Cinderella- The after story. Did they live happily ever after?
Most fairy tales just end in “They lived happily ever after.” But what if that wasn’t the case? What if Cinderella wasn’t happy with her Prince Charming? Maybe, she didn’t even want to go to the ball in the first place?
Once upon a time in a kingdom called Aloris, there was a seventeen-year-old girl named Ella. Her mean older step brothers, George and Gilbert, called her Cinderella. They called her this because she was supposed to share a bedroom with them, but would much rather sleep by the fire because they were dreadfully annoying. Therefore, she was always covered in ashes from tending to the flames. “Cinderella, Cinderella!” they would chant. Ella did not enjoy this teasing, but she had to deal with it anyway. Her father was getting old in years and the family was running low on money. Ella’s father had remarried, and his wife had come from a rich family and was determined to continue the family fortune, but this attempt was struggling.
Even though the stepmother had come from a rich family, she was kind and had a good heart. She loved Ella as if she were her child. The stepmother herself had longed for a girl of her own.
Now at this time, prince Claude had come of age, and he was looking for a wife. The king was desperate and invited every single eligible maiden in the kingdom to see if there was anyone who was fit to marry him. Now, of course, this was a royal decree, and so all families had to do so, or there would be consequences.
The royal attendants were commanded to do a full scanning of the house and make sure there were no maidens that were not attending. Even though Ella wanted absolutely nothing to do with this, she was swept along in the current, unable to do anything about it. She had tried, oh how she tried! She had begged her father over and over to please not send her to the ball. It was no use.
One especially gloomy night when the purple clouds faded into the sunset, Ella was sitting near the fire, crying about not wanting to go to the ball. While she was doing this, the ghost of her dead mother appeared out of the flames. Insisting that she must go to the ball, she provided Ella with a magical carriage, two footmen, and three white horses. Ella was also given the prettiest gold dress and one-hundred karat gold heels, which made her feet ache, walking or not.
Ella had been planning to run away once she got to the ball, but she caught the prince’s eye, and he would only dance with her. Other maidens would’ve loved this chance, but Ella was hating the prince more and more by the second. He went on and on about how he would marry her, and they were going to be so rich, etc. He figured that Ella would just fall in love with him, like any other stereotypical girl. Ella decided that all she could do now was run away.
She jumped into the king’s garden and clambered up a ginkgo tree. One problem. How do you do that in heels? Ella flipped the one-hundred karat shoes off in a hurry to get up the tree. She didn’t realize that this loss of shoes would prove to be the prince’s greatest weapon against her. Because the shoes were enchanted, they would only fit her.
The prince searched far and wide through the kingdom, to find the beautiful princess he danced with one night. Ella was still camped out in the king’s garden so she would sometimes sneak down at night to steal the delicious green beans that the gardeners grew. But she knew she couldn’t live like this forever. She had to do something. But what? The guards were constantly searching the woods behind the castle, the village, and any possible escape exits.
. . .
The moment she awoke, Ella knew that she wasn’t in the ginkgo tree anymore. She was in a very comfortable bed that had many pillows and layers of sheets. “Is this a dream?” she thought aloud. She looked around, to see if she could make any sense of her surroundings. She wiggled her fingers, rolled her shoulders, and then looked at her feet. Upon doing this, she saw something that was seated on the floor next to her toes. On a fancy velvet pillow, with an unnecessary amount of lace, sat her shoes! The ones she had left in the garden. She gasped. This could only mean one thing. The prince had found her.
Ella panicked. She wasn’t sure what to do! She was in a tough situation now. “You’ve done it this time,” she scolded herself. “You’ve done it, Ella.”
Amid her thoughts, Ella heard a light knock on the door.
She pulled the sheets over her head and said, “Come in!” To her relief, a young lady walked in who was wearing a black dress with a white apron tied around the waist. The moment she saw Cinderella, she bowed.
“Your Highness, your breakfast is ready.”
