[I am saving the various editions as a way of seeing how the story develops.]
Cinderella lost her mother some years ago, and now she lives with her stepmother, and two step-sisters.
Her step-sisters had the best clothes, the best food, and did not need to do any housework at all because they were wealthy and could afford lots of servants.
They had a housekeeper who kept everything clean. But when they could no longer afford to keep her, Cinderella took over the cleaning. They had a washerwoman who did the laundry. But when they had to let her go, Cinderella had to do the laundry. Then they had to let the cook go, and Cinderella took over the cooking. Part of the work of cooking was to make sure the cooking fire was at the right temperature, and tending the fire left Cinderella covered with soot and marked with cinders. And that was how she got the "Cinder Ella". Her real name was Ella. Ellie, her mother used to call her.
They also had to let the gardener go, but Cinderella had no time to do the gardening in addition to the housekeeping, the laundry, and the cooking. So the garden was left unattended, and was over grown with weeds and plants.
All the while her step-sisters lived the life of pampered rich girls.
One day, the Prince of the realm announced that he was throwing a ball, and all the young eligible ladies were invited to the ball.
Cnderella's step-sisters were really excited about the ball, and went about getting ready for the ball, hoping to catch the Prince's eye and to marry him.
After trying all their nearly new clothes, they decided that they needed new dresses. Ball gowns even.
But there was no money to spare!
"Cinderella! Take the cow to the market and sell it for a good price so we can buy nice gowns for the Prince's ball!"
"What? Sell Mildred? But then we would have no milk."
"Just do as we say! We will have more than enough milk when the Prince marries one of us!"
But what if he doesn't, Cinderella wanted to ask. But she didn't.
She took the cow and made her way to the market.
"Where are you going with that fine young cow, little miss?"
It was cheery old man with twinkly eyes, and a wide smile.
Cinderella was immediately suspicious. Anyone could see that Mildren was NOT a young cow, and certainly not "fine". She was a scrawny old milk cow. Bony at places, even.
"Good morning, uncle," said Cinderella. He was not really her uncle. She called any older man unrelated to her as "uncle" as a sign of respect. There was no harm in being respectful, even if one was suspicious.
"I'm taking Mildred to the market to sell her." Cinderella looked and sounded sad as she said that. "My sisters need the money to buy ball gowns so they can attend the Prince's ball." She said, so quietly that she wasn't sure the old man heard her.
"I can help you... How many sisters do you have?"
"And of course, you would want to go to the ball, too?"
"Yes!" Cinderella replied, excitedly.
"Well, I can give you three magic beans for that magnificent cow. These magic beans will give you what your heart desires. just add a little water to the beans. Then watch the magic happen."
Cinderella was now sure that the old man was not honest. Only a charlatan would call Mildred "magnificent". He was obviously up to no good.
"You must think I'm a silly little girl," she said. "Trying to get Mildred for just three beans?"
"Okay, then. FOUR magic beans. And I'm cutting me own throat, I am."
"Ha!" Cinderella scoffed. "Anybody knows the going rate for a run-down, scrawny, milk cow is FIVE magic beans! You!" Cinderella pointed at a scruffy, smelly old beggar passing by.
The beggar was taken aback, "who? Me?"
"Yes, you! What's the going rate for a scrawny milk cow?"
"You mean like the one over there?"
"Yes, this cow."
"Five magic beans, innit? Stands to reason."
"Right. Thank you! Off you go then!"
The beggar trudged off, muttering about millions of bugs and shrimps. His smell moved off with him, thankfully.
Cinderella turned to glare at the old man trying to cheat her of Mildred.
"Alright! Five magic beans!"
Cinderella handed over Mildred and the old man handed over 5 magic beans.
When Cinderella got home, she took two beans and added some water.
Nothing happened for a while and she wondered if she was too gullible to still believe in Magic Beans.
There were now two gorgeous ball gowns. One was emerald green and made one think of the sea. The other was ruby red, and reminded one of fire.
Cinderella was pleased and brought the two gowns to her step-sisters.
They gasped, then oohed and aahed and quickly put on the gowns and admired themselves in the mirror. They were very pleased indeed.
"Where did you get these gowns?"
"It fits me so well!"
"How did you managed to find them?"
They had so many questions.
They were so pleased that they could pretend to be gracious and concerned.
"Oh, but what about you Cinderella? You have no gown! What will you wear to the Ball?
"Oh don't worry about me!" said Cinderella. "I still have 3 magic beans."
"Magic beans?" asked her stepsisters.
And Cinderella told them about the cheery old man, and the 5 magic beans she got in exchange for Mildred. Then she told them her plans to use one bean for a ball gown, one bean for a carriage to attend the ball, and one bean for a pair of magic dancing slippers to make her the best ballroom dancer, since she hasn't had lessons like her stepsisters.
When she showed her stepsisters the magic beans, they were so jealous, they knocked the beans out of her hands, out the window, and into the garden.
They didn't want Cinderella getting a gown and going to the ball with them.
"Now you can't go to the ball! MUAHAHAHHAHAHA!"
Then they left for the ball, leaving Cinderella behind.
