Cinderella had attended the ball, lost track of time, and narrowly escaped to her enchanted coach waiting outside the castle. As we know, in her haste to flee the Prince before the stroke of midnight, one of her glass slippers was left lying by accident on the castle steps.
Our story begins with the Prince, having found the tiny slipper, and his desperate search for its owner. The night before was magical for him. He had danced with the girl of his dreams. Now, the only solid evidence of that magical evening was the fragile slipper he held in his hands. Who was its owner? How could he recapture all of the joy he had received in that four hours with her at the Ball? His quest was to find her if he had to visit every house in the kingdom. Whomever the slipper fit perfectly would claim his heart (and fortune) living happily ever after. The search was on.
Sitting among the cinders, Cinderella relived the prior evening's events. What a wonderfully magical time it had been. Fairy Godmother had been so generous in her accouterments. Not a detail had been overlooked. Cinderella had been transformed into the Belle of the Ball and had danced the night away with the charming Prince.
Now, however, the garish light of the morning shone on reality. Her tiny feet were swollen from all of the dancing and she gingerly placed them in the basin of cool water that she had prepared hoping for a good soak before being required to do the house chores that lay before her. There was laundry to do, floors to mop and wax, and today was dusting day throughout the household she shared with her stepmom Lady Tremaine and two nasty stepsisters Anastasia and Drusilla.
"Better get to work," she thought, "or I'll catch it, for sure."
So, grabbing her mop, bucket, cleaning cloths, polishes, and cleansers, Cinderella began her day.
After she had finished drying the last dish from the large lunch she had prepared for her stepmother and sisters (they left the table without even thanking her), she heard pounding at the front door. Drying her hands on the towel, she passed through the large living room to greet whoever was visiting. She wasn't prepared for who was standing at the door when she opened it.
A page, dressed in the royal colors of the court, began reading a decree prepared just that morning by the Prince. It was heralding notice that every female in the kingdom was "hereby ordered to try on the glass slipper" which the page was holding on a satin pillow. Cinderella's heart skipped! That was her slipper!
The page entered the household and required Cinderella to be seated. He held the glass slipper as Cinderella moved her foot toward the moment of truth. But, alas, her poor feet were still so swollen and sore from all of the previous night's dancing, and the grueling work forced upon her this morning, that the slipper wouldn't accommodate her size 5 foot. She tried again. Nothing. Again. Still nothing. She began to feel a sense of dread. Her fortune was passing her by. Her happiness, tied to the proper fit of this cursed shoe, was melting away. Her heart sunk.
"Are there other females in the household?" inquired the page.
"Yes. I'll summon them for you," said Cinderella as she left the room tearfully.
The large room was soon full of giddy, giggling females each confident that her foot was the one that was going to launch them into a life of royalty and riches.
Lady Tremaine was first to try on the prized glass slipper, but found the little article much too small for her plump appendage.
Drusilla was seated next and extended her foot for the prize. Close, but no cigar.
At last, Anastasia was asked to place her foot into the shoe. Since her dance card had remained virtually empty at the Ball, her feet were fine. Remarkably, the slipper fit.
Pandemonium broke out! The three ladies of the Tremaine household shouted and clapped and hugged each other tearfully as the page carefully noted the results of the fitting on the bottom of the royal decree. The slipper's owner had been found! There was going to be a royal wedding! Anastasia was going to be an inheritor of the throne!
Sadly, Cinderella slipped away to her chimney quarters and silently sobbed as the celebration continued elsewhere in the large house. Life was cruel.
The next few weeks found Cinderella busily packing personal belongings for her stepmom and her cruel daughters. The royal wedding was to be held on Saturday and preparations to move the three women's personal items to the castle must be completed today.
Last minute orders were screamed at her by each of the three and poor Cinderella had no time to feel remorse for herself. She was destined to be a servant. Her ship had left the port. She must bear the strain of her low station and not complain. She must do as commanded.
Prince Romanov was confused. The last few weeks had been a blur. The lady selected by the slipper didn't seem as enchanting in the daylight as she had that evening at the ball. She was domineering and demanding. She was not at all what he had envisioned his princess to be. However, the slipper made its choice. He had written the royal decree himself. His fate was sealed. He was reminded painfully that one had better be careful for what one wishes.
