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Fairy tales | Albert Einstein

Fairy tales | Albert Einstein


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  1. Once
    the wife of a rich man was on her deathbed
    and she said to her daughter Cinderella:
    Be devout. Be good. Then I will smile
    down from heaven in the seam of a cloud.
    The man took another wife who had
    two daughters, pretty enough
    but with hearts like blackjacks.
    Cinderella was their maid.
    She slept on the sooty hearth each night
    and walked around looking like Al Jolson.
    Her father brought presents home from town,
    jewels and gowns for the other women
    but the twig of a tree for Cinderella.
    She planted that twig on her mother's grave
    and it grew to a tree where a white dove sat.
    Whenever she wished for anything the dove
    would drop it like an egg upon the ground.
    The bird is important, my dears, so heed him.


    Next came the ball, as you all know.
    It was a marriage market.
    The prince was looking for a wife.
    All but Cinderella were preparing
    and gussying up for the event.
    Cinderella begged to go too.
    Her stepmother threw a dish of lentils
    into the cinders and said: Pick them
    up in an hour and you shall go.
    The white dove brought all his friends;
    all the warm wings of the fatherland came,
    and picked up the lentils in a jiffy.
    No, Cinderella, said the stepmother,
    you have no clothes and cannot dance.
    That's the way with stepmothers.


    Cinderella went to the tree at the grave
    and cried forth like a gospel singer:
    Mama! Mama! My turtledove,
    send me to the prince's ball!
    The bird dropped down a golden dress
    and delicate little slippers.
    Rather a large package for a simple bird.
    So she went. Which is no surprise.
    Her stepmother and sisters didn't
    recognize her without her cinder face
    and the prince took her hand on the spot
    and danced with no other the whole day.

    As nightfall came she thought she'd better
    get home. The prince walked her home
    and she disappeared into the pigeon house
    and although the prince took an axe and broke
    it open she was gone. Back to her cinders.
    These events repeated themselves for three days.
    However on the third day the prince
    covered the palace steps with cobbler's wax
    and Cinderella's gold shoe stuck upon it.
    Now he would find whom the shoe fit
    and find his strange dancing girl for keeps.
    He went to their house and the two sisters
    were delighted because they had lovely feet.
    The eldest went into a room to try the slipper on
    but her big toe got in the way so she simply
    sliced it off and put on the slipper.
    The prince rode away with her until the white dove
    told him to look at the blood pouring forth.
    That is the way with amputations.
    They just don't heal up like a wish.
    The other sister cut off her heel
    but the blood told as blood will.
    The prince was getting tired.
    He began to feel like a shoe salesman.
    But he gave it one last try.
    This time Cinderella fit into the shoe
    like a love letter into its envelope.

    At the wedding ceremony
    the two sisters came to curry favor
    and the white dove pecked their eyes out.
    Two hollow spots were left
    like soup spoons.

    Cinderella and the prince
    lived, they say, happily ever after,
    like two dolls in a museum case
    never bothered by diapers or dust,
    never arguing over the timing of an egg,
    never telling the same story twice,
    never getting a middle-aged spread,
    their darling smiles pasted on for eternity.
    Regular Bobbsey Twins.
    That story.



    Anne Sexton, Cinderella
    .

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