A totally different version of the Cinderella theme in classical verse form. Romantic, amusing and sometimes bawdy, this very readable narrative poem won first prize at a Californian University in 1981. Also contains other unpublished work by the author. This is traditional rhymed verse that English teachers might well present to their older teenage pupils.
When Baron Beaumont marries a plump widow, seventeen years after the death of his first wife in childbirth, he discovers his new wife comes with some appalling baggage: two very ugly daughters who are immediately jealous of the Baron's beautiful daughter, Ella Beaumont. When Ella's father is sent to prison for a crime he did not commit, the ugly stepsisters Ermentrude and Agatha De Ville take full advantage of the situation. Ella is demoted to the role of kitchen maid and prevented from attending the Royal Ball held in June. King Louis is hosting the ball to allow his shy son, Ferdinand, to meet some pretty girls. After the departure of the ugly sisters, a spirit appears to Ella, giving her an enchanted rose and a key to a locked bedroom. Ella's Aunt Althea arrives to assist her niece in attending the ball. There, Prince Ferdinand is captivated by her beauty and the mysterious Comte De Saint Germaine predicts some amazing events. Set in the later eighteenth century this extraordinary composition got five stars on Amazon Kindle and a great review by children's author Robin Landry
Loud clanged the gong for guests to slowly wind
Towards long tables topped with luscious fare
Of brown-baked fowl with gourds of orange rind,
Salmon and trout and soups all steaming there.
The benches filled. Folks swarmed from everywhere.
The King appeared, directing heads his way:
"My subjects, may God bless you and prepare
Your appetites to feast this Holy Day:
Good health! Good luck! Now eat without delay!
Where sits my son?" the white-haired King inquired.
For Ferdinand was nowhere to be seen.
A courtier coughed: "The Prince, Sire, has desired
An empty seat be placed, as for a queen,
Beside him. His delay was unforeseen."
"Then send a messenger and let him tell
My son we understand that he is keen
To courteously escort one Mademoiselle,
But here we have to do things by the bell!"
No sooner said than Ferdinand was there
With radiant Ella smiling at his side.
Three hundred eyes watched this delightful pair
Approach the King. The sisters, goggle-eyed,
Heard people say:"I bet she'll be his bride!"
"She's Ella's double!" Ermentrude declared.
"A strong resemblance cannot be denied,"
Her sister muttered. "Hopefully we're spared
That possibility - As if I cared!"
But deep within, a knife churned in her gut.
She knew her vengeance had been overdone,
And she had acted like a spoiled slut,
Committed crime and ruined mother's fun.
She grabbed a plate of passing venison
And stuck her knife into the still-pink meat.
Her porky sister, such a simpleton,
Chewed chicken thighs, while watching Ella greet
The King, as Ferdinand stood patient by her seat.