Once upon a time in a faraway land called Politica, there lived a lovely maid named Cinderjilla. She was fair and pleasant to look upon, sweet and kind and, it was said, was of a disposition most positive and progressive.
But, alas, Cinderjilla had been reduced to little more than a scullery maid by her wicked stepmother Electra, who was unduly haughty and unreasonably vain about her own attractiveness, owing to the fact that she had once been a great beauty. But now that she was no longer such a prize, she was reduced to layering her face in white powder and painting her lips with gaudy vermillion. Common folk unkindly likened it to lipstick on a pig.
'Twas a sad impression she made, more sow than siren, more strumpet than seductress. But despite her fallen ways, still she had suitors clamoring for her approval.
Electra had two sons of her own, Barrance – born of a brief flirtation with a commoner, and Mitthew – sired by Bushrod the Least, the disreputable scion of royalty. She doted on both of them, not out of any real affection, but because she considered them her only hope of securing her future.
Some among the common folk referred to Barrance and Mitthew as equally ugly; but in truth, neither was physically unattractive. It was their ways rather than their visage that earned them disapproval.
Indeed, some thought Mitthew quite handsome; but upon closer acquaintance, it became abundantly clear to anyone with eyes to see and ears to hear that he was wicked and deceitful beyond imagining, and given to making grandiose promises he had no intention of keeping.
Barrance was faulted for breaking promises as well, but truth be told – though it seldom is – he was not able to keep many of his promises for reasons beyond his control. But that did not prevent those who were easily disenchanted from blaming him for what was beyond his power to accomplish.
• • •
It came to pass that a coronation ball was announced, and all in Politica were desirous of attending. By plying the nefarious primary tricks of her trade, which for reasons of decency and propriety go uninummerated here, Electra managed to secure invitations to the ball for herself and her two sons.
Truth be told, Electra had another motive at play. At the coronation ball, she hoped to find a suitable mate for one of her semi-beautiful sons. But she was having a difficult time choosing betwixt the two, Barrance being of good and stout heart, but a trifle too easy-going, and Mitthew being much more belligerent, boastful and devious, much like his sire Bushrod.
After much puffery and pontification throughout Politica, the day of the ball finally arrived. Electra, Barrance and Mitthew departed for the castle, whilst Cinderjilla was left behind to labor in the kitchen. She soon tired of her thankless chores, and knowing her stepmother and step-brothers would be gone long, she paused a moment to rest her pretty head upon the kitchen floor. Soon she was fast asleep.
• • •
Cinderjilla began to dream; and in her dream, her fairy godmother Fantasia appeared and promised to grant her fondest wishes. She turned Cinderjilla’s rags into a resplendent green gown, a pumpkin into a gilded coach, the mice scurrying about the kitchen into a team of horses, and an ugly toad into a coachman.
In her dream, Cinderjilla was the belle of the ball, and in due course, she was swept away by handsome Prince Charming, who, finding her irresistible, planted a kiss upon her cheek, pledged his everlasting love, and asked her to be his bride.
Just then, the clock struck midnight, and poor sleepy Cinderjilla was jarred from her reverie. She awoke to find not a handsome prince, but an ugly toad licking her face.
• • •
Moral: A difficult choice is preferable to an impossible dream.
©2012 Tom Cordle