Cattenborg part II

May 21, 2010 at 10:26 am (Fairy Tales, Humor, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , )

One day, when the Prince and she were sitting in the garden, Brigit turned her head towards the forest and saw her mother appear, running along with a saucepan, and her father following with the ladle. She couldn’t help laughing loudly when she saw their continued folly. When the Prince asked her what was so funny, she didn’t know how to answer, so she said as she was taught: “I just thought how different it was at home in my beautiful castle Cattenborg.” 

“You are always talking of your beautiful castle Cattenborg,” pouted the Prince, “I think it is about time we went there and got married!” 

Brigit was worried, because, as far as she knew, there was no castle Cattenborg, and if there was, it certainly wasn’t hers. She told Alphonse her worries, because really, they were sort of his fault. 

“Don’t worry,” responded the cat, “just put your trust in me, and you will see it bring you happiness. Go to the Prince and tell him to get everything ready for a long journey. We can leave tomorrow if he likes.” 

Brigit was skeptical of this unknown plan, for she could see no way out of it, but Alphonse had never led her wrong, so she told the Prince to make ready for a journey to her castle. Early the next morning they set off in a long procession. The King and Queen sat in the state BMW convertible with the Prince and his betrothed; and after them followed the fancy cars of all the rest of the royal court. It was a splendid sight to see. 

When night fell, they procession found a five-star hotel near the road, for they were prepared for a long journey of several days. Now it happens that this hotel was in the territory of a terrible troll. Every night he went out robbing and stealing and he hid his huge heaps of loot in his castle. The castle was beautiful, made of silver with a roof of gold and windows made of diamonds. The troll that lived in the castle was an ordinary sort of troll, with a long tail, big nose, and ears that stuck right out of his head. He wasn’t very old, for a troll that is, only five hundred years — a mere youth when compared to his relatives — and he hoped to live to a thousand. He had no fear that he wouldn’t reach his goal, for the only thing he had to fear was the sun. Like most inherently evil things, trolls can’t stand broad daylight, and turn to dust in the sunshine. This was a simple thing to avoid, he believed, for all he had to do was return home before sunrise. 

Clever Alphonse knew all this about the troll, and when everyone else was asleep in the camp, he ran as fast as he could to the troll’s castle. It was a long distance to the castle, and it was nearing morning when he arrived. He jumped into the extra-large key-hole of the heavy oak door and changed shape into a bun (because all cats can shape change), filling up every bit of the wide hole. 

By now it was early morning, and the sky had begun to turn red in anticipation of dawn. Heavy troll steps were heard approaching the castle, and the ground shook and trembled. The troll was a bit later than usual this morning, so he had the key to the front door already in his hand. He tried to stick the key in the hole, but it was blocked by Alphonse, the cat-turned-bun. The troll flew into a rage. 

“Open, Open!” he cried and knocked at the door. 

“Oh, please, just wait a little while, till I’ve told you my story,” said Alphonse the bun in a quiet voice. 

“At first they kneaded me, 

So that they could knead me to death.” 

“Open! Open!” cried the troll again. 

“You must just wait a little, little while, till I’ve told you my story. 

At first they kneaded me, 

So that they could knead me to death. 

And then they floured me, 

So that they could flour me to death — ” 

“Open! Open!” cried the troll, knocking furiously at the door and yanking on the handle. 

“Don’t interrupt me; it’s terribly rude.  Haven’t I said that I must first tell you my story? 

At first they kneaded me, 

So that they could knead me to death. 

And then they floured me, 

So that they could flour me to death. 

And then they rolled me out, 

So that they could roll me to death.” 

Now the troll flew into such a rage that he knocked with his fists and kicked with his heavy combat boots, and for a moment it seemed as if the whole castle was about to fall down. But the bun went on calmly as before: 

“Can’t you hear? I must first tell you my story. 

At first they kneaded me, 

So that they could knead me to death. 

And then they floured me, 

So that they could flour me to death. 

And then they rolled me out, 

So that they could roll me to death. 

And then they baked me, 

So that they could bake me to death –” 

By now the troll had become really afraid, and he begged for his life in quite a humble way. “Oh dear, dear! Open! Please let me in!” 

But the bun remained where it was, and said suddenly: “Turn around and see that hot chick on a motorcycle coming this way.” 

The troll stupidly turned around, and looked directly into the rising sun. He fell over, turned into stone, and then exploded into a pile of dust. Nothing was left of the troll but the dust, and that was soon vacuumed up by a servant. 

Alphonse turned back into a cat, and jumped down from the key-hole. He went into the castle and told the poor enslaved servants that they were free of the ugly troll, and that soon their new mistress, who was kind and fair and gave huge Christmas bonuses, the beautiful Princess of Cattenborg, was about to arrive with her fiancé. He told them to prepare for a magnificent wedding. All the former slaves were so excited about their freedom and the upcoming party, that they threw their hats in the air and celebrated. 

The Queen, who sat in the first car, told the chauffeur to stop. “What is all the fuss about?” she asked one of the celebrants. 

