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Medicine For The Ailing Mortal, as Told in Seven Stories by Silvatiicus Riddle

Beauty & The Beast

Should you discover the beast of loneliness that haunts the halls

in the castle of your heart: behold the world upon you,

for there be no monster that cannot be alchemized

by the beauty of stillness.

Sleeping Beauty

Should you prick your finger on the spindle of brokenness;

should bracken burst in fractals from the wound:

If the world be your kingdom, and time be your Prince,

Rest now, dear one, for he cuts with a pendulum and not with a sword.

The bracken may wither, but slow goes the cutting,

and the density of the briar is equal

to the depth of your pain.


Should you find yourself plucking the dregs of dreams

from beneath the cinders of a fire,

and tucking them safely into the tattered pockets of a year,

there be no shame in unraveling a spool of tears at your feet.

Tears, like diamonds, fashion the armor of strength–

that with which you rise to meet the world.

Let the finch in the scar and the raven in the wound teach you

the subversive magic of  “no”–a curse on those who wish to bind you;

and one of these midnights, no man, no fool, no wicked stepmother

will keep you from breaching the castle walls.

Snow White

Should you bite into the poisoned apple of lies,

and fall into a deep sleep of false possibility,

let love carry you to beauty, enrobed

in a crystal carapace of tenderness and memories,

and, sure as the moon rises, the prince of truth

will 'rouse you from that wicked, tiny death.

Jack & The Beanstalk

Don't be like Jack.

Just don't.

Hansel & Gretel

Should you find yourself a'wander in the forest of loss,

beware the witch of beguiling, as she is wont to prey

upon the abandoned, the lost, and the broken.

For this: a recipe of breadcrumbs, to lead you home again.

  • 1 Parcel of Flowers

For when belief seems to fatten upon deception,

the grounding of nature will tether you to this realm.

  • 1 Drop of Cunning

To draw the witch closer, that you might see her more clearly.

  • 1 Ounce of Courage

To slam the oven door.

For there is no lie that cannot be fired in the oven of knowledge.

Little Red Riding Hood

Should you meet with wolves in disguise,

remember that wolves were once men,

before swallowing the poison of greed.

They will hunger for your magic, and thirst for your wonder;

Feed them neither, and pay them no mind.

You may be Red, but also the Hunter,

and no one can touch you in these woods.

Your power will catch in the throats of the wolves,

and in your wake, they will starve.

Let them starve.

Silvatiicus Riddle (He/They) is a Rhysling-Nominated Dark Fantasy & Speculative Fiction Writer living on the borderlands of New York City. He's appeared in Abyss & Apex, Dreams & Nightmares, Enchanted Living, Eternal Haunted Summer, and Spectral Realms, among others. You may find him at or Instagram @Silvatiicus

Image by Gustave Dore.



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