For far too long, the story of Cinderella has been told from the Fairy Godmother's point of view. She rescues Cinderella. She creates a carriage from a pumpkin. She waves her magic wand. The mice have had enough. "She's nothing!" they insist. Here, then is their Cinderella story.
Long ago a poor widower with a beautiful daughter remarried. The woman he married was evil and vain, and had two daughters who were just as evil and vain. Because the widower was clueless about things that happened beneath his roof, his new wife and his step-daughters treated his daughter like dirt or, more accurately, cinders. She slept in the cinders and they called her Cinderella.
There were a number of mice who lived by the fireplace because it was warm there, and Cinderella would bring them food and water and the leftover drops in the wine bottle.
All day Cinderella would sweep and scrub and cook and de-clutter, and all day long the mice would help her. Cinderella was even learning to speak Mousese, which is a variant of the Ratese language. "There's got to be a better life for all of us," the Mice agreed, and they set about finding one. One day, while reading the newspaper, one of the Mice spotted an announcement: a local prince was throwing a gala ball, and there, he hoped to meet the woman of his dreams and make her his wife. The mice set to work forging an invitation to the ball, and when it was finished, they laid it at the front door... where it was promptly snatched up by the evil stepsisters and the wicked stepmother. They began to plan what to wear and what to say and what to do, and they put Cinderella to work sewing magnificent dresses for them.
When Cinderella asked if she could go to the ball, too, they just laughed and gave her more and dirtier work to do. So Cinderella and the Mice slaved day in and day out preparing the stepsisters for the ball.
But mice do not give up easily, which is something you surely know if you ever had them invade your cupboard. Each night, while Cinderella slept, they sewed and stitched and hemmed and embroidered, making a beautiful gown. Then the Forger Mouse slipped out and made a deal with Vinnie the Raccoon, and scored a pair of glass slippers. (Vinnie didn't have any real slippers. It was the best he could do.)
(Truth be told it wasn't really glass but Vinnie was a Raccoon and didn't know any better.)
That night, after Cinderella dressed her stepsisters for the ball and did their hair and did their make-up, she sent them on her way and sat down by the fireplace for a good cry, or a good book. Whichever came first.
But the Mice had other ideas. They produced the dress and the slippers (of questionable material) and dressed Cinderella.
The Mice did her hair and make-up. Cinderella was wondering how she was going to walk to the ball in those shoes, but Forger Mouse, after his time with Vinnie, had been carving a pumpkin into a carriage. Then the Mice harnessed themselves to the carriage and prepared to pull Cinderella to the ball.
It was a difficult journey, but they made it at last. While the Mice threw themselves into the fountain to cool off, Cinderella admired the beautiful palace and in she went.
Everyone noticed her at once. She was, after all, quite beautiful, and no one had ever seen shoes like hers before. The Prince spotted her, as well, and asked her to dance.
Fortunately the Mice had given her dancing lessons, though usually Cinderella got to lead, which was a little awkward with the Prince. But eventually they found their rhythm and danced all night. When it was almost midnight, Cinderella's feet began to hurt terribly. And the pumpkin, which had been out in the sun a few days too many, was starting to rot. So one of the Mice scampered in and whispered in Cinderella's ear: Time to go, Missy!
Cinderella gave the Prince a hurried look and raced out the door, as fast as she could. But that wasn't very fast, so she kicked off one of the slippers and hopped on her bare foot until she reached the carriage, and home they went.
By the time the step sisters returned, Cinderella was looking cindery as always, mending their panties by the fire.
The Prince, meanwhile, was devastated. The woman of his dreams had slipped, or hopped away, and the only clue he had was a rather unusual shoe. He was determined to find the fair maiden and set out into the kingdom, shoe in hand, to find the foot that fit the slipper.
When he came to Cinderella's house, the stepsisters were eager to try the shoe. It did not fit, and the Prince was about to leave when one of the Mice tripped him and sent him sprawling. Cinderella leapt out from behind the washing tub to assist him.
The Prince asked her to try on the slipper. Cinderella wasn't too happy at the prospect of putting on that shoe again, but sometimes we must do difficult and painful things to achieve a greater goal. So she put the slipper on her foot. And it fit as perfectly as was possible on a woman whose feet were not exactly Barbie's.
Thrilled, the Prince dropped to one knee and asked for Cinderella's hand in marriage. Cinderella agreed, as long as the Mice could come along. And so they were married, and Cinderella never wore horribly uncomfortable shoes again. As for her stepsisters? They had to wear uncomfortable shoes every day for the rest of their lives. The Mice saw to that.
Their story, on a bracelet.