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ONCE there was a gentleman who married, for his second wife, the proudest and most haughty woman that was ever seen. She had been married before, and already had two daughters who were exactly like her in all things. He had likewise, by his first wife, a young daughter, but of unequalled goodness and sweetness of temper, which she took from her mother, who was the best creature in the world. This sweet little girl missed her mother, who had died, terribly much.
No sooner was the wedding ceremony over, than the new wife began to show herself in her true colors. She could not bear the goodness of the gentleman’s pretty girl, and especially as she made her own daughters appear the more horrid. She made her do the meanest jobs in the house: the girl scoured the dishes and tables, and scrubbed the stepmother’s bathroom, and those of her daughters; she slept in a little attic, upon a wretched straw bed, while her sisters lay upon beds with the softest pillows, in fine rooms, with floors covered with beautiful carpets, and walls on which hung looking-glasses so large that they might see themselves at their full length from head to foot.
The poor girl bore all patiently, and dared not tell her father, who would have been angry with her; for his new wife ruled him entirely. When the little girl had done her work, she used to go into the chimney-corner, and sit down among cinders and ashes, which led her to be called Cinderwench; but the youngest step-daughter, who was not quite so rude and unkind as the eldest, called her Cinderella. However, Cinderella, even though she was dressed in rags, was a hundred times prettier than her sisters, though they were always dressed very richly.
It happened that the King’s son gave a ball, and invited all finest gentlemen and ladies of the city. Our young misses were also invited, for they were always to be seen at fashionable parties. They were truly delighted at this invitation, and wonderfully busy in choosing such gowns, petticoats, and head-clothes as might suit them. This was a new trouble to Cinderella; for it was she who washed and ironed her sisters’ clothes and got all their things ready. Meanwhile, the sisters talked all day long of nothing but what they should wear to the ball.
“For my part,” said the eldest, “I will wear my red velvet suit with French trimming.”
“And I,” said the youngest, “shall have my usual petticoat; but then, to make amends for that, I will put on my gold-flowered gown, and my diamond belt, which is far from being the most ordinary one in the world.”
But in truth, they were still not absolutely sure what would be best to wear to the ball, so they sent for the best fashion designer they could find to advise on their evening dresses, and they had their nails maniqured at Mademoiselle de la Poche.
Cinderella was likewise called up to them for advice, for she had excellent judgement, and advised them always for the best, indeed, and offered her services to make up their hair, which they were very willing she should do. As she was doing this, they said to her:
“Cinderella, would you not be glad to go to the ball?”
“Alas!” said she, “you only jeer me; it is not for a poor girl like me to go there.”
“You’re quite right,” replied they; “it would make the people laugh to see a Cinderwench at a ball.”
Anyone but Cinderella would have dressed their heads all wrong, but she was very good, and dressed them perfectly well.
The step-sisters were almost two days without eating, so much were they thrilled and excited. They broke above a dozen corsettes in trying to be laced up tightly, so that they might have a fine slender shape, and they were continually at their looking-glass. At last the happy day came; they went to Court, and Cinderella followed them with her eyes as long as she could, and when she had lost sight of them, she fell a-crying.
Just then, her fairy-godmother, who used to watch-over her secretly, saw her all in tears, and appeared at her side and asked her what was the matter.
“I wish I could–I wish I could–”; she was not able to speak the rest, being interrupted by her tears and sobbing.
This fairy godmother of hers said to her, “You wish you could go to the ball; is it not so?”
“Y–es,” cried Cinderella, with a great sigh.
“Well,” said her godmother, “be but a good girl, and I will see that you shall go to the ball.” Then she took her into her secret room, and said to her, “Run into the garden, and bring me a pumpkin.”
Cinderella went immediately to gather the finest she could get, and brought it to her godmother, not being able to imagine how this pumpkin could make her go to the ball. Her godmother scooped out all the inside of the big vegitable, leaving nothing but the rind; which done, she struck it with her wand, and the pumpkin was instantly turned into a fine coach, gilded all over with gold.
She then went to look into her mouse-trap, where she found six mice, all alive, and ordered Cinderella to lift up a little the trapdoor. As each mouse went out, she gave it a little tap with her wand, and the mouse was that moment turned into a fine horse, which altogether made a very fine set of six horses of a beautiful mouse-colored dapple-gray. But they still needed a coachman,
“I will go and see,” says Cinderella, “if there is a rat in the rat-trap–we may make a coachman of him.”
