Tag: Fairy Tale Gone Wrong

Once Upon a Spinning-Wheel (Part 3): The Mermaid’s Tears


Someone had been dancing the cancan on my chest, or that’s what it felt like when I woke up. I could smell the sea somewhere nearby. That, and I was pretty sure there was sand in my shoes — always a giveaway. I opened my eyes — and found out two things: one, no one was immediately trying to kill me (always a plus), and two, mermaids have really pretty smiles.

Admittedly, my sample size was limited, but just at that moment, I was prepared to take the risk of being wrong. Incidentally, that thing about the clam-shell bikini is hogwash. My mermaid (I was making wedding plans already, apparently, although I wasn’t quite sure why exactly) was sensibly dressed in a shirt, sea-breeches, and honking great sea-boots, and had the most glorious head of golden-green hair I have ever seen. How did I know she was a mermaid then, absent the long finny tail? Ah, you learn to notice these things, after you’ve been around for a while. You develop a fine-tuned sense of judgement and expertise. Plus, about seven of her sisters were sitting round in the shallows with tridents and fish tails, and stormy expressions on their faces — as if to say, look what the tide washed in. Gulp. Out of the frying pan, into the deep fat fryer …

Once Upon a Spinning-Wheel (Part I): The Serpent’s Kiss


‘Won’t hurt a bit,’ she says, ‘just a little prick.’ Sure. Because that’s always been true. Except this time it’s a magical spinning-wheel, and no lollipops for good boys and girls. Evil fairies running amok, and I was just about ready to pass out after cutting my finger on that confounded spindle. My name’s— well that’s not important right now — welcome to my life — this kind of thing happens to me all the time. Except everyone was trying to kill me — long story, they thought I was responsible for— Anyway, no time now, guards are coming. Why hadn’t they fallen asleep, and the kingdom with them, you ask? Well, funny thing, when I get hit by an evil enchantment I tend to grab the nearest heavy object and smash the evil magic spinning-wheel to pieces. But that’s just me. So the enchantment was short-circuited — and short-circuiting — and I wasn’t feeling at all well. No matter, no matter, think … think. Got to be something else I can do, something else I need to do. Well, aside from hiding behind this tapestry … with a secret passage behind it. Interesting … Anyway, where was I? Oh, yes, and in case it’s not clear, I’m not a princess (maybe that’s why the spinning-wheel hadn’t sent me to sleep for a hundred years that instant), I’m a guy — and the girl I’m in love with is probably going to marry someone else whether or not I can break this enchant— There was an echoing clang, as of a mop bucket which some idiot has kicked, rolling down the stairs.

So, the secret passage turns out to be a janitor’s closet, or something, and that clang was going to attract some attention — or would do if everyone wasn’t making too much noise looking for me as it was. Small mercies. But do janitors’ closets usually have a spiral stone staircase leading down from them? I would say not, but I haven’t been in all that many. Look, I went to knight school, all right? Graduated knight school, anyway — but that’s not important right now. Look, it’s not as if I even started life in this fairy tale, okay? I know it sounds unlikely, but I just sort of … woke up here. I don’t know what happened. One minute everyone was normal, next minute it’s this weird sugar-spun world where nothing makes any sense anymore. I thought things made sense again, a little, for a while … Hey, do you mind looking the other way a moment — intruding on private grief here! Thank you! Anyway, where were we again? It sure was dark down this staircase. I hope I didn’t fall and kick the bucket — again.