Category Archives: Fairy Tales

Friday Flash: Pucked Up

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Puck looked at the watch and pondered the nature of time.

 

It was almost as fickle as he was.

 

What marriage – or a good binding-spell brought on by too much drink and a serious lack of judgement – had bound together, time would tear asunder. At least it would if Puck had anything to do with it. Robin Goodfellow was not a fairy that would remain tied by one woman for long, no matter how fun that bondage might be.

 

Belching loudly, he sat up, snapped his fingers and produced two ice-cold cans of his favorite fizzy intoxicant. Crumpling and tossing the empties, he re-loaded his beercap, then stood, scratched his hairy belly and brooded over his newly acquired wife.

 

Buttercup lay frozen on the flowery bed, a beatific smile lightened features that would otherwise have appeared harsh in the early morning light. No, who was he kidding? She looked angelic, no matter how much spandex she was wearing. Still, if he was tied to her by the terms of her nefarious binding-spell until “the end of time,” the obvious solution was to stop time, right?

 

Puck contemplated the charmed silver band that graced his finger. Buttercup had been many things, but a fool was not one of them. In fact, he might even go so far as to say she was as shrewd and knavish as himself, a perfect match. So his solution seemed almost too easy. Was it another trap?

 

However, Robin Goodfellow was not known for his caution. Snagging the watch from the fairy king had been risky, but he knew his boss would be too busy ‘making up’ with Titania to notice its absence. He removed the magically-binding wedding ring, then turned to face his lovely bride. He’d make the bitch pay, but there was no reason her punishment couldn’t also be fun for them both. He pressed a button on the watch’s side.

 

Time once more in motion, his blushing bride opened her eyes, her smile slowly widening as she took in his appearance.

 

“Hello, darling,” she said. “Want to play?”

 

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*Today’s #FridayFlash is an expansion of a flash I wrote at the six minute story site. The kernel of the story is still there.

 

**Also, though it’s meant to be able to stand alone, it’s a sequel to an earlier flash I wrote, Puck’s Surprise.

 

***image courtesy of BigFoto.com

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Filed under Fairy Tales, fantasy-magic, Flash Fiction, humor, mythology

Friday Flash: Mangrove

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Mangrove

 

 

Her roots reached down through the water into the dark, soft mud. It felt good to stretch and feel the coolness of the earth in the clinging tendrils that shot from her body. Though she enjoyed the company of the water’s other animals – the long, lean birds that would search for food between her roots, the shelled creatures that used her for shelter – more than all, she loved the sleek rocky lizard that preyed on smaller living things. Perhaps it was his cratered body that appealed to her, a rock that waited with large golden eyes. She was earth, and he was stone.

“He’ll never return your love,” said the soft creature with the hard shell. “He can only have happiness with his own kind.” But the tree stretched her roots farther yet into the flowing water, offering more in the hopes of greater return. But the craggy beast visited, neither more nor less, as he searched the cool water for his next meal or mate. Sometimes he waited in the shadow of her branches.

Her sisters crowded together along the shoreline, their roots mingling as they whispered to each other. They pulled away from her, though they themselves harbored similar creatures within their sheltered roots. None of them loved though, like she loved the dark brooding predator. His bellows sent shivers through her as her roots vibrated in the water.

Soon the lonely call of a water bird disturbed the stillness, and she remembered her loneliness. His company did not alleviate her solitude; it amplified it. It accentuated her inability to connect to him and to others of her kind. Her sisters presence did not console her.

The moon shone through her branches, dying them silver with its touch as she cast dark shadows on the water. The lizard took shelter in her presence, and she realized that the moonlight had changed him too. It changed the water, her sister trees, even the distant hills. How could she have been so blind?

Penetrated and penetrating, she breathed the air that blew through her branches and transformed it into oxygen, giving life to many creatures – including herself. The wind slowed as it rustled her leaves, carrying the sound far away into the evening stillness. All occurred beneath the lovely sky of this world, the celestial orb spinning slowly through space and time, giving shape to the universe.