Ella blushed. “Don’t bow, it’s fine. But wait, why did you call me ‘your highness?”
“But you don’t know? About the wedding? Why I believe it is in three days!” The servant was shocked.
“And whose wedding is this?” Ella asked stupidly.
“Yours, dummy!” the servant blurted. “Excuse me, I must introduce myself. I am April.”
“It’s a pleasure to meet you, April,” said Ella, though she was feeling a little shaky after receiving this news. She was going to be married? To the prince? In a few DAYS? How was she ever going to get ready? She needed time to mentally prepare herself! Then a plan began to form in her mind. A plan that just might work.
. . .
Ella decided she needed to take things slow and steady. One thing at a time now. She was going to play along, like she was excited to marry the prince, until she could find a fault point, somewhere in the castle. She could ask a servant for a tour of a palace, which would hopefully keep her off the radar for a little while because every queen needs a tour of her own new house right? Especially if she was going to be married to the prince in THREE DAYS!!!
After eating breakfast, and getting dressed, (Ella had never had such a hard time choosing between dresses!) she asked April if she could go on a tour of the castle. Luckily, April was able to get permission from the Prince’s father, the King, who was very old and couldn’t see well. He was well known for throwing things at his subjects if he was not pleased with what they were doing.
April was glad to get off work for a little while. She knew the castle better than any of the other servants, after working in it ever since the age of six. Her mother had been a maidservant, and so had her mother before her, and her mother before her, etc. April showed Ella everything, from the royal gardens to the secret passageways in the dungeon. Ella took careful note of this and made sure to ask as many questions as needed. She hoped that April wasn’t too suspicious of all these questions, but she never really seemed to mind.
Then, Ella had an idea.
“Come up to my bedroom, please,” she told April.
And so they walked together up the seemingly endless staircase, chatting like old friends.
When they finally reached Ella’s bedchamber, April asked, “So, why did you ask all those questions about the secret passageways?”
Ella blushed. “Well, um…”
April interrupted. “Don’t fret! I was just asking because you obviously just don’t want to marry the prince. I would honestly like to leave this palace as well. It isn’t the best occupation. I’ve always wanted to be—”
Ella cut her off and said, “That’s it! I’ve got an idea, April. We are going to escape together and run away to a foreign country and learn a new language and meet new people and. . .”
“How about a simple small town?” April suggested kindly. “I’ve heard Bla Bla Bla is a good place to live, lots of nice people. My family used to live there, many years ago, when my great great great great grandmother was a small child.”
“Bla Bla Bla?” Ella was confused. She had never heard of such a place. It had a very sophisticated name though. Such elegance!
“Yes, Bla Bla Bla. We use this name because the king has forbidden the original name to be spoken inside castle walls. I am not sure why, but I guess he has something against the land.”
“That seems kinda dangerous to go and live there if the king is against it. Don’t you think that he would be suspicious if we went there?”
“Good point. We should go to Celestina. It is much safer there.”
“Isn’t that kind of far away though?”
“Why don’t we just go live in the woods, and feed off of nuts and berries, until we find a place to settle down?” suggested Ella.
“That’s a terrible idea! What time?
“Meet me at the stroke of three a.m. in the garden. Bring anything you can carry with you and we will leave as soon as we’re ready.”
. . .
That night at dinner, Ella ate as much as she liked, and made sure to save some in a small sack because she knew that April would love a taste of the castle food, after being a maidservant for many years.
Prince Claude seemed delighted that Ella was finally coming through like a sensible maiden, and would not stop talking about the wedding. Ella wasn’t too worried about the plans and kept thinking about her escape plan. She was very nervous but felt a sense of confidence. She had never gotten to be this independent and make her own decisions. It felt amazing! It made her feel bad for April, who had spent so much of her life whatever she was told. Their life in the forest would be great! Maybe, they could even become friends with the deer!
Her daydreaming was interrupted, by a stern look from the prince.
