ENVY drives stepsisters to desperation . . .


hen a girl’s mother died, her father married again — a woman with two daughters of her own. All three were beautiful of face but vile and black of heart. In their ENVY they treated the man’s daughter miserably, taunting her, while they admired their own beauty. The girl’s stepmother had a cruel surprise for her. She emptied a pot of lentils into the ashes and told the girl that if she picked them out of the ashes in two hours time, she could go to the king’s festival. Cinderella accomplished the task with the help of pecking birds but her stepmother then told her that she was too dirty to appear, and refused to let her go.
            Bereft, Cinderella wept at the grave of her own mother, where her tears watered the twig she had planted there and that had grown into a tree. A bird would visit the tree each time Cinderella came to the grave and whatever Cinderella wished for the bird would throw to her. She cried, Shake and wobble little tree! Let gold and silver fall all over me. A magnificent gown appeared.
            Cinderella was able to attend the festival in splendor and caught the eye of the prince but she fled his advances, leaving behind only a slipper. The prince, visiting her family at their home, declared:

No one else shall be my wife but the maiden
whose foot fits this golden shoe.

            The shoe was too small for the stepsisters. Desperate to secure the prince, their mother urged the first to cut off her toe, the second her heel. But Cinderella’s birds cried out:

Looky, look, look at the shoe that she took.
There’s blood all over, and the shoe’s too small.
She’s not the bride you met at the ball.

            Cinderella slipped the shoe on her delicate foot and was
at last revealed as the rightful bride. At Cinderella’s wedding to her prince, the birds pecked out the eyes of her stepsisters as punishment for their envy and wickedness.