Thursday, January 28, 2010

Cinderella



Lady Evelyn sat next to her husband.  He lie in the bed, weak, thin and ashen.  It wouldn't be long now.  She took his hand.  His eyes opened.  He looked at her, but she couldn't see him anymore.  He was gone.  He searched her eyes trying to remember who she was.

"Evelyn" he whispered.  A tear trickled down her cheek.
"Yes, my dear." she whispered back.  He looked at her.  She saw him.  He was there.  He knew her.  He was safe.  He was gone.   She turned away as if it would make it all go away.  In the door way stood her two young girls;  Zel and Ana.  Ana cradled the family cat in her arms.  They knew.  Evelyn rose to her full height, pulled up her shoulders and drew in a breath.  She took one step.  Zel and Ana came crashing into her.  She dropped to her knees and wept with them.

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One Year Later

Evelyn met and married a widower.  He was a lot like her late husband.  He was kind, generous, and very handsome.  He had a single daughter.  Her name was Cinderella.  She was her mother in miniature he would say.  Beautiful blonde hair, that curled loosely about her shoulders.  Bright blue eyes and a smile that made him weak.

"You give in too easily" she would scold.  Her own daughters were not without his favor.  Zel shared his love of books,  and Ana was as tough as they come.  It didn't matter that she was nearly half the size of Zel and Cinderella she had all that much more spunk.  Both Zel and Ana were beautiful too.  And like their father they were kind.  Like their mother they were strong.

Cinderella was kind, as long as Daddy or "Step"mother, as she called her, were around.  She gave extra emphasis to the word "Step" as if to imply that Evelyn wasn't worthy of any other title.  She would lock Leonardo, the family cat, up in the cupboard.  She hated him.  She called him Lucifer.  After all, he was 'the devil himself."  She would give the girls sour looks whenever she could.  She would steal their best dresses.  She would make them clean her room and make her bed.  She told them if they tattled her father would lock THEM in the cupboard.  And if Zel and Ana ever did manage to get her back, it usually landed all three of them being punished.  Which left them in worse trouble with Cinderella.  It was just easier to let her be mean and bossy.

Over the course of the next three years, Cinderella's demands and torment became worse and worse.  All the while, Zel and Ana smiling and remaining ever kind and gracious just as their mother and father had always taught them.

It was when Cinderella's father died, that things began to change.  Cinderella had to help with all the chores.  Cinderella, just like Zel and Ana, had to wear old and repaired dresses because money was scarce.  She complained and lamented on and on about having to do any kind of work.  She would dirty extra dishes when it was not her turn to do them, track mud in the house after one of her "step" sisters had cleaned.  And she would take great pleasure in making clothes extras dirty whenever it was their turn to wash.

One day an announcement was made.  An announcement for all young maidens to attend the Princes Ball.  Ana and Zel worked tirelessly on their dresses.  Cinderella also worked on a dress for herself.  She had one that belonged to her mother.  Her mother had taught her to sew.  She pulled out the gown.  It was a stunning silver and blue gown.  It just needed some minor repairs and alterations.  She found her mother's jewels and shoes to match the dress.

"Too bad your dresses aren't really fit for a ball." she sneered at Zel and Ana.  Ana still being small in stature, stood on her tip toes and wasn't eye level even then to Cinderella.
"My dress is just as fit as any and more.  It is that way, because I made it from nothing.  Yours is a hand-me-down!" She spat.  Zel tried to look as if she didn't approve, but she couldn't stop the smile that stole ever so slightly across her lips.

Cinderella's eyes blazed with fury.  This was no hand me down.  It was an heirloom.  A treasure.  Her breathing became shallow and her cheeks flamed up.  In an instant she grabbed Ana's dress and tore it straight down the front; making it impossible to repair before the ball.
"You're right,"she said in cool voice.  "Your dress IS made from nothing." with that she turned on her heal and left.

Ana tried to stop the hot stinging tears from coming, but she couldn't.  Zel gathered her up in her arms.  "Don't worry Ana,"she soothed.  "I'll repair it.  You can still go."
"No Zel,"Ana sobbed.  "There isn't time.  Just go.  Please."
"No!" She said firmly.  "We will both go.!"  Through her tears, Ana gave her sister a puzzling look.  Zel merely smiled.  She grabbed some lace from the fabric pile and some beads and trim.  She worked quickly, and with Ana still in the dress.  Right before her eyes, Zel had transformed the tear into a charming v-shaped opening.  It was delicate and lovely.  It was perfect.