How could she be alone? She was one with them all, as the drop was one with the river.

She stretched her roots down through the water into the dark, soft mud.

 

 

 

*image courtesy of tonynetone via Flickr. Creative Commons license.

 

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Flash: Advice to a Young Girl Traveling in the Enchanted Forest

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Today’s story was written in honor of Tell A Fairy Tale Day!

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Now, dear, please take this advice before you leave the tall tower today.

Make careful note of your surroundings as you go so you don’t get lost. And for heaven’s sake, don’t fall for the ol’ gingerbread house trick! Oldest trick in the book.

And if you come upon a cabin in the woods, avoid it at all costs. ‘Might look like a cozy vacation spot, but it’s a nasty place.

Now, while you’re out, stay on the path! If you come across any wolves or talking pigs, just be polite and move along. You don’t want to mix with that sort. Oh, I know what you’re going to say, but the wolves really aren’t that bad. Just don’t wear red; it drives them nuts.

If you get tired or hungry, you could go see that nice Rumpelstiltskin fella’. Sweet guy, he’s raising some kids he rescued from terrible parents. Really! Is it any wonder Social Services has to be so careful, what with all the abusive or neglectful parents in this kingdom? Those kings and queens can be nasty! Always willing to make a deal with an evil witch or worse…

Oh, and did I mention the fairies? If you come across one, just be on your best behavior, Missy. You don’t want to end up like that prince that got turned into a monster. And don’t believe that all beasts are princes either! Believe me, princes can be cruel but monsters generally have the sharper teeth.

Speaking of meals… if you meet anyone in the woods that offers you some food, DON’T TAKE FOOD FROM STRANGERS. I’ll tell you about the foolish Snow White girl another time, when you aren’t running late. Let’s just say what she ate didn’t agree with her.

Now, button your coat, dear.

Listen, evil witches generally don’t hang out in this neck of the woods, but we can’t be too careful, can we? Anyway, you sure you want to meet up with this prince fellow? Alright, but we must keep up appearances until you know he isn’t a disguised troll or a Belieber or something. Camouflage and secrecy are the best way to stay safe. Out the window you go, just take these shears and cut off the leftover hair once you get on the ground.

Don’t worry about the clean up, dear. I’ll take the leftover hair and make an enchanted quilt or something. No, it’s not as creepy as it sounds!

Oh, and don’t forget to be back before Midnight. That never works out well.

 

*image courtesy of BigFoto.com

 

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Filed under Fairy Tales, Flash Fiction, humor

Flash Mob 2013: Hey, Diddle Diddle

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Hey, Diddle Diddle

She’d been a dish her whole life, porcelain features that shined in the moonlight that streamed through the farmer’s window. She had never had companions like herself, but rather was singled out for her beauty and displayed on a shelf. Loneliness made her wretched and desperately she reached out to those closest to her – in proximity if not station. “What do you see?” she asked the egg, a gaudy oval painted the colors of spring by the farmer’s son, but he sat next to her on the high shelf and sulked that he hadn’t been allowed in the basket with his brothers and sisters. Silence was his only answer.

Irritated by his inattention, she addressed herself to the utensils in the wooden box below. “Hey, what do YOU see?” she asked again. She despaired of an answer from ones so far below her, but, to her delight, a gleaming silver spoon sung out, “A cow!” Sure enough, a bovine-shaped cloud passed before the moon. Enchanted by his answer, as well as the spell of the fairy Queen, she ran away with him. A yellow tabby played the fiddle at their wedding. He donned black leather boots for the occasion, so polished that they gleamed. At least, he played until the neighborhood mongrel pointed at him with one mangy paw and hooted with laughter. The enraged feline threw his instrument at the offending mutt and tore after him, claws extended.

