One day, while Cinderella was in the garden picking pumpkins, a letter arrived at the house. It was an invitation to the king's summer ball.
Cinderella's stepmother and stepsisters were very excited.
"The prince will be there!"
"He is so handsome!"
"He is so rich!"
"He needs a wife!"
The stepsisters spent weeks preparing for the ball. They bought new dresses, new shoes, and new handbags.
On the day of the ball, Cinderella helped them put on their dresses and do their hair.
"Oh, I have a wonderful idea!" exclaimed the youngest stepsister. "Cinderella, come to the ball with us! It will be more fun if you are there!"
"Oh, but you don't have anything to wear…" laughed the oldest stepsister. "You can’t meet the prince wearing those dirty old clothes. What a shame. Maybe next time.”
Cinderella tried not to cry. She finished dressing her sisters and then went down to the kitchen. She sat beside the fire and sighed.
"Things will get better one day," she told the cat.
"Meow…" the cat replied.
Just then, there was flash of light, and an old woman appeared in a corner of the kitchen.
"Who… who are you?" stammered Cinderella.
"I am your fairy godmother” said the old woman. "You are an orphan, and all orphans have a fairy godmother."
The fairy godmother stroked the cat.
"This cat tells me how kind you are. And how you always wish for things to get better one day. Today is that day, Cinderella. You are going to the king's ball. Fetch me a pumpkin!"
Cinderella ran into the garden and picked a big, orange pumpkin. The fairy godmother touched the pumpkin with her magic wand and it turned into a golden carriage.
"Come here, little mice!" she said to the mice in the wall. She waved her wand again, and the mice turned into six beautiful horses to pull the carriage.
"But I don't have a dress!" said Cinderella.
"Stand still," said the fairy godmother. She waved her wand again, and Cinderella's dirty clothes turned into a spectacular silver dress. Two beautiful glass shoes appeared on Cinderella's feet.
"Now go to the ball!" said the fairy godmother. "But you must be home by midnight! When the clock strikes twelve, your dress will turn back into rags, and your carriage will turn back into a pumpkin.
... Have fun!"
And with another flash of light, the fairy godmother disappeared.
"I'm going to the ball!" said Cinderella.
"Meow…" said the cat.
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