The wedding was the biggest the kingdom had seen in years. Royalty from neighboring realms added to the pageantry. Parades were held in the royal couple's honor. Gifts of inestimable value were lavished upon the couple and wishes for long life and reign were shouted by the attending throng. Feasts were prepared to sate even the largest appetites and all remarked at how even the smallest details had the mark of royalty stamped upon them. It was a memorable celebration and the Prince Romanov and Princess Anastasia were soon off on their honeymoon.
Lady Tremaine and Drusilla were appointed as part of Anastasia's court and found the royal castle's quarters much to their liking. Each need was met. Each order was followed precisely. They were made for this lifestyle. Ahhhhh.
Cinderella was left to care for the property abandoned by her pitiless step-family. Lady Tremaine, seeing the treasure and the royal lifestyle beckoning to her family, legally assigned the house and grounds back to Cinderella knowing that there wasn't much there for the girl. It was actually Cinderella's father's place to begin with. Lady Tremaine had grabbed it for herself and daughters after his death. So what? The Tremaine's had given her shelter, hadn't they? They had given her a place to live, hadn't they? They could have put her out on the street where she belonged. Well, she was used to the place anyway, so, why not let her have it back? They were tired of it anyway. Too small. Its fifteen rooms were not nearly spacious enough to provide a venue for the future social functions they would be expected to host. Let the little cleaning girl have it. Good riddance to it; and to her.
The uprising in the Kingdom had been festering since Prince Romanov and Princess Anastasia were elevated to the throne seven years ago. The Prince's father and mother had died mysteriously in their sleep and the Prince and Princess were appointed immediate successors to the throne. Their cruel tyranny and disregard for their subjects had resulted in higher taxes and restrictive edicts placing the masses in wretched bondage to the throne.
The Prince, now King Romanov, was rarely seen in public. Queen Anastasia was the architect for all of the schemes designed in creating new taxes levied against the realm and her enforcement squads to collect those taxes from the populace were cruel and heartless. The royal coffers had grown fat. Royal parties were frequent and extravagant. The populace was hungry and destitute, but the throne was deaf and blind to its needs.
Cinderella was fearful. She had never heard such bitter and dangerous language from people in the village. Each day she would overhear someone at the market talking about the oppressive King Romanov and Queen Anastasia. Angry words punctuated citizen's demands to seize the throne and take the kingdom back restoring it to its glory days! Friends and neighbors previously docile and content to live their lives were becoming militant in their demands for action. Calls for militia action against the throne were becoming more frequent.
The kingdom's citizenry had had enough.
Cindy opened the morning paper and began her leisurely review of the news while sipping her latte as she had done for the past 4 years.
Her routine was to arrive at the office early, review the schedules for the day, and review the growing client list her company had been blessed with since opening her business 5 years ago.
Cindy's Cleaning and Restoration, Inc. was among the fastest growing service companies in America. Its fleet of 50 distinct and recognizable vans could be seen throughout the region providing residential and commercial cleaning services to an expanding and grateful clientele. The company's service was second to none, paying close attention to detail and providing complete customer satisfaction.
Cindy had immigrated to America 5 years ago having sold her property and meager belongings to exit a country poised for civil war. She had been fortunate to find a buyer for her father's estate. After arriving in America, she posted the proceeds from the sale into a company that would do the only thing that she knew how to do: clean. She found the American lifestyle a perfect niche for what her company offered and an empire was born.
Now, as she read her paper, a small article on page 24 caught her eye. It seemed that a coup had occurred in her homeland. A group of radicals had stormed the castle and its royal occupants had fled fearing for their lives. One of the leaders of the coup had noted that the oppression extended by the former King Romanov's and Queen Anastasia's court had finally reached a crescendo and prompted the militant bloodless takeover.
The article further stated that most of the personal items had been collected by the former royal family and taken with them in their hasty flight from the castle to points unknown. Oddly, however, only one item remained, apparently dropped as the royalty fled…
A tiny glass slipper was discovered on the castle steps.