“We are only greeting our returning employer, the beautiful Princess of Cattenborg!” The dancing man responded. 

Everyone was very surprised at the extravagance for such a simple occasion (the return of their boss), but none was as surprised as Brigit, who had never seen this castle or those people in her life. The wedding was that night, and the prince and princess lived happily ever after with their faithful cat, Alphonse. 

Want to read the real thing? Head over to your local library, and check out Fairy Tales from Sweden. It is a fabulous out of print book with all sorts of cute fairytales.

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Cattenborg part I

May 12, 2010 at 11:26 am (Fairy Tales, Humor, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , )

Once upon a time, there was a woodcutter and his wife who lived with their two children at the edge of the forest. All the couple owned was a chainsaw, a cow, and a cat (they rented their cottage). The woodcutter and his wife bickered all day long. If he liked a thing, she disliked it. If he wanted something, she wanted something else. One day, the wife tried to make peace by making a pudding for her husband. As she made the pudding, she thought “He won’t be satisfied with this fabulous pudding I am working so hard on. I’ll bet he will grumble all while eating it.” At that very same moment that the wife was making the pudding, the woodcutter was thinking to himself “I will eat whatever vile thing my wife makes me to eat. But she will grumble all the while. I will have no peace.” Both thought the other started the quarrels.

At dinner that night the pudding was so good that the woodcutter ran to the kitchen to lick up all the little bits of leftover pudding in the pan. The wife ran in after him, and snatched the pan away, shouting that since she had worked so hard to make the pudding, she should get the scraps. He shouted that it was his house, and his hard work that provided their food, so he should get to eat the pudding. With a final shout of “It’s not even your house! We rent it!” she ran away with the pan, and he followed after with the ladle. Their two children stood at the doorway, watching as their parents ran off into the distance.

A few days passed, and the boy and girl watched and waited for their parents to return, but they never did. Finally, they acknowledged that waiting was futile (they had been given notice by their landlord for not paying rent on the cottage), and so they planned to divide the assets and try to make their ways in the world.

“I will take the cow,” proclaimed Markku. He thought he was being quite generous, considering under normal circumstances he would get everything. “And you may have the cat.”

Just as Brigit was about to protest at the unfairness of this division, the cat, named Alphonse,  rubbed against her leg and said, “I promise you will never regret your choice if you take me.”

Brigit picked the cat up, and said to her brother, “Yes, you may keep the cow Markku. I’ll take Alphonse.”

Markku couldn’t believe his luck, and quickly ran out the door with the cow, snatching up the chainsaw and shouting good-bye to his sister so that she wouldn’t have a chance to change her mind. When the door slammed behind Markku, Alphonse turned to Brigit and said, “If you do exactly what I tell you to do, I will bring you great happiness.” Brigit promised to follow the cat’s instructions, because she hadn’t the slightest idea what else to do.

“Let’s go,” said Alphonse, “We don’t want to still be here when the landlord comes to kick us out. We will take the path through the forest, rather than taking the high road like Markku did.”

The forest was very eerie, and Brigit was a little bit frightened as they walked between the fir trees, for she knew that trolls lived in the forest. But she and Alphonse walked on and on, until Brigit was so tired she could hardly take another step. Alphonse told her that she could rest, but only if she took off all her clothes and gave them to him. She did, and then Alphonse ripped her clothing into shreds and scattered the pieces on the forest floor.

“Hey! Those were my only clothes. What have you done?” Shouted Brigit.

“Don’t ask questions,” replied Alphonse, “just do as you’re told. It is all part of the plan. Now hide in that tree.”

Brigit did as she was told, and climbed the tree. Alphonse then ran off to the royal castle that was not too far away. Brigit was frightened of being all alone in the forest, with nothing to cover her nakedness but her hair, but she trusted the cat, and waited for him to return.

Once Alphonse arrived at the castle, he told everyone he met about the horrible disaster that had befallen his mistress while they traveled through the forest. He told them that he was the only one other than the princess who survived.  He told them that a vicious gang of thugs had attacked them, killing and dragging everyone away, and stealing all the princess’s fine clothes and jewelry. “Now she is hiding in a tree and won’t come down because she is naked.”

The king heard about this and was very upset that such a thing could happen in his kingdom. The prince heard this and wanted to rescue the beautiful and naked girl. “Oh, Father! Do let me go rescue the naked, I mean unfortunate, girl. I would love to see, I mean help, her!”

The king decided to let his son lead the rescue mission for the princess, but before he left, the queen sent a maid along with a fine dress, so that the princess would be properly clothed when she got out of her tree.

When the rescue party’s stretch hummer arrived, the Princess’s entourage was nowhere to be found, but there were signs of a violent fight and bits of cloth littering the ground.

“Princess?” called Prince Diederick Joop Nard Canute Ragmar Edsel Helmfreid IV. “”Where are you Princess? It is I, Prince Diederick Joop Nard Canute Ragmar Edsel Helmfreid IV come to rescue you!”

“OH! Why, hello,” responded Brigit. “You see, I can’t come down out of this tree. I am naked.”

