There was once a kind-hearted young woman who was called Arianna, her mother died when she was young, and her father married a woman who had two daughters of her own.

The step-mother was after the man's fortune, and poisoned his evening wine about a year after their marriage. The funeral, needless to say, was a quiet affair.

It was around this time that the step-mother revealed her true colours; she moved Arianna to the attic and renamed her Cinderella, or Cindy, because of the amount of time she spent around the fire and the cinders that got on her clothes.

Their mistreatment of Cinderella lasted until a letter arrived at the house, addressed to all the maiden women in the household. An invitation to the ball being held at the palace, next Saturday.

Of cause it was then that the step-sisters, being rather ugly but had deluded themselves into thinking they were very beautiful, and that the looks of lust that were aimed at Cindy were directed at them instead, spent most of the week fretting over what to wear. They declared that none of the dresses were proper and that they had to get a whole new outfit.

Their mother, who spoilt her daughters rotten, said they could spend as much money as they pleased. They spent about a thousand pounds each.

By the time Saturday arrived, Cindy had had enough of their endless babble of getting the Prince's eye and marrying him. She was, in fact, glad to see them go.

It was then that her newly-appointed fairy godmother turned up.

"Why the long face, Hun?" she asked her ward.

"Nothing much," Cindy replied, glaring into the corner, "my sisters and mother have just left me the place to myself, and told me I had to clean it all before they got in."

With a wave of her wand, the godmother preformed her favourite charm, the house was spotless.

"Now then, baby face, I say you shall go to the ball and enjoy yourself for once."

It took around half an hour for the fairy to perfect the spell and put Cindy in a dress of silk and satin, it had a lace trimmed corset and flared out at the waist. She also had glass stiletto healed ballet slippers, dangerous when broken.

It took another quarter hour to get the pumpkin into a suitable carriage. The mice were much better at transforming into horses; they took at least three minutes.

Getting to the palace was a nightmare in the heavy traffic; Cindy had half an hour of fun before she had to go back to her carriage to be home by the sensible time of midnight.

The palace was glitzed up for the ball, there were streamers hanging from the ceiling, and a disco ball in the ballroom. And let's not forget the huge chocolate fountain in the corner. And God knows how much that punch has been spiked if it was now an acidic green.

Cindy found herself the centre of attention as soon as she arrived, and was asked by five different men if she wanted to dance. She was swung from person to person, each wanting to dance with the mysterious woman.

She was soon in the presence of the Prince, and it each thought it was love at first sight. Of cause, that's when Cindy saw the clock and realized she had five minutes to get home.

Fleeing the palace, she never noticed she'd lost her shoe, or that the carriage was sparking with nearly-run-out magic.

She did, however, notice that she had to run the last minute back as the pumpkin appeared in the middle of the road.

The neighbours did wonder how their house suddenly became mouse-infested.

The next morning, the sisters had a terrible hang-over from the spiked punch and the step-mother kept complaining of a headache "that is most definitely not a hang-over!"

The cure came in the form of the Prince, who arrived on their doorstep at around two in the afternoon. He was there on official business.

"I need to see if any woman in the house fits this shoe."

Yeah, official business.

The sisters tried it on, even threatened to cut of toes to fit the shoe. The mother tried, but didn't make such treats.

"Is there any other maiden, ma'am?"

"None at all, kind sir."

It was then that Cindy entered, laden with a tray of tea, and the Prince could not take his eyes off her.

"What about her?" his guard asked.

"Just a serving girl," the step-mother replied.

"Let her try it on."

So Cindy tried on the shoe, and surprise, surprise, the shoe fitted just fine.

The Prince wanted them married the following Sunday.

Cindy was moved into the palace and everything was swell.

At the wedding, everyone was invited from all over the kingdom.

"Is there any reason why these two persons should not be married?" the minister asked the congregation.

"Yes!" the Prince's cousin yelled, "he's already married!"

Gasp galore!

Yes, the Prince was indeed already married. For political gain. His father wanted a truce with a neighbouring kingdom and wed his son to their princess.

What the neighbouring kingdom forgot to mention was their princess was a psychopath and a pyromaniac.

The moral of this story?

There is no such thing as either a perfect ending or love at first sight.