Wednesday, April 24, 2013
stepping into someone else's slipper
She quietly watched in anticipation, just waiting to see the look on her step-sisters' faces.
"Oh, their disappointment when the prince turns them away! They will be simply green with envy as he whisks me away in his great carriage!"
The royal servant kneeled before the chair, the slipper sitting atop a cushion adorned with tassels and fine embroidery It was the most beautiful thing Cinderella had ever seen, the crystal glass shimmering in the light like diamonds. The mere sight of it made her want to dance, just as she had the night of the ball. For a moment she lost herself in the memory of gliding across the ballroom floor, as though the slippers were wings upon her feet.
Lady Tremaine, Cinderella's step-mother, hovered over the servant with hungry eyes. "How devine!" she thought, "Me! The mother of a princess!" Cinderella surveyed the scene with disgust, thinking her step-mother to resemble a vulture just waiting to feed.
First, the servant motioned to Drizella to sit before him. Cinderella muffled her laughter at the sight. Drizella's foot was nearly twice the length of the slipper, though she was determined to cram her foot inside. Cinderella noted the expression on the prince's face as he watched from the lounge. He almost looked relieved. "And why shouldn't he?" Cinderella thought, "She is, after all, quite homely."
Lady Tremaine scowled down at the servant as he announced, "It does not fit!"
Drizella rose begrudged as the servant ushered her from the chair and gestured to Anastasia to replace her. Anastasia could hardly contain her excitement, stumbling as she approached. She then nearly tipped over in her seat when the servant lifted the slipper towards her foot, giggling and snorting like a pig; Cinderella thought it no coincidence, as she compared Anastasia's girth to that of a barnyard creature. Cinderella desperately hoped the slipper wouldn't shatter when it fell to the floor. "After all," she thought, "her stubby foot resembles a hoof! Most certainly unfitting for such a shoe! Surely it will slip off and she will be so embarrassed for believing it might have fit."
Cinderella rose proudly from behind the stairs where she had watched in hiding. She stepped forward to present herself as the love of the prince's life, ready to accept her new life of royalty.
But no one noticed Cinderella's grand entrance. All eyes were fixed on the magical transformation taking place before them. Cinderella turned to see, in complete shock and horror, that the slipper had not fallen from Anastasia's foot as she was so certain it would. A brilliant blue light swirled around Anastasia and her gaudy clothing became the elegant gown Cinderella had worn the night of the ball; the very gown that her fairy godmother had conjured up for her.
The silence was broken with Lady Tremaine's joyful shrieks and clapping. The prince ran to Anastasia and embraced her. "My love! My love! Marry me and I will make you a princess!"
"Cinderella!" Lady Tremaine called shrilly. She jumped with a small yelp of fright, startled to suddenly notice her step-daughter already standing nearby. "Oh, you wretched thing! How long have you been standing there gawking? Have you no manners?" She flailed her arms dramatically as she spoke, "Ah, no matter. I called you to fetched the finest wine from the cellar. We must celebrate Anastasia's engagement to the prince!"
Cinderella stood frozen in disbelief and heartbreak, hearing her step-mother's words but not quite comprehending them. "Go, you lazy thing! Wine! Fetch the wine!" Cinderella turned and walked to the cellar in shock, moving as though in a trance.
In the privacy of the cellar, Cinderella was overwhelmed by raw emotion. She began to cry in torrents, clasping her hands tightly over her mouth to muffle her uncontrollable sobs, for fear Lady Tremaine and her step-sisters would hear her.
Suddenly, a familiar blue light emitted from seemingly no where, then faded to reveal Cinderella's fairy godmother. Cinderella looked at her with deep pain in her eyes, unable to speak. "I know," the grandmotherly woman said warmly,"I know, child."
"You see, I came to you, drawn by the purity of your heart. But it became clear, with just that one night of splendor, that you, my dear, are weak. The hope of a brilliant future in the arms of a prince, the promise of gowns and jewels... it changed you. You succumbed to it, allowed it to taint you. The mediation of your heart and thoughts are not what they once were, and this, Cinderella, is a terrible offense to the gift I presented you."
"But.. but.." Cinderella manage to stammer, "but I..."
"Lets not complicate this, my dear. The punishment for your crime is this. And you shall remain in servitude to this family. You will watch your step-sister and the prince live happily together. You will wait after them and care for their children and their children's children. After you regain your meekness, you may fall in love with another servant, or perhaps a commoner from the village, but together you will remain in servitude and live in great humility. Farewell." Fading into the same blue light that she appeared in, the fairy godmother vanished.
In anger and bitterness, Cinderella never again loved. She allowed her heart to harden and died many years later in solitude. Anastasia, however, wandered from the wicked ways taught to her by her mother; the purity of the prince's heart had changed her.
And so she lived happily ever after.