In a certain land, in a
certain country, much like the one in which we live, stood a castle in the
center of the mountain. It was white as sugar. A rich lord, his wife and
daughter, Julie, lived there. They lived together in harmony and love, until
misfortune afflicted them.
One day Julie’s mother
became ill and shortly after died. It was as if the root of life was torn out of
the lord. He became sad and nothing interested him. The property began to fall
into ruin; the castle lost its white beauty.
yourself, my friend,” his neighboring landlord said to him. “You should
marry again. I can recommend a bride right now. A widow like you, who has two
daughters a little older then Julie. But what is significant is that she is a
wealthy lady who has a firm hand. Everything will be bright again.”
The new mistress with her
daughters came into the castle. In a short time everything ran according to a
new order. The castle was whitened both outside and inside. Looking again like
sugar. The two new countesses, Herma and Zelma moved through the castle like
peacocks. But not even this aroused in the lord the desire for life. From day to
day he failed until one day he passed away.
Julie cried, almost
drowning herself in her tears, but the madam did not allow her to be sorrowful.
“How long do you want to blubber? Get yourself down to the kitchen. You will
sweep out the stove there and start the fires!” “But Mother,” shuddered
the girl. “Don’t mother me, that has ended forever,” rebuked the mistress.
“From today on I am ‘Your Ladyship’ to you. Get yourself to where I
Julie swept out the stove
and started the fire. She was completely blackened, covered with soot and ashes
from the work. The new cook didn’t even recognize the girl or know that her
name was Julie. Everyone just called her Cinderella. Cinderella sweep,
Cinderella wash, Cinderella here, Cinderella there! No one gave her recognition
except the old horseman, Prokop and three pigeons who she gave crumbs to
everyday on the windowsill. The first pigeon was gray with a white breast, the
second was white with a black cap, and the third was completely white as fallen
snow. From time to time Julie caressed them and gently spoke to them.
One day the King’s
courier galloped into the castle. “In the King’s Palace, the Prince is
arranging a large ball, to which he is inviting all the countesses and ladyships
from the entire country.”
What a bustle came over the
castle! The tailors were cutting, stitching and measuring, once for Herma, and
once for Zelma. They even invited Cinderella to help sew. She was happy to do
so. She was skillful and had light hands for such tasks. In the end when
everything was ready, she dared to ask: “Mother . . . Your Ladyship, might I
not be able to go to the ball?” “They did not invite girls from the
ashes!” snapped the mistress. “You have work in the kitchen!” “I did all
the work there.” “What are you saying?” sneered the mistress.
“Servants, bring a bag of
lentils and a bag of peas and mix them together. Here is your work, Cinderella.
Before I return the peas and the lentils are to be separated!” With a proud
laugh she departed.
The whole castle watched as
her ladyship with her daughters seated themselves in the coach and drove away.
Only Cinderella sat in the kitchen picking lentils from the peas. Tears as big
as peas rolled down her face. Suddenly she heard the tap-tap of a beak on the
window. “My friend pigeons, at
least you have not forgotten me.” She opened the window and they flew inside.
“Don’t cry Cinderella, go to the ball, we will do all the work for you.”
“Indeed, in what will I dress myself so quickly?” she asked.
The gray pigeon with the
white breast placed a hazel nut on the table and cracked it with his beak
pulling out beautiful sky-blue clothes and lovely slippers. “You will go to
the ball in these clothes, but remember this: just as soon as midnight begins to
strike, depart. You have to depart in these clothes.”
Cinderella dressed herself
in the sky-blue clothes. They fit perfectly. She looked as if she was veiled in
the spring sky, in which her blond hair shone as the bright sun. She went down
into the courtyard. The horseman, Prokop, brought her father’s horse, which
she rode many times before, from the barn. She sat on the horse and was off to
the King’s city.
As Cinderella entered the
ballroom, all eyes were fixed only on her, who is this lovely girl? No one
recognized her, not Herma, not Zelma, not even their mother. The prince went to
meet her and led her to his throne. He danced and spoke to no one but Cinderella
“Tell me, beautiful one.
What is you name?” he asks her. “They all call me by a name which is not
mine, fair prince” says Cinderella. “ I have a proper name but no one has
called me by it for a long time.”
They danced and enjoyed
themselves, but Cinderella did not forget the pigeon’s command. Just as soon
as it neared midnight, she slipped out of the hall, ran down the staircase and
sat on her horse. In a short time she was home. There she found everything in
order: the peas in one bag, the lentils in another. She put away her beautiful
ball clothes and before the mistress came back she had a restful sleep.
The morning talk was of the
prince and the unknown girl with whom he had fallen in love. Herma spoke with
admiration, Zelma with envy and the mistress with disapproval.
A short time later, a new
invitation came. Herma and Zelma eagerly prepared and Cinderella timidly asked
whether she might be able to go.
“Indeed, what else!”
said the mistress angrily. “Perhaps you don’t have anything to do?” She
ordered a bag of millet and a bag of poppy seed to be mixed together. “This
you will sort out! Be sure it is right before I return.”
