November 9, 2017

Throwback Thursday Tale - 11 Rules of Responsible Fairy Godparenting

Welcome to Fairy Godparenting school, and congratulations on being accepted...
This week's
from the EC story vaults is by author Jude Tulli.
And now EC presents:

Welcome to Fairy Godparenting school. And congratulations on being accepted. That you've made it this far in the process to certification means one of two things:

1. You’re exceptionally giving and hard-working or

2. One or more of your ancestors were Fairy Godparents and you don’t know what you want to do with your life

I know that hardly sounds fair, but it’s the way life works. You need to know these things if you’re going to do any good as an FG. Let’s see…there are 1, 2, 3…oh, about 20 of you here today? Let me assure you, only one of you will graduate.

Don’t worry; we don’t use the word “flunk” here. Many of our dropouts become healers or royal consultants. You have to love FGing or you’ll simply burn out. I know Cinderella made it look easy, but honestly most of your protégés will disappoint you. Hers was truly the “Cinderella story” of Fairy Godparenting.

You’re probably wondering about it now more than ever so I’ll put the rumors to rest. YES, once upon a time, I was Cinderella’s FG. But let me assure you, she was one in a billion. The everyday experience of all FGs involves hefty doses of failure and frustration. Overeating is not actively discouraged as a coping mechanism. Which reminds me, FG and student dinner party Friday at 7:00. You’re all invited. There’ll be at least forty different kinds of cheeses! Bring your questions and real live FGs will regale you with their most colorful stories. Spoiler alert: most end in heartbreak.

Now before we get into our case studies, we need to start with the basics. There are 11 principles that guide everything we do as FGs. Actually there are 1,007, but like I said, we start with the basics. Plenty of time to look into a career in stage magic after the introductory class. I don’t want to scare you all away just yet. The school has to keep the lights on somehow and the queen won’t let us raise our tuition twentyfold.

In an order that makes sense to me but won’t mean much to you yet, here we go:

1. Beauty comes from within. You can’t project it where it doesn't already exist. A monster will only look more monstrous for your efforts no matter how hard you hit it with your magic wand.

2. Research, research, research. Watch how each potential protégé reacts to different situations. Does he or she give too much? Ask too little of others? Meet cruelty with generosity? Perfect. Don’t be creepy; just gather the relevant data.

3. Never FG for yourself. It’s not right and it won’t get you your heart’s desire. No matter how badly you want the Fairy Godfather of Lillington to notice you. He’ll just take one look at you in all your magnificence and say, “Broke rule number 3 again, did we?” 

4. You can’t FG for someone you already know. It just doesn’t work. Like the time my niece demanded an extension after midnight. It ended with a ruptured spleen and six months of bed rest. At least I finally learned how to knit. 

5. There are no small wands, only small FGs. It’s not how much magic you have; it’s what you do with it that counts. I once turned a frog into a prince just by asking if he really liked the taste of flies.

6. Expect nothing in return. Don’t even expect to feel good about yourself for helping. People’s propensity for self-sabotage will never cease to surprise you. Frogs’ too. I told him not to lick the princess’ eye but he just said, “Ribbit ribbit ribbit.” 

7. Grant their heart’s desire or nothing. You're not helping otherwise. If you gave Cinderella a hoard of gold she’d just let her step-family spend it all. The best gifts are non-transferable.

8. Magic is neither a toy nor a game. Don’t leave your wand lying around where an infant or toddler can get to it. And never drink and cast. Trust me; the ruptured spleen was nothing. 

9. Animal labor is not free. If you turn lizards into footmen, they charge by the hour. It comes out of your expense account at first, but once you go over your budget it comes out of your pocket. And yes, you have to pay them the same wages to wait around behind the scenes as you do for face time. As a side note, I don’t recommend using lizards for anything unless no other animals are available. They blend into their surroundings so well it’s terribly hard to find them when you need them.

