“What does it say?” the stepmother asked.

Ella’s father reached into his tailcoat, pulled out an engraved letter, and handed it to Ella. She read the handwritten words aloud: “On behalf of the King, Their Graces the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, you are invited to attend the Prince’s Masquerade Ball to be held in a fortnight.”

“Why that’s just two weeks away!” exclaimed the stepmother.

“TWO weeks?” chimed the stepsisters.

For the next two weeks, the women scampered around the house in frenzy; they could not contain their excitement. Ella took freedom’s opportunity to spend time with her father. They replanted a small lily garden behind the manor.

Cinderella story: lily

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