Once upon a time there was a beautiful girl. She lived with her father in a large manor on the southern part of town. She was in no way noble or royalty, but she knew of grandeur and her father made sure that she was always well cared for and loved. She was happy with her father and only found sadness in knowing that her mother was no longer with her. Her mother passed away when the young girl was a mere seven years old and her grave still resides in the back yard of the beautifully built manor.
Many years later, after the young child grew into a beautiful young woman, her father remarried. At first, it seemed like their lives were complete. The young woman was happy that her father found love again and her new family did not seem too terrible, either. They would all smile and laugh.
Until the day her father died.
After that, things seemed to take a turn for the worst. A shadow befell the young daughter's life and suddenly her life of leisure and prosperity evaporated like a rain puddle in July. Her hand woven clothes melted away, replaced with dirty, stained hand-me-downs. Her mornings of waking up in a soft bed disappeared, only to be replaced by earning mornings awakening to make breakfast and clean the house.
Her step-sisters were cruel. They laughed at the pain they saw in her eyes. Despite the sick reality that her father was dead and gone forever, the young daughter did not take her bitterness out on her family. In fact, she soon found that a life of luxury was far more overrated than she'd ever expected. Truthfully, she preferred the carefree feeling of knowing that she owned nothing and was indebted to no one but herself.
She worked hard for her remaining relatives. She did the dishes. She cooked the meals. She scrubbed the floors. She mended the clothes. She slept in the broom cupboard for her own room had been converted to a music room for the two other daughters by the cruel stepmother.
Her stepsisters tried to drag her down. They called her names. Humiliating names. They insulted her deceased family. Usually such taunts were met with a swift punch to the nose, for the young daughter learned long ago that she would never roll over and take the abuse from her family, no matter how it was served and the punishment she would ultimately receive. They called her 'Cinders' and taunted the ash that dusted her face. They called her 'slave girl' in hopes of ripping her down.
But she simply became stronger.
Perhaps her stepmother found it incredibly frustrating to see that the girl could not be trodden upon and there was always a smile on her face. Perhaps the stepmother suspected that her stepdaughter-turned-servant was plotting something sinister. But, whatever the reason, as the years passed by, the stepmother grew crueler and crueler towards her stepdaughter.
On the dawn of the daughter's seventeenth birthday, the girl awoke with a smile on her face. In truth, she did not mind the useless chores her stepmother made her do. It passed the time in an otherwise boring day. She liked to think of herself as self reliant; she didn't need anyone. If not for her lack of money, the girl would have disappeared years ago.
Incidentally, it was on the girl's seventeenth birthday that the girl discovered that the prince of the country was the age of marriage. To celebrate such a momentous occasion, the entire capital city—and cities miles around—were invited to attend the prestigious castle for a ball. Princesses from realms never heard of would come from far and wide in hopes of capturing the prince's heart. While it was forbidden for a royal to marry a commoner, the girls of the city were atwitter with happiness to think that, by some far away chance, perhaps they could capture the prince's heart and ensnare a place in the royal castle as a princess—and then queen.
The young servant girl humored the idea but dismissed it as impossibility. After all, it was forbidden for any person of royal blood to wed to a mere city girl with no nobility to her name what so ever. Yet, it did not stop the girl from dreaming. Dreaming of a place where she could belong. A place she could call home.
Her home was no longer her own. Despite the fact that she did not mind the chores her stepfamily forced of her, she did pray for a day when she could escape from the pathetic, boring life she lived and move on to something more adventurous. The greatest part of her life was when she could go to the market and buy food for her pompous family. Yet the market was a mere mile from her doorstep. Hardly something she could call an adventure.
Needless to say, the girl was quite excited for the ball. Unlike the other girls of the capital, she had no desire to win the prince's heart. In fact, she could care less about whether or not she even saw the prince. Just the idea of leaving the house and doing something exciting made her feel lightheaded and deliriously happy.
Until her stepfamily refused her attendance.
She slaved over her dress. Truly it was no match for the nobles that would attend the ball, nor could it truly stand up against the finery her stepsisters draped themselves in, but she still found pride in knowing she'd made the dress from her old rags and somehow made it look halfway decent.
But her stepmother merely scoffed at the girl and smashed the hope in her eyes beneath her foot. Declaring that there was no way that the girl could ever possibly go to the ball, her stepfamily marched out, leaving the girl with a ripped dress and a broken dream.
But, despite what her stepmother would have liked, the young woman was no little girl. She did not roll over and accept defeat. In fact, her stepmother's cruel display only sparked the girl into retaliation. She would attend that ball, if not to spite the woman and to ease her restless heart.
She picked up the hem of her ripped dress and marched out the house, not caring if she appeared in the royal court looking like a slave girl. She would attend, and her manners could be damned for the amount of attention she paid her appearance.
It was after that that all the girl's dreams came true.
At the ball, the most beautiful woman entered the front gates and entered without announcement. In her finery, men fell to their knees and begged for her attentions. With her smile, girls of all ages felt as if an angel were smiling at them.
Her soft blue dress flowed around her body like the softest flowing river. The soft material sparkled as if each star in the sky were captured in the soft folds of the dress. Her eyes sparkled and her beautiful black hair framed her face, drawing attention to the softness of her feminine angles.
It was on that night that the mysterious woman first laid eyes on the prince. Perhaps it was love at first sight, for the man could never again rip his gaze from her. He walked slowly towards her and the rest of the night, they say, is magic.
After midnight, with the solitude destroyed by a sobbing promise of reuniting, a glass slipper stayed precariously on the descent of stairs. In the distance, the prince could capture a glance of a beautiful girl and he feared that he would never see her again.
Everyone knows the story of Cinderella.
She found love. She found freedom. She found that dreams do come true.
Her life should be perfect. She has everything that she could ever want. She can live happily ever after with her prince. No longer can she be stamped beneath the boot of oppression.
But is she happy?