The Prince opened his mouth to say something, but the maid cut him off, “Princess, we have clothing for you. Which tree are you in? I will climb up and help you get dressed.”

Brigit indicated her hiding spot, and the maid climbed up into the branches. A few minutes passed, and then the maid and Brigit climbed down out of the tree. Prince Diederick was stunned by the beauty of Brigit, and immediately invited her to stay at his father’s castle.

Brigit had never dreamed of such wondrous things like the gown she now wore, and the castle she would be staying in. Luckily clever Alphonse had, and had planned for just this possibility. He warned Brigit that whenever she did not know what to do, she should say “It was quite different at home in my beautiful castle Cattenborg.”

When the rescue party, Brigit and Alphonse arrived at the castle, she was received very cordially by the King and Queen. The King was very impressed with the beauty and manners of his guest, as was the Queen. The Queen, however, had some doubts about Brigit’s royal birth (she was related to Queen Henrietta, of the pea incident, and is therefore naturally suspicious). Because her son had told her that he planned on marrying this beautiful princess, she devised a plan to test the legitimacy of Brigit’s royal heritage.

Before diner, the Queen sent Brigit a marvelous gown with a long train, thinking “If she is a real princess she will certainly know how to walk in it.” For no one wears gowns like that anymore, unless it is for a royal function.

Alphonse saw the Queen’s scheme, and set off at once to warn Brigit and teach her how to walk in a dress with a train. He soon left, however, to see what other tests the Queen had in mind. He found the Queen in the large banqueting hall where she was talking with the master of Ceremonies.

“If she is truly a royal princess, she must know that we use the silver cups for the first course and the gold ones for the second,” said the Master of Ceremonies.

Alphonse was too late to warn his mistress, for the guests were already arriving for dinner, and Brigit had already walked into the banqueting hall. She was wearing the magnificent gown with the long train, and she had a golden crown on her head — a gift from Prince Diederick Joop Nard Canute Ragmar Edsel Helmfreid IV. Everyone looked in wonder at the beautiful foreign princess. Only the Queen doubted her royal birth.

Once all the Guests were seated, the Queen made the signal that they should taste the wine. She waited to see what her guest would do. Just as Brigit was about to take the golden cup, because it was closer to the plate, she felt Alphonse scratching at her leg. She felt he must be warning her, so she reached for the silver cup instead; the scratching stopped, and she drank from that cup. The Prince nudged his mother in the ribs several times to make sure she noticed that the girl had taken the correct cup, and must therefore be a princess.

Even though her son was convinced, the Queen still wasn’t quite sure of Brigit’s royal heritage; she had to have absolute proof! So before Brigit went to bed that night, the Queen snuck into the guest room and placed a straw under the sheet. “Henrietta’s pea-under-the-mattress theory is insane, but she did have the basis of a good idea! If the girl really is a princess, she cannot help but notice the straw in her bed,” she thought.

Once again Alphonse, the sneaky cat, witnessed the Queen’s devious plot. When Brigit retired that night, Alphonse told her of the Queen’s newest plan, and told her what to say the next morning.

At breakfast the next day the Queen asked Brigit how she had slept during the night.

“Thank you, your Majesty, I slept quite well, because I was very tired; but I felt as if I slept in 100-thread count sheets. I am sure I’m covered in scratches. How different it was in my beautiful castle Cattenborg!”

This little speech convinced the Queen that Brigit must be a very high-born princess, and had no further objections to her son marrying the girl. So they were betrothed, and Prince Diederick Joop Nard Canute Ragmar Edsel Helmfreid IV asked Brigit when they could travel to her beautiful castle Cattenborg to get married. But she had no answer to give him.

Want to read the rest of the story? Tune in next week!

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Jack and the Beanstalk

April 3, 2010 at 10:29 pm (Fairy Tales, Humor, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , )

Once upon a time there was a poor widow who lived with her son, Jack, and their cow, Milky-White (real original name there). Every morning Jack would milk the cow and he and his mother would sell it at the market. Milky-White’s milk was their only source of income, but she was getting old and one day she no longer gave milk. The poor widow and Jack were not very good investors (preferring to use the Bank of Under their mattress), and so because they had no milk to sell they only had enough money to last them through the week.

“Oh! What shall we do? Jack! Go get a job!” Cried the Widow.

“Don’t worry Mother; I am sure to get a job in no time.” Jack said from the couch as he played an outmoded version of a video game.

“You think you can get a job in this economy? With no job experience? And no skills? No, we must sell Milky-White, and use the money to start a shop or something like that.” His mother replied. “Now get up, and go sell Milky-White!”

Jack said “OK,” and continued sitting playing his game.

“I said NOW!” Yelled his mother.

Jack scrambled up, and ran outside to grab Milky-White. He then started off towards the market with the cow. He never made it all the way to the market however, because he met a strange little man part way there.

“Good Morning Jack!” Said the little man.

“Ummm, Good Morning,” replied Jack, wondering how this stranger knew his name.

“Where are you off to on this fine morning, Jack?” Asked the creepy little man.

