FAIRY TALE FLASH - Melody Cottage by Mary Ellen Gambutti
Overbearing husband is unhappy with his lot. His wife is resigned. She sullenly sweeps dust and cobwebs with a corn broom. His ill-contented moodiness sets her on the verge of despondency.
It goes like this:
“I just want a nice easy life, what’s wrong with that?”
“Can’t you just be happy here with me?”
Blue Rabbit hops from her boat and creeps under the garden fence where husband hoes garlic.
“I say! Your life will now change!” Cobalt Cottontail extends her nimble cerulean paw with a velvet bag and a spell. Husband accepts plush pouch, and Mr. McGregor’s nemesis squeezes back under fence.
Husband loosens the pouch strings. "Gold! Hare of Indigo has granted a fortune! Life will be better! We’ll leave this shack behind!” He'll splurge on a castle, complete with servants, that lies upriver. Denim Doe has enabled such a choice.
“Wife! Are you coming with me?” impatient spouse shouts as he pulls on his straw hat, then mumbles, “Soon I’ll be wearing an ermine cap.”
His wife cringes, shakes her head solemnly, knows only an ordinary life; cares not for a castle of gold. "This is where I live, and where I’ll stay."
Husband leaves her in the dank, cobwebby cottage, and treks upriver through pine forest, where his gleaming castle awaits. "There will be plenty. No more hoeing!" He is almost right.
Back downriver, in melodic cottage, there is now no anger. Blue Bunny keeps the wife company in the garden, munching blueberries.
Husband relishes his new digs--silk, silver, gold--rides an elegant horse in field and forest; dines on fine food prepared by servants who eye him suspiciously— "isn’t he our peer?"
Before long, he notices a taste of regret in his sumptuous fare; misses the humble mutton prepared by his wife, their simple, but cozy lodgings. He feels the draft of emptiness; chill of disappointment. He stares out the turret, sad gaze turned downriver.
"Can I be happy here?" Confused, he drifts to the riverbank.
Suddenly, who appears?
“Ahoy, Mate! If you leave the castle now, you lose everything. That’s the deal!"
Despondent, the husband asks, "Have I not already lost all?"
Husband climbs aboard Bunny’s Blue Dinghy, and Admiral Lagomorph and he set sail toward the sound of sweet music.
"I'm ready to try again, if you are," says sheepish husband, as the rustic screen door slams behind him.
In unison, they sing, “Could you be happy here with me?”
That evening, they rock on the front porch of Melody Cottage, overlooking the enchanted river, while gentle music wafts on the water.
"I missed moments like this more than anything," confesses the husband.
“This is heaven! Pass me a beer!” says Lapis Lapin.
Mary Ellen's stories appear or are forthcoming in Gravel Magazine, Wildflower Muse, The Remembered Arts Journal, The Vignette Review, Modern Creative Life, Thousand and One Stories, Halcyon Days, Nature Writing, PostCard Shorts, Memoir Magazine, Haibun Today, Borrowed Solace, BookEnds Review, StoryScape. Her chapbook is Stroke Story, My Journey There and Back. She and her husband reside in Sarasota, Florida.
Check out her blog HERE
and on Facebook HERE
Thank you for reading today's Fairy Tale Flash story, and please share your thoughts about Mary Ellen's tale with her in the comments section below. She'd love to hear from you!
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