“You’re a smart one,” replied her godmother; “go and look.”
Cinderella brought the trap to her, and in it there were three huge rats. The fairy made choice of one of the three which had the largest beard, and, having touched him with her wand, he was turned into a fat, jolly coach- man, who had the smartest whiskers eyes ever beheld. After that, she said to her:
“Go again into the garden, and you will find six lizards behind the watering-pot, bring them to me.”
She had no sooner done so but her godmother turned them into six footmen, who skipped up immediately behind the coach, with their uniforms all bedaubed with gold and silver, and clung as close behind each other as if they had done nothing else their whole lives. The Fairy then said to Cinderella:
“Well, you have here transport fit to take you to the ball; are you not pleased with it?”
“Oh! yes,” cried she; “but must I go there as I am, in these nasty rags?”
Her godmother only just touched her with her wand, and, at the same instant, her clothes were turned into cloth of gold and silver, all beset with jewels. This done, she gave her a pair of glass slippers, the prettiest in the whole world. Being thus decked out, she got up into her coach; but her godmother, above all things, commanded her not to stay till after midnight, telling her, at the same time, that if she stayed one moment longer, the coach would be a pumpkin again, her horses mice, her coachman a rat, her footmen lizards, and her clothes become just as they were before.
She promised her godmother she would not fail of leaving the ball before midnight; and then away she drives, scarce able to contain herself for joy. The King’s son who was told that a great princess, whom nobody knew, was come, ran out to receive her; he gave her his hand as she alighted out of the coach, and led her into the ball, among all the company. There was immediately a profound silence, they left off dancing, and the violins ceased to play, so attentive was everyone to contemplate the singular beauties of the unknown new-comer. Nothing was then heard but a confused noise of:
“Ha! how lovey she is! Ha! how lovely she is!”
The King himself, old as he was, could not help watching her, and telling the Queen softly that it was a long time since he had seen so beautiful and lovely a creature.
All the ladies were busied in considering her clothes and headdress, that they might have some made next day after the same pattern, provided they could meet with such fine material and as able hands to make them.
The King’s son led her to the most honorable seat, and afterward took her out to dance with him; she danced so very gracefully that they all more and more admired her. A fine banquet was served up, of which the young prince ate not a morsel, so intently was he busied in gazing on her.
She went and sat down by her sisters, showing them a thousand polite gestures, giving them part of the oranges and lemon blosoms which the Prince had presented her with, which very much surprised them, for they did not recognise her. While Cinderella was thus amusing her sisters, she heard the clock strike eleven and three-quarters, whereupon she immediately made a courtesy to the company and hasted away as fast as she could.
When she got home she ran to seek out her godmother, and, after having thanked her, she said she could not but heartily wish she might go next day to the ball, because the King’s son had desired her.
As she was eagerly telling her godmother whatever had passed at the ball, her two sisters knocked at the door, which Cinderella ran and opened.
“How long you have stayed!” cried she, gaping, rubbing her eyes and stretching herself as if she had been just waked out of her sleep; she had not, however, any manner of inclination to sleep since they went from home.
“If you had been at the ball,” said one of her sisters, “you would not have been tired with it. There came there the finest princess, the most beautiful ever was seen with mortal eyes; she was a thousand times nice to us, and gave us orange and lemon blossoms.”
Cinderella seemed very indifferent in the matter; indeed, she asked them the name of that princess; but they told her they did not know it, and that the King’s son was very uneasy on her account and would give all the world to know who she was. At this Cinderella, smiling, replied:
“She must, then, be very beautiful indeed; how happy you have been! Could not I see her? Ah! dear Miss Charlotte, do lend me your yellow suit of clothes which you wear every day.”
“Ay, to be sure!” cried Miss Charlotte; “lend my clothes to such a dirty Cinderwench as you! I should be a fool.”
Cinderella, indeed, expected well such answer, and was very glad of the refusal; for she would have been sadly put to it if her sister had lent her what she asked for jokingly.