“To the market, to sell this cow,” Jack had never learned about stranger-danger, and so he continued talking to the man with Stalker-like tendencies.

“Oh, you look the proper sort of chap to sell cows,” said the stalker. “I wonder if you know how many beans make five.”

“Two in each hand and one in your mouth,” says Jack, in a snarky sort of way, wondering what beans had to do with his cow.

“Right you are,” says the man, “and here they are, the very beans themselves,” he went on, pulling out of his pocket a number of strange-looking beans. “As you are so sharp,” says he, “I don’t mind doing a swap with you — your cow for these beans.”

Jack was very confused, he was just joking when he had answered the bean question. How the heck had ‘two in each hand, and one in your mouth’ been the right answer?”You must be crazy,” said Jack. “My cow is worth much more than your little beans. Now, I really must get to the market. See ya.”

“No, no, no. You don’t understand, Jack. These are Magic Beans. If you plant them overnight, by morning they grow right up to the sky.”

“Seriously, dude. I don’t want the beans. I’m going now.”

Jack tried to leave, but the little man blocked his path. Two more little men appeared out of nowhere to prevent Jack from going home. “Now, Jack, if these beans don’t do what I say, then you can have the cow back tomorrow. Trust me.”

Jack didn’t believe the menacing stalker-man, but he didn’t see any way out of this conversation, except to accept the little man’s offer. So he said, “Ok, fine, I’ll take the stupid beans. Can I go home now?”

The little creep grabbed the cow, handed Jack the beans, and disappeared.

When Jack got home, his mother said, “Back so soon? I don’t see Milky-White anywhere, so you must have sold her. How much did you get?”

Jack held out his hand holding the five beans, and tried to explain that he had basically been mugged. His mother would have none of his excuses, and confiscated the beans and sent him to bed with no supper. She looked down at the beans, bared her teeth, and threw them angrily out the window. Why was she so unlucky as to have such an idiotic son?

The next morning Jack woke up to a room that looked different. His window faced towards the East, so normally when he woke up it was filled with light, but his morning, what little light came through the window was tinted green. He got up (which was very unusual for him to do without being yelled at by his mother), and looked out the window. HE saw a huge green beanstalk soaring high into the sky. The top of the beanstalk was so high it was obscured by the clouds.

Jack was too afraid to face his mother, so he jumped out the window and began to climb the beanstalk. He climbed, and he climbed, and he climbed, and he climbed some more. Then he climbed, and climbed, and climbed, and climbed even further, until, finally, he reached the top of the beanstalk.

Jack looked around in wonder at the world above the clouds. He had never seen anything like this, even in video games. The trees were ten times larger than the trees at home, the road was four times wider than the roads at home, and the house at the end of the lane was at least six times as large as the King’s Palace in the land below the clouds. Jack followed the huge road all the way to the huge house. When he arrived at the house, he found a giant woman bringing in the morning paper.

“Please mum, I have traveled very far this morning, and haven’t had anything to eat since yesterday morning. May I perhaps have some breakfast?” It turns out that Jack did know how to be polite.

“Its breakfast you want, is it?” says the great big tall woman. “It’s breakfast you’ll be if you don’t move off from here. My husband is an ogre and there’s nothing he likes better than boys broiled on toast. You’d better be moving on or he’ll be coming in from milking the cows.”

“Oh please, mum!” Pleaded Jack, “I might as well be broiled, for I shall surely die of hunger if you do not broil me.”

The Ogre’s wife (Whose name was Francine) took pity on the boy, and brought him inside for some breakfast. Jack had only eaten half of his extra-large portion of French toast when Thump, Thump, THUMP. The house began to tremble with the sound of a very large someone approaching.

“Oh dear, it’s my husband,” exclaimed Francine “Quick, hide in the oven!”

Jack jumped into the oven just as the Ogre came inside the house.

“Good morning, Max! What would you like for breakfast, dear?”

Jack peeked out of the oven window and saw the giant ogre unhook three calves from his belt buckle.

“Broil the calves up for me; they should make an excellent breakfast.” Replied Max the Ogre as he gave his wife a kiss. “What is this I smell?

Fee-fi-fo-fum,
I smell the blood of an Englishman,
Be he alive, or be he dead,
I’ll have his bones to grind my bread.”

“Nonsense, darling, you just need to take a shower, that is all. Or perhaps it is the leftovers from the little boy you had yesterday for dinner. You go tidy up, and when you are dressed breakfast will be ready.” With that Francine shooed her husband out of the room.

Jack was just about to jump out of the oven, when Francine stopped him. “Just wait till after breakfast, Max always takes a snooze after he eats.” So Jack waited. Max came back from his very short shower, and ate breakfast. After he ate, the Ogre went over to a large chest, and took out two large bags of gold. He put the bags by his boots, and then fell asleep on the couch. Francine freed Jack from the oven, then went off to make the bed. While she was away, Jack snatched the bags of gold, and ran to the beanstalk. He dropped the bags of gold down to the world below, and climbed back to his mother’s house.