Mab’s laughter filled the dark Meadow; she was delighted with the chaos she had caused. The dish and spoon enjoyed an extended honeymoon, and the poor farmer, whose home had been the scene of such revelry and violence, resolved never to eat mushrooms again.

 

*The above flash is my entry for Flash Mob 2013, the International Flash Fiction Day competition. Though the actual day isn’t until June 22nd, my story needed to be posted before June 10th so that I could include a link with my submission. I hope you enjoyed my literal fantasy (oxymoron?) take on a nonsense poem.

*image courtesy of BigFoto.com

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My Writing Niche- episode #62: “Sleeping Beauty Retold”

Play or download episode *here*

Hello, and Welcome to My Writing Niche, a podcast for new writers. Today’s podcast, #62, was recorded for Sunday, August 12th, 2012. I’ll be reading my latest #FridayFlash, “Sleeping Beauty Retold“,  as well as talking about my writing break and current projects.

 

**image courtesy of hiddedevries via Flicker.

***Slow Burn from the album Blues Sampler courtesy of Kevin MacLeod via Creative Commons Attribution license. More of his music can be found at FreeMusicArchive.org or at http://incompetech.com.

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Filed under Audio, children's fiction, Fairy Tales, fantasy-magic, Flash Fiction, humor, Podcast (audio files down but show note links active), Writing Corner

Friday Flash: Sleeping Beauty Retold

Long had the girl slept, cocooned within the thorny vines that embraced her castle. Long after the fairy curse had taken hold and forced upon her unnatural sleep, her parents and the other citizens of the kingdom had succumbed to the radiation that sickened humanity after the final World War. Toxic rain and poisoned water finished off those who had not died with the final deadly blast. Yet the princess Aurora slept on, immune by the unknown virtues of her curse.

The ship used its lasers to cut through the tangled vines, slicing a neat hole through the stones for its captain to enter. He stepped into the Earth’s past, sheltered and preserved by the briars that had gripped the castle like a skeletal fist. The light from the device he held lit his face in the darkened halls as he watched its monitor for signs of life. It pinged softly, each ping growing louder and closer as he strode the stairs of the castle’s tallest tower. By the time he reached the princess’s door, the noise had become a steady loud hum.

His large eyes widened as he pushed open the door to view the prone form of the girl, the last living woman on planet Earth. He pushed aside the dust covered canopy that surrounded her bed, gazing down at her beautiful features. Never had he seen a vision of such loveliness. Her long copper hair framed her face, like a Brillo pad around a worn bar of soap. Saliva dripped from the corner of her open mouth, from which the odor of her last meal was still apparent – seasoned by age. When he leaned closer, he smelled cumin.

Remembering his research, he bent over the girl and brushed her hair aside, planting a soft kiss upon her hard and cracked lips. He stood back and watched her struggle to open eyes that had been caked shut by years of sleep. One eye opened. She rubbed the other, which opened as well. Bleary eyed, she gazed upon her rescuer. “Whazza…whozit?” she mumbled, shaking off the sleep of decades. To her hero, her voice was the melody of the past.

He pressed some buttons on his device. The machine pinged once more, then translated his words into electronic clipped tones that Aurora would understand. “Welcome back to wakefulness, Princess. I have sought your resting place for many years. This is a very important discovery.”

The woman propped herself on elbows that popped audibly, then squinted into her benefactor’s large black eyes. “Huh?” She strained to focus on his face. Skin the color of ripe avocado, eyes that blinked slightly less often than she liked, and a large, bulbous head as hairless as a cue ball. If she was still dreaming, she figured she might as well play along. “Who are you?” she managed. Aurora ran her tongue across teeth that hadn’t been brushed in decades. She definitely needed a brush.

The little man pressed more buttons on the device. “My name is Zork, chief of Galactic History for Sector 42. You must accompany me to Zeta Prime where you will be questioned on Earth culture.”

