On his last night at home, Ella’s father brought her a large box with a white ribbon on it.
“For you,” he said.
She opened it to find a pastel pink dress inside. She could, again, feel the glare from her stepmother.
“You must go to bed, dear Ella. We all have a big day tomorrow. The Prince’s decision will be the right one, I suspect. My eldest is ravishing! And we must all celebrate their soon-to-be marriage at the ball,” the stepmother exclaimed.
Ella bid a sad farewell to her father, scooped up the three blind mice hiding under her new dress, and ran up the stairs to her room. Zuzu and the rest of her tiny friends followed her.
“No animals in the –”
Ella shut her door before her stepmother could finish.
Sleeping soundly that night, she had wonderful dreams of the prince and the ball.