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Bella Tom Hagarty

The wife of a rich man fell sick and soon after she passed away. The rich man and his daughter decided to go to the mother’s favourite place in the big woodland park to scatter her ashes. They stood next to the edge of the lake and said their goodbyes. The wind blew the ashes over the lake and up into the air. The father said to his daughter, “Your mother will always be here.” Then, looking over the lake, he said, “She loved you dearly, as do I. Your long white blonde hair reminds me so much of her; you are my beautiful little Bella.” 2

Bella and her father lived peacefully in their house, and upon her 16th birthday he gave her her mother’s bike as a present. It was shiny and silver with a gold bell on the handles and a basket on the front. She was overcome with joy and couldn’t be separated from the bike and rode around the woods just like her mother used to do. 3

Soon after, her father met another woman and before long they were married. The stepmother had two daughters, and they all moved in with Bella and her father. The new wife was not like Bella’s mother, she only cared about what people thought of her appearance and being rich; as did her daughters. Over time they spent the money of the rich man to change their appearances. The two sisters came to believe that they were the most beautiful girls in the land and could get any man they wanted. Being slightly older than Bella they bullied her for not using fake tan and numerous cosmetics. 6

One day Bella had had enough of the bullying and cycled off to her mother’s spot. Now the two sisters knew about Bella going off on her bike rides and planned to scare her. They lay down pins in the darkest part of the path to puncture her tyres and hid, waiting for her to ride past. By now it was very late and dark; Bella only had the moon as light. She rode straight into the two sisters’ plan, pins went into both of her wheels and she lost control, sliding into a muddy ditch. 7


In the morning she was still angry about what the two sisters had done, so before they woke up she gathered all their make-up and threw it away. Then she waited at the breakfast table for the screams to come. The noise was hideous as they squealed, running down the stairs, calling to their mother, “It is all gone,” the older sister said, “Our make-up is all gone.” Then, pointing at Bella, they both said, “She did it!” 10

“Did you do it?” asked her stepmother. Bella did not reply. “Very well. Your father and I were going to let you come to the masquerade party next week at the footballer Tony King’s house, on the other side of the park. It is his son’s birthday.” Bella begged her stepmother to let her go, as she had never been to a party before, but the stepmother still said, “No, you’re too pale and always cause trouble.” Then she appeared to relent saying, “If you really wish to go you must do all your own chores and everyone else’s.” Bella started work straight away and by the end of the day everything was spotless apart from herself. Being so tired she went straight to bed. Over the next few days the two sisters and stepmother kept Bella busy cleaning after them. She fell asleep every night as soon as she lay down. 11



A week passed and it was the day of the party. Bella went to see her stepmother to ask if she could go, “I have done what you have asked, may I please go to the party with you all tonight?” she said. Her stepmother looked at her and replied, “You have done well,” then pausing a minute added, “but you have not done what I have asked; you have missed out one room.” Her stepmother took her to the garage and said, “If you clean all of this today then you can go – and fix your bike while you’re here.” She thought it was an impossible task but Bella was still determined to go and started right away. She began by dusting and cleaning the windows. By the time half the day had gone, dust was pouring out of the door and covering her clothes. Then she started to fix her bike, changing the tyres and inner tubes first, which took some time, as she had never done it before. When she had finished, she found an old oak chest that had belonged to her mother. Upon opening the chest she saw lots of old photographs of her mother, her mother’s old jewellery box, some shoes and a dress. 14

“Let’s get going or we will be late,” said the stepmother. “My girls and I have been getting ready all day; let’s not let that go to waste.” She hurried them into the car as Bella continued to clean, and by the time she had finished everyone was gone. “That evil fake-tastic plastic woman! I’ll show them! I’ll go to that party without them knowing,” she said to herself. She took her mother’s clothes out of the chest and got ready. She put on the pair of peep-toed shoes, the small strapless dress, her silver necklace and her masquerade mask. She changed her shoes to something more comfortable and, carrying her mother’s shoes in the bike’s basket, she set off through the park to the party. When Bella arrived, she hid her bike in some bushes and changed her shoes. Entering the party she saw all the people with their smart suits and dresses, their masks hiding their identity, but it was not hard to see her stepmother and stepsisters. Everyone turned to see who had come through the door, but no one recognised Bella, not even her father. 15


Tony King’s son saw Bella in the corner and was taken away by her natural beauty. He started to walk over to her but before he could say anything the two stepsisters jumped in his way. He looked very uncomfortable, as they pushed their boobs up and tried to get him to dance. “Come dance with me – I’m the better looking of us,” said the eldest. “No, come dance with me, my boobs are bigger,” said the younger sister. Soon they were arguing with each other, and he slipped away. For the rest of the night he was talking to Bella and never left her side until she saw that her stepmother and father were about to leave. She knew that for her plan to work she needed to get back home before them. “I have to go,” she said and kissed him on the lips before turning to go. The golden-haired boy was in shock and asked, “When will I see you again?” She replied, “Soon, maybe” as she ran into the park quickly trying to change her shoes. 19


The next morning Bella awoke to peace and quiet. The house was so peaceful she could for once hear herself think. She got out of bed and walked downstairs to the garage to make sure she had put everything back the way it was before everyone else awoke. To her surprise she was missing a shoe. She looked high and low for it all over the house but with no success. She quickly got dressed and jumped on her bike to see if it fell from her bag when she was riding back from the party, but still she did not find it. When she got home everyone was in the kitchen including Tony King and his son. Bella saw her missing shoe on the table. “We are here to find out who this shoe belongs to as my son would like to start dating its owner� said Tony King. 22

With excitement the two sisters started to fight to try first, shouting, “It is my shoe; your feet are too ugly”. Then the older stepsister took the shoe and tried to put it on. Her toes squeezed in but the rest of her foot was too wide for the shoe. In her desperation she rubbed oil over her foot but still it did not fit. The younger sister tried to fit it on her foot, and the stepmother helped this time. Her foot slid in perfectly but to their disappointment her heel stuck out: her foot was too long. The golden-haired boy looked at both of them in disgust and then towards Bella. He made her put the shoe on, which was a perfect fit. “I knew it was you as soon as you walked in the door. Please will you come and spend the day with me?” he asked. Bella nodded and they set off on their bikes. Bella and the golden-haired boy spent their day riding round the park. Let us just hope this story has a happy ending and isn’t just a fairytale. 23

A modern take on the classic Brother’s Grimm fairytale of Cinderella. Illustrated in Lino.

Grim Tales: Bella  

A modern fairy tale