Posts Tagged fairy tale
Once upon a time there was a princess with only one eye. Now, we need two eyes to see depth, so the one-eyed princess could only see people as they looked on the surface, and not how they were in their hearts. Such a handicap would make life difficult for a commoner, but a princess’s only job is to find a handsome prince to marry, and her one eye made her exceptionally good at determining handsomeness, so nobody worried.
The princess was kind-hearted, and she grew to be very kind and pleasant to anyone she thought good-looking enough to be a good person. She was less kind to the plainer-looking people who she assumed were not as good. Being a princess, she didn’t often have to be around people who looked bad. The ugliest people she saw were servants, whom she was allowed to treat poorly.
And so the time came when the princess was expected to marry. Princes voyaged from far and wide to meet the princess at a grand ball. The King and Queen were careful to only give invitations to the very handsomest of princes, lest the princess displease handsome princes by showing how badly she treated the less handsome ones.
The princess’s handmaidens worked tirelessly to prepare the princess to meet her suitors, and were only called names in return. One of them was losing her hair from worry, and the princess treated her all the worse for it. On the eve of the ball, the handmaiden could not bear to continue, and gave the princess a mirror, so that she may groom herself.
For the first time, the princess saw her reflection. She saw the smooth skin where her left eye should be, and how ugly that made her. She saw that she was even more worthless than the ugliest of her servants. She ran out into the rainforest by the castle, crying as much as her single eye could. She threw herself down by a pond, and saw her reflection in it, the smooth skin reddened and swollen with trapped tears. “No handsome prince will ever love someone as ugly as me!” she wailed.
Now, a chameleon walking nearby heard this, and being a smart chameleon, he knew that there were benefits to marrying even an ugly princess. So he changed himself to look like one of the handsome princes he had seen entering the castle.
“Oh!” said the princess as the prince appeared beside her. “You look like a mean old tax collector. Kindly give me my taxes or go away.” So the chameleon went away. The princess looked at her reflection again, and saw that she did not deserve the taxes.
The chameleon waited for a more handsome prince to arrive at the castle, and changed himself to look like him. When he approached the princess, she said, “Hello, there, Sir! You are surely a knight. Do you need a stable girl? For I am clearly not fit to be a princess.”
The chameleon said, “Sorry, Miss. I thought you were my horse,” and went away. The princess cried so much into the pond that the water, and her reflection, became clearer, and the ugly red bulge where her left eye ought to have been grew to the size of a plum. She saw it and knew that she did not deserve to live.
Just as the princess was about to throw herself into the water and drown, the chameleon came back, disguised as the handsomest prince he could find. He held the princess by the waist to keep her from falling in. “Oh, thank you, your Highness! You have saved me!” she said. “But I am not deserving of your kindness.”
“It was simply the right thing to do, ma’am; the pond does not deserve to be so sullied,” replied the chameleon.
The princess agreed. “You are right, of course, your Highness. But is there anything I can do to repay your good deed? Through some accident of birth, I am a princess, so I can give you anything you want.”
The chameleon replied, “As a handsome prince, I already have almost everything I could wish for. But I am a friend of the forest creatures, and my own kingdom does not have such vast rainforests as yours. So I ask that you marry me, and when the time comes for you to take the throne, let me rule as King in your stead.” And that’s exactly what she did. When the chameleon became King, he ordered the people to move to the outskirts of the kingdom, so that the rainforest could grow and give more room for his chameleon family.
The chameleon did not always treat the princess well, but as he was so handsome, she could tell he was a good person who was kinder to her than she deserved. As he had two eyes, the chameleon could tell that the princess was a good person who was kinder to him than he deserved, but he did not always treat her well. And so, they lived happily ever after.
Once upon a time there were three bears; a mummy bear, a daddy bear and a baby bear. After they had finished their porridge one evening, it was time for Baby Bear to go to bed. So Mummy Bear tucked Baby Bear in and gave him a kiss goodnight, and then Daddy Bear started to tell him a story.