10. It’s not about you. If you’re having fun as an FG, you’re doing it wrong. It’s not about you getting to go to that ball you missed out on when you were younger. Don’t grant what you would want. Grant what your protégé needs. Give what's right to give. From dress cuts to shoe styles. And glass slippers are no longer allowed. They conjure too much expectation. Not to mention the newer ones break all the time. Nothing spoils a budding romance quicker than high-pitched screams and bloody footprints. 

11. Exceptions are the exception. There's always an exception. But they’re called exceptions for a reason. They’re rare. Run your thoughts by a more experienced FG before you get creative, especially in your first hundred years of practice.

The clock striking noon means we’re done for today, so away with you before you turn into pumpkins. Just kidding! I’ll see you all tomorrow when we’ll cover the 12 basic tenets of FG magic and the 13 reasons magical deadlines can’t be negotiated. You’re also in for a treat: a former protégé of mine turned part-time FG will give a presentation and answer your questions. Hint: Her name sounds a bit like “mozzarella.” 

Which reminds me, did I mention the dinner party Friday at 7:00? Feel free to bring your favorite cheese, as long as you bring enough for everyone!

Jude Tulli lives in the Sonoran Desert with his beloved wife and a small pride of cats. His fairy tale inspired works have appeared in Enchanted Conversation and Timeless Tales.

If you enjoyed this story, you might also enjoy the job-hopping adventures of a wish fairy in his novelette, Faegotten now available on a Kindle near you.

Story ART by: Amanda Bergloff
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November 3, 2017

Submission Window Open for December Issue

The holiday season will soon be upon us, and to celebrate, “The Elves and the Shoemaker” will be the theme of the issue.

Here are the submission guidelines:

Keep visiting EC. Major changes are coming!

Image source unknown, but it is mid-century.
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October 31, 2017

EC’s Fundraising Hall of Fame—Thank You!

It’s impossible to overstate how grateful Amanda and I are for the generosity of the contributors during the Fundrazr Campaign. Thanks to it, EC will be able to continue in 2018.

To celebrate the generosity of our givers, below is a list of donors. Those not on the list asked to remain anonymous. If you did give anonymously, and would like to see your name on this list, let us know by emailing me at

Here are the names of givers:

Charity Tahmaseb
Lissa Sloan
Cecelia Myers
Amy Petrilla 
Nancy Clark
Marcia A Sherman 
Nancy Binzen
Ursula Barshi
E.J. Hagadorn
Jude Tulli
Teresa Robeson
Christina Johnson
Victoria Stefani
Kevin Hopson
Brita Long
Caroline Yu
Nancy B Clark
Tahlia Kirk
Kari Zander
Rhonda Eikamp
David Perlmutter
Mary Mohr
Kiyomi Appleton Gaines
Julie Caroff
Sarah McElfresh
Stephanie Goloway
Deby Fredericks

I am truly amazed at the number of people who’ve never been published in EC who gave. They gave out of true support and belief in the site! It’s humbling to know this!

If I’ve missed your name PLEASE tell me!

The campaign will be quietly going on for the next few days, so please give if you’d like, and see your name on the list!

And Happy Halloween!!! 🎃!

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October 29, 2017

An original ghostly tale for Halloween - The Land by the Sea

Something had followed him to the land by the sea, and a song called to his soul...
We would like to wish everyone a happy Halloween with this flash fiction ghost story, written by contributing editor, Amanda Bergloff, exclusively for EC and Halloween.
And now, EC presents:

Shall I tell you the story before the fire goes out, my sister?

Yes, yes...please do.

Then I will begin.
The land by the sea was wild and forlorn,
and there was once a forgotten man who made it his home.

Did he bring anything with him to that land by the sea?

Yes, my sister. He brought the two things he still held precious in the world
to the land by the sea,
and he forgot for a time,
that his heart had been lost.

But he could not forget completely, could he?

No, my sister, for something had followed him
and was there in the darkness of night in that land by the sea,
singing a song that called to his soul.

A song of sadness and regret?