The next day the two sisters were at the ball, and so was Cinderella, but dressed more magnificently than before. The King’s son was always by her, and never ceased his compliments and kind speeches to her; to whom all this was so far from being tiresome that she quite forgot what her godmother had recommended to her; so that she, at last, counted the clock striking twelve when she took it to be no more than eleven; she then rose up and fled, as nimble as a deer. The Prince followed, but could not overtake her. She left behind one of her glass slippers, which the Prince took up most carefully. She got home but quite out of breath, and in her nasty old clothes, having nothing left her of all her finery but one of the little slippers, fellow to that she dropped. The guards at the palace gate were asked: If they had not seen a princess go out. They replied that had seen nobody go out but a young girl, very meanly dressed, and who had more the air of a poor country wench than a gentlewoman.
When the two sisters returned from the ball Cinderella asked them: If they had been well diverted, and if the fine lady had been there.
They told her: Yes, but that she hurried away immediately when it struck twelve, and with so much haste that she dropped one of her little glass slippers, the prettiest in the world, which the King’s son had taken up; that he had done nothing but look at her all the time at the ball, and that most certainly he was very much in love with the beautiful person who owned the glass slipper.
What they said was very true; for a few days after the King’s son commanded it to be proclaimed, by sound of trumpet, that he would marry the young woman whose foot would perfectly fit the slipper. He sent out his most trusted advsiers from the palace, who began to try it upon the princesses, then the duchesses and all the Court, but in vain; it was brought to the two sisters, who each did all that she possibly could to thrust her foot into the slipper, but neither sister could manage to do so. Cinderella, who saw all this, and knew her slipper, said to them, laughing:
“Let me see if it will not fit me.”
Her sisters burst out a-laughing, and began to tease her. The gentleman who was sent to try the slipper looked earnestly at Cinderella, and, finding her very handsome, said: it was only right that that she should try, and that he had orders to let every girl try.
He asked Cinderella to sit down, and, putting the slipper to her foot, he found it went on very easily, and fitted her as if it had been made of wax. The astonishment her two sisters were in was excessively great, but still abundantly greater when Cinderella pulled out of her pocket the other slipper, and put it on her foot. Thereupon, in came her godmother, who, having touched with her wand Cinderella’s clothes, made them richer and more magnificent than any of those she had before.
And now her two sisters found her to be that fine, beautiful lady whom they had seen at the ball. They threw themselves at her feet to beg pardon for all the ill- treatment they had dished out to her. Cinderella took them up, and, as she embraced them, cried:
That she forgave them with all her heart, and desired them always to love her.
She was brought by carriage to the young prince, dressed as she was; he thought her more charming than ever, and, a few days after, married her. Cinderella, who was no less good than beautiful, gave her two sisters rooms in the palace, and that very same day matched them with two great lords of the Court.
Once upon a time there was a poor miller who had three sons. The years went by and the miller died, leaving nothing but his mill, his donkey, and a cat. The eldest son took the mill, the second-born son rode off on the donkey, and the youngest son inherited the cat .
“Oh, well”, said the youngest son, “I’ll eat this cat, and make some mittens out of his fur. Then I will have nothing left in the world and shall die of hunger.”
The Cat was listening to his master complain like this, but he pretended not to have heard anything. Instead, he put on a serious face and said:
“Do not look so sad, master. Just give me a bag and a pair of boots, and I will show you that you did not receive such a poor inheritance in me.”
The Cat’s master had often seen him play a great many cunning tricks to catch rats and mice, as when he used to hang by the heels, or hide himself in the grain, and pretend to be dead; Thinking this over, he thought that it wasn’t impossible that the cat could help him after all. And so he gave the cat his bag and spent his last pennies on ordering a fine pair of boots to be made especially for the cat.
The cat looked very gallant in his boots, and putting his bag around his neck, he held the strings of it in his two forepaws and lay by a rabbit warren which was home to a great many rabbits
He put bran and corn into his bag, and stretching as if he were dead, he waited for some young rabbits, still not acquainted with the deceits of the world, to come and rummage in his bag for the bran and corn.
Not long after he lay down, he had what he wanted. A rash and foolish young rabbit jumped into his bag, and Monsieur Puss, immediately drew close the strings and caught him. Proud of his prey, he went with it to the palace and asked to speak with his majesty. He was shown upstairs into the King’s apartment, and, making a low bow, said to him:
I have brought you, sir, a rabbit of the warren, which my noble lord the Marquis of Carabas” (for that was the title which puss was pleased to give his master) “has commanded me to present to your majesty from him.”
