Folktale Week, day 3: Awakening

Twee also had one of those tiny call-fairy-godmother rings with a wish left. She had it with her at all times, in a golden necklace, and it was all she had from her princess days. That, and the dainty crown that she used while going about her life in the woods. She didn’t wear it for pride or vanity, it was just a little reminder of how much she liked her life, feeding her ducks, her goat, and her three little pigs, singing her little tune all day, no obligations, no worries, no etiquette.

Twee had spent her childhood in the royal palace, for she was the daughter of the King. The youngest of three, she always admired how good her sisters were at princessing, always so pretty, sweet and mild. It wasn’t that Twee lacked intelligence, by the contrary, but she had no talent for embroidery, no patience for poetry, no ear for the pianoforte. And though she loved to sing, nobody loved her singing, which could easily be mistaken for a crying goat. Twee could never be found in the great halls and formal rooms of the palace. Somehow, she always managed to escape to the kitchen, the stables, or the gardens.

One day, the King asked his daughters how much did they love him. Twee’s sisters, of course, had the most pleasing answers at the tip of their tongues. 

— Like all the diamonds and rubies in the world — said the first.

— Like the gold and the silver in the universe — added the second.

After an embarrassing pause, practical princess Twee gave the best answer she could come up with:

— like… all the salt in the world!

Suddenly, the room was silent. Everyone was looking at the King to see his reaction.

—Salt? — he asked. — The condiment?!

Young Twee’s face turned red, her eyes wide open in panic. She expected the worst, but she wasn’t expecting what came next.

Laughter. First from her father, a laugh so loud it echoed through the palace. Then, a relieved chuckle from her mother, the queen. A nervous giggle from her sisters. Soon, everybody joined in. The ministers, the maids, even the jester was laughing. At her.

Twee was the joke, and that was more than she could bear. She turned her back to her family and started running as fast as she could. She crossed the front door, the gates of the palace, and she didn’t stop until she crossed the border of the realm. Exhausted and disappointed, she sat by the road, broke down in tears, and immediately heard a voice.

— My child, cry no more. I bring you Prince Charming — announced the Fairy Godmother. — You’re welcome.

— Oh… No, thanks.

The prince looked disappointed.

— I’m sorry?! — said the fairy. — No?

Twee had just escaped a royal palace. She wasn’t about to get into another.

— No.

The fairy godmother was exasperated and couldn’t believe this was happening again.

—Ok. Two wishes left. Go on, what do you want?

— Many more wishes — said Twee, once more proving her superior wits.

Fairy Godmother rolled her eyes.

— Go on…

— So… a little house, far from here. Near a creek or a pond. Ducks. Pigs. A goat I can duet with. I’ll be the queen of my own little kingdom. As for the final wish… can I keep it for an emergency?

The fairy nodded and gave her the tiny ring. She was impressed with the young princess, so reasonable even if she could have anything.

— Are you sure you don’t want the prince?

Twee was happy with her request. She would have lived happily ever after if it wasn’t for her friend’s giant wolf. Big Bad’s howling had grown as much as he had. Every night, that horrible sound echoed through the forest and kept everybody up. Her ducks were nervous, the three little pigs were terrified, and Twee herself was tired and grumpy. Something had to be done.

After much debating with herself, Twee reached inside her cleavage, retrieved her tiny ring, and wore it on her little finger.

Far, far away, a very old fairy godmother deep in her sleep felt a strange tingling in her ears and opened her eyes and smiled. Finally, someone needed her again.

(To be continued)