Yes, my sister, a song that drove him mad
for he was the only one who heard it,
and every night, he tried in vain to find the one who sang
by searching the rocks and shore in that land by the sea.

Until one night he finally saw her?

Yes, my sister. He found her in the moonlight by the water's edge...
A blue lady whose hair was unbound and moved ceaselessly in the wind.
The forgotten man saw her and was drawn to her beyond reason.

And she called to him to remember?

Yes, my sister. She held out her hand,
and he finally remembered fully the loss
that caused him to live by the sea in a land that was wild and forlorn.

And he remembered the one who would not let him go,
even after death?

Yes, my sister.
He remembered and followed the blue lady
until they both moved ceaselessly on the waves...
until both their souls were lost.
And that was his end.

Now the tale is done, my sister,
and it is time for sleep.
Let us pull the blankets close so we can remain warm.

Will you hold my hand until the fire goes out?

I will hold your hand until it is cold.

And we will forgive the forgotten man for leaving us?

Yes, we will.

But we will not forgive the one who drove him to do so.

No, we will never forgive our mother.

Then goodnight, dear sister.


Amanda Bergloff writes modern fairy tales, folktales, and speculative fiction. Her work has appeared in various anthologies, including Frozen Fairy Tales, After the Happily Ever After, and Uncommon Pet Tales.
Follow her on Twitter:
Check out her Amazon Author Page at:

Thanks for reading my story, and please leave a comment below. I'd love to hear from you!


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October 28, 2017

Snow White Inspiration

Can the story of Snow White be traced back to tales of ancient Sumerian gods, or even farther still, to the very face of the moon?  “Noah's Ark,” “The Golden Fleece,” and “The Gilgamesh Epic,” are just a few of the ancient narratives that have unexpected ties to this tale, not to mention lesser known fairy tales like “Prince Danila Govorila” and “The Glass Coffin,” among others.

Fantasy author Kristina Wojtaszek blogs about the many faces of  “Snow White,” a story rich in symbolism, and the very tale that inspired her first book, OPALOPAL is a retwisting of “Snow White,” the first in a trilogy called Fae of Fire and Stone, where seven shape-shifters set out to protect a future queen and her persecuted race.

With the completion of the series in the forthcoming title BLOODSTONE, many of the lesser-known elements of “Snow White” and her very ancient connections will be recounted.  Stay tuned for a second blog post with even more “Snow White” narratives from Chinese history and other unexpected places.

Editor’s note: Here is the link to the post:

Here’s a link to info on Kristina’s books, which EC highly recommends:

Images are from the first two covers of the Fae of Fire and Stone Series.
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October 26, 2017

Throwback Thursday Tale - The Queen's Discontent

Some characters have more to do with stories than anyone realizes...
This week's
"The Queen's Discontent"
from the EC story vaults by author Marcia Sherman.
And now EC presents:

I will let you in on a secret.
Of course none of us have actually died.
That is all just written for dramatic effect.
It seems so much more -
To have a father raise a daughter.

But we are all here.
All the mothers.
In the background,
Or on another estate.
Or in another, smaller, castle.
We all keep in touch.
And we meet at least once a year.
Queen and commoner alike.

Even that doe,
The one everybody thinks was shot.
And that clownfish.
In a bowl of course.
Those of us who live close enough,
Visit with one another quite often.
And we have more to do with the stories than anyone realizes.

Take for example that silly girl and Rumplestiltskin.
I can say that silly girl.
Because she married my son.
Do you really think, for one minute,
She was able to get out of that situation alone?
Do you really think, for even one second,
Her mother and I were going to let her take a chance
On giving up our first-born grandchild?

Pish, we were there to help her all along.
We did the "heavy lifting."
I would love to be able to tell the truth about that.
Who would believe me anyway,
After these hundreds of years of fairy tales.

Every so often someone new comes along.
Some little-known tale
Suddenly becomes popular.
Or gets modernized.
Thanks to Walt.
That brings something fresh
To the annual meeting.

