January 28, 2021

Throwback Thursday: Roses and Moonlight, By Marcia Sherman

Editor's note: Once again, Marcia has managed to bring something new to the fairy-tale scene, even though this story from 2013 is a take on "Beauty and the Beast"--"a tale as old as time." It's always intriguing to imagine out what happens after the well-known story! 

As long as we did not stay in one place too long, we were safe. We moved every six months or so. We stayed at one house for almost a full year. I would have liked to celebrate two Christmases there. His lands are far reaching, even more than I had suspected. I have lost count of all the villages, hamlets, and towns we called our temporary home. But this time, this place, felt different…felt better. Bellevue was peaceful; oh, so peaceful. I deluded myself with hopes we could stay there forever. And of course we had the babe now.

The villa was perfect. Spacious rooms, grandly furnished, and the private wing for him. That all important separate, protected, space for him. The quiet, the tranquility of those first few weeks seduced me, seduced all of us. I know, I am gushing. But really, how lovely was the lake today, and by dusk I could see the night would be equally fine. The moon seemed to slowly lift right out of the water, a perfect and whole circle, as white as snow. Framed by the mountains on one side, it was an enchanting sight. Several artists had set up their easels hoping to capture just such a moment. A light breeze touched the roses climbing along the balustrade. Not unreasonable for me to stay on the balcony longer than usual. 

Less tourists are out after the evening meal. At the entrance to one store the owner handed out balloons to all the children. And so I sat and admired the normality of it all, lost in thought, lost in the rhythm of rocking with a sleeping babe on my shoulder. I must have dozed off, too. All those sleepless nights. I was accustomed to some disrupted sleep during our newly married life. But as anyone with children will tell you it is rather different after a baby is born. The shouts startled me awake, and the babe too. He set to crying, and in my sleepy frame of mind the cry seemed to sound almost like a howl. I looked down to the square, confused to see some people running toward the villa, pointing, calling to me. Others were running away, ducking into the open shops. It was very muddled. 
Suddenly it all came to one focal point – a sound actually – that baying at the moon. That damned full moon. I came fully awake and realized two things at once – the babe was struggling ferociously to get out of my arms, and his father was on the balcony above mine calling to the moon. I could do nothing for the father – he would bound away soon enough. Come slinking back in the morning. But I could calm my son. My son, who it would appear has come into his legacy. Wild and dilated eyes, scratchy nails, and two lovely fangs. Pearly, pointy little teeth with which he was trying to bite me. I pulled the blanket up and went inside. 

Our most faithful servants – those who know the truth and travel with us always – were at the door calming the townspeople. It was just a great wild dog who had ventured into the courtyard of the villa for a scrap of food and now fled into the woods. Nothing to be frightened of, they had scared it off but good. Everyone is safe here, They assured the crowd. Now is the time, again, for me to pack our personal belongings. We will move on to the next place. Leave them with a great story which will grow into a legend, a myth. There is a castle up in those mountains by the lake. He said it is too secluded. He needs to be closer to people. Twenty-five out of every twenty-eight days he actually enjoys the company of his subjects; and they him. Well, we have a babe now, who will be walking – running - soon. And if I am not mistaken, another on the way. It is time to settle in one place.

You think you know the story. You think – with all the variations – you think you know every possible fairy tale ending. "Belle et la Bête." Her love transformed him. And they lived happily ever after. Until the next full moon. 
Marcia A. Sherman is Mama to one perfect Rose. She writes for Llewellyn Publishing under the name of Emyme, has self-published a children's book "The Splendid, Blended Family," and is writing the Great American Wiccan Novel. 

Cover: Amanda Bergloff @AmandaBergloff
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HulderMN said...

Lovely shot of realism in a fairy tale. Of course she couldn't tame the beast. So she became a little wild herself.
Lovely retelling!

Lauren Mills said...

It was so compelling and magical yet real at the same time. Thank you!!

Kathleen Jowitt said...

One of those stories where one thinks, 'I wish I'd thought of that!' This twist works beautifully, and it's carried off with aplomb. The last line is particularly satisfying.