Written for: adoxerella as part of willshenilshe’s Fractured Fairytales Ficathon
Requirements: Angel taking the title role, Cinderella - Grimm Bros. version (just to be difficult), a unique choice for the Fairy Godmother, no unnecessary character bashing.
Beta’d: By the delicious moxie_fic
Summary: With the helpful… guidance of the brothers’ Grimm, a slight retelling of Cinderella.
Once upon a time there was a rich woman named Joyce, who lived happily for a long time with her husband, Rupert. Together they had an only child, a son named Liam. He was such a docile and loving boy, in time he became known as Angel. Then Rupert fell ill, and when he was lying on his deathbed, he called his son to his side, and said, "Dear child, I must leave you now, but I will look down on you from heaven. Plant a little tree on my grave, and when you want something, just talk to the tree, and you will get what you want. I will help you in time of need. Just remain pious and good." Then he closed his eyes and died. The child cried, and planted a little tree on his father's grave. He did not need to carry any water to it, because his tears provided all the water that it needed.
The snow fell over the father's grave like a white cloth; then after the sun had retired from it a second time, and the little tree had become green a second time, Joyce took another husband.
Ethan already had two sons by his first wife, Drusilla. They were handsome enough to look at, but in their hearts, Warren and Andrew were proud, arrogant, and evil. After the wedding, the three moved into Joyce's house, and times grew very bad for her poor child.
Within weeks, Joyce’s health faded, and she died, leaving Angel an orphan amongst the wolves.
"What is that useless creature doing in the best room?" asked Ethan. "Away to the kitchen with him! And if he wants to eat, then he must earn it. He can be our servant."
Angel’s stepbrothers took his fine clothes away from him and made him wear shabby old rags. "That’s good enough for you, Sparky!" Warren said, making fun of him and leading him into the kitchen. Then the poor child had to do the most difficult work. He had to get up before sunrise to muck out the stables, feed the horses, carry water, make the fire, cook, and wash. To add to his misery, both Andrew and Warren ridiculed him.
“I don’t know why we even put up with a pea-brain like you,” Andrew whined. If your parents had left more money behind, we could hire decent servants and be done with you.”
Warren was the less pleasant of the two. Nearly as tall as Angel, he took great delight in belittling the rightful heir of the house. “You need to learn your place, toad,” he sneered. “On your knees and just thank your lucky stars we allow you to live here at all.”
At the flare of anger in the boy’s eye, Warren then scattered peas and lentils into the ashes. “If you plan to eat today, you’re gonna have to find and sort every single grain. If I find one pea in the wrong bowl or still in the hearth, you won’t eat for a week.”
At night when he was tired, there was no bed for him to sleep on nor any room to take shelter in, so Angel was forced to lie down next to the hearth in the ashes for warmth. Because he was always dirty with ashes and dust, they gave him the name Cinderfella.
The time came when King Heinrich and Queen Darla announced a ball. It was to last, in all splendor, for three days, and their son, Prince William, would choose a Consort. It had been said that he preferred handsome men to maidens, and his parents indulged the oddity by inviting the most eligible fellows in the kingdom.
The two proud brothers were invited. "Cinderfella," they cried, "Come here. Comb our hair. Black our shoes, and straighten our sashes. We are going to the prince's ball."
Cinderfella did the best that he could, but they rewarded him only with curses.
“Ingrate,” yelled Warren, striking out with his fists as a snarl was encountered in his shaggy brown hair. “Watch what you’re doing! The prince won’t look at me twice if you pull out all of my hair.”
Andrew snickered. “He won’t look at you at all with me there. I hear he likes them small and blond.” He screamed, kicking Cinderfella hard. “Ow, you creep! You stuck me on purpose.”
When they were ready, they said with scorn, "Cinderfella, wouldn't you like to go to the ball?"
"Oh, yes. I’d love to go. But how can I?” he asked, looking down at his rags. “I don't have any nice clothes.”
"No, you don’t," said Warren, “and God forbid anyone should see you there and find out you were related to us.” He shoved Angel down to the hearth. “You belong down there amongst the soot and ashes. Here’s a basin of lentils. Sort the good ones from the bad, and if there is a single bad one in the lot when we return, you can expect the worst.”