“Ahem. I said, “What do you think about the wedding colors purple and orange?”
“Why that sounds lovely,” she lied. “Now, if you don’t mind, I must go. I… I need to go tell the servants about how I want my dress to look for the wedding. Ta ta!” And she dashed off before the prince could respond.
She ran up to her bedchamber and gasped a sigh of relief. “That was close,” she told herself. Now it was time to pack.
. . .
Ella spent hours trying to decide what she could bring. She couldn’t make it too noticeable that she took a few objects, so she had to pack lightly. If she accidentally left something behind, the prince could use this evidence to pursue her!
After about half an hour of packing, Ella heard a knock on the door.
“Come in!” she said cheerfully, shoving her bag in which her belongings were in under the bed.
The King pushed open the door and strode into the room gracefully. He had a huge cheeky grin on his face. Ella hoped that was normal. He looked a bit strange and bedraggled.
“Hello! hic hic Are you hic my hic son’s new wife?” The king seemed very odd. She was halfway sure that she was dreaming now.
“N-not yet your majesty,” she said cautiously. After all, the king was known for throwing things at his subjects if he was not pleased.
“WHAT DO YOU MEAN ‘NOT YET’?!” the king yelled, promptly falling over dizzily
“Your highness, uh… the wedding is tomorrow at sunrise. You mustn’t worry! We have it all covered.”
“Oh. hic hic hic.” said the king, immediately calming down to a soft voice. Ella was slowly backing away from the king. She noticed his breath had a weird smell. Was that normal for kings? His smile again crept across his face.
“Why, hic hic princess! What hic is with all the food you have hic in a bag? It- hic hic smells wonderful! Like a hic dream.”
Did he know about her running away? Was he trying to stall the prince, so he could make a trap for her? Did Prince Claude know? Ella realized she was hyperventilating. She calmed down, breathing in and out slowly. She looked over at the king, who had just passed out on her bed. That was not normal for kings to do.
As she looked closer, she realized that he had some brown stains on his bright chickadee yellow shirt. Ella figured he was probably just drinking. That was relieving. A thought made its way into her mind. What in the world was she going to do with the king? He was drunk, so he might not remember what had happened with her hiding food under her bed. Ella didn’t have much experience with drunk men, (for a good reason) so she decided to continue packing.
It didn’t take long for April to knock on the door to “see how she was doing”. They had become best friends now, and had come up with a secret knock so that Ella would know that it was April, and not some stinky prince or guard trying to sabotage her plans.
“Hello, April!” Ella said cheerfully. “Want to see what I’ve been packing?”
“Well, um, what about the er- King? Is he … dead?”
“No, I didn’t murder him,” Ella said harshly, panicking because it looked like she did. “Sorry. I just meant- I think he was drunk because he just collapsed on my bed.” There were still a few dribbles of beer on his shirt and beard.
“Well, that explains why he’s always acting so strange. He threw a flower pot at me the other day. I dodged it easily, but still… I want to get out of this place. And soon.”
They both laughed as Ella imagined April dodging a flying flower pot. Their new life would be great! Living in the woods would be so easy. All she had to do was wait for nightfall.
April and Ella successfully escaped into the woods. They had a little trouble here and there, chasing wild pigs out of their camp and all that, but Ella was glad she never saw the likes of the romantic prince and the drunken king with stinky breath ever again.
As for the prince, he lived happily ever after as well, chasing pretty girls. In fact, he didn’t even care that Ella got away. He just wanted a pretty girl to marry and live a rich spoiled life with. It wasn’t like she was his true love or something. If you asked him about it, he would never remember those few days he spent with Ella.
Well, all’s well that ends well they say! You may have differing feelings about the prince getting a happily ever after, instead of some horrible punishment like getting his eyes pecked out by enraged birds, but if you look at it this way, the prince never learned to love. He never cared about anything, only money. So in a way, he wasted his own life away to riches, and a legacy that was never left behind.