Once upon a time, there were three humans: a mummy human and the two human cubs she’d had the previous winter. One day, while they were out looking for some fruit for the winter, a young bear found their den and went inside. He could smell delicious trash and blackberries, and soon found three piles of it on the floor. He tasted the first one, but it was too trashy. He tasted the second one, but it was too sweet. Then he tasted the third one, and it was just right, so he ate it all up. He looked around and found some fruit, but it was too fermented and didn’t taste good. Then he found a pile of leaves. He was so sleepy after eating so much that he lay down in the pile of leaves and went to sleep.
When the human family came home, they could smell that something was different.
“Somebody’s been eating my garbage!” huffed Mummy Human.
“Somebody’s been eating my garbage too!” moaned Girl Human
“Somebody’s been eating my garbage, and they’ve eaten it all up!” barked Boy Human.
The three humans sniffed around the den, trying to find the culprit.
“The garbage smells like bear!” huffed Mummy Human.
“The fruit smells like bear!” moaned Girl Human.
“The leaves smell like bear, and there’s a bear here!” barked Boy Human.
The excited barking of the human cub woke up the bear, who jumped up and ran away as quickly as he could. And the humans never saw the bear again.
Baby Bear went to sleep, happily clutching his teddy human.
A few weeks later, when the family came home from their walk and Baby Bear found a human girl in his bed, Baby Bear decided to let it sleep there for the rest of the winter and maybe have babies. He didn’t tell his parents, and went to find some fermented fruit to put next to the bed. When he came back, he tripped and fell, and the human woke up, screamed, jumped out the window and ran away. Baby Bear cried and cried and cried. His parents heard his crying, and scolded him for trying to keep the human a secret. They explained that real humans weren’t like the ones in the story, and they had guns that could kill baby bears like him, so he should never try to be friends with one.
Baby Bear cried and cried and cried and cried.
What? No, no, where did my world go? I was in the middle of… something. What’s going on? What’s stroking my face?
The thing touching me is a young lady, who is it? Why is she here?
Why do I feel so… What happened to the… I’m inside. I wasn’t inside before. Where was I?
I was out by the pond with my sister, playing wizards and witches. I was feeling faint. Oh, I actually fainted. That’s it. My head still hurts. I don’t want to faint again. Yes, I remember she said she would turn me into a frog. I said I wasn’t feeling well, and she kept teasing. I didn’t want to faint. I told her I felt like I would, then I tried not to. But I guess I did.
But this girl is not my sister. “Who are you?”
She’s staring at me strangely. She’s probably worried.
“How long was I out?” I’m pleased with myself for coming to my senses enough to ask a practical question.
She’s looking at me more strangely now. Is it difficult to tell? Of course. She wasn’t there when I passed out.
“Just a few minutes before I let you in. I’m sorry for making you wait. I didn’t know.”
Why is she hugging me? I think she’s upset. A few minutes is a long time for someone to be unconscious.
“I’m feeling better now, I think.” My head hurts, but it’s getting easier to think. It’s the day after my eleventh birthday. “How long was I out after you brought me in?”
“Oh! You haven’t been out yet! Would you like to go meet my stepfather? I am sure he would love you!”
This doesn’t make sense. Am I still unconscious? Is it a dream? I can’t remember where I was in my unconscious dream. I never can. Just that the real world is so abruptly wrong in comparison.
“I think I’ll stay here for a while, I still feel a bit woozy.”
“Oh, of course. I’m sorry I threw you so hard. You must need water. I’ll go ask Jane to bring you some water. Are you okay to sit here by yourself for a little while?”
“I guess so.”
She’s gone. I can see I’m in a bedroom, with an ornate canopy bed, and jewels, so many icky girl things. My head hurts… I wonder if it’s bleeding. There’s a lump where it’s sore, but something else seems wrong. My head is smaller. No… no, my hands are bigger!
I’m a… this isn’t my body!
I’m in the body of an adult wearing a fancy suit. Where’s the mirror? Oh, man. That looks kind of like me. But older. I still have that scar on my forehead.
The door. She’s back. “Tell me again. How long was I out?”
Oops, I guess I startled her. Now she’s spilled the water.
“How long was I unconscious?”