But for the most part we just live in the shadows.
We keep the households
And the kingdoms running smoothly.
It does get a little lonely,
Husbands and families
Unable to acknowledge us publicly.
Makes you feel hemmed in.
Makes you want to blow off some steam.

So every five years or so we come here.
Across the pond.
Visit with Powhatan's wife.
Let our hair down.
So to speak.
Another silly girl, that Rapunzel.
Why, I would love another, thank you.
That is very charming of you.
And believe me I know something about charming.

Yes, we do age very well.
My room?
I would be enchanted to show you my room.
I am sharing, but the roommates are out shopping.
Something about shoes and mirrors and roses.
Just mind the spindle in the corner,
It is sharp.

Marcia A. Sherman is Mama to one perfect Rose.She writes for Llewellyn Publishing under the name of Emyme, has self-published the children's book The Splendid, Blended Family, and is writing the Great American Wiccan Novel.

Poem ART by: Amanda Bergloff

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October 25, 2017

Thank You!! Fundrazr Has Ended

EC’s fundraising campaign has ended and we exceeded our goal by $33! Everything we net (Fundrazr takes its cut), will go to keeping Enchanted Conversation healthy.

We can’t thank the contributors enough. To know there were people out there who cared enough to give was not only great for our bottom line, it was also great for our spirits.

The campaign is officially over, but if you meant to contribute and didn’t, the campaign is still quietly alive. Here it is:

Image by Anne Anderson. 
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October 24, 2017

Nineteen Hours Left

This is the last day of the campaign to help EC continue. As of this writing, there are 19 hours left. If you’re going to give, now is the time.

People have been incredibly generous. Amanda and I are so grateful! Please know that every donation is a lot to us. So if $10 is what you can give, please give it. We’d be thrilled to receive it.

We have reached our goal (WooHoo!!!), but Fundrazr tales a healthy cut, so please give if you haven’t already.

Image by Arthur Rackham.
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October 20, 2017

Please Donate: Only Four Days Left

If you have been waiting to donate to our Fundrazr Campaign, please do it now. We are short of our goal by about $200. They might seem trivial to people reading it, but it’s a huge amount to us!

If you enjoy reading EC. If you love the art. If you are a writer or a poet, please, give. Here’s the link:

Image by Rie Cramer.

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October 17, 2017

Only One Week Left

There’s only one week left on our Fundrazr Campaign and as of this writing, we are short by over $200. We need that money! Every cent will be put to good use.

If you’ve been waiting to donate, please, wait no longer. And, to the folks who have given, so very many thanks!

Image by N.C. Wyeth.
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October 16, 2017

Godfather Death Issue - Table of Contents

October calls to us here at Enchanted Conversation, and we are pleased to present the Godfather Death Issue this month. Here are seven stories and poems that use the classic Brothers Grimm tale as a starting off point to explore themes that fit the mood leading up to All Hallow’s Eve at the end of the month. 

This is an issue where not all godmothers are fairies, and it is best to remember that Death always keeps a promise. If Death can measure a life span, can the depth of a father's love be measured, too? Would you strike up a conversation if you accidentally ran into Death on a city street? Is reality different when seen from four distinct viewpoints?...and would a pure heart ever trick Death? 

Join us where autumn's twilight lingers endlessly before winter's chill sets in. Cozy up around our virtual bonfire and read on because, after all, during the month of October, we are all Autumn People for a brief time...Enjoy!

Lissa Sloan

Evan Purcell

R.A. Goli

Sarah Allison

Gabriel Ertsgaard

Kiyomi Appleton Gaines

Rebecca Buchanan

This issue was edited by Amanda Bergloff, who also created the accompanying art to the stories and poems.

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The Goddaughter and Death by Lissa Sloan

Not all godmothers are fairies, and it is best to remember that Death always keeps her promises...

Once there was a motherless girl. She had a powerful godmother who helped her get to the palace to win the heart of a handsome prince. But it was not the godmother you think. It was not the girl you think. And her tale does not end with a happily ever after. It ends like all tales, though, as you will see.  

