Collected by Emory L. Hamilton
NOTE: This text was recopied directly from a typewritten copy in the archives of the Blue Ridge Institute. James Taylor Adams (1892-1954) kept typewritten copies of the folklore he and others collected during the last thirty years of his life, while he lived in Wise County, VA. (Esserville is very close to Wise.) Typographical errors, which are numerous in the original, have not been corrected except for some obvious errors in spacing and several corrections in square brackets around words or characters that are uncertain or obviously erroneous. For comments and details on other tales related to "Cinderella," see Ashpet and Other Cinderella Variants in AppLit's Annotated Index of Appalachian Folktales.
From Mrs. Goldie Hamilton, Esserville, January 9, 1940
"Once there was three girls, whose parents were dead and they lived alone. The oldest sister was kind and good to the two young girls and did all the work. She wouldn't let the two younger girls do anything for fear of soiling their pretty hands. These two younger girls did nothing but dress, go to parties and have a good time.
Their Aunt wrote to them and told them she wanted them to come to a ball she was giving. [S]he said her husbands nephew was to be there. He was very rich and she said she was sure one of the girls could capture him for a husband before their visit ended and she told them she would send the nephew after them with her buggy and horse in time to get there for the ball.
The oldest sister said she could not go because she had to do her milking and house work, but that the two younger girls must go. The girls didn't have any dresses fit to wear to the ball. They had seen better days though during their mothers life. The two sisters began to cry because they had no dresses to wear. The older sister told them not to cry because they had a chest of costly clothes that belonged to their mother and that she would make some of them over for them to wear.
[Jumbled lines...and ...to make over the dresses for the younger sisters. . .] she had them clothes to wear as nice as anybody wore in that day.
They answered the aunts invitation telling her that the two younger sisters were coming. The aunt answered back saying it was three weeks till the ball but that when the time came she would send the nephew with her horse and buggy to [take?] them to the ball.
"The morning arrived for them to go to the ball. The nephew came for them and the young girls were eager to meet him. The older sister was in the kitchen. She didn't feel worthy to meet him. [She] felt she was plain, old fashioned and had on her work dress, so she hid and dint come from the kitchen to meet him. The aunt had told the nephew to get her two nieces to the ball and had not said anything to him about her other niece who did the work of the home.
When they were ready to start the older sister slipped out to bid her sisters goodbye and he saw her. He asked her to go to the ball too. He begged and asked why she couldn't go. He also wanted to shake hands with her. She hid her hands behind her and told him they were too knotty and worn from work to shake hands and he told her that it made no difference, that he wanted to shake hands [and] still begged her to go to the ball. She felt that he was only trying to be kind. But she told him it was impossible for her to go since she had work to do in the home and also milking to do.
"When they started she kissed her sisters goodbye and followed out to the buggy and watched them get in. After they had started she pulled off one of her slippers and threw it after them for good luck. She threw it harder than she thought and it fell into the young mans' lap. The two sister didn't see it and he quickly slipped it into his pocket. After they had gone she went to the spot and searched for slipper, but it was nowhere to be found. She returned to the house and put on a slipper of another kind.
The two sister stayed at their aunts about three weeks and returned. The nephew didnt bring them, but promised to come soon to see them.
The two younger sisters always slept late while the other sister did her work. One morning they slept unusually late. They slept upstairs and when one of them arose and looked out the window she saw the young man coming. She told her sister he was coming and they hurried to dress and make their toilet before he came in. They were too late. He was knocking on the door long before they were ready to come down. The older sister opened the door. She told him the girls were upstairs but would be down soon. He said, "I didnt come to see the girls. You're the one I came to see. She told him he must be mistaken that she had no time to spend with anyone because she had the work to do and that she was sure her sisters were expecting him. He took the slipper from his pocket and told her that it was his Cinderella's Slipper and that he had come to claim the mate to it. When she saw it she cried, "Where did you get my poor little slipper that I hunted for so long?" He told her, "When you threw it after the girls it fell in my lap and I put it in my pocket and have treasured it ever since--my Cinderella's Slipper." He avowed that he would claim the mate too it. That he had loved her from the first time he saw her and wanted to make her his bride. She told him that she was careworn with work, not fit to marry, that she was sure one of the other girls would make a better bride, that she could care for herself. He told her that was the reason he loved her, that he liked both girls but loved only her. He was standing holding her in his arms when the other girls came into the room. They said, "We're sorry we've kept you waiting so long." But when they saw their sister in his arms they were surprised. They couldnt say anything. He said, "That's alright girls, you've not kept me waiting at all and your sister has just promised to be my bride." The older sister began crying for she had been a mother to the younger sisters since their mother had died. She asked them to forgive her that she didnt mean to wrong them. Then he said, "She's the only one that I could marry", and showed them the slipper, "that is my Cinderella Slipper and I've come to claim the mate to it and after the one that wore it".
The younger sisters told her they had nothing to forgive. That if she was happy that she deserved it. They said, "You've deprived yourself of happiness for our sake. It will be hard for us to learn to work and care for ourselves, but we will learn to do it, only though if you will both promise to visit us often." The older sister promised and then left them to get married and lived happy ever after.
"I learned this from my grandfather, when I used to stay with him 41 years ago." "I believe it is a true story. It was said it was true when I first learned it."
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