So. For various reasons, I wrote a fairy tale. And by fairy tale, I mean the very old-fashioned sort where logic and depth aren’t even considerations. I’ve been reading a volume of Grimm’s Fairy Tales so that I could imitate the style. If I do say so myself, I think I pulled off the imitating excellently. It’s very, very different from my usual style, so it’s hard to tell if it’s actually good, but it was a fun exercise, and posting it here gives me an excuse to not think up something to write for my blog this week. Hopefully it’s enjoyable.
Once a long time ago there lived a young storyteller who loved the forest. He was handsome and good, but he had misfortune enough to anger an evil witch. In her wrath, she cursed him to wander the earth forever, finding neither peace nor death.
For two hundred years, he wandered under the witch’s curse. One day, he came to a kingdom far from his home, and there he found that the King of that land had promised his daughter’s hand in marriage to the first suitor who could persuade her to carry on a conversation. The princess found her books much more interesting than people, so as yet no suitor had succeeded.
Seeing the maiden’s beauty, the storyteller decided to try his luck at the challenge. Unlike the suitors before him, he did not attempt to interrupt the princess’ reading with conversation. Instead, he sat beside her with the book in which he wrote his own stories until the princess’ curiosity overcame her and she asked to see it.
The King was not pleased with the prospect of a mere wandering storyteller for a son-in-law, so he gave one more condition, a task he thought could never be fulfilled: “Before you marry my daughter, you must bring me a golden flower from the golden tree that grows in the depths of the forest.” Because he loved the princess, the storyteller willingly set forth on the journey, though no one could tell him where in the forest the golden tree could be found.
After traveling for several days, the storyteller passed a lake. He stopped to quench his thirst, and nearby he saw a swan whose wing was pinned beneath a fallen branch. He took time to free the swan, who asked him, “What is your errand in this forest?”
“I seek the golden tree to collect a golden flower,” the storyteller replied, “though I do not know the way.”
“Because you helped me,” said the swan, “I will help you. I will guide you to the garden where the tree grows.”
The swan flew through the trees, and the storyteller followed her. She left him at a walled garden, saying, “Within these walls grows the tree you seek, but I can help you no more.”
The storyteller circled the walls, searching for an entrance. He found none, but he found a fox whose paw was caught in a trap. He took time to free the fox, who asked him, “What is your errand at this garden?”
“I seek the golden tree to collect a golden flower,” the storyteller replied, “though I do not know how to enter the garden.”
“Because you helped me,” said the fox, “I will help you. I will show you the entrance.”
The fox led the storyteller away from the walls to a nearby hill. In the side of the hill stood a golden gate. “The tunnel beyond this gate will lead you into the garden,” said the fox. “I must warn you that any flower plucked from the golden tree by human hands will wither and die, but I can help you no more.”
The storyteller continued into the tunnel, wondering how he was to complete his task. Once in the garden, he found the tree, and he tried to pluck a flower to see for himself what would happen. Sure enough, it withered and died in his hands. He searched the garden, seeking a way to solve his dilemma. He found none, but he did find a cat trapped in a well. He took the time to free the cat, who asked him, “What is your errand in this garden?”
“I came here to collect a golden flower from the golden tree,” the storyteller replied, “but I do not know how to pick one so that it lives.”
“Because you helped me,” said the cat, “I will help you. I will pick a flower for you.”
The cat climbed the golden tree and returned to earth with a golden flower clutched gently between her teeth. The storyteller took the flower from the cat, and this time it did not wither away in his grasp.
As it was a magical flower, it began to undo the curse the witch had laid upon the storyteller so many years ago. As he carried it back to the king, it continued to work, and when he kissed the princess upon his return, the last remnant of the curse was lifted. The King was now obliged to allow their marriage. They were wed with great joy and lived happily together for the rest of their days.