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Everything Cinderella got by magic would last until 12 midnight. After she noticed that it was almost 12, she dropped the dance with prince and ran away (and lost one of her shoes at the palace).

At 12 O'clock midnight, horses turned to rats again. Her dress etc. vanished too. But why was the shoe at palace intact?

In subsequent days, the shoe showed the magic too. It didn't fit on any other girl. So, it is clear that it was still a magical shoe (it didn't turn back to an ordinary shoe, if the shoe wasn't designed from nothing).

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3 Answers 3

up vote 15 down vote accepted

The tale of Cinderella has changed a lot over the past few centuaries:

Finally, the glass slipper is peculiar to Perrault's telling of the story, which is one of the world's best-known and most widely distributed folktales. In most versions, Cinderella is helped by her dead mother, who reappears as a domestic animal, typically a cow or goat, rather than her fairy godmother; often, she makes three visits to a ball, festival, or church; and her true identity is revealed by a ring that will not fit anyone's finger but hers. The story probably is of Oriental origin. In the oldest known version, from China in the ninth century, the heroine loses a slipper, as it happens, but it is of gold. The glass slipper, then, along with the use of the witching hour of midnight as the moment at which the heroine's finery will disappear, seems to be one of Perrault's own contributions to the Cinderella story.
~snopes

And on wikipedia:

They tell the fabulous story that, when she was bathing, an eagle snatched one of her sandals from her maid and carried it to Memphis. While the king was administering justice in the open air, the eagle, when it arrived above his head, flung the sandal into his lap. The king, having been stirred both by the beautiful shape of the sandal and by the strangeness of the occurrence, sent men in all directions into the country in quest of the woman who wore the sandal. When she was found in the city of Naucratis, she was brought up to Memphis and became the wife of the king
~wikipedia

Furthermore:

In 1893, Marian Roalfe Cox, commissioned by the Folklore Society of Britain, produced Cinderella: Three Hundred and Forty-Five Variants of Cinderella, Catskin and, Cap o'Rushes, Abstracted and Tabulated with a Discussion of Medieval Analogues and Notes.
~wikipedia

It seems though that the first use of glass slippers is by Perrault in 1697:

One of the most popular versions of Cinderella was written by Charles Perrault in 1697. The popularity of his tale was due to his additions to the story, including the pumpkin, the fairy-godmother and the introduction of glass slippers
~wikipedia

As Snopes will tell you, he artificially (as opposed to through mistranslation) added the glass slippers. Before then other items were lost, stolen or left behind. Sometimes nothing was left behind.

So in-universe there is, by and large no glass slipper being left behind. And therefore no reason for it return to glass.


If you are referring solely to Disney/Perrault, there is a subtle hint that the fairy godmother kept the slippers glass so the prince and Cinderella could be reunited:

He had Cinderella sit down, and, putting the slipper to her foot, he found that it went on very easily, fitting her as if it had been made of wax. Her two sisters were greatly astonished, but then even more so, when Cinderella pulled out of her pocket the other slipper, and put it on her other foot. Then in came her godmother and touched her wand to Cinderella's clothes, making them richer and more magnificent than any of those she had worn before.
~Perrault

If the godmother was already hanging around, and just transforms her clothes, one could argue the return to mundanity by midnight was an artificial limit placed on Cinderella by the godmother. There was no inherent weakness of her magic, and thus she could have just excluded the slippers for the sake of hooking Cinderella up with the prince.

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Well, in the Brothers Grimm version, there is no fairy godmother or rule about Midnight. In this version, there are 3 nights and on each night, there is a ball. Before the ball, Cinderella would go to a tree and say something—I forget what—and then birds would give her a dress. On the first night, she had a beautiful dress and shoes. On the second night, they were even more beautiful, and on the third, she had the most beautiful dress with shoes of pure gold. At the first 2 balls, Cinderella would go home before her stepfamily did (so they would not know she went out) and change back into her rags and give the birds the dress. Each night, the prince would dance with her and she would leave. The 3rd night—the last night—the prince set a trap so Cinderella would not leave him once again. He poured pitch all over the stairwell so she would become stuck. As Cinderella ran to go home, her gold slipper stuck but she kept on running. So, she could not return the shoe that the prince now had. I guess it could have just carried over time to the other versions

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Let me offer two possible solutions:

  1. The palace - or the prince - was a place of magic, and this magic ensured that the shoe stayed as it was, until reunited. Related to this is the possibility that the purpose of the magic was to get Cinders and Charming together, and so it continued until it was resolved.

  2. The magic was associated with Cinderella, and so the change back happened with all that was around her. The shoe was no longer around her, and so the magic that changed them all back only worked around her, and not with the shoe.

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