The ball was magical.  The Prince danced with every single young lady there.  He even danced with Cinderella, though anyone could see he was not at all impressed with her.  Even her outer beauty couldn't hide what lurked below.  It was Ana, the Prince was most interested in.  Every chance he got he would talk to her.  And every chance SHE got Cinderella wedged herself between them.  But it didn't matter, because the Prince never noticed.  His eyes were set on Ana.  He had noticed her the moment she she arrived.  She stood out above the rest.  And she wasn't afraid of anything.  He marveled at that. 

Cinderella could stand it no longer.  Her fists were closed tight at her sides and her teeth were clinched.  "What is wrong with you!?" she shrieked.  "Can't you see how plain she is?  Can't you see how beautiful I am!?"

The Prince, fully unabashed by her tirade, simply said, "While  you are quite easy on the eyes, it is only for a moment.  On Ana the eyes must linger for there is so much more to her than her outward beauty.  One must contemplate her for a time in order to only begin to understand and fully appreciate the beauty within."

For the first time in her life, Cinderella felt small, ugly, and cruel.  She hung her head in shame.  For a long time she could not speak.  She couldn't look at anyone.  She could only stare at the marbled floor.  It was quickly blurred by stinging tears.

"Ana..."she whispered as she drew her head up.  "Can you ever forgive me?"  She bit her lip as she waited for Ana to respond.

"There is nothing to forgive, sister." Ana said softly as she took Cinderella's hand in hers.  In that moment, a pin could have dropped and the whole palace would have known it.  In that moment, Cinderella was quite beautiful.

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Ana married The Prince, as everyone guessed would happen that first night.  Zel married a Duke.  Cinderella never forgot the special gifts the Prince and Ana gave her that night.  It forever changed her, and she and her humble husband taught their beautiful children what beauty really meant.

The End

This UNFairy Tale was brought to you by Mama Kat's weekly writing prompts.

3.) Gregory MaGuire (author of books like Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West and Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister) is wildly popular right now (as is the musical Wicked). Write your own “re telling” of a classic fairy tale.

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Picture of the Day

January 2003




16 comments:

Emmy said...

Great job! Definitely a different twist, so fun to read.

Nikia, May and da kids said...

WOW! What a nice twist in favor of the step sisters. I quite like your version better but maybe it wouldn't make for a great Disney cartoon.

May

Holly said...

So brave to tackle that prompt, but you did it so well. I like the twists and turns you took. Nice job Lourie!

mormonhermitmom said...

Nice!

Carolynn said...

Loved your story. It is a great lesson for "mean" girls.

silfert said...

Oh, very nice! I like the change in perspective.

tattytiara said...

Well there's a fresh perspective!

As Told By Molly said...

Fairy tales are so fun because there is no wrong way to tell them. Good job!

Christina Lee said...

"While you are quite easy on the eyes, it is only for a moment. On Ana the eyes must linger for there is so much more to her than her outward beauty. One must contemplate her for a time in order to only begin to understand and fully appreciate the beauty within." LOVE THAT--GREAT JOB!!

Tina Lane said...

Kudos to you for picking one of the harder assignments. I wonder what the original fairy tale was really implying about blended families? Hmmm.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

Kelley Mitchell said...

This was great! I have a blog on Cinderella's glass slipper, and I come across a lot of stories of the classic fairy tale, and yours was very well written. And how wonderful it was to see things from the stepsisters' point of view!

KK said...

That was awesome!

Natasha said...

My 13 year old daughter is studying versions of Cinderella in English at the moment so I will get her to read this version. I always taught my students the Brothers Grimm version when I taught Jane Eyre.

Best wishes,
Natasha.

Terra said...

what a neat story. You twisted it into a new light perfectly!

KLZ said...

I just started doing MaMa Kat's recently. I'm surprised I haven't met you through there...I'll look for you this week!

Great twist - the part about the cat really got me.

Shell said...

Love your take on this!