Fairytales seem to be the topic du jour at the moment. Here's something I prepared earlier. The Goethe Institut in Wellington are running a fairytale writing competition and this one didn't qualify for several reasons (1) I've already entered and 2) its already appeared on the internet in a slightly different edit for our 2011 Fabo Writing Challenge - watch out soon for Fabo3 coming to a blogspot near you) so I thought I'd post it here. I'm a bit of a lifelong fan of fairytales. I read and re-read them as a child/teen/adult, I've studied them as a University Student and they've had a big influence on me and my writing. I like their shades of light and dark, realism and magic, morals and madness. So here without further adieu (as I must take the dog to the vet and then get on with my writing), is a fairytale what I wrote:
Blondilocks and The Three Hairs
Once upon a time, in a faraway place, there lived a proud and important man. He had a beautiful wife, a perfect baby daughter, an important job and more power than any ordinary man could ever wish for and that, he thought, was more than enough for any man. Not long after the birth of their child, Blondilocks, the couple planned a party to celebrate her arrival. They invited everyone of importance they could think of but because they believed the Arts were a luxury they forgot to invite Gouache, Allegro and Simile: the three faeries of the Arts.
On the day of the party guests bestowed their best wishes on Blondilocks as they arrived and passed their gifts to the important man and his wife. Everyone enjoyed their glasses of water and bread without any spreads. The guests shared boring chitchat and admired the pale cream walls of the grand hall at the Mansion. The important man and his wife stood at the front door welcoming their guests, their baby cradled in her mother’s loving arms.
The sky darkened. In a flash of searing brightness three faeries suddenly stood on the doorstep.
In unison they spoke,
“Creativity cannot be denied…”
Then Gouache, dressed in a rainbow coloured gown said, “My birthday gift to your daughter is the gift of art. Her paintings will be fresh and richly imagined. They will inspire anyone who looks on them.”
“My gift is the gift of poetry,” recited Simile, clothed in black and white. “She will combine words in a way that breathes new life into them.”
“And my gift,” sang Allegro, in a cloak of shimmering blues, “is the gift of melody. Your daughter will put her poetry to music. Her songs will delight and cheer everyone who hears them.”
The three cackled in chorus, waved their wands over Blondilocks’s head, turned three times and were gone.
The important man turned to his wife. “We never needed that kind of nonsense. We can’t allow this,” he said so only she could hear. “Such things will be of no use to our daughter. She will never amount to anything. This would be the end of my job if word got out that our daughter is artistic. We must hide her away from the world.”
Meanwhile, ignored by all, a fourth faerie in a black cape who had heard the important man’s words, bestowed a final gift. “You cannot suppress the imagination forever. On her sixteenth birthday a dashing hero will come and drive young Blondilocks’s talents into the open.” The sprite breathed on Blondilocks’s head and before anyone even noticed she was there, she had gone.
When the party was over and everyone had left, the important man locked his daughter in the highest tower of his palatial home, paid a woman to take care of her and never spoke of Blondilocks again. When she realised she could not persuade her husband to change his mind, and too afraid to have another gifted child, his wife consoled herself with food and wine until she eventually died of a broken heart. The years passed and the man, satisfied with his own importance and that nothing had stood in its way, stepped down from his job and retired. He closed up his palatial mansion and moved to his apartment in the city. Now deaf and more than a little vague he had forgotten all about Blondilocks and the faeries and how many years had passed.
Young Dash drove his clapped out car through the dark forest. He’d left his home in New Yawn on the east coast days before, bored with everything and sure there must be more to life than this. He’d decided to go searching for it even though he wasn’t entirely sure what it was. With no car radio or audio books to listen to he began feeling sleepy until suddenly a shadow stepped out of the shadows. It was an old woman, hunched over with age, cloaked in a black cape. Dash slammed on the brakes as he watched her raise a knobbly thumb in the classic hitch-hiker gesture. Narrowly avoiding running her over, the car slid to a halt and Dash wound down his window.
A vicious smell blew in. Filth crusted the old woman’s cape and Dash saw enough dirt under her fingernails to grow potatoes in. But he didn’t mind. A bad smell wasn’t the worst thing. He covered his nose and said,
“Need a lift?”
The old woman shook her head.
“You kind soul. You will find what you are seeking. Take this magic hamburger,” she said passing him a small round parcel wrapped in greaseproof paper. It felt warm in Dash’s hand. “And these three hairs,” she continued, pulling three long, dark, brown ones from her left nostril. “You will know what to do with them when the time comes.” And before Dash could ask what she meant or argue about being given hairs from her nose, with a waft of bad air and an odd squirting sound the old lady was gone. Dash raised his eyebrows as he pocketed the gifts and climbed back into his car. He cranked the handle, pumped the gas pedal and took off into the gloom.
The trees closed in around him, growing taller and thicker and closer together with every passing mile. Again he felt sleepy. Dash wound the windows down to try and keep himself awake with the cold evening air. Instead a strange noise came down the road towards him and like a magnet he felt drawn towards it. Soon he found himself parking in front of an old mansion house in the middle of the overgrown forest.
A lilting sound floated down from above. Dash could not help but feel cheered. Looking up he saw a fair young woman peering from a window in the highest tower. The wonderful sound was coming from her and Dash was overwhelmed with the desire to meet her.
“Um,” he said, staring up at the smooth wall above him. He pulled the old woman’s gifts from his pocket. The package was mushed but he opened it up and the smell of the burger was so delicious he gobbled it up immediately. He felt strong but the window was too high to jump up to. Dash needed a ladder. As he looked at the three nostril hairs in his hand wishing he could reach that window, they thickened and lengthened until they were each like a rope.
“Hey that’s cool,” he said scratching his head. He still couldn’t figure out what to do next. Someone tapped him on the shoulder.
“A bit of creative thinking would have been handy,” a voice said. Dash wheeled around. The beautiful young woman stood behind him, the end of a bed-sheet rope dangling down the wall behind her.
“It’s alright,” she said. “I’ve been climbing down for years. My name’s Blondilocks. I’m the singer in a band ‘The Bones of Our Arts’ down at the local tavern. Then I teach an art class at eight. Can you give me a lift there? It’s a long way to walk.”
“Sure,” Dash said suddenly feeling very happy and he unlocked his car and opened the passenger door for her. Blondilocks climbed in.
And they drove off together into the sunset.