General Fiction posted April 18, 2023

This work has reached the exceptional level
a girl who didn't have a fairy godmother

The Girl Who Wasn't Cinderella

by Aiona

Fantasy Writing Contest Contest Winner 

Everyone has heard of the beautiful Cinderella who worked so hard to be able to finish her chores so she could go to the ball. However, few people have heard the tale of another lass who didn't have a fairy godmother to help her after all her chores were done.


This girl was Anna.


Just like Cinderella, Anna also had many chores to be done before she could go anywhere that night. However, unlike Cinderella, she did not have a mean stepmother to make her do them or evil stepsisters adding more chores to the list so that she wouldn’t be able to go to the ball. Anna just knew they had to be done, and that some tasks and chores are simply a part of life.


Unfortunately, she also knew she probably would not be able to finish them all in time to go to the ball. And, she was right.


However, Anna didn't mourn. She was happy anyways because sometime before midnight, she finally got them all done.


Then she went to sleep.


At morning, she was up again.


It sounds kinda boring, huh?


But anyways, Anna was proud of the work she’d accomplished yesterday to keep her chickens all well and happy. She had finished cleaning their coops so that disease would not infect them. Disinfecting was a tough job, but she cared about her animal family so much that it was a labor of love.


That morning, she had already finished milking the cows and sweeping the porch when the messengers of the Prince (who by this time were out scouting for Cinderella) were going around the town.


One of those messengers, whose name was Samuel, passed near her house. He paused to read an envelope he plucked from the bag of letters he was carrying, and then approached her garden gate. When he spied Anna sweeping her porch, he waved the envelope at her.


"Hullo! Miss! You must be the Lady Anna Workman, right?"


Anna couldn't help but giggle. "I am Anna Workman, but no one's ever called me by that title before."


"Well, of course, if you’re the owner of this well-maintained structure, then you are most certainly the lady of the house. And I've a message from the Prince to you. He has asked that all maidens of the kingdom attend a second ball at the castle tonight so that he might find the mysterious girl with whom he fell in love last night.”


"I'm sorry to say, sir," Anna replied as she walked over to the gate with her broom in hand like a scepter, "that I was not at the ball last night. I had so many chores I was not able to attend it."


"Oh? That’s too bad, miss." Samuel dropped his sack of letters on the ground, and hopped over the gate.

Anna could have been intimidated by his forwardness. However, she was just too tired to be frightened of this stranger, especially when she realized he had only leapt towards her in order to catch a spider hovering over her head from a branch of an alder tree that lined the walkway.

Cupping the spider in both hands, Samuel gently relocated it in a nearby lilac bush. "I had a lovely time myself. You would have enjoyed it, had you been able to go, that is. Perhaps tonight then?"


I might be able to make it tonight."


"If you think you can't, just call me -- Samuel Longhorn -- and I'll give you a hand. No charge!" He hopped back over the gate, grabbed his sack, and was gone to deliver more letters.


Amused, Anna wondered why this mysterious woman did not want to make herself known to the Prince, but was secretly pleased that by her shyness, the secretive woman had given Anna another chance to go to the ball.


So she headed off to feed her chickens, because she still had plenty of work to be done that day. She washed her healthy dog and gave him lots of love and attention. She curried her horses and cuddled the kittens. The cows had already been milked, and all the dishes were done. Wash was clean. Beds were made.


"Perhaps I can go to the ball tonight, after all," she thought. She smiled to think that she would run into Samuel Longhorn there as well.


All of a sudden, a knocking and cries at the door were heard. "Anna! Oh, Anna! Please help!"


Anna rushed to open her door and saw the girl who lived next door sobbing and trembling with fear. Carly was only seven-years-old and lived alone with her ageing aunt.


“What’s wrong? Are you hurt? Come inside.”Anna attempted to usher the poor girl inside and out of the night air, but Carly took her hand and tried to persuade her to come outside with her instead.


"I’m okay, but Auntie Lacey is sick again. I thought maybe you will know what to do, Anna. I'm so worried."


Anna followed Carly to their cottage next door, and learned that the elderly woman had felt unwell for the past day and a half, but then started taking a turn for the worse with fever and delirium,


“She didn’t even know who I am. What shall I do?” Carly wept.


Moved with pity and fear for the old woman who had been kind to her for many years, Anna spent the night with Auntie Lacey and her niece. Late into the night, she spent her time brewing tea with herbs that she had picked and dried especially for these situations. Carly helped with cleaning and changing the soiled linens, and by the next morning, the old woman's fever had broken and she was feeling better.


"Thank you, Anna," the old woman murmured when she was finally able to sit up and speak. "I appreciate that Carly was able to rely on you for aid, and I'm so grateful that you stayed here with us. If something had happened to me, I don't know what would become of her."


Carly hugged her aunt. "Don't worry, Auntie Lacey. You're better now."


“Yes, and don’t forget. I'll be here to help again if you need it," Anna reassured her.


The old woman shook her head sadly. "Still, I know that you may have had other things to do yesterday evening. For your troubles, please take these coins."


Back then, coins were money. Today when we hear "coins" we think, "Oh, it’s just spare change." But when people in the olden days said "coins," they meant silver, copper, or gold. In other words, real money.


These coins of Auntie Lacey's were not gold, but silver. And in those days, two silver coins were worth dear. And Anna thanked her so much!


Anna rested a little bit that morning, for she could only rest "a little bit." Then she was up again to take care of her animal family.


While she was getting ready to milk the cows, Samuel came up the walk. "Miss Anna, can you believe it? The Prince still hasn't been able to get the lovely lady to stay. So there's going to be a third and final ball tonight. Going?"