With that, they left. Cinderfella stood and watched until he could no longer see them, then he went sadly to the kitchen and spread the lentils out over the hearth. There was a very, very large pile of them. "Oh," he said with a sigh. "I'll be sorting lentils until midnight, and I won’t be able to close my eyes, no matter how much they hurt. If only my father was here!"
He knelt down in the ashes next to the hearth and was about to begin his work when two white pigeons flew in through the window. They lit on the hearth next to the lentils. Nodding their heads, they said, "Cinderfella, do you want us to help you sort the lentils?"
"Yes please," he answered, surprised. “The bad ones go into your crop; the good ones go into the pot.”
And peck, peck, peck, peck, they started at once, eating up the bad ones and leaving the good ones behind. In only a quarter of an hour there was not a single bad lentil among the good ones, and Cinderfella brushed them all into the pot.
Then the pigeons said to him, "Cinderfella, if you would like to see your brothers dancing with the prince, just climb up to the pigeon roost." He followed them and climbed to the top rung of the ladder to the pigeon roost. There he could see into the hall, and he saw his brothers take turn dancing with the prince. Everything glistened by the glow of a thousand lights and Cinderfella wished with everything in him that he could be there, too. After a while, he climbed back down and with a heavy heart he lay in the ashes and fell asleep.
The next morning the two brothers came to the kitchen. They were angry when they saw that he had sorted the lentils, for they wanted to beat him. Because they could not, they began telling him about the ball.
Warren gloated, “Cinderfella, it was so fine at the ball. The prince is a real looker. He’s got great muscles and is graceful as a panther. I could’ve danced all night with that one.”
“He escorted us both, brother mine,” chirped Andrew who was eager to get his own two cents in. “And he is going to choose one of us to be his Consort.”
"Yes," said Cinderfella, "I saw the glistening lights. It must have been magnificent."
"Now just how did you do that?" demanded Warren.
"By standing up there on the pigeon roost."
When Warren heard this, his envy drove him to have the pigeon roost torn down immediately.
Cinderfella was called to comb their hair and get them ready again the next night. Andrew, who had a little sympathy in his heart, said, "Cinderfella, when it gets dark you can go and look through the windows from the outside."
"No!" cried Warren. "That would only make him lazy. Here is a sackful of seeds, you shiftless waste. Sort the good ones from the bad ones, and do it well. If you leave any bad ones in the lot, then tomorrow morning I’ll dump the whole sackful into the ashes, and you’ll go hungry until you pick ‘em all out again."
Cinderfella sat sadly down on the hearth and spread out the seeds. The pigeons flew in again, and said, "Cinderfella, do you want us to help you sort the seeds?"
"Yes," he answered. “The bad ones go into your crop; the good ones go into the pot.”
Peck, peck, peck, peck, it went as fast as if twelve hands were at work. When they were finished, the pigeons said, "Cinderfella, would you like to go dancing at the ball?"
"Of course I would," he sighed, "But how could I go in these dirty clothes?"
"Just go to the little tree on your father's grave, shake it, and ask it for some beautiful clothes. Just be sure to come back before midnight."
So Cinderfella went and shook the little tree, and said, “Shake yourself, shake yourself, little tree. Throw some nice clothing down to me!”
He had scarcely spoken these words when a dryad appeared betwixt the branches. Small and fair of face, the little blonde was clothed in a drape as green as the leaves.
“What would you need fine clothes for, dirty boy? Methinks the dusty rags serve you well enough.”
“I wish to attend the ball. Prince William seeks a Consort and…”
“And you think something shiny will catch the prince’s attention?” she snorted. “The hunkiest men in all the kingdom will be attending the ball. What chance have you?”
Angel hesitated, unsure of the best way to deal with this creature. “What may I call you, besides sharp-tongued?”
“You may call me Buffy,” she replied, cocking her head in an appraising manner.
“Buffy, my father promised me on his deathbed that if I ever needed something, the tree would provide it for me. Well, I need clothes as befit a gentleman of standing. Won’t you help me?”
A moment’s thought and the little dryad spread her arms. A splendid silver suit fell down before him. With it were pearl cufflinks, silk stockings with silver decorations, silver buckled slippers, and everything else that he needed.
“Thank you, fair spirit. You are most kind.”
Cinderfella carried it all home. After he had washed himself and put on the beautiful clothing, he was as magnificent as a white tiger in the moonlight. He went to the front door, and there was a carriage with six black horses all decorated with feathers, and servants dressed in blue and silver. They helped him into the carriage, and away they galloped to the king's castle.
