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Saturday, 26 June 2010

Another adapted fairy tale dripped from My Pen

The tragic tale of Snow White and the Severed Dwarfs in which blood-thinning tablets take much of the blame and Jamie Oliver gets some free publicity

Once upon a time, there was a beautiful queen, who had always wanted to feature in a Gothic tale.  So, one day, while sewing, she deliberately stabbed herself in the finger so that three drops of blood would fall on the snow outside the window.  Unfortunately, she had forgotten that the medication she was taking to thin her blood after a recent clot in her left ankle might make limiting it to three drops difficult.  She lost fourteen pints in all and although she did feature in the Gothic tale as she wished, it was only for three sentences as a Queen and then the rest as a corpse.

This meant that she didn't get to say her lines, which would have been, 'Oh, how I wish I had a beautiful daughter who had lips as red as that blood and skin as white as that snow', which was a little awkward, this being a major plot point.  However, the King, her husband, had a bit on the side who was only too willing to step into the dead Queen's gilded and sequinned shoes.  A bit too willing, in fact, and someone had to explain to her that before she could get her feet into them comfortably, it might be wise to remove them from the corpse first.  This difficulty overcome, the shoes were on, and the new queen moved into the palace.  She dumped the spindle as sewing didn't float her boat.

Luckily, bearing in mind the ruined plot, the new Queen had lips as red as blood and skin as white as snow.  Granted, her lips were thin and mean, and you could only see the red when she pursed them up, and, granted, her skin was only white because of a red cell deficiency, but it meant that when she gave birth to the princess, whose lips were also red (though full and luscious) and whose skin was also white (though naturally so), they looked very similar, if you ignored the Queen's hunched back, wrinkled neck and webbed toes.  (The King had developed poor taste in women of late.  And poor eyesight.)

Snow White grew into a beautiful young woman, very quickly, for the sake of time.

One day, her wicked stepmother-only-not-her-stepmother-but-her-real-mother looked in a mirror.  This was not a good move.  She reared back in horror, saying to the mirror, 'Mirror, mirror, over the fire.  I wish you were a better liar.'  And because Snow White was so much more beautiful, which would still have been the case had she looked like an Elephant Man with scabies, the Queen demanded that her servants take Snow White to the forest, cut out her heart, and bring it back to her in a box.  The servants were surprised, as this was a little different from their normal daily duties, but only that morning they had been moaning about lack of variety in their job, so they were well up for this.

The servants were short.  Very, very short.  This was just as well, as in a blog post, there isn't really time to introduce seven new characters.

In the forest, Snow White kept asking, sweetly and, it has to be said, naively, 'Why have you brought Mummy's set of Jamie Oliver cooking knives and that box with SNOW WHITE'S HEART written on the lid?'  She had to raise her voice to get them to hear, as she was a good height, and the servants only came up to her knees.  But however many times she asked, the servants steadfastly refused to answer, having just done a training course in 'Being Assertive at Work'.

When they said to Snow White, showing that they had not really listened during Lesson 3: Subtlety, 'Lie down on the ground, wench, so that we can cut your heart out and take it back to your stepmother,' she did get a vague impression that they were up to something.  As I said, naive, but then, when your name is Snow White, you're going to surprise people if you're cunning and sly.

She lay down for them, and waited.

'Did you bring the red felt tip pen so we could draw where we're going to cut her?' one of them said.  (She could hear them clearly now she was lying down.)

'You said you were bringing it,' the other one said, and punched his colleague in the face.  (The assertiveness training had definitely not bedded in, then.)

Suddenly, a Prince on a white steed appeared, an inconsistency in the story because how can a white steed appear without the noise of hoofbeats?  Whoops!  Bang goes that Booker prize ceremony!

'Thank goodness you're here,' said Snow White.  'Any minute now, Fran's followers would have given up on this story and, forgive me if I've got this all wrong, but I think I was just about to be divided in two.  I'm so glad you came.'

The two servants, still arguing over who should have brought the red pen, didn't notice as the Prince selected a vegetable knife (there was no point staining a nice shiny carving knife on these two midgets), lopped off their heads (lop, lop) and then pulled Snow White up to join him on his trusty steed.

'No, wait,' said Snow White.  She leapt off again.  'I'm not leaving without that set of knives.'  (She may have been a little gullible, but she was a dab hand in the kitchen, having spent so many hours in her room watching 'Can't Cook, Won't Cook' and 'Masterchef' while trying to keep out of her stepmother-who-was-not-her-stepmother-but-her-real-mother's way.)  'As soon as we get to the castle, I'm going to cook you a fine stew.'

'Castle?' said the Prince.  If she had been able to notice such things, she would have noticed him looking discomfited.  'Er ...'

**************

It had been silly of Snow White, though completely in character, she realised later, not to see that being part of a Gothic tale which had veered so horribly far from the original might mean that some of the later details would also not be guaranteed.  As she and the Prince sat in his caravan and he told her the sad tale of his disgrace and banishment from his father's court, and they nibbled on egg sandwiches, she sighed, and tried not to wish that Fran had stabbed herself properly in the eye with a long fingernail, necessitating a long stay in hospital and keeping her away from her computer and from ruining other people's perfectly good stories.

27 comments:

  1. Fran, that was such fun, was she just a tad dim, you would think she might have twigged what was going on with the 'Snow white's heart' on the box plot giveaway.

    Glad you didnt stab your eye badly enough to write this great story.
    Those handsome princes, all white horses and no castles!

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  2. Brigid - you are quite right. She seemed dim not to twig, so I have adapted the story to make her very dim indeed, so that this is typical.

