Tag Archives: fairy tales

Let’s start from the very beginning

1 Apr

On Tumblr today I saw a 30 day creative writing challenge, and I’ve decided I’m taking the plunge during April.

Day 1: Rewrite a classic fairy tale

She lay awake replaying the night in her head. After the dinner plates were cleared and the fire stoked, her family moved into the drawing room for drinks and amusement. Tonight’s consisted of hurling insults through the open door at the help who were mending stockings and wondering why they didn’t simply buy new ones.

But Cinderella knew why they didn’t. It wasn’t money or scarcity. They needed to make fun of her, and were running low on ammunition. As a child, it had been that she was an orphan, then it was her pimples and lanky frame. She grew out of the latter, and the former faded into the past as she approached adulthood.

She was prettier than they were, even without silk stockings and a painted face, and they knew it.

They resorted instead to embarrassment, so the entertainment of the night thus focused on the many holes in their stockings that they had somehow neglected to mend for weeks and weeks.

“Nearly done, dearest?” Her stepmother was already half in the bag. “I do love nothing more than working with odor.”

Surely the neighbors 2 miles away could hear her stepsisters loon laughing. “Did I say odor? Silly me, I meant ardor.” Cinderella decided then she would call the stable boy to carry the woman to bed, speaking of  odor…

The shouts devolved into thinly veiled threats of violence and if the stockings became any shorter, or changed color or shape. She didn’t respond, but couldn’t ignore the barrage two rooms away. Their voices seemed to be amplified in the largely empty mansion, devoid of visitors for many years.

Twelve years, to be exact. She sometimes let herself wonder if they still kept track.

The evening ended with a crescendo of bawdy songs based on Cinderella’s stained clothes and well worn shoes, with a chorus of “there’s nothing here for you!” seeming to echo through the house hours later.

Waves of misplaced anger fought with the moonlight for her attention and she realized she wouldn’t be sleeping this night.  She sat up, looking to the embers still alive in the hearth, giving a warm glow to her quarters. She stretched on her sorry little mattress and thought again of the final refrain.

Her stepmother was right, of course. Nostalgia kept her where she was, fear kept her doing her chores.

She dressed several hours before her day usually started and walked from the house, swiping a breakfast of hard cheese and tart apples as she went.

As she reached the base of the valley that would lead her to the village, she turned around soaked in the view of her father’s house, enveloped in fog and darkness, in bitterness and grief.

Maybe nostalgia wasn’t worth the trouble.