He took the precious slipper and he traveled far and near through all the land. He stopped at every cottage and he stopped at every castle and he begged every maiden whom he met to try it on. But, alas! he found no one with foot small enough to wear it. At last, one day, he stopped before the only house that, in all his kingdom, he had not visited. Cinderella’s sisters hurried to meet him for it was at their door he stood. They tried and tried to crowd their great feet into the tiny slipper, but it was of no use. The Prince was turning sadly away thinking, “I shall never see my beautiful lady again,” when he caught sight of a face at the kitchen window. “Who is that?” he cried. “Oh, it is only Cinderella! a poor kitchen maid,” said the sisters. “Let her be brought! She too shall try the slipper!” said the Prince. “No! no! She is too ragged and dirty to be seen. Do you think that a cinder-maid can wear your shoe when we cannot get it on?” But the Prince would have his way.
When Cinderella was brought, her dainty little foot slid into the glass shoe as easily as though she had worn it all her life. She smiled and took its mate from the pocket of her ragged dress. The Prince smiled too and, looking into Cinderella’s face, he saw his long lost lady of the party. With a cry of joy he lifted her, all ragged as she was, upon his horse and the Prince and his chosen princess rode away.
THE HUT IN THE FOREST.
“Indra! Indra! Indra! Oh, Indra! Where are you?” called Carla and Alween. “Come, Indra, we are going home. Come, it will soon be dark. Hurry, or we shall lose our way.” But Indra did not answer. In her eagerness to find the biggest berries she had strayed away from her sisters. Now it was quite dark, and she could not find the path. She called and called but heard nothing save the sound of her own voice. At last, just as she was thinking, “I will have to pass the night here all alone in the wood,” she saw a light shining through the darkness. Following this light, Indra soon stood in front of a small house at the door of which she knocked. “Come in!” called a harsh voice. Stepping inside, the girl saw before her an old man whose beard was long, whose hair was white and whose back was bent almost double; while lying near him in front of the fire, were a cock, a hen and a brindled cow.
“I have lost my way in the forest,” said Indra. “It is dark, I have nowhere to sleep and I am so hungry. Will you not give me something to eat and a bed to lie on?”
The old man looked at her for a long time with his sharp, gray eyes then, turning to the animals by the fire, he said,—
“My cock, my hen,
My brindled cow,
What say you now?
What say you now?”
The cock, the hen, and the brindled cow all opened their mouths and called out together,—
“Oh, let her stay!
We’ll not say nay.”