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  3. Best line, EVER:

    "She dumped the spindle as sewing didn't float her boat."

    Wonderful!

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  4. Kit - thank you for being impressed by my literary inventiveness. I'm sure even Proust would have thought, 'If only I'd written that!'

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  5. Fran, you are completely mad.
    But there are two things I don't believe:

    a) a king with poor eyesight and worse taste has a lot of advisors milling about his court to warn him about a bad judgement call. He'd have kept the 2nd queen in a morganatic relationship. It's what kings do. (Unless you are looking at a Royal House nearer home than fairyland?)

    b) seeing that the king in your story actually married the hunchback with the skin condition, and the two of them promptly produced the simpering beauty (being far from beautiful myself I consider beauty in females much overrated), at what point does no. 2 actually turn into the wicked stepmother? I mean, how does that work?

    I think I should be told. After all, it's bad enough having one's faith in fairy tales shaken - without confusing natural phenomena.

    This comment is nearly as long as your story.

    Sorry.

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  6. Friko - all the advisors were on strike, and the stepmother thing is a mistake, promptly put right, and for notice of which I thank you.

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  7. How politically correct. No dwarfs. Just very short servants. Hired assassins even. Equal rights for all then.

    Do hope you're going to cover burglary and animal cruelty next in a retelling of Goldilocks...

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  8. Steve - Goldilocks got a very short retelling here http://ilurveenglish.blogspot.com/2009/03/fairy-tales-la-tarantino.html

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  9. If I ever have a beautiful stepdaughter, I will do her in myself. It's simply impossible to get good staff these days. Hansel and Gretel next please. It features cake.

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  10. So, the joints in your arms are nearly frozen from repetitive stress injury, causing you to peck and poke your tales onto the keyboard, you're bleeding from the eyes, and you've nearly been speared at the bus stop, having been mistaken (due to a wardrobe choice) for a game animal. What's next, Fran?

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  11. InvisibleWoman - not in my version it doesn't.

    Mark - What's next? Lying down in a darkened room and never coming out again would seem a wise move.

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  12. Anonymous27/6/10 13:47

    I wish I'd written that.
    ...M.Proust.

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  13. Argh, Fran, you don't seem to realise that I'm very blood-phobic so I had to read this from between my fingers, omitting some of the grislier aspects. Grue.

    Please write the next one about floppy bunnies hopping through the meadows. Thank you.

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  14. Haha, please don't stay away from your computer! I loved this - gave me exactly the giggle I needed :)

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  15. Dear Anonymous Proust - thank you for visiting from beyond the grave. I knew the Internet was good but didn't think it was good.

    isabelle - Write the next one about floppy bunnies? If you'd just marked 450 essays about Lennie in 'Of Mice and Men' and his rabbit obsession, you would not ask this of me.

    The Burrow - glad to be a giggle-supplier. It's what I live for. Apart from chocolate.

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  16. So, can we have Goldilocks and the three beers (maybe with some bitter hail), doing porridge in a high-security pub, next, then, please Miss?
    ;)
    Fun as ever!
    :)

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  17. Well thats put me right off caravans.

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  18. I like to read a story like like this every night, to ensure entertaining dreams stalk my nightmares! If I were King, I'd hire you on the spot in lieu of a court jester...a totally improbable scenario, as I entered this life as a female, but hey, what's in a name? Perhaps I should just stick with 'Important Royal Personage Of Indeterminate Gender' as a title, instead of 'King'.

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  19. The original never really stuck with me when I was a kid, I think I was refused the reality that your far better story gives... I mean who likes happy ever after anyway when the alternative involves caravans and egg sandwiches?!!

    Clearly Skegness and Blackpool win every time :0)

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  20. I've just seen in the small ads. in "The Lady" that , somewhere a bit further on in the forest , there are still Seven Small Gentlemen who remain in need of a housekeeper . One free afternoon a week and BUPA .

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  21. I always thought Snow White verged on the dim side. She seemed far too suspeciously keen on house-work. Love the ending!

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  22. I'm not used to reading Violent Thrillers such as this, but it was gripping right to the end. Being assertive in the comment-box, I suggest your version of The Queen of Hearts (she made some tarts) would be a good read.

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  23. I snickered all the way through this - thanks, Fran! Can you do another one, please? Maybe featuring Gordon Ramsey this time?

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  24. Jackie - caravans are good. You never know when you might meet a handsome prince in one.

    Jinksy - that would make an acronym IRPOIG which I think is a fantastic title. 'Arise, Irpoig the 5th and ascend the royal throne'.

    EternDis - caravans and egg sandwiches belong to a former age which should never have disappeared. It sounds like bliss, that life. Now it's a fortnight in a half-built Malaga hotel and garlic breath as rank as anything.

    SmitandSon - I think the Snow White in my story will soon be looking for a position such as that. It won't be vacant long.

    Jayne - Housework only seems attractive when one has an awkward phone call to make or some accounts to do.

    Mise - the Queen of Cut-out Hearts? Sounds like a nice bedtime tale.

    Talli - Gordon Ramsay can go in a story, but he's not getting any dialogue. It would wear out the F on my keyboard.

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  25. Ok, then, furry kittens.

    Can't quite think of a classic work featuring kittens but I'm sure there is one. You may take this as a challenge. Beatrix Potter is excluded from this.

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  26. IRPOIG it shall be! lol :)

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  27. Isabelle - Do. Not. Tempt. Me.

    Jinksy - Irp for short. Also, if you ever want to write a poem about yourself, more things rhyme with irp than with irpoig. I suppose ... haemorrhoid ... at a push .... if that's not an unfortunate metaphor.

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