You’ve heard all about the fairy godmother and the glass slippers and mice for horses and the pumpkin coach. You’ve heard all about the ball and prince, of course, and the ugly step-sisters, though most tellings don’t say how drunk the sisters made themselves and how they had to be bundled into a handsome cab and sent home. But the rest is right, up to the point of a knock on the door early next morning.

‘Cinderella, get the door,’ bellowed step-mother.

When Cinderella glanced out the window her heart leapt. There was the boy she’d danced with all night—he’d made her believe that even a scullery maid, for that was all she was, might find something as precious as love. She was sure it was him. But now he was in the livery of the royal family. And it was him. He was holding the shoe she’d lost in her rush to get home. Cinderella wanted to run down to be with him again, but her feet were so tender that even walking was difficult. She looked at them all bruised red and horribly swollen. Glass shoes—who ever heard of anything so ridiculous.

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