwithstanding her mean apparel, was a hundred times handsomer than her sisters, tho’ they were always dressed very richly.
It happened that the King’s son gave a ball, and invited all persons of fashion to it. Our young misses were also invited; for they cut a very grand gure among the quality. They were mightily delighted at this invitation, and wonderfully busy in choosing out such gowns, petticoats, and head-clothes as might best become them. This was a new trouble to Cinderilla; for it was she who ironed her sisters’ linen, and plaited their ruffles; they talked all day long of nothing but how they should be dressed. “For my part,” said the eldest, “I will wear my red velvet suit, with French trimming.” “And I,”
said the youngest, “shall only have my usual petticoat; but then, to make amends for that, I will put on my gold- manteau, and my diamond stomacher, which is far from being the most ordinary one in the world.” They sent for the best tire-woman they could get, to make up their head-dresses, and adjust their doublepinners, and they had their red brushes, and patches from the fashionable maker.
Read the rest of the story from the PDF above…
For other interesting stories for kids, browse though our huge collection of short stories here.