Slipper

Edward_Burne-Jones_Cinderella

Look at her now and you would think she was born to it but I know the truth, I was closer to her than any of them.

Forced to act the scullery maid. Never! It was her protest at her father’s remarriage. All a martyr act. She could have eaten at the table, worn silks and satins .Gone to the ball with them in the carriage. But no, that was too ordinary for our little Miss. Always one for the grand gesture.

The two sisters. They were not as pretty as she was but they weren’t jealous, not that sort at all, never said a bad word to her. And, oh, their feet were so dainty. Her feet were definitely bigger. Think about it, the girl had been wearing clogs for years. Her feet had spread. Rough skin, cracked around the heels. And the grime! It took months of bathing in asses milk to get her famous lily-white skin.

Any number of girls in the kingdom had feet the same size as hers. But to hear her ladyship tell the story, she was so special, so dainty that no one else could fit me. She conveniently forgets that it was my hard work that made sure I was too big or too small for any other foot. No one thinks about what I had to go through. I was tried on by everyone’s daughter from the Lord Mayor down to the swineherd. Hundreds of feet. Big feet, small feet, corns, calluses. Sure, some were pink and sweetly smelling but more were dirt-caked and reeking. She’s no magic princess just a very lucky girl. I’m the magic one.

And as long as the shoe fitted, he wouldn’t have noticed. I doubt he got all that close to her at the ball. Formal dancing, at arms length, no more than fingers touching. She hadn’t had a wash for weeks before Dame Busybody decked her out in her finery. Amazing what a layer of face paint and a liberal dose of cologne can do. I doubt he would have noticed her at all without me, sparkling as she tripped around the ballroom. I really can’t understand his thing about the feet. Why he couldn’t make his decision based on a pretty face or a desirable body like the rest of them do. But that’s fetishes for you.

As they say there are no old friends or old shoes. Up to a point I can understand about the shoes – she used to wear clogs! Now it’s all velvet slippers and sedan chairs. No need for anything sturdy. Though you think she’d make an exception for me. Old Dame Busybody gets invited to the annual Christenings – Godmother to the swelling tribe. If her ladyship had an ounce of gratitude she’d wear me on these occasions. But no, here I am, wrapped in silk and placed at the back of her cavernous wardrobe.

And her old friends have gone the same way too. She did have friends despite the way she tells her story. Wicked step-mother, ugly step-sisters indeed! She’s even got those Grimm brothers in to rewrite history. In their version even Dame Busybody is out of the picture. The ordure will really hit the fan when she hears about that.

3 thoughts on “Slipper

    • Thank you Judith, I haven’t read it but I will look for it and read your comments. I like retellings of folklore and have tried a couple here on this blog. There were a number anthologies of retold fairy tales published in the 1990s by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling with titles like ‘Snow White, Blood Red’ and ‘Black Thorn, White Rose’. They are worth reading if you can find a copy.

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