Rip woke in a frenzy. What a nightmare he’d had. Befuddled by layers of dust on the furniture, his feet numb with sleep, he left the house. How long had it been?
A trail behind his house led to an overgrown pasture. Where were the cows he kept? And if they were gone, why hadn’t the deer replaced them? He tuned his ears to the sounds of birds and heard nothing. He found the river, now a creek. Sixty years ago, there’d been a spring that gushed from a rock. Now it was silent. Hope’s season had come and gone.
The shop bell tinkled behind the cat as he left the shoemaker pondering what had just happened. The shoemaker’s wife announced supper and when there was no response, she smoothed her hands along her husband’s shoulder. “You seen a ghost, pet?”
He came out of his thoughts. “A talking cat. He left these boots in payment for ones that fit. Think I’ve gone ‘round the bend, Eliza?”
“I did see him. From the window upstairs. Odd, that cat, like a man on two legs.”
There is a broken spinning wheel in the Queen’s sitting room in the top spire of the tower. Provenance unknown. It materialized without warning in a dim cupboard during routine monthly cleaning. Some surprise! Spider webs, dust, and other detritus hid a malfunctioning spindle. Please fix this at your earliest convenience.
I have placed your request in the queue. Be advised that all available personnel are busy with preparations for the Princess’s sixteenth birthday ball. I shall wait to schedule repair until afterwards. Thanks for your patience.
I received a pair of clear glass slippers as a gift from my Godmother. I worried they would shatter by the end of the first dance, but have been pleased at the sturdy construction that lasted through balls, numerous fittings around the kingdom, and an awesome honeymoon. Great for happily-ever-afters.
I would add two cautions. First, everything shows. Get a pedicure, especially if you clean the house in bare feet. Second, pregnancy can be a problem. Glass slippers have no give, so I can’t wear them now. I’ll save them for my daughter.
While suitors climbed the glass mountain where the golden apples grew, the princess searched Google for profiles. Golden Boy, who climbed in heavy gold armor, was revealed as a serial philanderer and bigamist on the site, “Knights to Avoid”. She sent her eagle out. His talons were like a can opener.
Next came the warlord. That’s how she thought of him because he was interested in annexing her kingdom. The eagle tore him into pieces and left each limb in a different conquered territory. The torso it ate.
The farmer’s son was a different story. A happily ever after story.
Priest asks Jester to amuse him. In an elaborate ruse, Jester collects 300 roubles from Priest’s wife to buy 1200 pounds of fish. No fish. Priest doesn’t much like that trick. He can’t catch Jester, so he’s out the money.
Jester tricks Merchant by substituting a goat for himself. He tricks seven greedy jesters three times. The change ups are funny, as is staying one step ahead of a powerful adversary who’s not up to speed.
Abused by the jesters, Jester lures them into sacks to drown in the lake. An early grave to those who can’t outsmart a comedian.
From The Jester in Russian Fairy Tales by Aleksandr Afanas’ev