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with nothing left of her magnificence but the mate of the glass slipper she had dropped.
In the meantime, the prince had questioned all
the guards at his palace gates, asking if any had seen a magnificent princess pass out. The guards replied that no princess had passed the gates, and that they had not seen a single creature except a ragged little beggar girl that ran through about midnight.
Cinderella sat up impatiently awaiting the return of her sisters, and when they came she began her questioning again. Was the princess at the ball this evening? Did they find out who she was, and was she as kind to them as on the night before?
"Yes, the princess was there, but at midnight she jumped up and ran so hurriedly from the ballroom that even though she lost one of her glass slippers she did not stop to pick it up. The prince followed her and was not able to overtake her. He did, however, find the glass slipper, a beautiful little thing, which she had dropped in her haste. All the rest of the night he sat gazing at the slipper, so that all the guests decided he must be very much in love with the princess."
This must have been true, for the next day the prince sent heralds around, who proclaimed by sound of trumpet that he would willingly marry the lady whose foot exactly fitted the slipper he had found. The prince's messengers took the slipper and carried it to all the princesses, then to the duchesses, and then to the high ladies of the court, one after another, but without success. Many tried to put on the slipper, but all failed. Finally it was brought to the house where Cinderella lived, and each of the sisters tried to squeeze her foot into the slipper, but saw that it was quite impossible.
Cinderella, who was looking at them all the while, and who knew her slipper, smiled to herself, and when the sisters had failed she ventured to say, "Please, sir, let me try on the slipper."
The sisters laughed scornfully at the idea, but the herald, who had noticed the great beauty of Cinderella in spite of her ragged clothes, said to her, "Certainly, you may try on the slipper, for the prince has sworn he will find the owner if it has to be tried on the foot of every lady in the kingdom."
So Cinderella seated herself, and when the gentleman tried on the slipper he found to his own surprise that it fitted her little foot like wax. The two sisters were filled with astonishment, but were even more surprised when they saw Cinderella reach into her pocket, take out the other slipper, and fit it on her other foot. Just at this moment the fairy godmother came into the room, walked briskly over to Cinderella, and touched her with a wand. In an instant her ragged clothing was changed to a beautiful dress which made her appear again the magnificent princess, but even more richly jeweled than ever.
The sisters could not fail to see that she was the beautiful princess who had been so kind to them at the ball, and falling at her feet, they asked forgiveness for the insults and the ill treatment they had heaped upon her. Cinderella gave them each a hand and, assisting them to arise, tenderly embraced them one after the other.
"I forgive you with all my heart," said Cinderella, "and I hope you will always love me as I shall you."
Then she gave her hand to the gentleman-in-waiting, who conducted her, dressed as she was, into the presence of the prince. He was so overjoyed at finding the beautiful princess again that without delay he asked her to accept his hand. In a few days the marriage ceremony took place, and Cinderella, as forgiving and gentle as she was beautiful, provided her sisters with elegant apartments in the palace, where after a short time both were wedded to rich nobles at the court.
CINDERELLA is one of the girls that all readers of stories love. Your mothers and fathers when they were little, and your grandmothers and grandfathers when they were little, heard about her, and they liked her story not only because of the things that happen in it, but because Cinderella is such a likable girl. Let us see how many things we can find about her in the story, so that we may know just why it is that we like her so. Some of the things are said about her in so many words, and we shall make a list of those first. She is:
3. Sweet and obliging,
Besides these things that we are really told, we may find out certain things about Cinderella by the way she acts.
1. She is patient under suffering. "The poor child bore everything without complaint."
2. She has good taste. The sisters "called upon Cinderella to give them her advice about how they should wear their hair and fix their dresses," which, hating her as they did, and unwilling to make her seem of any importance, they would certainly never have done had they not known that she had better taste than thev had.
3. She is not envious or jealous. Grieved as she was that her sisters were invited to the ball, while she was not, she still "did everything she could to make them appear well," instead of doing her best to make them look ugly, as one might have expected her to do.
4. She is fond of good times. She wept because she could not go to the ball, and was "wild with joy" when she was finally permitted to go.
5. She is unselfish. She shared the attentions which she received at the ball with her cruel sisters.
6. She is grateful. "She thanked her godmother a thousand times."
7. She is innocently fond of praise. She was "scarcely able to contain herself with joy" when the sisters told of the beautiful princess, and "her heart grew warm" at the attention of the prince.
8. She is tender-hearted. She "tenderly embraced" her sisters when they begged her forgiveness.
Have we not found reasons enough for loving the little heroine of this story? We could not well help loving any one who had those qualities.
But as you read the story, did you not dislike the sisters almost as much as you liked Cinderella? Read the story just once more, and see whether you can find as good reasons for feeling so toward the sisters as we have found for feeling the opposite way toward Cinderella.