“Look Mother! I have two bags of gold from the beanstalk! It wasn’t such a waste getting those beans for Milky-White!”

The days passed, and like many people who have a sudden windfall, they spent the money on all sorts of ridiculous things until they had run out of gold.

“Jack! We have run out of money once again! Stop playing that stupid video game, and get a job!”

“Mother, why don’t I just go back up the beanstalk? I am sure I can get more gold from the ogres.”

Jack’s mother was against stealing, but, like many villagers, she believed that ogres were monsters undeserving of gold. She also knew that Jack would never get a job, because he was a deadbeat loser. So back up the beanstalk Jack went.

Things progressed as they had before, but this time, he saw Max the ogre playing with a hen that laid a golden egg every time it was told “lay.” Jack waited until Max was napping, and Francine was making the bed, then he took off with the hen. As he was running out, the hen gave a loud squawk and woke Max.

“What? Francine, Where is my hen?” Max shouted.

“Why?” Shouted back Francine, but Jack never heard the reply, for he was already climbing down the beanstalk.

He and his mother were very glad of the golden hen, but soon became greedy and dissatisfied with only having golden eggs. So Jack went up the beanstalk for a third time. This time Jack knew that Francine wouldn’t let him back in the house; too much had gone missing after he had been there. So he waited, hidden in the bushed, until Francine came out for the morning paper, then he crept into the house and hid in the copper milk jug by the breakfast table.

Thump, Thump. THUMP! In came the ogre. “Fee-fi-fo-fum, I smell the blood of an Englishman,” shouted Max. “I smell him, Francine, I smell him.”

“If it is that little punk who stole your gold and hen, then he will have hidden in the oven like the last two times!” Francine looked in the oven, but Jack wasn’t there. “Oh! It must be the boy you caught last night. I forgot that I had broiled him this morning for your breakfast. Silly me.”

“I would have sworn that I smelled a live English boy…” muttered Max as he ate his broiled boy on toast.

After Breakfast, Max brought out his new toy: a golden harp that sang when it was told to. The harp sung the ogre to sleep, and Francine went off to make the bed. Then Jack hopped out of the milk jug, grabbed the harp, and ran for the door. The harp gave a shriek, and called out “Master! Master, this boy is trying to steal me!”

The ogre woke up and chased after Jack, following him all the way to the beanstalk which Jack scrambled quickly down. Max hesitated at the beanstalk, afraid it couldn’t hold his weight, but then his anger overcame his fear and he followed Jack down the beanstalk.

Jack was very fast, and made it all the way to the ground before the ogre even made it out of the clouds. He then ran and grabbed the ax, and started cutting down the beanstalk. He chopped and chopped, until the beanstalk toppled over. The giant just managed to grab a hold of the world above, saving himself from certain death.

Jack and his mother never learned to live modestly with their new-found wealth, and were often stolen from. Max and Francine Ogre learned to never trust little boys, and got a guard dog. No one lived very happily ever after, except for Jack, for he never did have to get a job.

Want to read an original version? Check out http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/type0328jack.html

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The Three Spinners

March 8, 2010 at 9:04 pm (Fairy Tales, Humor, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , )

Once upon a time there was a girl who was very lazy and would not do her spinning. Her mother tried all sorts of things to get Belinda to spin but none of them worked, and Belinda sat in her room, doing nothing. Finally, her mother had had enough, and began to beat her lazy daughter. Just then, the Queen was walking by — the queen regularly went on walks down the main shopping streets of the city, and Belinda’s family owned a high-end thread shop — and heard the sounds of the loudly-crying girl. The queen walked into the house (which was open because it doubled as a shop) and saw the woman beating her daughter.

“Why are you beating your daughter? Don’t you know that everyone on the street can hear her cries?” Now, you see, no one really cared that the girl was being beaten (for in Fairytale Land it is ok to spank your children, because if you are a wicked-type person you will be punished in the end, but if you are a good-type person you will live happily ever after, thus good parents can beat their children with no fear) but they did care that her cries were disrupting their morning shopping.

“Your Majesty, I apologize for disrupting your morning shopping, but I had to do something to stop my daughter from spinning.” This was a complete lie of course, but the Mother of Belinda was really embarrassed by her lazy daughter.

“Why is that a problem? Who wouldn’t want a daughter who is so willing to help her family.”

“Your Majesty, the problem is that I cannot get her to stop, and I will soon run out of flax for her to spin.”

“Well,’ said the Queen, “I like nothing better than the sound of the spinning wheel, and always feel happy when I hear its humming; let me take your daughter with me to the castle- I have plenty of flax, she shall spin there to her heart’s content.”

The mother was torn, she wanted to get rid of her lazy daughter, but she didn’t want the Queen to know that she had lied. “Well, umm…” She began, but the Queen stopped her: “I know that you will miss your daughter horribly, so I will offer you 100 gold coins for her services.”

The mother couldn’t pass up that generous offer, and soon the girl was sent off to the castle.

Once the Queen and Belinda arrived at the castle, the girl was hurried off to a set of rooms that contained more flax than she had ever set eyes on. In the center of the very large room (in the only clear space) sat a sinning wheel.  Belinda stood there in shock for a few moments staring at all the flax.