But we must begin at the beginning, not the end, and so we must go back. Back to the birth of the motherless girl. When Death came for the girl’s mother, the dying woman seized Death’s robes in her weakening hands. She knew her baby daughter would face hardships without her. Her husband would not want to be alone; he would marry again. And who would look after her daughter then? Who would put the child first? With her last breath, the mother begged Death to stand godmother to her baby girl. To watch over her and guide her. Death was used to begging, but no one had begged this favor before. Death leaned over the bundle in the father’s arms, examining the child. Then she nodded once. Her robes turned to smoke in the woman’s cold hands and swirled up the chimney. The father and daughter were alone.

But they were not alone for long. As the mother had known, the girl’s father was lonely and married again. The new wife had children of her own, and more children came along afterward, as children will. The motherless girl was thrust aside, and no one thought of her.  Except for Death. Death was true to her promise. She came to the christening, she visited from time to time, and as the girl grew older, she began to make some provision for her future. The family had come upon hard times, and Death knew there would be no money for a dowry. So she decided to give her goddaughter a profession.  

“You shall be a healer,” she told the girl. Together they walked in the woods, and Death showed the girl the right herbs to collect to make a cordial that would cure all but the gravest ills. “If you are summoned to a sickbed and see me at the bed’s head, then give your patient the medicine, and all will be well,” she told her. “Until the next time, at least,” she said, her robes lifting in the slightest of shrugs. Then she put her bony hand under the girl’s chin, forcing her to look into the depths of her black eyes. “But if I am at the bed’s foot, then there is no help for him. And you must not try.” The girl nodded and promised that she wouldn’t.

To begin with, the girl attended only the poorest homes. For who would want the services of a young girl in a shabby dress when they could have a proper physician, or even an apothecary? But plenty of folk had no choice and were grateful for anyone who cared to come. The girl was glad to go where she was wanted and was always careful to obey Death’s instructions.  

Then one day, the word spread throughout the town. The young prince was gravely ill. The apothecaries and physicians had failed, and the king and queen would pay any price to one who could cure him. The girl pitied the prince, but she envied him too. No one would pay any price to save her life. So she set off for the palace. The guards scoffed at the sight of a barefoot girl with nothing but a bottle of green liquid in her hand. But then they saw Death approaching the palace gates, black robes billowing behind her, and their ruddy faces blanched in terror. They hurried the girl inside and barred the gates, practically pushing her up the stairs to the prince’s room.

But Death was there before them, at the foot of the young man’s bed. It was a shame, thought the girl, as she sat on the bed to examine her patient. He was so young; it was not fair for Death to take him now. And then the girl did something brave. Or something foolish. Or maybe both at once. She could not say what made her do it. Perhaps it was the silent weeping of the queen or the reddened eyes of the king. Perhaps it was not. More likely it was the way the prince’s dark locks fell across his forehead and the way he grabbed the girl’s hand as she reached out to touch his fevered brow. Whatever her reason, she called two guards to her, strong men both, and whispered in their ears. At her command, one took the prince’s shoulders and the other his feet. They reversed his position on the bed. The girl tipped the cordial down his throat and looked up at Death, now at the head of the bed.  

Cold filled the room as Death approached her goddaughter. She laid a cold white hand upon the girl’s cheek. “You are young, my child; I shall forgive you. But do not disobey me again.”    
The goddaughter was sorry. Mostly. She shook her head and promised she would never disobey again, a tear of contrition freezing as it trickled down her cheek. Death was gone then, black robes fading into the room like steam from a boiling pot, but no one noticed.The prince was sitting up in bed, the color already returning to his cheeks.The king and queen rejoiced, and the maids and the guards rushed out to share the good news. But the prince had eyes for no one but the girl who had saved his life.

