I appreciate the opportunity to join in the Enchanted Conversation. Both Kate Wolford’s blog and her book, Beyond the Glass Slipper, are invaluable resources for the fairy tale aficionado, as well as for those who are simply curious about the enduring and universal appeal of fairy tale. (Editor's note: Thanks Heidi!) I’m especially delighted to be here introducing The Tree Hugger. Set in the future, it’s a dystopian retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Dryad.” In the original tale, a country dryad longs to visit the great city of Paris. No harm in that. There are attractions and flirtations along the way but no love relationship to speak of, and it doesn’t have a happy ending. I protest on both counts and altered the tale accordingly.
In The Tree Hugger, the love relationship between Magnolia and Graham is born of friendship and companionability. In spite of Magnolia’s silent and solitary nature, Graham intuitively grasps and responds to her personality and needs. As time goes on, the roots of their caring for one another extend deep into the earth itself. They truly become a partnership of equals, one of the happiest endings I can think of.
Another popular fairy tale element played with in The Tree Hugger is the loss of the mother. While Magnolia’s mother hasn’t died, she’s absent from her daughter’s life. It’s grandmother who steps in to fill the role of mother replacement/fairy godmother. Although she doesn’t provide her granddaughter with a ball gown or glass slippers, she does provide her with an inner road map which guides Magnolia to the truth of who she is and bolsters her courage as she makes her journey to herself.
The Tree Hugger is the third novella in the Once Upon a Time Today collection.
Heidi Garrett was born in Texas, and now she lives in Eastern Washington State with her husband. Garrett is the author of the contemporary fairy tale novella collection, Once Upon a Time Today. In these stand-alone retellings of popular and obscure fairy tales, adult characters navigate the deep woods of the modern landscape to find their Happily Ever Afters. She’s also the author of the Daughter of Light series, a fantasy about a young half-faerie, half-mortal searching for her place in the Whole.