"I sure hope so, Samuel. It is Samuel, right?"


"You remembered! I thought you'd forgotten, since I didn't see you at the ball last night. What happened? You sound tired."


"I was up last night taking care of a friend," Anna replied. "I'd still love to go to the ball tonight, but I'm so tired. I don't know if I can."


Samuel seemed concerned. "Tell you what, miss. After I’ve finished delivering this news to the rest of the houses, I’m not doing anything else today. I'll do all your work, if you do me one favor."




"Go with me to a ball."


"But, Samuel, I hardly know you."


"Hey, I'm no crook. I just want to go with a beautifully thoughtful girl who's been working so hard and not seeming to get anywhere."


"Well...okay, Samuel Longhorn. And don't call me 'miss.' Just 'Anna’ will be fine."


So Samuel milked the cows, which was long overdue, as Anna had missed the milking hour due to her chat with Samuel. He also did the wash (yes, even Anna's brassieres), fed the chickens and dogs and horses and even played with the kittens.


Anna slept.


By evening Samuel was done, and Anna woke up. She padded down the stairs to find Sam was in the kitchen making a pudding.


"Thank you so much, Samuel. But wait,...the clothes basket's gone. You did the wash too?" Anna sat at the dining table and stared at the immaculate state of the kitchen.


"Yes." He set a bowl before her, and the lovely flavors of the pudding wafted up from the steamy dish, and made her mouth water.




"Don't worry. I've done my little sisters' wash many a time. Nothing new I haven’t seen before." Sam sat next to her and began to recite a thanksgiving prayer.


Meanwhile, Anna tried to hide her blush by bowing her head.


After the blessing, she tasted Samuel's cooking. "Mm, not bad for a man's work."


Samuel looked hurt.


Anna giggled and gave him a peck on the cheek. "It's delicious," and her heart leapt a little when Sam smiled. It was brazen of her, she knew, to be this way with him, but he was so easy to be with. She practically inhaled her meal, it was so good! Then together they made quick work of the dishes.


Afterwards, Samuel left to get ready for the ball, while Anna visited the tailor’s shop.


When she arrived, the tailor seemed uncommonly sad and grumpy. She asked what was wrong.


“Well, I spent over a fortnight on this particular dress, and then two days ago, the lady for whom I made it decided it just didn’t suit her. We had agreed upon a silver piece for it. But now, I have no silver and a dress that I was unable to sell.”


“You mean this one?” Anna pointed at a lovely red velvet dress that looked both stunning and warm. “Why, it’s my favorite color!”


The tailor was so happy to hear Anna say that, and he was so pleased with her praise of the dress -- especially when Anna swooned over the built-in pockets -- that the tailor sold it to her for less than the price he’d agreed upon with the lady who’d first ordered it from him.


To pay for the dress, Anna used one of the silver coins Auntie Lacey had given her and even got some coppers in change.


Upon returning to her house, she dashed upstairs and changed into the beautiful gown. It fit her perfectly! She had never owned such a flattering and fancy dress before. She brushed her hair a hundred times until it gleamed like sunshine, and pinned up her hair as best she knew how.


While Anna was at the tailor's shop, Samuel had visited the livery and rented a carriage with two black geldings. He pulled up to the house just as Anna came to the door, and stared speechless at her as she came to the gate.

"Is something wrong?" Anna asked. "Do I not look presentable?"

"Nothing's wrong? It's just I think you're more beautiful than I already knew you were," Samuel replied as he helped her into the carriage. And together they drove to the ball.

However, just as they reached the main causeway to the castle, one of the wooden tires broke, and the whole carriage tilted to the right. Thankfully, no one was hurt.


"Welp," Samuel sighed, "guess we're not going too far with this carriage."


The ball had already started, and music drifted down from the luminous castle walls. Samuel squatted and inspected the damage.


"I'm glad Charlie's a good friend of mine. I know he'll be understanding about this situation." (Charlie's the livery owner.)


Anna watched Samuel inspect the wheel. He had a cute boyish-look. Happy, care-free, yet hard-working. Before the wheel mishap, they had been chatting, and he had informed her that he was going to be an apprentice to a printer. "As soon as my contract with the King ends, which is in about a month." Anna wondered if that meant he would leave for distant lands, and then she would no longer see him about the village.


"Dance with me, Samuel."


Samuel turned around. "Huh?"


"Waltz with me."




"Why not."


So they did waltz, under the stars to the sounds of the distant orchestra in the castle above them. And Samuel found that he liked her too. This beautiful charming girl.


After their impromptu waltz, they ended up walking up to the castle, and Anna did finally go to the ball.


There’s no sure end to the story. Some say that when the Prince finally found his Cinderella, he gave Samuel a reward -- a lot of coins, and gold ones too -- in his joy of having found her. Some say Samuel and Anna decided they would court each other. Some people say they got married. Some people say they did not.


But if I got the main facts of the story straight, it’s that life can be okay if you don't go to the ball at first. No slipper needed. No need for a fairy godmother either. Just a love of life.






Fantasy Writing Contest
Contest Winner

Thank you so much to Wolfdancer13 for letting FanStory authors use this lovely image "Romancing Dawn." I think I've used it on some of my other writings too.... The "Jason and Mathilda" screenplay and some poem about romance. It's such a beautiful image. If I could ever get "Jason and Mathilda" produced, I would request the rights to use it for the movie poster. :) Either this or one of Cleo85's CGI images that I also love. Or both!
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