The Queen squeezed into the room behind Belinda and said, “Now spin me this flax, and when you have spun all of it into the finest thread, you may marry my eldest son, Francois.”

“Really?” asked Belinda. “I am poor, and I thought that only a princess could marry a prince.”

“As there are no Princesses available for my son to marry, I am a little bit desperate, and if you manage to spin all this flax, I will consider it dowry enough.”

The queen left the room, and Belinda continued to stare at all the flax. The room was as big as three regular-sized rooms, and the flax was piled all the way up to the soaring ceiling. There was no way she could spin all that flax even if she spent every minute of every day and night for the next three hundred years spinning, that is, if she had done as her mother had asked and learned to spin.

Once the shock of the sheer volume of flax wore off, Belinda broke down and sobbed. And cried. And wailed. And made quite a ruckus. For three entire days Belinda wept. One the third day, the Queen came in and saw that Belinda had not spun a singe bit of flax.

“What have you been doing these past three days?” inquired the slightly annoyed Queen.

“I have not been able to work, Your Majesty, for grief of leaving my mother.”

“Well, she isn’t dead. She may come to the wedding. Tomorrow you will spin the flax.”

Once the Queen left her alone, Belinda sat on the floor wonder what to do. If only she had learned to spin! But alas, she was a lazy girl, and had not. She soon got bored of sitting on the floor, and climbed over all the flax to look out the window. A few minutes passed, then Belinda saw three women passing by. They were hideous — one had a huge foot, one had an enormous thumb, and the last had a giant lip.

Belinda was still weeping, and her sniffles attracted the attention of the three women. They asked her what the matter was, and Belinda told them of her troubles with the room full of flax and the Queens outrageous expectations. The three women offered to help her spin the flax, on one condition: that Belinda invite them to the wedding as her aunts, have them sit at the familial wedding table and not be ashamed of their hideous figures.

“Yes! Yes! Of course!” Cried Belinda.

The three women came in and began to work. One drew the thread and trod on the wheel with her huge foot, one moistened the thread with her enormous lip, and the last pressed it and beat it on the table with her giant thumb and every time she did so, a pile of fine thread fell on the floor.

Every day the Queen came in to check on the progress of the spinning. When she arrived, Belinda hid the three women, and sat at the spinning wheel herself. The Queen praised her for her excellent work. After a week all the flax was spun, and the three spinner women left, reminding Belinda to remember their bargain.

The Queen came in to the empty room, and was very impressed at the speed and skill with which the girl had spun the flax into thread. The wedding was arranged, and Belinda remembered to invite the three spinners and seat them at the table with Belinda and her new Husband, Prince Francois.

When the three hideous women arrived, Belinda exclaimed “Oh, Welcome, my dearest aunts! What fine dresses you have.”

The Prince looked at the women, and looked at Belinda, and then leaned over to her and whispered “How is it you have such ugly relations, when you are so beautiful.”

Belinda just smiled, and went off to do the Father-Daughter dance. While Belinda was off dancing, Prince Francois approached the three hideous spinners. “Why is it you have such a large foot?” He tactlessly asked the first woman.

“It is from threading and treading a spinning wheel,” she responded.

“Why is it you have such an enormous lip?” He again tactlessly asked the second woman.

“It is from moistening the thread for spinning,” she replied.

He went up to the third sister, and, with just as little tact as before, asked “Why do you have such a gigantic thumb?”

“From pressing the thread after spinning it,” she cackled.

The Prince panicked at the thought that his lovely wife could turn out to look like these revolting women. Belinda came to him after her dance with her father. Francois grabbed her shoulders and said “I forbid you from ever spinning ever ever again! I couldn’t bear for you to end up looking like those… spinner women.” His revulsion suited Belinda’s laziness quite well, and she lived happily ever after with her Prince. The three spinners also lived happily ever after, with a nice supply of fine flax donated from the happily married couple.

THE END.

If you would like to check out an original version of the story go to http://www.bartleby.com/17/2/8.html

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Puss in Boots

February 17, 2010 at 1:05 am (Fairy Tales, Humor, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , )

Once upon a time an old miller died and left very little to his three sons: the mill, the donkey, and the cat. Instead of dividing up the inheritance and giving each son an equal worth, the miller took the easy road, and gave each of his sons one item (because, really, what did he care if they fought and were angry with their portion, he would be dead). So the oldest son got the mill, the middle son got the donkey, and the youngest son got the cat. 

Now the youngest son, Ricky, was no dummy. He knew that he was getting the short end of the stick with the cat as his only inheritance. The oldest brother had a mill, and could do all those miller things that earn money. The middle son got the donkey and could get hired by the oldest brother to use his donkey at the mill. But Ricky only had a cat. They weren’t going to hire him to use his cat as a mouser when it would be so much cheaper to buy (or capture) a cat of their own. 

