Cinderella looked after the coach as far as she could see, and then returned to the kitchen in tears, where, for the first time, she bewailed her hard and cruel lot, little dreaming that a kind fairy was at the same moment watching over her. She continued sobbing in the chimney-corner until a rap at the door aroused her, and she got up to see what had caused it. She found a little old woman, hobbling on crutches, who besought her to give her some food.
“I have only my own meager supper, but you are most welcome to share it. Please step in and warm yourself by the fire.”
“Thank you, my dear,” said the old woman, in a feeble, croaking voice; and when she had hobbled in, and taken her seat by the fire, she continued, “Hey! dearee me! what are all these tears about, my child?”
And then Cinderella told her of all her griefs,—how her sisters had gone to the ball, and how she should like to have gone also.
“But you shall go, exclaimed her visitor, who was suddenly transformed into a beautiful fairy, “or I am not queen of the fairies, and your godmother. Dry up your tears, my dear goddaughter, and do as I bid you, and you shall have clothes and horses finer than any one.”
As Cinderella had often heard her father talk of her godmother, and tell her that she was one of those kind fairies who protect good children, her spirits revived, and she wiped away her tears.
The fairy took Cinderella by the hand, and said, “Now, my dear, go into the garden, and fetch me a pumpkin.”