From the Stepmother's Point of View

Hello, I'm the so-called 'evil' stepmother.

You all know the story of Cinderella, don't you? A little servant girl isn't allowed to go the ball because of her 'cruel' stepmom and stepsisters. Then a fairy godmother pops out of nowhere and magically whisks her to the prince, blah blah blah.

Well, let me tell you the real version of the story.

I'm supposed to be the villain, aren't I? WRONG! That story was the one Cinderella told everyone. Of course, the guards wouldn't listen to a word of the truth. They dumped all three of us to jail, and they left us there to rot.

Okay, so here goes…

Once, my two daughters and I lived alone in a small house near the palace. We had a happy life, but after a while, our housework became too much for us. After all, I was a single mother working to care for two growing children, and I couldn't handle the added pressure of chores. So I hired a girl called Cinderella to help us.

Now, I have to interrupt. In her side of the story, she was practically our slave. She told everybody we didn't pay her a penny. This is entirely false. We paid her 20 coins per week, more then any other family would ever give. We treated her perfectly well, like a family member.

Then, one day, the royal messenger came around, announcing the upcoming ball. My daughters, Cinderella and I were so excited. I left to buy new dresses for all four of us.

However, I should've known that the little brat wanted more then to just go to the ball. She wanted a grand entrance, and a dramatic story to tell.

When I got to the tailor shop, I found out that they were extremely low on cloth – only enough was left for three dresses. So I bought the cloth, and then decided that I'd visit another store to get Cinderella a dress tomorrow.

When I got back home, my mouth dropped open in shock. Cinderella was in a corner, crying, and my daughters were standing in the middle of the room, looking as surprised as I was. When she got up, she hissed at me. "I KNEW it!" she cried. "You didn't buy me a dress! I knew that you wouldn't let me go to the ball!" then see turned around and ran back to her room, screaming.

Okay, now something else about fairy godmothers. They only come to visit pretty girls with blonde hair. I mean, once when we were almost broke and one of my daughters were sick, I begged and begged for a fairy godmother to come and help me. Nothing – not even a whisper. Of course, the second Cinderella started crying, a fairy godmother popped out of nowhere.

I decided to go to the ball without Cinderella – she had locked herself in her room, and wouldn't even open the door when I tried to give her a dress.

At the ball, I was having a great time. The palace was splendid; looming crystal-and-gold chandeliers hung from the painted ceiling, and exquisite designs were carved into the polished oak walls. I was just about to help myself to a glass of wine when –

Cinderella strutted in, wearing a royal blue gown and a glittering transparent shawl. Her blonde hair was pulled back with a matching blue band, and she was wearing two tiny glass shoes that looked rather painful to walk with. She had a ten-foot wide smile plastered onto her face.

I was happy for her, I really was. The fairy godmother had probably popped her into a new dress and sent her here. I watched as she and the prince danced in the middle of the room. Onlookers whispered enviously, and other girls stormed out, their hands scrunched into fists.

Suddenly, something happened that I couldn't yet make sense of. I was sure it had to be related to the fairy godmother (I'd confirmed this by finding strong traces of pixie dust outside Cinderella's room).

Cinderella gasped and ran away from the prince and the onlookers, turning her head only once to glance at the clock. It was just striking midnight, two hours before the ball ended. She raced up the glossy marble staircase and rushed outside. I thought I heard the whinny of a horse and then the squeak of a mouse, but I must've been dreaming.

The prince was running after her, but it was too late. He picked up one of the teensy glass shoes that she'd dropped on the way out and headed back to the ballroom. The Queen and King, dressed in magnificent red, gold and white robes, took him to a corner, discussing something I couldn't hear. I immediately rounded up my family and headed home, scared that something bad would happen to Cinderella.

When I got home, however, I saw her scrubbing away at the floor with a sponge. She cocked her head and smiled at me. "Hello, mother. How was the ball?" she asked.

That lying little wretch! I decided to hold my tongue, though; she did do the chores well, even though I often heard her conversing with the mice and birds (crazy, isn't she?).

A couple of days passed as usual. Sometimes I saw Cinderella staring out a window quite dreamily, but I decided not to interfere.

For the second time that week, the royal messenger arrived at our house, shouting into a golden horn-like device:

"The Prince is looking for a maiden with whom he danced with at the ball!"

He burst into the room without invitation, looking flustered. He was carrying a small purple-and-gold trim cushion in one hand, and on top of it was the delicate glass slipper. In the other hand he carried his loud device.

I called Cinderella to come down, for obvious reasons. But I had no reply. Behind the messenger came the Prince, wearing a neat white-yellow suit adorned with shiny metallic knots and brown cotton pants.

I was wondering what was taking her so long. The messenger was asking my daughters to sit down and slip their feet into the shoe, but of course it didn't fit. My patience as beginning to wear off when I heard a sharp cry:

"Help me! My stepmother has locked me upstairs!"

I froze in shock. The messenger whirled around to stare at me, while the prince shouted, "You did WHAT?"

In less then a minute, I was being forced upstairs. Whatever was going on? I'd never locked her into her room. When we got up, I was confused to see the key placed into the lock on Cinderella's door. I thought I'd left it in my pocket. Then I saw the pink tail of a furry mouse disappear around the corner, and I knew that Cinderella had had some help from her little animal friends…

The prince opened the door, and Cinderella was inside, crying her head off.

The rest is too mushy and gushy and annoying for me to tell. Here, let me try and simplify it:

The prince married Cinderella. When I tried to tell the prince the truth, he just sent me away… to prison. Cinderella became a princess. I've been staying in the dungeon for months now.

So, if anybody ever says a word about the false Cinderella story, then do me a favor.

Slap them in the face.