“Cinderella Rebooted”

As regular visitors will know, I’m doing a short story writing course at the City Lit in central London. We are given writing exercises in the sessions and we are given homework exercises to do between sessions. This week’s homework involves retelling a classic story but from a different point of view, that of a minor character. You might be interested in my effort.

“CINDERELLA REBOOTED” by Roger Darlington
When the lord employed me to be servant to his three daughters, I was the proudest man in the land and the most famous in my little village, but I had no idea how different his daughters would be and how much I would be touched by one of them.
I had assumed that all three daughters were the lord’s with his wife, but I soon learned that one of the daughters was his natural daughter from his first marriage and the other two were his step-daughters through his new wife. My mother had remarried after the death of my father and had more children but she treated us all the same. The lord’s second wife though was terrible to her new daughter, a lovely girl called Cinderella.
The wife took to giving Cinderella almost as many household duties as me and I was really embarrassed that the lord’s daughter should be treated no better than a worthless person like me. As we shared the duties, Cinderella and I talked and became close friends. She was forced to sleep at the top of the house in a garret next to mine and we would talk together before sleeping in our respective beds. She was so innocent and showed no fear of having me in her bedroom. I became so in love with her but honoured her too much to threaten her in any way.
We shared our stories and our secrets and our hopes. We had so much in common and laughed together so much. On one thing only did we disagree. I wanted her step-sisters to be punished for their cruelty to her – perhaps add some special berries to the soup and give them a terrible stomach ache. But Cinderella would hear nothing of it. Instead she showed her sisters only kindness. Nobody in our village behaved like this and she taught me a new way of looking at life.
One day, the king’s son decided to hold a ball and, of course, the lord was invited to send his daughters and there was no question that his two step-daughters would attend. There was never any suggestion, however, that Cinderella would go to the ball. When she was left behind, she started to cry and I asked her how I could help. She asked me to find her godmother which I did. Then her godmother asked me to find a pumpkin, six mice, a rat, and six lizards. I had never had such strange requests in all my life but I would do anything for my Cinderella.
I have no idea what the godmother said or did as I waited outside the room but, when the door opened, out came a golden coach pulled by six grey horses with a coachman sporting the most splendid moustache and six footmen in laced uniforms. As for Cinderella herself, she looked stunning in a dress of cloth of gold and silver. Before I had loved her; now I adored her.
Cinderella was back just after midnight and up in the garret she told me all about the ball and the king’s son. I was not surprised that the prince found her so attractive but I was frightened when she spoke so warmly about him. Surely she didn’t think that a girl who spent her time sitting among the cinders could be a companion to a prince? Surely she realised that it was us who were destined to be husband and wife?
The next night, she was home later and distraught. She told me everything that had happened. It was clear that she was falling for the prince and that he was utterly smitten with her, but he did not know who she was or where she lived. His only clue was the little glass slipper that had fallen from her foot as she had rushed to beat her godmother’s deadline of midnight for being home. Next day, I heard that the prince’s servants were trying to find the woman whose foot would fit the glass slipper and that, once she was located, he was determined to marry her.
I was sure that the lord’s house would not be visited – it was hidden deep in the forest – and, even if it was, they would never find Cinderella who would no doubt be confined to the garret. All I had to do was wait and Cinderella would be mine again, mine alone, mine forever. But night after night, I would hear her sobbing through the dividing wall between our rooms in the garret. I knew that there was only one thing that would make her happy but that same thing would destroy me. When her sisters were so cruel to her, all she thought of were their needs not her own. She had taught me a lesson in love and loss.
That night, I slipped a note under the main door of the king’s palace and next day the prince’s man arrived at our house with a glass slipper and a suggestion. I never saw my Cinders again.

One Comment

  • Mavis

    Oh, so you took it from the saying – ‘It is better to have loved and lost, than to never have loved’.
    Liked it.


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