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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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up vote 23 down vote accepted

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

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 to return to its usual state, from 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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Most newer versions also don't have the part where the stepsisters cut off parts of their feet to fit in to the slipper, or where the birds peck their eyes out. I don't know if these are special to the Grimm version, but I do think that they improve the story. – KSmarts Jan 13 '15 at 19:59
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I am pleasantly surprised to see that a lot of the original story is preserved in Into the Wood. – AncientSwordRage Feb 12 '15 at 8:57
    
@LSmarts I dunno. I was always really confused by that part of the story. That always seemed to me like a really weird move on their part. Surely the prince knows the difference between a whole foot and only a part of one? – Misha Rosnach Feb 2 at 5:36
    
@MishaRosnach I guess it's more of an analogy to making excessive amounts of sacrifices for someone? – AncientSwordRage Feb 2 at 8:00
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@AncientSwordRage It's a really clumsy analogy though. Besides, they were trying to make those sacrifices for nobody but themselves. I mean I understand why that part is there (sisters were stupid and desperate etc.) - I just don't really think it works. – Misha Rosnach Feb 2 at 13:24

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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If Cinderella had both slippers, they would have disappeared. But she had one and the prince now owned the other. Their love held onto the magic. Therefore the power of dreams coming true.

The page carried the magic on a pillow( a pillow a symbol of dreams). It wasn't the slipper but a tiny foot (symbol of grace and nobility) that convinced the king's consort. He still needed a miracle to produce his finding once the slipper was broken. The odds of the foot size and the "mate" to the broken glass slipper, of which in that era glass was an expensive rare find, and Cinderella's personality refinement supports the rational she is of noble birth.
The royal consort's belief dispelled the step-mother's power to contest the arrangement.

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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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The glass slippers were made specifically for Cinderella. They were the only items not made from something else. They had nothing to turn back in to..

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What about the dress? – The Fallen Mar 17 '15 at 22:38
    
One shoe did vanish.. – SS-3 Mar 17 '15 at 23:58

I think it was a miss step in the story the fairy god mother should have explained that the shoes are important give one to the prince before you leave and you can always find me. And for crying out loud who wears GLASS slippers. In real life they would have shattered while she was sprinting down the stairs of the palace. Not just "slip off" especially if they were made to fit her "perfectly"

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