Showing posts from December, 2012

The Clever, Wicked Girl, By Jazz Sexton

Editor's note: Jazz takes on the idea of the pretty fairy tale heroine in this story and both subverts and endorses it. She also keeps the classic story form, while putting the reader at odds with the narrator, making for a fun, light-hearted read. This story is true, though you might not want it to be. There once lived a girl whose father had died in the war, and whose mother was confined to bed, and so the girl took it upon herself to earn money for her mother’s medicine and food for her six younger brothers by weaving baskets. It was of the entire town’s opinion that this child was pure and selfless, but you and I know better when it comes to children. The girl found a wealth of business in town, especially at the market where merchants displayed fruits and trinkets inside wicker baskets. Besides the normal wear and tear, many merchants found their baskets burned to ashes overnight or termites hiding within the fruit, after eating through the baskets. This misfortune …

Bratty Tessa, By Candace L. Barr

Editor's note: Candace's story evokes the delightfully detailed tales of Hans Christian Andersen, when he writes about very bad children. And Tessa, the protagonist of this story, is a very bad girl, in a perfectly everyday sort of way. Another Krampus Contest Winner will be published tomorrow.

In a fairly typical house, in a fairly typical town, there lived a young girl named Tessa. She looked fairly typical and was a fairly typical bully. Her younger siblings lived in fear of her, conceding to her every whim lest they be punished. Her younger sister had already lost three dolls to the older girl's tantrums. The middle child, a boy, had a scar on his leg from a bad scrape he got when Tessa pushed him down.
The children in the rest of the neighborhood were similarly cowed. Tessa changed the rules of their games whenever she wished. She also broke those same rules with no consequence. Even some of the older children bent to her every wish and demand. They didn't …

Song of Krampus, By Jennifer A. McGowan

Editor's note: Here's the first of the five Krampus winners, which will be spread over the next few days. Jennifer's work examines Krampus' zeal while making every word count. Also, as I am a bit ambivalent about Jolly St. Nicholas myself, this poem grabbed my attention.

All year I gather birch twigs,
gather them up into bundles, just so.
Tie them carefully.  Make sure
the heft is right for shins
and backsides.  At the end of November
I begin blackening:  rubbing coal dust and ash
into my already-dark hide until
I leave smoky footprints.

Oh, child, when you feel my stings
will you realise at last I’m the only one
to care about the naughty?
The chuckling saint only brings gifts
for those sweeter than spun sugar.
Too much sweetness attracts flies, like dung.

Let us dance.  You hide behind the chair.
I snarl and flash my sharpened teeth.
Around and around each piece of furniture
until you tire and my switches
tease your skin.  Your parents will hang
my golden bundle—my gif…

The Talking Cat, By Laura Beasley

Editor's note: Laura Beasley has managed to create a fairy tale that is uniquely her own, yet still manages to evoke all the elements of fairy tales we love: Talking animals, an orphaned child, royalty, character tests and a happy ending.

The girl had been raised by a cat. But not an ordinary Cat. The Cat was able to speak and walk on his hind legs. Cat wore proper boots and a cap with a feather plume as befit his status as a skilled hunter. The girl’s father had been killed soon after he’d met and impregnated her mother. Theirs had been a passionate teenage love affair and her mother had died in childbirth. Cat had found the baby girl and provided for her. He made sure she had goat milk or sheep milk or pig milk to drink. The baby slept cuddled amongst litters of kids or lambs or piglets to keep warm at night. The farmers were none the wiser because Cat removed the girl from the barns before sunrise. After she was weaned, he caught rats, mice and sparrows for her to eat which they…

How Beautiful She Is, By Mary Meriam

She climbs the flights of palace stairs Her gold and silver gown a charm Whispering gone all troubles and cares Worries and woes that cause alarm.
Tickled by rushing mountain streams The gentle mountains kiss the sky The sky alive with clouds and dreams Sinking to dusk with one last sigh.
The fiddle sings, the heartbeat drums While through the swirling, twirling court The kindly prince of kingdom comes As if a sailing ship to port. 
Two turtledoves flush from a tree As prince and maiden hand in hand Begin to dance, this dance to be A realm of peace, a fruitful land.

Mary Meriam's poems are published in Literary Imagination, The New York Times, American Arts Quarterly, Poetry Northeast,American Life in Poetry, many other journals, and several anthologies. She is the author of two poetry chapbooks, The Countess of Flatbroke and The Poet's Zodiac; a blogger at Ms. Magazine; and the editor of Lavender Review. Editor's note: Mary Meriam's small poem is alive with imagery. It's a great e…