Once upon a time there lived an old woman named Ella. Among her neighbours, Ella was known for her kindness, for her ability to solve problems, and for the fact that she could talk to birds.
 Cinderella (close-up)
 Eventually Ella was to be found most days in drudgery and often slept exhausted by the kitchen fire. When she served the family their meals, they would comment on the soot and cinders on her ragged dress and call her Cinderella.
 The King was pacing anxiously in the royal garden when a cautious finch dropped the paper before him. On it he found written:  Hold a ball .
 Unfortunately, the King did not have Ella’s powers of deduction and did not understand the hint. Ella sent another message. This time, the King was hurrying past the royal stables when a cheeky robin dropped a scrap of paper on his head that said:  Invite all the women in the kingdom.
 The King put two and two together and thought it sounded a rather lovely idea, but it didn’t stop him worrying about the Prince. Ella, continuing to hear the gossip in the city, sent a third message. The King was hastening through the royal courtyard when a bold wren dropped a note that read:  Hope a sensible one chooses to marry him.
 “Oh very well then,” said the old woman, and tapped the twig against her hand again. At once Ella found herself in a very smart and comfortable outfit, with a beautifully embroidered cloak and elegant boots with only a hint of glass in the buttons up the sides.
 “I suspect,” said the King, “that I am going to need someone wise, patient and kind if we are to make these two fit to rule. And there is no one I’d rather have at my side to do it. Have you ever fancied living in a palace?”
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