So Ricky sat down and wailed in despair, for after he had eaten the cat and used its fur as a muff, he would have nothing but a cat-fur muff and no food. The cat, named Ferdinand, did not want to be eaten and made into a muff, and so he devised an ingenious plan. He went up to Ricky and said: “Master Ricky, if you trust me, I will make you rich.”

“OK, Boots,” said Ricky, “what do you need me to do?” 

Wait a minute. A cat is talking. Why doesn’t anyone notice that animals don’t normally speak human languages? Why is no one surprised? Well, I don’t have an answer for that. Just remember this story takes place in Fairytale Land where anything is possible (even a cat turning into a loaf of bread). 

Ferdinand responded to Ricky’s question, “I need you to get me a bag, and have a pair of boots made for me, and then I can help you. And my name is Ferdinand, not Boots.” 

Ricky went to get the bag and have the boots made; all the time wondering why a cat would need a pair of boots. But he got the items anyway and gave them to Ferdinand the cat. Ferdinand was very pleased with his leather boots, and set off at once to carry out his plan. 

Ferdinand took his bag and his newly booted feet out to a field put some barley and carrots in the bag. Then he lay down, pretending to be dead. A rabbit jumped in his bag to get at the food, and Ferdinand closed the bag with the rabbit inside of it. Ferdinand took his prize to the king, and presented it to him as a gift. “Sir,” Ferdinand said, “I have brought you a rabbit from my noble lord, the Master of Carabas.” Ferdinand had chosen this name for Ricky because he liked the sound of it, and he wanted to get back at Ricky for always calling him ‘Boots’ instead of Ferdinand. 

The King was baffled that a cat had brought a single dead rabbit as a gift from this ‘Master of Carabas.’ But he thanked the cat, and sent him on his way. Ferdinand then went back to the field and caught several partridges in the same manner as before. He gave one to Ricky (“Oh, thank you Boots!” “My name isn’t Boots!”), and took the rest to the King. 

Once more Ferdinand sauntered into the castle and presented the gift of a brace of partridges to the King. He continued bringing gifts to the king, claiming they were from his master, the Marquis of Carabas, over the course of a few months (Ricky just sat back and relaxed as Ferdinand brought him food and comic books). The King was baffled by his behavior and the increasing size of the gifts (the last of which was an elk). 

One day, Ferdinand knew the king and his daughter (the most beautiful princess in the world) would be traveling by a nearby stream in his carriage. Ferdinand told Ricky to take a bath in that stream and to start shouting “thieves” when Ferdinand signaled to him.”Ok, Boots, I trust that you have a plan.” “My name is NOT Boots. The other 13 cats in the village are named Boots. I am Ferdinand!” 

While Ricky bathed, Ferdinand stole his clothes and hid them under a rock. Then, when the king was riding by in the carriage, Ferdinand signaled Ricky to start yelling. As Ricky yelled, Ferdinand ran in front of the carriage. It stopped, and the king and his daughter looked out to see what the commotion was. 

“Sir! Help! My Lord Marquis of Carabas is going to be drowned.” 

The king, who had become fond of the peculiar cat, ordered his men to immediately pull the cat’s master out of the stream. They saw that he was naked (the King shielded his daughter’s eyes), and the King ordered for his men to retrieve a suit of clothes for Ricky. While they waited for the clothes, Ferdinand explained to the king and princess that his master had been bathing in the stream when a pack of thieves set upon him. When they could not drown his master, they had stolen his clothes. 

When the clothes arrived, and Ricky had dressed, the King invited him to ride in the royal carriage with him and his daughter (named Sophia).  Sophia saw that Ricky looked very nice in the clothes (and from the glimpse she had seen before her father had covered her eyes, very nice out of them too) and took a secret liking to the handsome ‘lord.’ Ricky accepted, and got in the carriage. 

Ferdinand ran ahead to all the fields along the path and told the workers “My good fellows, if you do not tell the king that all this grain belongs to the Marquis of Carabas, you shall be chopped up like mincemeat.” They all agreed, fearing the wrath of the small talking cat (for these men had never before encountered a talking animal, and thus feared its power). So when the king passed by, the workers told him that the prosperous fields they worked belonged to the Marquis of Carabas. The king was very impressed by the Prosperity of the man he thought was a lord. 

Ferdinand reached a castle at the end of the road, and knew it to be owned by an ogre.  When Ferdinand knocked on the door, the ogre invited the cat in as civilly as an ogre could — which turns out to be very civil, despite what many people believe. 

“My lord Ogre,” began the cat. 

“Call me Bob,” interrupted the ogre. 

“Bob, I have heard that you are the owner of this grand castle, and that you have mighty power — the power even to turn yourself into any creature you have a mind to, such as a lion or an elephant.” 

“That is true. Would you like a demonstration?” Bob asked eagerly, for he did so love to show off his talents. 

“Why yes, I would greatly enjoy that,” Ferdinand replied. So the Ogre turned himself into a big lion. Ferdinand was frightened by the beast, and jumped up onto the roof (Ferdinand was an excellent jumper you see, but his boots were not made for climbing on roofs, so he quickly came down again). 

