Theory of the Glass Slippers

The story of Cinderella has been told for centuries, and appears in various forms across the world, often involving ladies’ footwear.  Perhaps the most popular is the account involving glass slippers, a fairy godmother and a pumpkin.  Here is a prose poem version with an alternative ending.


Glass Slippers are Not for Running


What the Fairy Godmother did was not so obvious. Clever bitch! The glass slippers were not magic like the dress and the coach and the coachmen, turning back, at the stroke of twelve, into the mundane things that they really were: the rags she wore, the pumpkin and the mice.

And if there was magic in the slippers, perhaps it was because they fitted only Cinderella – there must have been loads of girls with feet her size.

But surely glass slippers would be downright uncomfortable? Even more so than the other stupid shoes a woman might wear to impress a man. But the glass shoes are bait for both of them.

It is all a deception – the dress, the coach and the coachmen – a ruse to catch the attention of a prince. At the stroke of twelve, the game will be up. Prince Charming will see her for what she is: a pauper in her ragged dress, her scrubbing brush hands raised to her face.

His fine clothes, his jewels and easy manners are handsome is as handsome does. Not knowing his character, all she can do is run…

But the shoes are not made for running. So she steps out of them, leaves one behind on the stair. Takes the other to remind her of that enchanted evening.

He, bereft of a woman he does not know, but thinks he loves, commands the house-to-house search to find the one and only girl who can wear the glass slipper left behind. (How does he know this? There must be loads of girls with feet her size.)

He decrees that every maiden in the land must try on the abandoned slipper, regardless of her station in life…

After knocking on door after door, he could be disappointed. Not because he doesn’t find her, but because, when he does find her, in the kitchen, she is not what he expected to find. He could be disgusted by her rags, her scrubbing brush hands, the mouldering pumpkin, and the squirming mice.

If she can gauge his character at the fitting; wear her thickest stockings or pretend a blister, before deciding whether or not to be his wife …perhaps take her slipper, smash it up, then stay in the kitchen forever, slave for the wicked stepmother and her ill-featured stepsisters and weak-minded dad…




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