Tell a Fairy Tale Day 2013: The Second Pair of Glass Slippers Part III

Here is Chapter Three of my Tell a Fairy Tale Day short story The Second Pair of Glass Slippers.

THREE

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            Stella left the palace with her coachman, footman, and guards, minus her chief guard was who following the mysterious woman. The stars and the full-moon shone brightly on them as they made their way back through the five forests and the two mountain passes and across the three rivers. The soft colors of dawn were just becoming apparent as the coach reached Stella’s castle.

The sound of wheels rolling over the cobblestone drive alerted Queen Ava to their return and she greeted Stella in the entranceway. Stella sadly informed her mother of the night’s events. The enchantress was upset that her daughter was unhappy and was indignant that a commoner had beguiled the prince. Who was this girl, for all her beauty and mystery, to prevent Stella from marrying the prince?

The answer to this question was brought late that afternoon by the guard Stella had shrewdly dispatched for information on the enigmatic beauty. This guard was the son of the Marquis of Dunly, one of the most respected men in the kingdom and a close friend of the King. The young man was intelligent and resourceful and had gathered much information about the girl and the prince’s intentions toward her.

The young woman was called Cinderella. She lived in a cottage at the far end of the kingdom with her step-mother and two step-sisters, all of whom treated her more as a servant than as a member of the family. Her step-mother didn’t know she had attended the ball, and the prince didn’t know anything about the girl other than he was going to marry her and had vowed to find her using the slipper. He had announced that the woman whom the shoe fit would wear the crown.

“It will probably take the prince a couple of days at least to work his way through the houses of the kingdom before he finds the cottage where Cinderella lives,” concluded Lord Philip.

“You shall still marry the prince, Stella, my love!” declared the Queen. She told Stella and Philip to meet her in the Chamber in a quarter of an hour to discuss what was to be done. She also summoned the shoemaker—a very talented man—and ordered him to make a pair of glass slippers to fit Stella. She gave him Stella’s description of Cinderella’s shoes. Queen Ava did not usually threaten people, but the shoemaker had a tendency to procrastinate. She knew that if she did not give him a serious reason to hurry, he would not complete the slippers for a week. “Bring the slippers to me within twenty-four hours or I will cause every shoe you make to squeak and all tied shoelaces to come undone,” she said. The shoemaker, feeling very motivated, quickly completed the glass slippers and sent them to the Queen within the allotted time. When she later presented the slippers to her daughter, she said, “Stella, I hope you do not have to wear these long. The trick is not to make glass slippers—after all, one can sculpt glass into any shape—the trick is to make them comfortable, and I do not have time to find the spell for that. There are more pressing matters I must see to.”

Queen Ava went upstairs to her private room near the top of the tallest tower and searched through her spell books for a Doppelganger spell to make her daughter look like Cinderella. There were several different spells, but only one that fit this situation. The directions were as follows:

1. In a vidēre, call up the image of the person whose appearance is to be mimicked.

2. Hold small, rectangular mirror in front of vidēre so that the person’s reflection is shown in the mirror.

3. Capture the reflection within the mirror by pouring ice water over the mirror to freeze the image inside of it.

4. Break the mirror and put the fragments into a mortar. Use a pestle to pulverize the fragments into a fine powder.

5. Add three drops of water from the vidēre to the powder, and then transform the powder to cocoa (see page 1, 238). Add the cocoa to milk. Give the potion to the person seeking the metamorphosis.

6. Command the potion to begin working.

7. Wait twelve hours. Release the doppelganger.

Queen Ava followed the instructions and gave Stella the potion. As Stella finished drinking it, Queen Ava gave the command for the potion to begin the change, “Consuo simulacrum!”

Stella turned pale and went limp. Queen Ava and Philip prevented her from falling and laid her on the small sofa that was in the room. Stella was already in a deep sleep. The enchantress wrapped her, head to toe, in a pink covering made from the fibers of hundreds of empty cocoons gathered from the Queen’s butterfly garden.

Doppelganger and other look-alike spells usually required a piece of the “original” person, such as a lock of hair,; however, the Queen did not have this available and therefore used a spell that relied on the mirror image. The major drawback to this method was that the doppelganger’s feet did not change. There were two main ideas as to why this was. The official opinion was that the feet were usually hidden by the long dresses the ladies wore and therefore did not appear in the reflection. The popular, but unofficial, opinion was that the spell’s inventor, who suffered from a strong, irrational fear of other people’s feet, made it that way so that, just in case someone used the spell on her, she would never have anyone else’s feet. Fortunately, the Queen had foreseen this dilemma and ordered the glass slippers to be made to fit Stella.

After Stella had been taken care of, Queen Ava divulged the rest of her plan to Philip. The prince was searching for a slender, blonde-headed young woman who could wear the glass slipper. Stella, in twelve hours, would look like Cinderella, but she could not wear Cinderella’s slipper. Philip must take one of the the slipper’s made to fit Stella, find the prince, secretly swap the shoes, and make sure that the prince found Stella, not Cinderella. The peasant girl probably had no serious hopes of seeing the prince again anyway; she had had a memorable evening and that was all, Queen Ava reasoned. After the wedding, Stella could tell the prince that she had been under an enchantment and was really a princess, not a servant girl.

Philip listened with a heavy-heart. He did not like this deception and was sure that the prince would be happier marrying Cinderella and that Stella would be happier without this treachery on her conscience.

Philip had grown up with Stella and her siblings. They had played together as children and had been very fond of one another. He had once thought Stella felt something special for him, but she had gradually become more and more conscious of her position as daughter of the King and Queen and eager to marry a prince and have a kingdom of her own. Philip knew that such childhood hopes as he had rarely materialized in adulthood, but he still cherished a strong affection and respect for Stella and wanted to protect her and encourage her to be the kind and sensible woman he believed she was under that spoilt exterior.

He realized, however, that it was useless to argue with the Queen or with Stella once they had decided what they wanted to do, and King Edmund, whom Philip looked up to as a benevolent and sensible man, was away on a hunting trip with Philip’s father. Therefore, he decided to take action himself to save his beloved from a serious mistake, and possibly teach her a lesson or two on humility and kindness as well.

“Your majesty,” Philip began, “I’m sure that the prince will guard the slipper jealously and only allow his most trusted servants to handle it. It would be difficult for an outsider, such as myself, to get near the slipper. Perhaps, if you were to use the doppelganger spell on me to make me appear as the prince, I would be able to switch the slippers while the prince was away for a few minutes. If you will also give me the reverse potion, I would be able to become myself again after I had accomplished my mission.”

The Queen thought this was reasonable, and Philip was soon sleeping under a blue covering. He dreamed he was looking into a mirror; at first he saw himself, then his reflection began to change, his black hair lightened to brown and his hazel eyes changed to brown. He felt he legs and arms shorten slightly and his shoulders broaden. He looked again, but this time he did not see himself at all, he only saw the prince.

Go to the next post for the last two chapters.