The woman swung her legs over the edge of the bed. She gingerly tested each one until she stood on them both. “Wait a minute,” she said, reaching for a brush on the nightstand and attempting – without much success – to run it through her hair. “I read books, you know. I’m not going anywhere until I get my prince.” She glared down at Zork. The little man was waist-high. “Rules are rules.”

The little man’s skin darkened to a deep forest green. He tapped the device. “Our civilization has evolved beyond the feudal system of more primative sociopaths.”

Aurora backed away and gripped her brush. Dream or not, this still felt real.

Zork checked his device, then tapped again. “Apologies. More primative societies. There is, however, a Galactic President.”

The woman relaxed her grip on the brush. In her mind’s eye, solar systems did a slow waltz across galaxies which spun slow, lovely pirouettes. A thought struck her, shattering the image, and she blurted, “Beyond primitive so… so… so you don’t rule any land?”

The green creature looked at the ceiling a moment, then tapped again. The electronic voice chirped, “I own half of sector 42, which includes this solar system as well as several others.” He tapped, “This gives me exclusive historical excavation rights over said property. Is this sufficient to meet your requirements?”

Princess Aurora gazed down at her small saviour. Ruler of the whole freaking planet? A prince would be a step down. “Zork,” she said, smiling sweetly through taco-stained teeth. “Take me to your leader.”

Hand in hand, the two stepped aboard the shining craft. The saucer flew into the starry void.

 

*I’ve “retold” so many fairy tales that it’s hard to believe I’ve left this one alone this long. So I decided to destroy attempt a fresh take on this classic. Please, forgive me.

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Movie Reviews: Snow White and the Huntsman vs. Mirror Mirror

As a lover of fairy tales, it is a rare and special time when movies portray something of the classics outside of Disney. I recently attended Mirror Mirror, and shortly afterwards Snow White and the Huntsman, at my local cinema. Both tell the story of Snow White, both feature a strong female protagonist as well as antagonist, and both are visually beautiful. However, though each features the classic elements of the story, the tone and focus of the movies vary greatly.

For one thing, Snow White and the Huntsman is a horror story as well as an action adventure. Within ten minutes of the movie’s start, I was thanking my lucky stars I didn’t take my eleven year old to see this flick. There’s murder, betrayal, startling special effects, and scenes of intense cruelty and terror. It was definitely too scary for younger children, though for adults it is a compelling narrative featuring mythological themes. Several scenes used elements of Arthurian lore.

 

Mirror Mirror, on the other hand, takes a more light-hearted, tongue-in-cheek approach to the tale. The evil queen is not so much cruel as extremely vain and looking to marry a young stud. Snow White must flee the castle in order to grow into the kind of person who can and will rule the kingdom wisely. Her prince comes, but she’s more proactive about her own fate and takes matters into her own hands. This movie, in my opinion, is safe for children ten and older.

There were things I enjoyed about both films. Both portrayed more feminist interpretations of the tale, and I must admit that I am a sucker for any princess that rescues – not only herself – but her entire kingdom. However, while Mirror Mirror focused on humor and romance, those things were non-existent in Snow White in the Huntsman – which took a much darker and more dramatic approach to the subject. While Julia Robert’s queen in Mirror Mirror was vain and selfish, she lacked the backstory of Charlize Theron’s queen in Snow White and the Huntsman. In the latter, the queen’s motivations and obsession with beauty – while not justifable – at least become understandable. If it wasn’t for her inherent cruelty, the viewer might even feel sorry for the queen.

There is honestly no real way to compare these movies well. I can not recommend one more than the other, because they are too different. While the same tale inspired  both, one is a humorous, family friendly movie and the other a darkly disturbing tale. I would recommend any lover of fairy tales see both and judge for themselves.

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My Writing Niche- Episode #52: Flash- Rumplestilkstin

Play or download episode *here*

Welcome to My Writing Niche, a podcast for new writers. I’ll read my latest piece of flash fiction, Rumplestilkstin, and talk a little about my current projects.

