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  • The Fairy Tale Magazine

Throwback Thursday: The 1% Fairy Godmother Strata by Janet Bowdan

Editor's Note: Today's Throwback Thursday is a classic tale as seen from a different perspective that you may not expect. Enjoy!

If you ask me, they get more credit than they deserve

swooping down at the last minute with a wand and a fancy


like that’s going to solve all the world’s problems. Where

have they been while the rest of us are struggling to get the


work done? Sure, they came to the naming party, brought a


something useful like “the voice of a lark” or “tresses as gold

as wheat,” flutter of wings, wave of magic wand, bye-bye, see


in 20 years or so once you’ve grown up and gotten interesting.

By which they mean ripe for romance with a side order of


the status quo just to set it right up again claiming to be better at it

than the previous lot. Different, maybe. Less experienced, sure.

And okay, let’s say our fairy godmother pops in, rights a wrong,

restores the lost heiress to her family and high position, throwing in

a makeover while she’s at it: where was everybody else all those years watching as the wicked stepmother abuses her, the oblivious dad

neglects her, the family she doesn’t fit into bullies her? Assuming

a small flock of bluebirds and a couple of mice were going to step up?

Thinking that was going to be sufficient? Why was nobody noticing,

or if noticing, why was nobody trying to help? How is that godchild

going to turn out by the time the fairy g shows up—good, sweet,

patient? What view of the world would you have, left to fend

for yourself?

Janet Bowdan's poems have been published in APR, Denver Quarterly, Clade Song, Verse, Gargoyle, Free State Review, Wordpeace, and other journals, most recently Meat for Tea and Amethyst Arsenic. She teaches at Western New England University and edits the poetry magazine Common Ground Review. She lives in Northampton, Massachusetts, with her husband, son, and sometimes a stepdaughter or two. Image by Emma Florence Harrison.

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Sep 22, 2022

Yes, that girl would turn out savage as h*ll, and maybe that's why no systemic changes. Brilliant!


Sep 22, 2022

Ooh, this is good! Really made me think again about the role of fairy godmother. An internet search for images of fairy godmothers that I did a while back threw up a Cruickshank image of Cinderella and her fairy godmother. Curiously, they were sitting side by side in front of the hearth, as if they regularly had a chat, rather than the godmother only turning up for the dress emergency.

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