Charming Cindy

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The tag on the salesman’s lapel read Bill Charming. The only customer in the shop, Cindy, had a shoe in mind. A sturdy one, suitable for running.

“How can I help you? Don’t tell me.” Bill opened a gold box. “You’re a dancer. I just know it. And I have the perfect slippers for you.”

Before Cindy could say a word, Bill strapped a dazzling heel on her foot. 

“That’s not what I had in mind.”

But as the second slipper caressed her foot, the world changed around her. She and Bill danced. Around a ballroom. Until midnight’s toll chimed.

Have You Heard This One?

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Two wolves walk into a bar. The first says, “What a day.”

The second buys the drinks.

First one gets to talking. “I install air conditioners. My first job, the place is straw. When I test the unit, the whole place falls down. The pig’s suing me.

“The second house is twigs. I say I’m not doing it. Too dangerous. So he yells, ‘Breach of contract.’

“At the brick house, the guy’s a lawyer. Rants at me about how his brothers are taking me to court. So I eat him. Now I’ve got indigestion.”

The second says, “Have an antacid.”

Werewolf

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“Hey, Granny,” Red Riding Hood pushed open the rough-hewn door. “Sorry, I’m late.”

She stopped in mid-explanation when she saw something half-resembling her grandmother standing in the kitchen. It clawed to open it’s blouse.

“Oh my,” said the old were-lady, whose cracking voice resembled a teenager.

Without thinking, Red said, “What hairy arms…”

“Not that again,” it said, “The last time, I barely escaped with the hair on my chinny… oh, never mind.”

Red stood with her mouth wide open, cradling a basket of jam and scones.

“Darling, put all that in the icebox. And help me with these buttons.”

Crow

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My wife swore the UFOs had landed because green men were digging in the garden in the rain. But she’s a little daft and not Irish. It was leprechauns, for sure, wearing black boots, work clothes and trademark top hats. The rainbows bring them and the blarney keeps you from catching them green handed with the goods.

So when the rains came again, I made a trap baited with shiny things and kept an eye on the potato field. And I was there to see a big crow fly away, the gold chain I set out dangling from its beak.

Goldilocks Gets Ahead of Herself

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House Sitter Wanted: April in our charming wooded cottage. A place for contemplation, close to hiking and river adventures. Feel free to entertain in our spacious three bedroom home.

Goldie pushed the door open. She’d expected a key under the rock near the entry. What a relief to find the house unlocked. The second surprise: There were three bowls of cereal on the table. Had the bears engaged her for a different time? She checked her phone. New mail. “See you April first. The Bears.” She sat down to rest, the cinnamon smell of porridge enticing her. They wouldn’t mind.

Tower of the Moon

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An impossible quest. To marry the Moon Tower princess, Anton earns the help of four animal spirits- Eagle, Ant, Lion, and Dove. As an Eagle, the African prince persuades the Wind Witch, to help. Treacherous mother, she pries the location of the Tower from her Wind son’s lips. Becoming a dove, then an ant, then himself Anton enters the Princess’s bedroom.

But Papa refuses to negotiate. Becoming a Lion, Anton disembowels the fierce guardian pig who hides the father’s life inside an eggshell. And when Papa’s gone, good and gone, the hero rules the land, his princess wife as queen.

Condensed from an African folktale in Virginia Hamilton’s, The People Could Fly.

Bluebeard’s Seventh Wife

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Bette kicked her spiked heels to the side of the bed. The man she married had lost six wives under suspicious circumstances. One was her dear cousin, hence revenge was on the table. Rumor had it that secrets lay buried in a locked room deep in the castle dungeons. Bette had the key.

There were guards she would need to trick. Three in all. The first surveilled her bedroom door. A glutton, he was tempted by poisoned wine. The second took a bribe. The third let her through, happy to help her stab the evil prince with a carving knife.

A Bear’s Tale

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Bears get a bad rep in the enchanted forest. I know, because thanks to an evil dwarf, I lived as a bear for years. One especially harsh winter, I met these two swell gals, Snow and Red. They took me in, let me crash on their hearth, and played chess with me. A princely game. Oh, did I mention, I’m a prince.

It all worked out in the end. I killed the dwarf, the curse was broken, and I married Snow. She cured my P.T.S.D. My brother likes a challenge. He married Red, a chess grandmaster. Beats him every time.

A Reason to Celebrate

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Snow White gaveled in the annual meeting of Dwarfs, Inc. “Before we hear committee reports, I’d like to thank Doc for his leadership during my prolonged hospital stay. Also, congratulations to our own Bashful and Grumpy for sealing the deal with Charming and Sons.”

Doc beamed, Bashful blushed, while Grumpy smiled.

Snow continued. “The prince has agreed to an exclusive contract with Dwarf Orchards to supply the kingdom’s new applesauce processing plant. I feel especially proud that we won the bidding war against Evil Stepmother, Inc.”

Happy pulled out a bottle and popped the cork. “To a healthy New Year.”

The Golden Cake

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“Ma, we’ve got a ground-floor opportunity with these magic seeds.” But, it wasn’t the partnership that had convinced Jack to trade Milky-White. It was the sweet milk the green-skinned magician coaxed from her dry udders.

“Dear fool,” his mother said, and took to her bed.

Still, they prospered. Stalks grew into the clouds where the giant harvested and ground the wheat. His wife baked cakes using milk, flour and goose eggs. Jack sold the dainties, famous for a penny-weight of gold in each, to bakeries across the kingdom.

On Sundays, an incantation transported him to Milky-White, who never aged.