One day long ago in the cold north a farmer awoke when he heard mewing outside.
‘What’s that?’ he said.
‘Go to sleep. It’s the storm singing is all it is,’ said his wife.
Nevertheless, the farmer arose, pulled on his boots, shrugged into his heavy hooded coat, and staggered out into the storm. His ears led him to the stable, where on top of the woodpile he found a basket. In the basket was a mewing baby smiling up at him.
‘The storm singing, is it?’ he said to his wife after he brought the babe inside.
‘Oh, prayers answered then,’ she cried, springing from the bed.
They named the baby Tinderella, and the baby lit up their lives.
For eight years, a more loving, helpful daughter was not to be found anywhere from the village to the mountains to the sea. True, Tinderella never spoke, but her laughter brought joy to everyone she met.
Now it happened that when Tinderella had been comfort and joy to her parents for nine years, a ragged peddler came knocking at their door. When the farmer’s wife opened the door, the peddler said, ‘I’ve come for the basket I left here nine years ago.’
The farmer’s wife staggered at the peddler’s announcement, but fought to keep her wits about her, for she had ever known a day such as this would arrive, and she was prepared.
‘I’ve been expecting you,’ she said. ‘I’ll fetch the basket right away.’
‘Don’t forget I’ll need what was in the basket, too,’ said the peddler.
The farmer’s wife paled. She held the basket, which she had filled with her finest stitchery. Her stitchery was known to be the best in all the land, and she rushed to show it to the peddler.
‘Very fine,’ said the peddler, ‘but not fine enough. I need the child. She’s grown sufficiently to act as my servant. Her powers are ripe. Bring her. I will give you three gold coins for your trouble.’
Tinderella had heard everything from where she hid in the kitchen. She stepped into the front room and spoke for the first time in her life, ‘I am Tinderella. My powers are ripe. Go. Take the basket and my mother’s fine stitchery with you and keep the three gold coins. They are more than you deserve.’
Flames danced from Tinderella’s fingers and swirled at the peddler. He turned and ran, chased by fire until he was out of sight.
And so the farmer and his wife thrived, and because of their loving daughter, they never lacked for warmth in the coldest winters.