I found my partner, and I would dance with no other. But she kept escaping me. Now at least, I have her slipper. It is small and dainty and golden. It can only belong to her, so I have decided to try it on every young woman who came to the festival.
I arrive at the house of a man I recognize. I remember speaking with him at the dance. He has two daughters in the house. The eldest steps forward. She says the slipper belongs to her, and takes it into another room. Her mother follows. A little while later, the maiden comes out, slightly wincing and hobbling towards me with a stiff smile on her face. “See,” says her mother, “The shoe fits. You have your bride.” I don’t recognize her, but I take her hand, and I lift her up on my horse. As we ride out through the gate, we pass a grave and a hazel tree. Two pigeons are sitting on the tree, and I can hear them speaking.
“Turn and peep, turn and peep, there’s blood upon the shoe…”
I look down and see blood trickling from the foot of the young woman. I have the horrific thought that she’s cut off her big toe to make the shoe fit. I turn the horse around and return to the house.
The Prince Who Sees Blood in Cinderella, Grimms. Illustration by John Batten.