Back in 2009, I gave my writing group a prompt, called “Fractured Fairy Tale.” The gist of it – you take an existing fairy tale and turn it into a parody, much like the beloved cartoon from my youth. The following was my fairy tale contribution.
Once upon a time, long, long, ago, deep in a dark forest, there lived a beautiful queen in a wondrous castle. One fine spring morning, she presented to her husband, the king, their newborn child. Their daughter was so pretty and so perfect that they decided they wanted everyone in the land to attend her christening. Many invitations were sent out – even the fairies in the deep dark forest received them. That is, all except one – her invitation apparently got lost in the mail. This particular fairy had a mean streak in her and decided to do something about the slight. The other fairies heard her muttering, “I don’t get mad, I get even,” as she flew off to the Black Magic Spellz and Dry Goods Store in the neighboring forest.
Finally the great day was upon them. Everyone arrived at the castle, and one by one they brought their gifts up to the baby. Suddenly the angry fairy appeared and said, “HA! You thought you could ignore me, huh? Well, I want to give the baby a gift – the gift of a curse! On her sixteenth birthday, your clumsy fool of a daughter will stub her big toe, then walk headfirst into a door. Instead of a simple concussion, she will die!”
The king and queen were understandably upset. After the mad fairy flew off in a satisfied huff, they begged someone to lift the curse from their daughter. Two fairies then made a late appearance – Dopey and Alkie had gotten a bit sidetracked on the way to the castle, but flew right up to the king and queen and said, “We can’t remove the curse, but we can help. We shall put a spell on her big toes to make them very, very small. Oh, and instead of dying, she will fall into a deep sleep until a handsome prince arrives to break the spell.”
The family was thrilled, but didn’t want to take any chances. The king ordered all the doors in the kingdom to be removed (which made life quite interesting, to say the least) and the queen bought her daughter a pair of steel-toed boots and admonished her to never take them off (although a few weeks later they decided it was okay to take them off to bathe and sleep after a couple of incidents involving bad smells and nasty kicks). They also banned the celebrations of birthdays, and the number sixteen for good measure.
The years sped by. Beauty grew up to be just as her name implied. Her only faults were her 10 thumbs and her 2 left feet. But she didn’t worry too much about it – people were so busy admiring her that they never noticed the broken glasses, the coffee spilled in their laps and such.
One day, and I bet you can guess what day it was, an old woman hobbled up to Beauty and said, “Let me tell your fortune, dearie. Consider it my birthday present to you.” When Beauty agreed, the woman grabbed her hand and said, “I see here that what you’ve been waiting for your whole life is in the attic of your castle.”
The princess decided to go up there, even though it was forbidden. She took off her boots so she wouldn’t make any noise and get in trouble. She snuck up the stairs and went through the opening her mother called “the attic not-door”. She saw all kinds of big pieces of wood with handles on them. She couldn’t figure out what they were for. After a bit of puzzling, she noticed that one looked like it would fit in the not-door. She picked it up and brought it over to the space – and it fit! She started to explore to see what else she could find.
Suddenly, her mother called to her from downstairs, “Beauty – it’s time for your coordination lessons now!” Beauty yelled back, “Coming Ma!” and tried to race downstairs before her mother could discover where she was. In her haste, she tripped over a dust bunny and stubbed her big toe on the floor. As she hopped up and down in agony while still trying to run out of the room, she forgot the strange piece of wood was blocking her path and she ran straight into it. Her mother came running upstairs and found her fast asleep.
One hundred years passed and finally one day a prince was out riding in the woods, and discovered the long forgotten castle. He decided to check the place out to see if it might be a good investment property. He parked his motorcycle in the courtyard and went in. Soon he found the room with the princess, and immediately fell in love with her. Wondering what it would take to wake her, he decided to do a quick Google on his phone. In short order, he found the solution, and slowly bent down to kiss her. Suddenly, Beauty yawned, stretched, and pondered who the strange man was passed out on the floor. Maybe that nasty smell of morning breath was coming from him, she thought.
But happily ever after? Not exactly. Funny how being asleep for a hundred years or so can put you right out of your element and make you feel so lonely – at least that’s how the prince kindly excused his new bride’s behavior. She followed him everywhere, apparently used to easy access from room to room, and was constantly perplexed why people shut their doors. He tried to hide his embarrassment as she yowled like an frightened cat the first time she ever saw an elevator door open and close. She never could get the hang of doors either – leading to many stubbed toes and inadvertent power naps in doorways (an apparent residual effect of the spell).
Finally, the prince had to call in the royal divorce attorney and start the long horrible process of legally ever after. The last anyone heard, they were still battling it out in court, the prince claiming misrepresentation on the part of the princess (“You can’t call yourself a princess if you wear steel toed boots instead of glass slippers – it’s in the rules!”) and her counter-suing for sexual harassment (“Who said he could kiss me? I never gave him consent to do that!”).
The moral of the story – Careful who you a-door, or Let sleeping beauties lie.