Cinderella searched the untended, messy garden to find the beans, but it was hopeless and she started to cry. She wished she had time to do the gardening to keep things neat, but she was already so tired from the cooking, and cleaning and laundry.
And her tears fell on one of the bean that she did not see.
The bean rocked, and shook, and then sprouted and shot up towards the sky.
Cinderella, without thinking grabbed hold of the bean stalk.
But the beanstalk would not be stopped, and shot up higher and higher, into the sky, until it broke through the clouds.
Cinderella could see a castle not far off and headed towards the castle.
The castle was huge.
Inside the kitchen, she found a huge woman.
"Please, ma'am, could I have something to eat? I'm very hungry."
"Ellie? Is that you?"
No one had called her "Ellie" since she lost her mother.
"Mom?" she whispered.
It was her mom!
Her mom told how she had been caught by the giant on the day that she was "lost", and brought here to the giant's castle, where the giant first made her into a giant as well, and then made her his wife.
But before she could explain any further, the castle shook and they could hear giant footsteps booming through the walls of the castle.
"It's the giant! Quick! Hide!"
Cinderella hid, but watched from her hiding place as the Giant entered the kitchen.
"Fee Fie Foh Fum! I smell a poopy human bum!" he said.
Cinderella was very young when her mother was taken and she had not been potty-trained yet. After that no one bothered to potty-trained her. She was still wearing diapers at her age. And she had just pooped.
"Nonsense," said Cinderella's mother. "It's just the eggs I'm frying."
"No, I'm sure it is a human."
"Maybe it's the cheese I'm adding to the eggs. I'm making your favourite cheese omelette."
"Oooh! Cheese omelette! My favourite!"
The Giant sat down to eat his cheese omelette. Then he asked for his golden goose and singing harp. Then from his pocket, he pulled out a tiny struggling Gingerbread man. One of its leg was obviously broken.
"Look what I caught? A little Gingerbread man. It was running very fast, but I caught it. I think I broke its leg. HUR! HUR! HUR!" He laughed.
Then the Giant said to the golden goose: "Lay!"
And the goose laid a golden egg.
Cinderella watched with interest.
The the Giant said to the Harp, "sing!"
And the harp played the strings and sang a lovely soothing lullaby and the Giant fell asleep.
Cinderella crept out onto the table, and grabbed the goose, and the harp.
The Gingerbread man said, "take me with you!"
And Cinderella grabbed him too and ran.
The harp didn't like being taken and started to shout, "thief! Thief!"
That woke the Giant. It took him a while to realise what was happening and then he started to yell angrily and chase Cinderella.
For every one giant step he took, Cinderella had to take 8 or 9 steps because she was so small.
Cinderella was not going to make it!
Then the Gingerbread man said to Cinderella, "nibble on me. Then you can run fast!"
Cinderella nibbled on the Gingerbread man and then she RAN! Faster than she had ever ran before. And she left the Giant far behind. And the Gingerbread man chanted,
"Run, run, as fast as you can!
You can't catch her, she had some Gingerbread man!"Cinderella ran to the beanstalk and quickly climbed down. The Giant was still some ways behind, trying to catch up.
At the bottom of the beanstalk, she grabbed an axe and started chopping at the beanstalk.
The beanstalk came crashing down.
Cinderella looked up into the clouds, and whispered, "mommy".
Over the next few weeks, the golden goose would lay a golden egg each day, and soon Cinderella had enough golden eggs to buy a small piece of land and to build her own home.
She build a comfortable home for herself, looked up the servants - the housekeeper, the gardener, the washerwoman, and the cook - who had been let go after years of service in her father's household and were now unemployed. She brought them back into her new household, gave them their old jobs back (with an increase in salary).
Over time, others came to work for her, and she bought more land for a farm, then two farms, then a mill, and a bakery (because the cook wanted to start a bakery) and a tailor shop (the washerwoman and the housekeeper wanted to go into dressmaking. And the flower shop (the gardener). And then there was a forge and a blacksmith, and stables, and a dairy farm, and then she had a small kingdom.
And the people who worked for her, called her "Princess Cinderella".
And she didn't need to marry any smelly old prince to be a princess.
The Prince DID marry one of Cinderella's stepsister. Marguerite, her younger stepsister was 19 at the time.
The Prince was 73.
It was a match made in heaven, according to the Royal Scribes.
And he did buy them all the milk they could want. So Marguerite and her sister never wanted for milk. Not that they ever did.
Mildred did not quite trust the cheery old man who had exchanged 5 beans for her. So when she found out he intended to butcher her, mince her meat, and make sausages out of her, she kicked him in the teeth and ran off. (To be fair, he was trying out a promising new marketing strategy of selling sausages on a bun.)
A few weeks later, while wandering in the fields, she was accosted by a huge black bull. He had escaped from a farm as well.
Maximus, as the bull was called, was huge and fearsome. But he was always gentle and tender to Mildred.
Together they escaped into the forest and lived happily ever after.
Cinderella could not stop thinking about her mother she left behind in the Castle in the clouds. With her new wealth, she searched for a means to return to the clouds and bring her mother back. TO BE CONTINUED (Where she bought her old house after her stepsisters and stepmother moved into the Prince castle, started to clear the gardens and found the remaining two magic beans and used one to return to the Land of the Giants...)