His Royal Highness, Prince William saw the carriage stop before the gate, and thought that a foreign prince was arriving. He himself walked down the steps, helped Cinderfella out, and escorted him into the hall. Many thousand lights shone upon him, and he was so handsome that everyone there was amazed.
The prince and the new arrival were a marked study in contrasts. While William was blond and of average height, compactly muscled and svelte, the other was tall, broad, and brunet, exuding an air of dark passion.
The brothers stood there, angry that someone was more handsome than they were, but they had no idea that it was Cinderfella, who they thought was lying at home in the ashes.
Prince William danced with Cinderfella and paid him every royal honor. “Call me Spike, pet,” he purred, holding his firm body tightly as they waltzed around the ballroom. Looking up into the unknown man’s beautiful brown eyes, he thought to himself, "I’m supposed to choose a Consort. I’ll have no one but him."
However long he had suffered in ashes and sorrow, Cinderfella was now reveling in splendor and joy. As midnight approached, before the clock struck twelve, he stood up, bowed and said that he had to go, in spite of the prince's requests for him to stay. The prince escorted him out. Cinderfella’s carriage stood waiting for him. And he rode away just as splendidly as he had come.
Back at home, Cinderfella returned to the tree on his father's grave, and said: “Shake yourself, shake yourself, little tree! Take the clothing back from me!”
“Welcome back, dancing boy. Did all your dreams come true?” Buffy raised her arms, retrieving the glittering suit. “And the prince? Did he bow down before you and profess his undying love?”
Cinderfella put on his old ashy rags again, still starry-eyed over his time at the palace. “As a matter of fact…”
Buffy gawped at him in astonishment. “No! Then pray tell me the name I should ask for you by if I meet up with His Majesty.”
“My name is Liam, but they call me Cinderfella for spending all my time by the dirty hearth. And now I must take my leave of you.” With that he bowed and went home, dirtied his face, and lay down in the ashes to sleep.
The next morning the two brothers came in looking out of sorts, and without saying a word. Cinderfella said, "Did you have a good time yesterday evening?"
Andrew pouted, toeing at the floor in a disappointed manner. "No. A strange prince was there and he danced with his Highness almost the whole time, but no one knew who he was or where he came from."
"Was he the one in the splendid carriage drawn by six black horses?" asked Cinderfella.
"How did you know that?" Warren asked, suspicion brewing in his weasel eyes.
"I was standing in the front door when he rode by the house."
"In the future do not leave your work," Warren demanded, giving his stepbrother an evil look. "What were you doing, standing in the front door?"
Cinderfella had to get his brothers ready a third time. His reward was a basin filled with peas, which he was supposed to sort. "And do not dare to leave your work," shouted Warren, as he was leaving.
"If only my pigeons will come again," Cinderfella thought, and his heart beat a little faster. The pigeons did come, just as they had the evening before, and said, "Cinderfella, would you like us to help you sort the peas?"
"Yes," he said. “The bad ones go into your crop; the good ones go into the pot.”
Once again the pigeons picked out the bad ones, and soon they were finished. Then they said, "Cinderfella, shake the little tree, and it will throw down even more beautiful clothes. Go to the ball, but be careful to come back before midnight."
Cinderfella went and said: “Shake yourself, shake yourself, little tree. Throw some nice clothing down to me!”
Once more the little dryad appeared with open arms, this time sending down a suit that was even more magnificent and more splendid than the other one, made entirely of gold and precious stones. With it were stockings decorated with gold, and slippers made of gold.
Cinderfella put them on, and he glistened like a proud lion basking in the sun at midday. A carriage with six white horses pulled up at the door. The horses had tall white plumes on their heads, and the servants were dressed in red and gold.
When he arrived at the palace, Prince William was waiting for him at the stairway. He escorted him into the hall. If everyone had been astounded at his exquisite countenance yesterday, today they were even more aghast. The brothers stood in the corner, pale with envy. If they had known that this was Cinderfella, who they thought was at home lying in the ashes, they would have died of jealousy.
“So pleased you came back, love.” The prince’s blue eyes sparkled with mischief. “Want to know why they call me Spike?” he asked, tongue curled in back of his front teeth. “It’s because I like the big, strapping lads.”