Cinderella sorted the
millet from the poppy seed and tears were rolling down her cheeks. Then she
heard the tap-tap of a beak on the window. Her friend pigeons did not forget
her! She was comforted and ran to open the window for them. They flew inside and
said “Do not cry Cinderella, we will do the work for you.” The pigeon with
the black cap placed a nut on the table, cracked it with his beak and pulled out
beautiful dark blue clothes sprinkled with gold stars. “Do not forget you have
to leave at midnight in these clothes.” She dressed herself and looked like
she was veiled in a starry night sky. She sat on her horse and rode to the
At the ball it was as if
everyone was waiting just for her. The prince went immediately to meet her, even
the music sounded more joyful.
“Tell me, beautiful one,
if not your name, at least to whom you belong? Who is your father, mother,
sisters or brothers?” “My father and mother had left me not long ago. I have
no sisters or brothers. I never had. I am alone, very much alone and completely
The prince wondered at this
answer, he understood and yet he didn’t and with that he stayed with her all
evening. Even so, she slipped away
as midnight struck. At home, she found the poppy seed and millet sorted into
their own bags. She took off the starry clothes and dressed into her cinder
clothes. She slept very well until morning.
A third invitation came
from the Prince. Herma and Zelma prepared but in vain did Cinderella plead that
they take her. The mistress ordered a bag of flour and a bag of ashes be mixed
together. “When you sort these, you may come to the ball.” At that all three
laughed with glee and giggled as they left. Cinderella sat by the table sorting
while tears poured down her face. All at once the tap-tap on the window showed
the pigeons would help her. “Don‘t cry Cinderella, we will take care of this
for you, Go to the ball but be back at midnight.” The white pigeon cracked a
nut and white clothes, white as a swan’s feather and slippers white with
silver soles where given to Cinderella.
When Cinderella entered the
ballroom, everything became silent from surprise. The prince hurried to her and
led her to the throne. From that moment on he had eyes for no one else. Seeking
a promise from her, he said “Don’t leave me, you won’t let me lose you
today, will you?” “It was so three times, fair prince, that I found you,”
said Cinderella “What if you would try once to find me?” “I would be very
glad, if only I knew where you live.” “Not far, not near,” she answered.
“And even though I live in my own house, it is worse than in a
stranger’s.” “Where then shall I look for you?” “If I lived there,
where I should live, you would find me easily. Only, it is not that way. Maybe
you will see me but yet not find me.”
The prince shook his head,
he didn’t understand. Inconspicuously, he called to a servant and whispered
something to him. When it began to strike midnight, Cinderella slipped out.
Running down the staircase… Oh what Happened? Her shoes stuck to the steps!
She loosened one shoe with great difficulty but the other; she was truly unable
to manage. She heard voices behind her and quickly ran to the gate. Getting home
she found everything in order. She hardly put away her ball clothes when the
coach with the mistress thundered in. Without a breath they said that the
beautiful, unknown one again was lost but the prince had at least a footprint
from her, a white shoe with silver sole. He would search for her.
The next day, the prince
suddenly arrives at the castle with his escorts. Herma and Zelma just had to try
on the white slipper, but what! They could not put it on at all. The
chambermaids, the cooks tried but it did not fit anyone.
“Don’t you have another
girl?” Asked the prince. “Only Cinderella” the chambermaid let slip.
“What are you prattling
about, you stupid girl?” shouted the mistress at her “Go do your work!”
The chambermaid was going off, but the prince stopped her. “First bring
Cinderella here to me.”
“What! Most fair prince,
indeed, she just sweeps out the stove,” said the mistress evasively. “Right
now she is totally in ashes.”
“Just bring her here and
let her try on the shoe” he insisted. They brought Cinderella. Her head
wrapped in a scarf and her clothes covered in ashes. She managed to wipe her
The prince looks at her and
begins thinking. “What is your name young lady?” he asked “They call me,
Cinderella. But that is not my name. My name is Julie but no one has called me
that for a long time.” ”Haven’t I heard your voice somewhere,” he asked.
“Aren’t you the girl, who if I see her, I might not find her?” “You
already see me, but still it is not known whether you will find me.”
“What are you jabbering
about, Cinderella,” shouted the mistress “She has no rhyme or reason!”
“Oh, I already know, I’m already certain,” said the prince. “You are the
girl, who lives although in her own house, yet nevertheless, worse than in a
stranger’s. I already understand everything. You are the one who three times
found me and who I now have finally found. Now just for order sake, Cinderella,
try on this shoe.”
Cinderella put it on and
the shoe fit on her foot as if it were molded there. “This is my elected,”
said the overjoyed prince. He kisses her hard, overworked, ash-covered hand.
“Come, my dear, the king’s coach is waiting.” “A little patience fair
prince, just till I change my clothes.”
In a moment, Cinderella
appeared in her white clothes and white shoes with the silver soles. She was
beautiful and completely white as a young swan. “I welcome you, my bride to
be” called the overjoyed prince. “Tomorrow we will celebrate our wedding.”
The mistress and her
daughters looked on with open mouths, they couldn’t believe their own eyes.
Cinderella left for the king’s palace to become a princess.
People have remarked about
her beauty, her goodness, and righteousness for a long time. Actually, they
haven’t forgotten her up to this very time, the time of the telling of this
Story by Mária
Duríčková Translated by