Once upon a time, there lived a man and his loving wife and their little daughter, Ella. The man had worked hard and done well, and the little family was happy and well off. But one sad day tragedy struck, and the beloved wife and mother fell deathly ill. Before she passed, she called her little child to her, and thus addressed her: “My dearest Ella, always be good, and bear everything that occurs to you with kindness and patience; then, whatever toil and troubles you may suffer will someday pass, and happiness will be your lot in the end.”
After uttering these words the poor lady died, and her daughter was overwhelmed with grief at the loss of so good and kind a mother.
The father, too, grieved deeply. As time passed, Ella grew into a young woman, with an inner beauty born of her good nature and kindness. Then, the man sought another wife; and he looked for some amiable lady who might be a good mother to his child, and a companion to himself. Unfortunately, his choice fell on a widow lady, of a proud and overbearing temper, who had two daughters by a former marriage, both as haughty and bad-tempered as herself.