Monday, January 27, 2014

Cinderella - A twist to the tale

Cinderella is in the kitchen when she hears the voice of a stranger talking to her step mother.
“Madam, I want you to try this glass slipper, and see if it fits you. The Prince has ordered that all the ladies in his kingdom try it. So, I want the other ladies in your home to try it too”, says the stranger.

Cinderella’s heart skips a beat. “Is he talking about the one I lost at the Royal Ball?” she wonders. She peeps through the window, and sure enough, it is her own slipper in the man’s hand.

Her step mother tries the slipper, but it’s too small for her. Her sisters are now summoned over to try the slipper. Cinderella eagerly waits for her turn; she begins to head towards the four of them. She too deserves a chance. She wonders what would happen after the slipper fits her foot. Will the Prince marry her?

Thrilled about the thought, she looks at her second step sister try the slipper, after the first one failed. To her bewilderment, the slipper fits her sister!! What! How can that happen? But she cannot protest since nobody knows about her secret visit to the Royal Ball.

Her step mother and her first step sister are now clapping in excitement. Her second sister is so delighted at her fortune. The stranger looks relieved that his quest has come to an end. He leaves for the royal palace to carry the news. Unable to fight back her tears, Cinderella runs back into the kitchen, and sobs. The others are too occupied to notice her.

That night Cinderella is unable to sleep. She is confused. The Prince is going to marry her sister. How does she stop it? She wants to tell the Prince everything about the story, but how?

The news spreads the kingdom like wild fire. The Prince announces that he would come down to her house to meet his angel. Cinderella waits for a chance to speak to the Prince for a couple of minutes, wishing that he might change his mind. All through the day she is busy dishing out nice recipes for the royal guest, while her step mother and sisters are busy trying to look their best.

Finally, the Prince arrives in his chariot by dawn, as promised. All the three ladies welcome him warmly. The Prince looks at her second sister to say something, but his smile turns into a knitted brow, and he doesn't say anything. He looks at her with a bit of confusion and bewilderment. “Was it the same lady who danced with me that night? She looked divinely that day. How come she has changed so much in just a week?” he wonders.

Cinderella spreads the dining table, and lays down dinner for all four of them. The Prince’s chain of thoughts is broken by the magnificence with which the table has been laid, and the aroma and the taste of the dishes. The four of them relish the food in delight, while Cinderella caters to their needs. Finally, while serving the dessert, Cinderella spills a spoonful of ice cream on the Prince’s clothes.

The ladies shout at Cinderella. Normally, she would have buried herself in embarrassment, but this time she is silently happy. Cinderella offers to help the Prince wash off the ice cream, and he does not seem to mind. She takes him to the kitchen where the ladies cannot see both of them, and closes the door behind the Prince. That’s when the Prince observes the lady who has offered to help him.

The radiant eyes, the rosy lips, the glossy hair, the tall and thin structure feels familiar to him. “Hi, I am Cinderella. I have to tell you something”, says Cinderella in a hurried whisper. “Shh! Let’s dance”, asks the Prince, holding out his hand.

Cinderella cannot believe her eyes. She places her hand into his, looking into his eyes. The moment he holds her, he realizes that she is indeed his angel. They dance and dance, yeah, to music that only they both can hear, until they hear somebody bang on the door. Both of them come back to this world at this, and the Prince opens the door to see Cinderella’s second sister at the door. She looks at both of them in bewilderment since they are still holding their hands.

The Prince realizes that there’s something fishy about the whole affair. He confronts, “Tell me, what did you do so that the slipper fit you? You know that you were not the one who danced with me. Tell me now, otherwise, I shall have you beheaded.”

The lady is shocked that the Prince has found out the truth. She has to confess now. “Well, I am madly in love with you. So, I decided that I would do anything and everything to marry you. With the help of a witch who lives at the end of the city, I got a spell on myself that made the glass slipper fit me”, she said.

Cinderella is shocked, but relieved that the truth has finally come out. The Prince then tells the guilty, “True love and happiness cannot be gained by a spell. It has to come from the heart. And, no matter what you do, truth always makes its way to the right place at the right moment. I am not going to punish you because all is fair in love.”

Cinderella is surprised at his generosity. The Prince then turns to Cinderella, and asks, “Will you marry me, Cinderella?”

Cinderella is filled with tears of joy. She turns pink, and hugs the Prince. The Prince gets the answer. Actions speak louder than words. They both get married and live happily ever after.

PS: Friends, I have written this piece of fiction as part of a writing prompt that asks me to re-write the story of Cinderella with a twist. The prompt says that the glass slipper fits one of Cinderella's sister, and I had to pick from there. Although I was asked to end the story in a sad note, I did not have the heart to do that. We, Indians, are not big fans of sad endings, am I right?