The Prince wanted to know who the man he was dancing with was, where he was from, and where he was going. He placed his people in the street to keep watch. And to prevent his unknown prince from running away so fast, he had the stairway covered with pitch.
Cinderfella danced with the prince again and again. Filled with joy, he did not think about midnight. Suddenly, in the middle of a dance, he heard the clock strike. He suddenly remembered what the pigeons had warned him. Unnerved, he rushed to the door and ran down the stairs. Because they were covered with pitch, one of his golden slippers stuck fast, and in his flight he did not think to pick it up. He reached the last step just as the clock struck twelve. The carriage and the horses disappeared, and Cinderfella was left standing there in the dark street dressed in his ashy rags.
The prince had rushed after him. He found the golden slipper on the stairway, pulled it loose, and picked it up. But by the time he arrived below, Cinderfella had disappeared. The people, whom he had ordered to keep watch, came and said that they had seen nothing.
Cinderfella was glad that it had not been worse. He returned home, lit his simple oil lamp, hung it in the chimney, and lay down in the ashes. Before long the two brothers returned, and called out, "Cinderfella, get up and light the way for us."
He yawned and acted as though he had been asleep. While lighting their way, he heard Warren say, "God knows who the cursed prince is. I wish that he was dead! The prince danced only with him, and after he left, he didn’t want to stay any longer, and the whole party came to an end."
"It was as though they suddenly blew out all the lights," Andrew whined. Cinderfella, of course, knew exactly who the foreign prince was, but he did not say a word.
Now the prince decided that since nothing else had succeeded, he would let the slipper help him find his mate. He had it proclaimed that he would marry the person whose foot fit the golden slipper. But it was uniquely sized. Indeed, some could not have wedged their foot inside, if it had been half again as large. Finally it came time for the two brothers to try on the slipper. They were happy, for each one believed that he could not fail. "If only the prince would come here sooner!" they thought.
"Listen," said Ethan secretly to each of his sons. "Take this knife, and if the slipper is too tight, just cut off part of your foot. It will hurt a little, but what harm is that? The pain will soon pass, and then one of you will be the prince’s Consort."
Then Warren went to his bedroom and tried on the slipper. The front of his foot went in, but his heel was too large, so he took the knife and cut part of it off, so he could force his foot into the slipper. Then he went out to the prince, and when he saw that he was wearing the slipper, he said that he was to be his mate. He escorted him to his carriage and was going to drive away with him. When he arrived at the gate, the two pigeons were perched above, and they called out:
“Rook di goo, rook di goo! There's blood in the shoe. The shoe is too tight, this match is not right!”
The prince bent over and looked at the slipper. Blood was streaming from it. He saw that he had been deceived, and he took the false man back.
Ethan then said to Andrew, "Take the slipper, and if it is too short for you, then cut off your toes." So he took the slipper into his bedroom, and because his foot was too long, he bit his teeth together, and cut off a large part of his toes, then quickly pulled on the slipper. When he stepped out wearing it, the prince thought that he was the right one, and wanted to ride away with him. But when they came to the gate, the pigeons again called out:
Rook di goo, rook di goo! There's blood in the shoe. The shoe is too tight, this match is not right!
The prince looked down and saw that his white stockings were stained red, and that blood and had come up high on them. The prince took him back to his father and said, "He is not the right man either. Is there not another son here in this house?"
"No," said Ethan, evading the prince’s gaze. "There is only a dirty stable hand here. He is sitting down there in the ashes. The slipper would never fit him." He did not want to call him, but the prince insisted. So they called Cinderfella, and when he heard that the prince was there, he quickly washed his hands and face. He stepped into the best room and bowed. The prince handed him the golden slipper, and said, "Try it on. If it fits you, you shall be my Consort."
Cinderfella pulled the heavy shoe from his left foot, then put his foot into the slipper, pushing ever so slightly. It fit as if it had been poured over his foot. As he straightened himself up, he looked into the prince's face, and he recognized him as the beautiful man he’d danced with at the ball. He cried out, "This is the right man." Both Ethan and his sons turned pale with horror. The prince escorted Cinderfella away. He helped him into his carriage, and as they rode through the gate, the pigeons called out:
“Rook di goo, rook di goo! No blood's in the shoe. The shoe's not too tight, this match is right!”
And, as in all good fairytales, they lived Happily Ever After.