In the land of Five Hundred Kingdoms, "Tradition" rules, and everyone is expected to fit into established fairy tales. Enslaved by her wickedly avaricious stepmother and stepsisters, Elena should have had a Cinderella-like life, but when things didn't work out, she flees and seeks work. Her fairy godmother, in fact, the fairy godmother of several kingdoms, makes her apprentice fairy godmother, and it's her duty to prevent the bad things that come with Tradition. Her life takes yet another curious turn when, disguised as a crone to test three questing princes, she loses her temper with Prince Alexander. He acts like an ass, so she turns him into one. Unwilling to let a defenseless donkey wander the woods alone, she takes him home and puts him to work transforming his life.