O nce upon a time, there was a pretty young girl named Cinderella. She lived with her widowed father. He loved her very much, but thought she needed a mother. So he married a woman with two daughters named Anastasia and Drizella. Not long after that, he died.
    Cinderella’s stepmother, Lady Tremaine, spent most of the family fortune. She forced Cinderella to become a servant and live in a cold, dark attic. Day in and day out, Cinderella did all of the household chores—from feeding the chickens to polishing the chandeliers. She waited on her stepsisters and stepmother hand and foot. Yet nothing she did ever pleased them.
    No matter how mean her stepmother and stepsisters were, Cinderella was always cheerful. She made friends with the mice and birds and even sewed little outfits for them. Two of Cinderella’s best friends were mice named Jaq and Gus.

    One day, a messenger delivered an invitation to a royal ball. It was to be held that night at the palace. All the unmarried maidens in the kingdom were invited—the King wanted to find a wife for his son.

    â€œWhy, that means I can go, too!” Cinderella cried. Her stepsisters just laughed at her. They thought it was funny that a servant would think she could go to the ball.
    â€œWell, why not?” asked Cinderella. “It says, ‘By royal command, every eligible maiden is to attend.’”
    Her stepmother looked at the invitation. “Well, I see no reason why you can’t go,” she said, “if you get all your work done and if you can find something suitable to wear.”
    Cinderella was delighted. She ran upstairs at once.
    In her attic room, Cinderella opened her trunk and found a pink gown that had belonged to her mother. It was a little old-fashioned, but she knew she could make it into a beautiful dress.
    All of a sudden, Cinderella’s stepmother and stepsisters called for her. The gown would have to wait.
    Lady Tremaine gave her stepdaughter a long list of chores to make certain that she wouldn’t be able to go to the ball. Even if Cinderella finished, she wouldn’t have time to fix the dress.

    That evening, as Anastasia, Drizella, and Lady Tremaine were just about to leave for the ball, Cinderella went upstairs to her room. She had just finished her chores. Cinderella walked over to the window and looked out sadly at the palace in the distance.
    But when she turned around, a surprise was waiting for her. The birds and mice had fixed her mother’s old dress using ribbons and beads that Anastasia and Drizella had thrown away.

    Cinderella was overjoyed. She thanked her friends and ran downstairs. When her stepsisters saw the gown and how beautiful Cinderella looked in it, they were furious.
    â€œThat’s my sash!” Anastasia yelled as she ripped Cinderella’s skirt.
    â€œThey’re my beads!” Drizella cried as she pulled them from her stepsister’s neck.
    Cinderella’s dress was in tatters. Knowing she couldn’t go to the ball, she ran to the garden in tears.
    Cinderella was sobbing on a garden bench when a kindly woman appeared. She comforted Cinderella and explained that she was her fairy godmother.

    Then she waved her wand and said, “Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo.” Suddenly, four mice were transformed into four white horses, and a big, round pumpkin became a glittering coach.
    The Fairy Godmother waved her wand again and turned Cinderella’s torn dress into a beautiful blue gown. Now she could go to the ball!
    â€œWhy, it’s like a dream . . . a wonderful dream come true!” Cinderella exclaimed.
    â€œYou must understand, my dear,” the Fairy Godmother said, “on the stroke of twelve, the spell will be broken. And everything will be as it was before.”
    And with that, the coach whisked Cinderella to the palace.
    At the ball, the Prince met a lot of lovely maidens, but he didn’t seem terribly interested in any of them. The King wondered if

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