“That was impressive!” exclaimed the cat. “But can you also turn yourself into a small creature, say a mouse, or rat?” 

“Of course!” shouted the ogre eagerly, and he promptly turned himself into a mouse. Ferdinand wasted no time, and pounced on the ogre turned mouse, and ate him. “Sorry Bob,” said the cat when he had finished eating the mouse. 

Just then the Ricky, the princess and the king arrived at the castle. “Welcome to the castle of the lord Marquis of Carabas!” Ferdinand announced. 

“My, what a grand castle,” said the king. “I hope that you will consider marrying my daughter, Marquis.” 

“Call me Ricky, and yes, I would love to marry Sophia.” This was not an odd occurrence, for many marriages during this time in Fairytale Land happened in just this manner. 

The two were married on the spot, and lived happily ever after, for they had both fallen madly in love with each other during that short carriage ride. 

Ferdinand also lived happily ever after in the castle, with servants of his own. He never had to chase another mouse or bird again, that is, unless he wanted to. But he did still have to put up with being called ‘Boots’ by Ricky. 

Check out an original version of this story at http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/perrault04.html

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The Princess and the Pea

February 11, 2010 at 7:02 pm (Fairy Tales, Humor, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , )

Once upon a time there was a Prince, named Wendell, who never wanted to leave his mother’s side. That’s right; he was a complete mama’s boy. This unfortunate trait was not helped by the fact that his mother the Queen kept telling Wendell every girl he liked was not good enough for him. To prove to her darling boy that these women (princesses mostly) were not worthy of him, the Queen devised a ridiculous plan that would “prove” if a girl was a real princess, for a Prince could only marry a real Princess.

Her plan was to place a pea under 20 mattresses and 20 down comforters, and then any girl who did not feel the pea obviously couldn’t be a real princess. Now, as there is no possible way anyone could feel a pea under that many mattresses, no real princess would ever be found, and the Queen would never lose her darling Wendell to another woman.

One stormy night, a knock sounded on the castle door. Wendell, excited at the prospect of a guest, scurried over to the door and opened it before the butler could. Standing on the doorstep was a girl. A very very wet girl. She might normally be pretty, but just then she looked like a drowned rat — that is how awful the weather was. So Wendell let the girl in.

“I’m so sorry to barge in on you like this,” said the girl, “but it was raining so hard, and my carriage broke down, and yours was the only place nearby.”

“It is no trouble at all, right Mama?” Prince Wendell asked eagerly.

“No dear, it is no trouble at all. I am Queen Henrietta, this is my son Prince Wendell.”

“Thank you, my name is Princess Elizabeth.”

“Welcome Princess Elizabeth. Let me just get the servants to prepare a room for you,” the Queen said with a glint of mischief in her eye.

And so the servants hauled the 20 mattresses and 20 down comforters out of the basement, and into the room where the Queen was placing a pea on the bed frame. When the room was finished the Queen sent a servant to show the girl her room.

Once she arrived in the room, Elizabeth was confronted with the tall tower of mattresses. “How am I supposed to get up there?!” The princess exclaimed. As she looked at the stack of mattresses, she recalled hearing tale of this Queen. One of her friends, Princess Mary, had stayed the night here, and was rudely ejected from the castle after saying she slept well. So Princess Elizabeth devised a plan.

The next morning, Princess Elizabeth woke up early, and climbed from her makeshift bed on the floor, up to the top of the mattress tower. Soon after she finally made it to the top, the servants came to help her get ready and take her to breakfast.

At breakfast Queen Henrietta asked her customary visiting-princess question: “How did you sleep last night?”

Princess Elizabeth, guessing what the Queen was up to, said, “Oh just awfully! My bed was so hard; I hardly slept a wink! I just couldn’t get comfortable all night. I am sure my skin is black and blue. I am surprised that you would allow a guest to sleep on such a horrible bed. I had always heard of your hospitality, Queen Henrietta, but I am afraid that I just can’t agree with what everyone says after last night!”

Prince Wendell poked his mother, and whispered: “Mama! She’s the one! She felt the pea! A real princess. Wow!” The Queen was shocked. How in the world had a bed made of 20 mattresses and 20 down comforters not been soft enough? Whatever the reason, the Queen was trapped; she had to let her son marry this girl.

“Well Princess,” said the Queen, “You have passed my test; you are indeed a real princess. And as a real princess, you may marry my son. I will make plans for the wedding to take place in one week.”

“WHAT?!?!?” Shouted the Princess, leaping to her feet. “I only came here because my carriage broke down. I don’t want to get married. I have a country to run, and I am not going to let some Mama’s boy Prince swoop in and take my power! Oh no! I’m going back to England!” And with that the Princess dashed from the castle, fixed her carriage all by herself, and rode back to England. Where she ruled as Queen for many years and never got married.

The prince and his mama were baffled by the girl’s reaction. They too lived long and happy lives, entertaining not-so real princesses for the rest of their days.

THE END

If you would like to read the original Hans Christian Anderson story of the Princess and the Pea, follow this link: http://hca.gilead.org.il/princess.html

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