A fairy tale by junior, Emily Leven.
It’s once upon a time, you’re in a faraway land, and you’re a princess (!!) Dreams really do come true.
Your life is great. Your day starts whenever you feel like waking up. You sit up in your goosefeather down sheets and dramatically stretch your dainty little limbs as the maids draw the curtains open to overlook a beautiful garden view. A small bird lands on your windowsill and the two of you sing your morning duet together (your voice is obviously sweeter than the songbird’s) and you sigh wistfully because you are just SO happy to be you. Your slippers are placed gently on your feet. You shuffle to your marble bathroom to find your toothbrush, pre-pasted, next to a cup of rose water and a warm facecloth. You brush your hair 100 strokes before a delightful breakfast of fresh fruit, warm pastries, and a lot of bacon. You savor each bite and think about how lucky you are that you never gain any weight.
Mother and Father have insisted that you take some lessons, so that you can be cultured. However, they recognize that you don’t need to be taught how to be glamorous and baby-bearing, so they also got you a tutor to do all of your homework for you. They’re even letting you skip math lessons, because, after all, you count to 100 EVERY morning when you brush your hair.
You do some gourmet dining, some strolling across perfectly-groomed palace grounds, attend a theater performance or two, and ride side-saddle through the luscious rolling fields of Daddy’s kingdom. Your every need and desire is anticipate and satisfied, and when you’re bored you can always throw a tiny princess tantrum and watch your servants cower at the potential consequences. After some fine wine, you call it a night and prepare to do it all over again.
Then, suddenly, everything changes. One day, over tea and gold-flaked crackers, a dragon bursts through the window and EATS mother and father. Right in front of you! Horrified, you watch the dragon finish up Mother’s legs (they were hefty) and make moves towards you.
What do you do??
- Reason with him: “No, dragon, no!” When you’ve got his attention, explain to him that you’re tooPRETTYto be eaten.
- Burst into tears of anger and show him who’s boss. You can’t just EAT your parents and expect to get away with it. Threaten him with your power. Tell him your daddy’s gonna…oh wait. I guess move onto option (c).
- Hold your breath. Run like hell.
If you chose (a): You almost made the right decision. However, it is my sad duty to inform you that dragons don’t speak English, dummy. Spanish only. Maybe you shouldn’t have made your tutor do all of your tarea. The dragon approaches you, baring his enormous teeth (that are now kind of bothering him because your parents’ flesh was really stringy) and breathing rancid, boiling air in your face. You want him to just eat you and get it over with, but instead he rips a chunk of your hair out and uses it as floss while he pins you against the table with his spiked tail. Then he slowly eats you, limb by limb, crooning to you in soft Spanish all the while. So now I guess you’re dead, for ever after.
If you chose (b): We already decided that choosing (b) wasn’t REALLY an option at this point.
If you chose (c): You should also choose to take your heels off while you run. Carry on.
You make it back to your room. You collapse onto your bed, trying to make up for all that breath-holding. Suddenly, the place is full of sparkly smoke and the delicate tinkling of bells, and is that a hallelujah chorus in the distance? A fat lady in a foofy gown is sitting on your bed, smiling cheerfully.
“Well, hello there, princess! Having a rough day? Need a smidge of help?”
Your jaw drops. You take a second to collect your thoughts (only a second, you’re not used to having many thoughts) before you say:
- Yes! Please! Help me! Do I get wishes? Are there limits? Caveats? Fine print? Where did that dragon come from? Can you teach me to speak Spanish so that I can reason with him? Can you put my parents back together so that we can live happily ever after together the way princesses are supposed to? Who are you? Are you in league with the dragon? Are you an evil witch who’s going to hold me captive forever and ever or are you a good fairy? Do you have wings? How did you get in here?
- A rough day? Listen, lady. I just watched a dragon masticate on my parents and now I have to be a vagrant orphan. And you want to give me a SMIDGE of help? This is a disaster situation, fatty. Grant me all my wishes, be eternally enslaved to do my bidding, find me a husband, bring my parents back, and get me a better Spanish tutor. Why do I even have to TELL you these things, aren’t you supposed to already be doing them? I’ll have you know that I don’t work well with lazy people.
- No thank you. I think I’ll probably just wait here until Prince Charming appears and saves me.
If you chose (a): Those were all really good questions to ask. Good for you. The fat woman bids you sit down as she secures the doors and windows to buy the two of you some time to chat before the dragon figures out where you are and how to pick the locks. She scoops your singing bird friend into the room, and you are grateful to have a familiar friend in your midst. She explains to you that: Yes, you get wishes. Yes, there are limits, caveats, and fine print, but that last part doesn’t apply to you since you can’t read. But not to worry, she’ll let you know the rules as they come up- you guys can play it by ear. The dragon was sent by the fat woman’s boss, the evil queen from the neighboring kingdom. She’s really bummed that you’re prettier than she is because she’s a spinster tryna find a man and she’s worried that you’ll get all the good ones with the shiniest armor and studliest bods. The dragon was supposed to only eat you but your parents happened to be closer and dragons don’t discriminate. Ordinarily, she could teach you to speak Spanish but that would probably make you more attractive to the Spanish princes, who we all know have the sexiest accents, so probably that’s not in the cards. She can put your parents back together but only if you agree to live your life as a leper and stay away from a man named Jesus who will probably try to be really nice to you. So that happily ever after part might also be off the table. Yes, in a technical sense, she is in league with the dragon, but only because they are affiliated with the same employer, so the relationship is strictly professional. She doesn’t like to box herself in as either a witch or a fairy- she contracts her services to a wide variety of clients. No, she doesn’t have wings, she’s not a freak. She got into your room on a cloud of sparkles, which are actually the shining tears of screaming infants from around the world (she likes to play the hallelujah chorus to drown out that incessant crying). She eats your bird. She assures you that you’re next unless you agree to the deal. You live the rest of your life as a leper.
If you chose (b): you obviously offended her. Good work. She doesn’t give you any of the information about how she got there, who she is, or why a dragon just ate your family, but all of those facts remain the same. So she opens the window and gives you a good push. Then she eats your bird.
If you chose (c): the fat woman leaves and unlocks the doors and windows “so that Prince Charming can get in easier.” She leaves your bird with you for company. Prince Charming doesn’t come. He doesn’t exist. The dragon does exist, and does come. He lumbers right through the unlocked door and barbecues your bird. Then he eats you.
I am writing you out of my will