“Tell thy master,” said the king, “that I thank him and that he does me a great deal of pleasure.”
Another time he went and hid himself among a corn field, holding still his bag open, and when a brace of partridges ran into it he drew the strings and so caught them both. He went and made a present of these to the king, as he had done before of the rabbit. The king, in like manner, received the partridges with great pleasure, and ordered him some money for drink.
In this way, the Cat continued for two or three months to bring presents to the king, always saying that they were from his master, the Marquis of Carabas. One day in particular, he heard at the palace that the King was planning to drive in his carriage along the river-bank, taking with him his daughter, the most beautiful princess in the world. Puss in Boots said to his master.
“If you will follow my advice your fortune is made. You have nothing else to do but go and wash yourself in the river, in the place that I shall show you, and leave the rest to me.”
The miller’s son did what the Cat advised him to, without knowing why or wherefore. While he was washing the King passed by, and the Cat began to cry out:
“Help! help! My Lord Marquis of Carabas is going to be drowned.”
At this noise the King put his head out of the coach- window, and, finding it was the Cat who had so often brought him such good game, he commanded his guards to run immediately to the assistance of his Lordship the Marquis of Carabas. While they were drawing the poor Marquis out of the river, the Cat came up to the coach and told the King that, while his master was washing, there came by some rogues, who went off with his clothes, though he had cried out: “Thieves! thieves!” several times, as loud as he could.
This cunning Cat had hidden the clothes under a great stone. The King immediately commanded the officers of his wardrobe to run and fetch one of his best suits for the Lord Marquis of Carabas.
The King was very pleased to meet the Marquis of Carabas, and the fine clothes he had given him suited him extremely well, for although poor, he was a handsome and well built fellow. The King’s daughter took a secret inclination to him, and the Marquis of Carabas had no sooner cast two or three respectful and somewhat tender glances but she fell in love with him to distraction. The King invited him to sit in the coach and ride along with them, with the lifeguards in glittering uniform trotting along side. The Cat, quite overjoyed to see his project begin to succeed, marched on before, and, meeting with some countrymen, who were mowing a meadow, he said to them:
“Good people, you who are mowing, if you do not tell the King that the meadow you mow belongs to my Lord Marquis of Carabas, those soldiers will chop you up like herbs for the pot.”
The King did not fail asking of the mowers to whom the meadow they were mowing belonged.
“To my Lord Marquis of Carabas,” answered they altogether, for the Cat’s threats had made them terribly afraid .
“You see, sir,” said the Marquis, “this is a meadow which never fails to yield a plentiful harvest every year.”
The Master Cat, who went still on before, met with some reapers, and said to them:
“Good people, you who are reaping, if you do not tell the King that all this corn belongs to the Marquis of Carabas, you shall be chopped up like herbs for the pot.”
The King, who passed by a moment after, wished to know to whom all that corn, which he then saw, did belong.
“To my Lord Marquis of Carabas,” replied the reapers, and the King was very well pleased with it, as well as the Marquis, whom he congratulated.
Then the King said, “Let us now go to your castle.”
The miller’s son, not knowing what to reply, looked at puss who said: “If your Majesty will but wait an hour, I will go on before and order the castle to be made ready for you. ”
With that she jumped away and went to the castle of a great ogre and asked to see him saying he could not pass so near his home without having the honor of paying his respects to him.
The ogre received him as civilly as an ogre could do, and made him sit down.
“I have been assured,” said the Cat, “that you have the gift of being able to change yourself into all sorts of creatures as you wish; you can, for example, transform yourself into a lion, or elephant, and the like.”
“That is true,” answered the ogre very briskly; “and to convince you, you shall see me now become a lion.”
Puss was so terrified at the sight of a lion so near him that he immediately climbed up the curtains, not without difficulty, because his boots were no use to him for climbing. A little while after, when Puss saw that the ogre had resumed his natural form, he came down, and admitted he had been very much frightened.
“However,” said the cat, “I fear that you will not be able to save yourself even in the form of a lion, for the king is coming with his army and means to destroy you.”
The ogre looked out of the window and saw the king waiting outswide with his soliders, and said,
“What shall I do? How shall I save msyelf?”
Puss replied: “If you can also change yourself into something very small, then you can hide”.
And in an instant, the ogre himself into a mouse, and began to run about the floor. Puss no sooner saw this but he fell upon him and ate him up.