“You weren’t unconscious, Darling. It’s all true! I’m so excited.”
“Who are you? Why are you calling me Darling? What’s all true?”
“Why, I told you, I am Princess Candida! And we will be married! But oh… what is your name, my darling?”
What is it again? It seems so long since I used it. “Jimmy.” No, I’m an adult now. “James. Prince James. We can’t get married! We don’t even know each other.”
“But, my dear James, of course we must get married! I promised you I would love you!”
“How can you promise to love a man you don’t know? That’s ridiculous. Where’s my sister? I want to see my sister.”
“Is your sister a frog?”
“What a silly thing to ask! No, my sister is not a frog. I wish you would stop saying silly things!”
She’s crying! Well, it’s her fault. Girls are such crybabies. And yet… she is so pretty.
“You’re mean! You’re supposed to be my Prince Charming. I liked you better as a frog!”
“I was a frog?”
She seems almost as surprised as I am. Well, at least she’s stopped crying. “Yes, of course you were a frog. You rescued my ball for me. Don’t you remember? And you made me promise to love you. And you came in here and tried to put your horrible dirty feet on my pillow…”
“Wait… I could talk? I was a talking frog?”
“Yes… well… sometimes princesses can do things that normal people can’t. I just thought I could magically understand frogs.”
Princesses can do magic? Maybe my sister wasn’t pretending. “So how did I turn back into me again?”
“I was so disgusted that threw you at the wall… I am so sorry, really, but you were a frog. You are much less disgusting now.”
Is she blushing?
“And then you turned into a man, just like that! And I thought you must have been under a spell, and that you would be happy I freed you, and we would get married and live happily ever after. But I guess I’m just a silly princess.”
She’s definitely blushing now.
“Well… um… I don’t know. I mean, I was only eleven when… I mean the last thing I remember, I was eleven. And I don’t think an eleven-year-old can get married. I mean… you’re a giiirl. Ew.” I feel a little funny saying it; she is so pretty, not like my sister. Oh no… am I blushing now?
“But you look so much older! Oh, you must have been a frog for a long time. Do you think we could be friends? I would very much like a friend, now that I am the last one still here after my sisters got married and left. But my stepfather will be so disappointed if he finds that the frog turned into a prince and I didn’t marry him. Magic like that shouldn’t be ignored. What shall we say?”
“Can’t I just sneak out, and he’ll never know?”
“Oh, no. You see, I told him that I had promised to love a frog, and he said I had to honour my promise. So either I find another horrible frog and keep it in my bed for the rest of my life, or I tell him you turned into a man.”
This is a conundrum. “Well… we could… no. We could say we are getting married, and just go on a holiday or something…”
“I really don’t think he would believe us. We’d have to really get married and then go on a honeymoon.”
“Well… how about we say that we’re getting married, but that I have to go and… um… kill a dragon first, and then maybe I could not come back, and everyone would think I was killed by the dragon?”
“But then we wouldn’t get to be friends! And what if we really do learn to love each other?”
She’s blushing again! How embarrassing. “Well, I won’t really go and kill a dragon, you see. I’ll just go home, and we could visit each other in secret. And then, if we like each other…” If I like a girl! How silly. But she is nicer than my sister. “…if we like each other then I can come back from killing the dragon, and if we don’t, then you can say I was killed.”
“That’s a good idea! But what happens if you decide to come back, and you have no dragon’s head? Do you even know how to kill a dragon?”
“Of course I know how to kill a dragon! I could kill forty dragons!” I don’t know, really, but how dare she say I can’t? “But… I don’t think there are many dragons around here. Maybe we could say that I have to kill the evil sorcerer frog which trapped me. I can easily find a frog’s head.”
“Oh! But don’t you think you would be sad, killing a frog that might have been your friend?”
“If I love you, then I will gladly kill a frog for you!”
She has that strange look again. I hope she’s not in love with me already. I’d better say something before she starts calling me Darling.
“So, let’s go tell your stepfather.”
“Okay! Here, let me straighten out your hair for you.”
Even though she’s an icky frilly girl, it feels kind of nice when she does that.