Thank you, as always, for your time. Polite feedback is both welcomed and appreciated. Have a lovely week.

**image courtesy of hiddedevries via Flicker.

***Slow Burn from the album Blues Sampler courtesy of Kevin MacLeod via Creative Commons Attribution license. More of his music can be found at FreeMusicArchive.org or at http://incompetech.com.

 

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Friday Flash: Rumplestilkstin

Rumplestilkstin

The Queen had but one bright spot in her life, and soon he would be gone forever.

As a young girl, her father had lied and bragged that she could spin straw into gold. The greedy King had overheard his subject’s drunken boast, and imprisoned the girl with one command – Spin gold by morning or die. The Queen remembered how she had sat at the spindle and wept bitterly for the life she would never lead.

But then the creature, a little man of light and shadow, had appeared from nowhere – like a miracle. He seemed to pity her misfortune and offered to aid her in her need. How could she know how high his price would be? How could she choose to do anything but live?

The creature had spun the straw throughout that night so many years ago. His fingers flew, and soon the cold gleam of gold replaced the musty straw. The air tasted of metal. Before the sun rose again, the little man had disappeared without a word.

The Queen still remembered the King’s delight with the night’s work. Instead of taking her life, the cruel King had taken her hand in marriage – an act he soon repented when he found she had no gift for gold. Over the years, he made her suffer for wasting his life on a common maid.

And yet, after years of pain, she had given birth to the child – the bright shining sun around which her life revolved. The King almost forgave her…

But then the little man returned.

The Queen wept bitterly as the gnarled little man snatched the squalling bundle from her arms. She turned her face into her husband’s chest, heaving great sobs at the loss of her beloved child.

“In three days’ time,” said the little man, his eyes filling with tears, “if you guess my name… I will return the child to you.”

The silent King wrapped his wife in his arms. His eyes shot daggers at the dwarfish figure scurrying into the shadows. All too soon, the child’s screams died with distance.

Once home, the little man removed his hood and hushed the child in his arms. “There, there,” he cooed, producing a bright golden rattle. The babe’s eyes lit up, and soon the creature’s cottage reverberated with the sound of childish laughter. The creature treated the child well, fed him sweets and all nature of good things for three days. Then he returned to the queen.

“Do you know my name?” he asked. His name was a secret, shrouded in mystery; and he did not fear her answer.

But then, he did not know of her spies. He did not how they had heard him sing the child to sleep, sing his own name – in the security of his home – as he promised to care for the child as his very own.

Now the moment for truth had come.

The Queen glanced once at the harsh face of her husband, again at the little man cradling her child in his arms, and answered, “No.” She washed the infant’s face with her tears when she kissed him one last time.

The little man turned and walked from the castle, humming a tune for the child. The Queen returned to her gilded prison, secure in the knowledge that at least her child was free.

The end

*image courtesy Cornell University Library via Flickr. No known copyright restrictions.

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Flash Fiction: Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?

 

Who’s afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?

Lonestar peered into the mirror, coifing his thick layered mane. Not rakish enough, he thought, mussing the chestnut mass. He looked again. The five o’clock shadow gave him that ‘Han Solo’ look – casual ladykiller.

Red was one hell of a fox, but another prey was on his mind. He loved older women, and Grandma really cooked. That’s why he liked Mrs. Robinson; she smelled like cookies.

The moon called.

His sharp-toothed grin widened. Old ladies were sweet, but terribly hard on the teeth. Granny was small though; so tonight he’d swallow the body whole-

and save on dental floss.

Many thanks to Maria Kelly who challenged me on Twitter to write my first drabble. This story is actually a prequel to Red Riding Hood Revised, a Friday Flash I wrote last year. I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it!

As always, polite feedback, critical or otherwise, is welcomed and appreciated. Thank you.

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