Puss, who heard the noise of his Majesty’s coach running over the draw-bridge, ran out, and said to the King:
“Your Majesty is welcome to this castle of my Lord Marquis of Carabas.”
“What! my Lord Marquis,” cried the King, “and does this castle also belong to you? There can be nothing finer than this court and all the stately buildings which surround it; let us go into it, if you please.”
The Marquis gave his hand to the Princess, and followed the King, who went first. They passed into a spacious hall, where they found a magnificent rum punch, which the ogre had prepared for his friends, who were that very day to visit him. The friends, however dared not to enter, knowing that the King was there. His Majesty was perfectly charmed with the good qualities of my Lord Marquis of Carabas, as was his daughter, who had fallen violently in love with him, and, seeing the vast estate he possessed, said to him, after having drunk five or six glasses:
“If you do not, my Lord Marquis, become my son in law, it will be of your own choosing.”
The Marquis, making several low bows, accepted the honor which his Majesty conferred upon him, and forthwith, that very same day, married the Princess.
Puss became a great lord, and never ran after mice any more, except for pleasure.
Once upon a time there lived in a certain village a little country girl, the prettiest creature who was ever seen. Her mother was excessively fond of her; and her grandmother doted on her still more. This good woman had a little red riding hood made for her. It suited the girl so extremely well that everybody called her Little Red Riding Hood.
One day her mother, having made some cakes, said to her, “Go, my dear, and see how your grandmother is doing, for I hear she has been very ill. Take her a cake, and this little pot of butter.”
Little Red Riding Hood set out immediately to go to her grandmother, who lived in another village.
As she was going through the wood, she met with a wolf, who had a very great mind to eat her up, but he dared not, because of some woodcutters working nearby in the forest. He asked her where she was going. The poor child, who did not know that it was dangerous to stay and talk to a wolf, said to him, “I am going to see my grandmother and carry her a cake and a little pot of butter from my mother.”
“Does she live far off?” said the wolf
“Oh I say,” answered Little Red Riding Hood; “it is beyond that mill you see there, at the first house in the village.”
“Well,” said the wolf, “and I’ll go and see her too. I’ll go this way and go you that, and we shall see who will be there first.”
The wolf ran as fast as he could, taking the shortest path, and the little girl took a roundabout way, entertaining herself by gathering nuts, running after butterflies, and gathering bouquets of little flowers. It was not long before the wolf arrived at the old woman’s house. He knocked at the door: tap, tap.
“Your grandchild, Little Red Riding Hood,” replied the wolf, counterfeiting her voice; “who has brought you a cake and a little pot of butter sent you by mother.”
The good grandmother, who was in bed, because she was somewhat ill, cried out, “Pull the string, and the latch will go up.”
The wolf pulled the string n, and the door opened, and then he immediately fell upon the good woman and ate her up in a moment, for it been more than three days since he had eaten. He then shut the door and got into the grandmother’s bed, expecting Little Red Riding Hood, who came some time afterwards and knocked at the door: tap, tap.
Little Red Riding Hood, hearing the big voice of the wolf, was at first afraid; but believing her grandmother had a cold and was hoarse, answered, “It is your grandchild Little Red Riding Hood, who has brought you a cake and a little pot of butter mother sends you.”
The wolf cried out to her, softening his voice as much as he could, “Pull the string, and the latch will go up.”
Little Red Riding Hood pulled the string, and the door opened.
The wolf, seeing her come in, said to her, hiding himself under the bedclothes, “Put the cake and the little pot of butter upon the stool, and come sit on the bed with me.”
Little Red Riding Hood sat on the bed. She was greatly amazed to see how her grandmother looked in her nightclothes, and said to her, “Grandmother, what big arms you have!”
“All the better to hug you with, my dear.”
“Grandmother, what big legs you have!”
“All the better to run with, my child.”
“Grandmother, what big ears you have!”
“All the better to hear with, my child.”
“Grandmother, what big eyes you have!”
“All the better to see with, my child.”
“Grandmother, what big teeth you have got!”
“All the better to eat you up with.”
And, saying these words, this wicked wolf fell upon Little Red Riding Hood, and ate her all up.
The woodcutters were passing by the house. They heard the noise, rushed to the house and killed the wolf. And out came Little Red Riding Hood and her grandmother. They were safe and sound and very happy!