This place gets more and more familiar the further we go. There should be a parlour coming up here. Yes. And there’s the big chair. More comfortable than the throne, he used to say.
“Father?” I say it at the same time she does. Could it really be him?
“Candida? And who is this young… ”
I’ve never seen him so white.
“James? James, is that you? We thought you were gone for good! Goodness, you’re a grown man now!”
I don’t remember the last time he hugged me like that. I’ve never seen him cry before.
He’s gone white again.
“When your mother found out what your sister had done, she banished her, and died of grief shortly afterwards. I couldn’t bear to live without my wife and my children, so I married Beatrice, a widow from the next kingdom. She already had three daughters, and I love them like my own, but I never forgot you.”
It’s hard to take in so much at once. I think I’m crying too now, I hope Candida doesn’t see. But why is she blushing?
“Oh. Candida. I almost forgot you were there. James, meet your stepsister, Candida. I hope you will get along well.”
Once upon a perch, there was a parrot named Papagaj. Papagaj was smarter than parrots are today. He could understand concepts that escape even humans.
Papagaj’s cage had many toys; perches, ladders, bells, and more. But the best toy by far was a bare rectangle of steel that reflected the most pretty parrot that Papagaj had ever seen. Papagaj called the parrot Rakas, and they adored each other. He loved to learn words, to amaze Rakas. The lovely Rakas always repeated the same words back. Rakas was the perfect parrot.
But Papagaj never knew enough words to express how he really felt about Rakas. Every day he would learn more words, every day he would teach them to Rakas, but every day he grew more frustrated that the words were not adequate to convey the love he felt. Just as Papagaj whacked the bars of the cage wherever he flew, he was hampered by lack of language whenever he attempted to express a thought. As the days went by, the thoughts themselves became harder to remember.
At dawn one day, as Papagaj cooed sadly to Rakas, a spectacular creature appeared. The creature was small enough to fly between the bars of the cage, but had a powerful sparkle that extended as far as Papagaj’s most puffed-out feathers could. The two thus appeared as large as each other.
“You wish for more words” came the thought. Papagaj could not hear the creature speak, but felt the message, unobstructed by flawed language. “I am the Kaantaaja. I can give you a new life, with different words. Come with me.”
Papagaj had barely resolved to do so when the Kaantaaja’s glow engulfed the cage.
When Papagaj opened his eyes again, he was in a different cage. It was a bit bigger than the first one. His perches remained, but the other toys had changed. There were swings, and ropes, and other things he had never seen. But as before, the best toy was the mirror, now hanging from shiny chains. Papagaj rushed toward Rakas and began to speak with much excitement.
Papagaj found that he knew different words from before. He was ecstatic to have the chance to say things that he had never said before. But soon he discovered that the words he knew before were gone, and, as before, many other ideas that he had never had words for. He was just as restricted as before when trying to express his emotions.
That evening, the Kaantaaja came back. “Are you happy with your new language?” it asked.
The answer ‘no’ entered Papagaj’s head without much consideration.
“I can’t keep granting your wishes forever,” said the Kaantaaja. “But I will move you to a new cage.” And with that, the Kaantaaja’s radiance once again permeated the cage.
When the light dispersed, Papagaj was in a pretty silver cage, a little smaller than the first, stuffed with perches, ladders, bells and swings. Rakas was reflected in a gleaming metal rectangle, attached with a jingling chain.
Papagaj revelled in the new language he knew, and shared with Rakas many things which he hadn’t yet shared. But again he was restricted, again his limits made him sidestep the things that needed saying. By dusk, he was screeching in anger at his clumsiness.
The Kaantaaja reappeared as he shrieked. “Please, do not misuse my gift of language so! Do you want to speak, or don’t you?”
Papagaj’s shriek ended the instant Kaantaaja’s query entered his head. His answer was a clear yes, with the caveat that he needed a new language.
Immediately, Kaantaaja’s light filled the cage.
When the light died down, Papagaj was in his biggest cage yet. There were all sorts of toys and places to perch and climb. He flew around a little, enjoying the space, before locating his mirror. Rakas looked happier than before.
