A little time ago, in a kingdom not so far away, there lived a fugly stepsister. Her sisters never mocked her for her fugliness, but she felt in her heart that they pitied her. Her only solace from her self-loathing was in her fiber arts. With only two needles and some wool, she was able to spin lovely adornments that were highly sought after by many in the kingdom.
She watched as her sisters each went onto an amazing journey, returning with a radiant glow about them. They found inner happiness and were able to smile and laugh, sing and dance. The fugly stepsister could not understand what it was that they had discovered. She became secretly bitter and angry. Her heart longed for the key to the song that the sisters sang. She foolishly believed that the song orginated from their respective princes. So she found someone that she could pretend was a prince to see if that unlocked the song. It did not. In fact, it made the fugly stepsister even more angry and bitter. Her very soul started to shrivel. Then, the most wonderful miracle happened. The fugly stepsister gave birth to the most gorgeous of babies. The Handsome Son was the toast of the fake prince's family and for a time, the fugly stepsister felt that they were actually accepting her. But, as the Handsome Son grew, it was more and more obvious that her in-laws were not really "family". They tolerated her, nothing more. This hurt the fugly stepsister and she began to look harder at the sham of a marriage she had created. She also realized that she had not even yet discovered the wonderful song. In a burst of self-realization, the fugly stepsister decided to be true to what she felt was the honest course of action. The resulting chaos was difficult and painful. She prayed often that it would end and that she would be spared the agony of watching those she loved suffer from her choices. She retreated back into her shell, not allowing even those closest to her to know the true desire in her heart - to sing the song. If she could find the melody, she knew she would sing it forever. But she was afraid. What if she never finds the song? What if she fails, yet again, to understand the true nature of it's origin? What if she found the song, but realized that she couldn't sing it?
One day, the fugly stepsister decided that she no longer wanted to live in the shadow of her own fear and anger. She decided to set off on her own wonderful adventure...
She encountered lots of Ogres in her search for a real prince. She suffered bouts of loneliness, fear, anger, and heartbreak. But she decided that she needed to push through the pain. Her heart didn't sing, but it wasn't dead, either. It was not such a burden as she had thought - getting through the walls she had built up around herself. She started slow, letting one person in at a time. Lo and behold, the Stepsister found herself with many more friends, and much more confidence. Slowly, she began to hear music. A very faint tune that she could not place.
One day, the Stepsister was befriended by a man, who appeared to be a pauper. Poor as poor can be, he had a light within him that would permeate the darkness around him. He needed some help in recognizing his light, so she would give him guidance and friendship. Slowly, he began to see the beauty he offered. Their friendship grew.
Then in the fall, on a carriage ride through the orchard, the stepsister discovered that her heart was singing and that the song was the same that came from the man. She was astounded to hear the song playing in her ears, in her eyes, and in her soul. She could not stop the music anymore than she could stop from breathing. It was loud, sweet, and enveloped her in a warmth and peace she had never known. The song was so melodic, it made her cry. His song was so strong, she drowned in it's sweetness.
And finally, she realized, that her pauper was really a prince. A prince with such wealth and fortune that she was unable to quantify it. Finally, she had found the song to her happiness. And in the discovery, found that she truly was beautiful after all.