May 14, 2018

DOUBLE FAIRY TALE FLASH - The Great Escape AND Pond Life

This week, Enchanted Conversation Magazine 
presents two classic Fairy Tale Flash stories with a twist:
The Great Escape by Fanni Sütő
Pond Life by Jane Dougherty
Rapunzel didn't remember when she arrived to the tower or when she first sat in the window. The rich gold of her hair had turned into silver, shining bright in the moonlight. Nobody asked her to let down her hair, so it just grew and grew and it twirled around her, filling up the room slowly but unstoppably. Rapunzel sighed and looked into the spyglass again, She was hoping to spot a prince. Or a young merchant. A soldier. A handsome peasant maybe. Or even an average looking peasant. Anybody, please?

But nobody came.

The surroundings of the tower proved positively princeless. And merchantless. No man was to be seen, neither near nor far. No woman either, for that matter. Rapunzel bathed in total, utter loneliness. A bird used to visit her, he sang to her every day but it hadn't been around for a while. It must have found a mate and flown away to build a nest.
Rapunzel's body felt like stone, her backside sunk into the chair, melted into it as if it didn’t want to break away anymore. Her eyes were tired from the endless looking and watching and peeping. Yet she couldn’t rest, what if… What if the moment she closed her eyes, the moment her saviour appeared and she missed her opportunity. No, she couldn't allow that.

Other days despair seized her. What if humanity died out and she was the only survivor? What else could explain the fact that nobody had come for her?

One day when she was even more bored than usual, she started playing with her spyglass, looking at its shiny copper body more carefully. She span it around, and found herself eye to eye with the big, curious lens of the telescope. Her own distorted reflection stared back at her. It was the first time she'd seen a human form in years. Her hair had grown unruly and long hair, the glass had dug a permanent wrinkle under her tired eyes. Her lips were dry and smileless. The unexpected meeting made her realize that she'd had enough. She got up from the chair which was reluctant to let her go. Her legs trembled at first because they had forgotten how it felt like to stand. After a few minutes, she felt her blood rushing through her body; it was a new, intoxicating sensation.

She stuck a pair of scissors in her belt, tied her hair around the foot of the spyglass, went to the widow and jumped. The wind rushed into her face and the claws of freedom tore into her dress. Her landing was painful, but she survived with only a few scratches. Rapunzel cut her hair tying her to the tower and her old life. She sighed with satisfaction; after all these years she finally saved herself.
Fanni Sütő writes poetry, short stories and a growing number of novels-in-progress. She publishes in English and Hungarian and finds inspiration in reading, paintings and music. She writes about everything which comes in her way or goes bump in the night. She tries to find the magical in the everyday and likes to spy on the secret life of cities and their inhabitants. Previous publications include: The Casket of Fictional Delights, Tincture Journal, Enchanted Conversation. Fundead Publications.
Follow her on Twitter: @Fanni_Pumpkin

A frog sat on a lily pad watching the mayflies. A shadow fell across the pond and the flies whizzed away. The frog sighed—she was wearing gumboots today.
“C’mon,” the princess said, wading into the pond. “Just one little kiss.”
The ripples made the lily pads bob like boats in a tempest. The frog dived beneath the agitated surface and hid among the lily roots.

The next day, the princess came back with an excavator. She drove the excavator into the pond and within half an hour she had emptied it of weed, water, mud and pond life. She poked gloomily among the expiring minnows and tadpoles. No frog. But there was a toad. A toad that tried to crawl out of the way, but the princess was too quick. She pounced and raised the bemused creature to her pouting lips.
“At last,” she breathed, “I will have my very own prince.”
The toad croaked and squirmed, but the lips came closer and smacked upon its broad mouth.

In a ditch by the trees beyond the wreckage of the pond, the frog watched sadly. His fairy frogfather hopped out of the culvert to watch the scene by the pondside.
“Shall I?”
“It’s the only way to stop her,” the frog said with a heavy sigh.
So the fairy frogfather waved a willow wand, and the toad turned into a great, green, warty, and very hungry, swamp ogre. And that was the end of the frog prince nonsense.

Jane Dougherty is Irish, brought up in Yorkshire and now living in South-West France. She writes stories where the magical and the apocalyptic mesh, where horror and romance meet, and the real and the imaginary cohabit on the same page. Her first YA post-apocalyptic fantasy trilogy is published by Finch Books. She has self-published three collections of short stories, and has poetry and short fiction published in anthologies, literary journals and magazines.
Amazon author page HERE

Covers: Amanda Bergloff
Check out Guy's "Night Walking" Book
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AMOffenwanger said...

Haha, I love the swamp ogre.
What great "save yourselves" stories...

Fanni S said...

Great story, Jane. Fresh and funny.

Jane Dougherty said...

I hope she didn't give it indigestion :)

Jane Dougherty said...

Thank you, Fanni! I enjoyed your empowered Rapunzel too :)

Anonymous said...

These were cool. -Penny Jo McAllister

Merril D. Smith said...

Fun re-tellings of these fairy tales!

Guy S. Ricketts said...

Loved these stories and how they defy the conventional endings. Both are very clever and smile-inducing 🙂

Unknown said...

I loved both stories. Jane, I wasn't surprised you turned the toad into "a great, green, warty, and very hungry, swamp ogre." A perfect ending to the Frog Prince. Have you read THE FROG PRINCE, CONTINUED by Jon Scieszka?

Jane Dougherty said...

No, I haven't but I bet I'd like it :) Thanks Michelle!

Jane Dougherty said...

Thank you, Guy. If you smiled, it worked :)

Jane Dougherty said...

Thank you!

Unknown said...

The Rapunzel story is triumphant. Powerful imagery.

Fanni S said...

Thank you very much :3 I was always a bit tired of the princesses who waited to be saved.