They chattered all day, about so many things which had escaped them before. But still Papagaj found that there was still one essential emotion that he could not express. And as the day turned into night, he found more and more ideas for which the words escaped him. When the light was dim enough that he could no longer see Rakas, he kept talking to himself in the dark, trying to find a way to say what he needed to tell her, so that he could say it the next day. He repeated important words to himself, hoping not to forget them if he were put in a new cage with a new language.
But all this effort only made him more aware of how hopeless his situation was, and the moment he realised that the new words could not possibly be sufficient, Kaantaaja appeared again.
“You want to move,” said Kaantaaja silently.
Papagaj’s defeated yes caused another burst of Kaantaaja’s light.
Papagaj could hardly swing without colliding with rusty bars or a tiny food bowl, which hung in front of him, partially hiding his mirror. Papagaj hit at his bowl, not hungry, just wanting to look at Rakas without such an inhibition. It was obvious that his words, in this stifling micro-aviary, could not possibly do.
Papagaj sat dumb and unmoving for many hours, just looking at his ravishing bird, who was looking at him quizzically. By and by, Papagaj had a go at talking. It was a slow and awkward walk around untold limitations, which Rakas could mimid without so much as trying. Irritation, both at his own laborious toil and at Rakas’s natural parroting, soon took control of him. It was usually so gratifying to tutor Rakas on words, to applaud Rakas for copying him without fault. But with such difficulty in finding his own words, Papagaj was unfit to instruct, or to bask in Rakas’s flair for what was taught. Papagaj soon found it hard not only to talk highly of, but also to think highly of Rakas.
At last, Kaantaaja’s arrival brought comfort, with a great flash of light.
When the light cleared, Papagaj was in a much larger cage. But he could see that it was not as large as one of his previous cages, and he knew that once again his new language would not be adequate. He swung in silence until the Kaantaaja came, hoping to return to the richest language he had known, which he was sure he would be satisfied with.
“Do you want to go back to where you were before?” asked the Kaantaaja.
“I do,” he answered.
Kaantaaja’s glow filled the cage once more.
And he was back. He wasn’t back where he wanted, but in the smaller, silver cage. He remembered what had happened the last time, and realised that if he tried talking, he’d just end up frustrated again. He sat all day in silence.
The Kaantaaja didn’t even ask what he wanted. It was unnecessary. The flash filled him with dread-tinged expectancy.
The new cage was bigger than the last, not the biggest he’d been in. It had all of the toys he had loved. Again, he knew new words. And he resolved to speak, no matter how ineffectively. Alas, he had nobody to speak to. There was no mirror in his new home.
“Oh, Rakas… what a fool I have been!” he called in vain from the centre of the cage. “I can express my love in so many ways already, why did I always need more? Now, the most important thing is missing! I don’t need words, all I need is…”
With that, the Kaantaaja appeared once again and spread its shimmering light.
“Raaaaaaarrrkas!” Papagaj’s awkward caw sparks a grand fracas as Papagaj darts at a sassafras branch at a park. Hawks and jackdaws swarm, and chant “Rakas, rakas, rakas!” as smart as watchstraps.
Papagaj’s rasp attracts a star as fast and as sharp as Rakas. Papagaj, rapt, starts a stark paragraph. Rakas gasps at Papagaj’s haphazard grammar, and scrams.
Angst saps Papagaj, and Papagaj’s smarts pass. Papagaj and a standard madam hatch spawn as daft as gnats, and want that; an awkward caw dwarfs a swan’s charm.
Once upon a time a queen was blessed with twin sons, which she named Nosch and Amiaivel.
Nosch fought his way out of the womb a few minutes ahead of Amiaivel, and thus thought himself the eldest. He knew that this meant he would become king, so he always demanded too many entitlements, and looked upon his twin as a slave. Amiaivel had a kind soul, and could not allow himself to deny his own twin’s demands. But the wise queen saw this, and as she began to get old, she announced to the people that Amiaivel would become king when she died.