Now though our story has no ever after, it does have some happily, and that begins here. For they married, of course, as you knew they would. The girl became a princess and, in time, a queen. She healed her subjects when she could and nursed them with care when she could not. She was renowned for her knowledge and her wisdom, for she was never tempted to defy Death again. At least, not until the day she came into her firstborn’s room and found the godmother at the foot of the girl’s bed.

Again the goddaughter was brave, and again she was foolish. This time it was the queen herself who lifted the girl off the bed. The princess was only a little thing, so light that the queen reversed her position on the bed in one blink of Death’s black eye. The child drank the cordial and sank back onto the bed.  

The queen was not sorry. But she knew her godmother would be angry, and she stood to face her. Death approached her, placing one skeletal hand on her goddaughter’s chest. Her touch was light, but the queen felt the breath turn to ice in her lungs. “You are old enough to know better, child,” Death said softly. “And from now on, you shall. Next time, you will welcome my coming.” The queen’s heart stopped, and she slumped to the floor in a rustle of silk as Death withdrew her hand. Then the godmother was gone, disappearing in a swirl of fog like breath on a cold morning. And the queen’s heart beat once more.

Death had been right to say the queen would welcome her coming, for the princess did not recover as her father had. She lingered and wasted, begging her mother to let her go, and the queen could do nothing to ease her pain. All she could do was to implore the godmother’s pardon and entreat her to return. But Death chooses her own time, and she came when she was ready. The queen did indeed welcome Death and begged the godmother to take her too. But Death was used to begging. She merely shook her head and disappeared, her robes trailing up into the air like smoke from a blown-out candle.  

The queen could not carry on without her child. But she did carry on, for what choice did she have? She walked with the godmother in the woods, gathering herbs. She healed the sick when she could, nursed them with care when she could not, and curled into her husband’s arms in the dark of the night. And among her grief there was more happily, although no ever after. There was even, when she was almost too old to give up hoping for such things, another child, a son this time.

When Death returned to the palace the queen was not ready, and she knew she never would be. The godmother stood at the foot of the king’s bed, just as she had stood there all those years before when he was only a prince. When the prince and the healer had never even met and the barefoot girl with the bottle of cordial had so much less to lose. But now the girl was a woman, and lose she did. Not all, but enough. Again she begged the godmother to take her too. But Death was used to begging. She merely shook her head, her robes dissipating into the room like mist in the morning sun.  

The queen could not carry on without her husband. And yet she did, for what else could she do? She and the godmother took her little son for walks in the woods, showing him what herbs to pick and how to make the cordial. She ruled her kingdom with wisdom and compassion. She took the prince with her to visit sickbeds, healing when she could and nursing with care when she could not.

When Death returned for her at last, the queen welcomed her with a kiss. She called for the prince. She told the boy, nearly a man now, that he must be brave, and she hoped no more foolish than necessary. She said there would be no need for the cordial this time, and she kissed her son goodbye. Then she took the godmother’s robes in her hand and begged a favor with her dying breath. She asked Death to stand godmother to her son when she was gone. Death was used to begging, but she had grown to like this favor, so she nodded her agreement.  

Before the prince, now the king, could call for the guards to move his mother on the bed, before he could unstopper his cordial or even beg, before he could do anything but grab a fistful of Death’s robes, all was over. Death’s robes turned to smoke in his trembling hand, and the boy was alone.  

But Death was true to her promise, and the young king became a healer like his mother. He was brave at times and foolish at others and sometimes both at once. He knew Death’s rules, and perhaps he obeyed them, perhaps he did not. But that is the godson’s tale. The goddaughter’s tale is over. They will have the same end, though. While we may have some happily, there will be no ever after.  

For Death makes sure that all our stories end the same.

Lissa Sloan's poems and short stories are published in Enchanted ConversationNiteblade Magazine, Krampusnacht: Twelve Nights of Krampus, andFrozen Fairy Tales.  “Death in Winter,” Lissa's contribution to Frozen Fairy Tales, has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.  Visit her online at her website,, or on Twitter: @LissaSloan.

Story ART by: Amanda Bergloff

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