There once was a rich family made up of a father, a mother, and a daughter, called Ella. The father was a busy, but successful, merchant who doted upon his daughter. So much so that he spoiled her horribly.
Then the mother, who had long been of ill-health, died. Feeling concern for his daughter and their home, the father promptly remarried. His new wife was a widow with two daughters. They were a pretty, intelligent, and kind pair of girls.
Ella despised them right from the beginning.
Unused to having servants, Ella’s new step family did much for themselves, much to Ella’s haughty dismay. “Let the servants do that. That is why we have them!” She would chide. But still her step-sisters did for themselves.
The staff soon came to like the sisters over Ella, who never lifted a finger to help, let alone acknowledged them as being actual people. The cooks in the kitchen would slip them little treats, and the chambermaids would leave the most beautiful and sweet-smelling flowers in their rooms. For Ella, there were only hollow smiles and shallow dips for curtsies.
When Ella’s father traveled, he would bring back souvenirs for the family. Pretty cloth for dresses, sweet treats, and wonderful stories of the places he had been and the people that he had seen. The step-sisters would sit at his feet and rest their chins on his knees, listening with rapt attention to his words as their mother sat nearby with her sewing. Ella would only sulk in a corner, her gifts laying haphazardly on a table.
Over time, Ella grew to be more and more jealous of her step-sisters, who she felt had taken all of her father’s attention from her. She began to act out when she did not get her way. She would bad-mouth the servants, even going so far as to strike at them. She would have nothing to do with her step-sisters, or their mother, and was quite rude to all of them.
One day, while being fitted for a new dress, the seamstress accidentally pricked Ella with a pin. Flying into a rage, Ella tore the dress from her and proceeded to strike the poor woman in the face. Her stepmother then had her sent to her rooms with no supper as punishment.
Ella’s father had been away, and when he returned, Ella promptly told what had happened, hoping to get her stepmother into trouble. However, her father would hear none of it. He had come to realize that Ella’s behaviors were destructive and chastised her severely, refusing to give her the gifts that he had brought for her.
Then it came to pass that the head of the merchant guild was to host a party for his son’s birthday. Invitations were sent to all of the members of the guild, especially those with daughters of marrying age. Ella was excited by the prospect of going and potentially garnering the attention of the guild-leader’s son. He was quite rich, and if they were to be married, then she could leave the perceived cruelty of her stepmother.
However, her step-sisters had been invited to the party as well, and being much-loved by all that met them, they were Ella’s only hurdle to get past. So Ella snuck into the sister’s room and thoroughly vandalized them. Their clothes she burned in the fireplace. The quaint trinkets were smashed. The pretty flowers were broken and stomped.
Upon seeing what had been done, Ella’s father had her locked away in her rooms, forbidding her from attending the party. He also had all of her pretty dresses taken away, seeing to it that she was given plain ones such as worn by the servants. Ella then was left to watch from her window as the carriage bearing the four departed from their home.
In a blind fury, Ella began to destroy her own possessions. She tore her clothes to shreds, burned all of her books, and shattered the treasures that her father had brought her from his travels. Among them was a pretty little box made of wood that she threw into the fire with her books.
As the flames began to consume the little box, a lavender smoke began to billow forth. It grew thicker and thicker, filling the room until it finally began to coalesce into a humanoid form. A Djinn.
“You have freed me!” His voice boomed. “As a reward, you shall be granted three wishes. But think carefully.” The Djinn warned.
It only took a moment for Ella to come to a decision. “I wish to go to the party, and have the most beautiful dress of all.” She announced without trepidation. “And I want for the Guild-leader’s son to fall madly in love with me.”
“Done.” He boomed, clapping his hands together.
In a flash of light and a puff of smoke, Ella found herself at the party exiting a golden carriage. She wore the finest silks styled in the most current fashion. A gauzy veil covered her face, masking her appearance.
All of the party attendees were in awe of her, and none more so than the son of the Guild-leader. Ella flushed with pleasure at all of the attention that she was receiving, and grinned in pride when the Guild-leader’s son placed her on his arm for the entire evening, never allowing her to stray from his presence. By the time the party was over, they were engaged, much to Ella’s satisfaction.
A few months later, the young couple was married. It was an opulent occasion, with prominent guests from all over. Ella made sure that her family was in attendance so that they would see how much better off she was now.
Her family feigned happiness, but Ella took that for jealousy. In reality, it was sadness they sought to disguise, for Ella’s new husband was a man fond of drink and given to violent rages.
She resigned herself to this new life, gold and jewels being her only comfort. However, even that came to an end when the father had spent all of the son’s inheritance.
Penniless, and too proud to seek help from her family, Ella acquired a poison and took it, choosing death over having to admit that greed had gotten the best of her.