Nosch was incensed that the second twin would steal his position, so he called upon a witch to cast a spell upon Amiaivel. The spell made Amiaivel, his fiancée Bella, and his maids into toads, and locked them in a dungeon beneath the vegetable patch.
Much time passed, and Amiaivel contented himself with talking and singing to his toad maidens. One day, a pixie floated in on a golden plume.
“Soon, the son of King Nosch will come to see you,” said the pixie. “He will demand the most beautiful shawl in existence. If you give him the one that the elves gave Bella as an engagement gift, then you will soon become human again, and be let back into the palace.”
As soon as the pixie had left, a young man descended into the toads’ dungeon.
“Excuse me, good toad,” he said. “I am Tais, the son of King Nosch. I seek the most beautiful shawl in existence. Can you help me?”
Though it pained him to give away such a valued keepsake, Amiaivel asked one of his maids to give it to him, and said, “This is the most beautiful shawl in existence, and one of my most valued posessions. Take it. I wish you good luck.”
Tais thanked him and left. By and by, the pixie came back.
“I must again ask a good deed,” she said. “The king’s son will come back seeking the most beautiful jewel in existence. If you give him Bella’s engagement band, then you will soon become human again, and be let back into the palace.”
In no time, the young man came back. “I am most unhappy to have to annoy you again, but I must find the most beautiful jewel in existence. Can you help me?”
Amiaivel hesitated to give up the symbol of his and Bella’s love, but knowing that the love itself would not lessen, he gave Tais the engagement band. “On this band is mounted the most beautiful jewel in existence, and one of my most valued posessions. Take it. I wish you good luck.”
Amiaivel sat glumly in his dull dungeon, awaiting the pixie. She fell into the jail with a potato plucked out of the soil above. “I can not yet fulfil my pledge, I must yet again ask you to give up something you love,” she said.
“I have nothing left to give. Make me human, I beg you!”
The pixie paid no attention to his plea. “This is a magic potato. If you put a lady toad in it, she will become human,” she announced. “When the king’s son comes to see you next time, he will need the most beautiful maiden in existence. Let Bella climb into the potato and leave with him, and you will soon become human again, and be let back into the palace.”
In a little while, Tais came to visit. “Again, I am most apologetic to ask an act of kindness. But I must fetch the king the most beautiful maiden in existence. Can you help me?”
Amiaivel had lost too much to his hateful twin, and could not give his fiancée to him as well. He gave the potato to Tais and showed him Puzchunza, his most beautiful housemaid. “Hollow out the potato and put this toad in it. The toad will become the most beautiful maiden in existence, and the one that I love the most. Take the maiden to the king. I wish you good luck.”
So the king’s son hollowed out the potato, and put the toad inside. As soon as he had done so, the toad became a maid, and the potato became a coach. Tais kissed the maid, and they left.
Again, Amiaivel sat and awaited the pixie. But she did not come. Many weeks he waited, until finally somebody came. This time it was Tais.
“Thou hast shown me immense kindness,” he said. “Because of thee, I have become king. In thanks, I would like to help thee,” he continued. “A pixie told me that thou beest my uncle, locked in a toad’s body by the late King Nosch. So I have found a good witch, who gave me this potion to heal you. Alas, she could not make enough to save thy housemaids.”
Amiaivel swallowed the potion, and instantly became human, still as young as he had been when he was enchanted. He went up to the palace, and was taken to Puzchunza, and given Bella’s engagement band. “Since this is the lady thou lovest the most, she will be thy wife.”
At once Amiaivel began to sob. “I lied. She is but my maid. My fiancée is still a toad! Oh, if only I had not been so selfish!” With that, Amiaivel dashed back into his cave, and found the middle pieces of potato which had been left behind. He massaged Bella with them, and soon she became human. But alas, not enough potato was left. She still had one leg like that of a toad, and skin pocked with boils. But she was still his beloved.
Amiaivel helped his fiancée to the palace, and soon they wed. Tais had fallen in love with Puzchunza, and was glad that she was not, in fact, Amiaivel’s fiancée. Those two also wed, and the two couples united to lead the kingdom with wisdom exceeding that of any single king.