“I simply must have those glass slippers.” The Prince was confident they would fit. The dancing lady was nervous.
As the clock struck midnight, as he led her to take a seat and remove the heels, as the spell began to reverse, Cinderella ran. She was oblivious to everything but getting away before her riches turned to rags.
The Prince was dumbfounded. He chased her from the hall, stopping only to retrieve the first fallen pump. When he looked up, a charlady met his gaze.
“Where did she go?”
What he didn’t see was one glinting shoe on her foot.
Daisy stood at the starting line and kissed her frog for luck. A long-legged young man arose from the dusty line-up and cleared his throat.
“Are you a princess?” Cedric worried he was lost.
“Daddy calls me Princess.”
The jumping contest official told them they’d need to move.
Daisy took Cedric’s hand. “Daddy’ll know what to do.” She pulled him into the chaos of the county fair.
Cedric slipped through her fingers and disappeared into a fortuneteller’s booth. She handed Cedric a tarnished lamp. When he rubbed the dust away, a genie appeared and Cedric found himself in another story.
The boat salesman overheard three men planning a rafting trip. When they approached the register, he estimated their combined weight at six hundred pounds and knew that the tub they’d picked would not make it through the calms, let alone the rapids.
“This one’s rated at two hundred fifty pounds. Two small women. Three children at most.”
He didn’t add that even one of these gentlemen would be enough to sink it.
“Well now, I reckon we can read,” said the ginger-haired man.
The mutton-chopped guy put down a credit card. “Customer’s always right.”
“The spinning wheel’s two hundred. The spell’s another five hundred.”
“That’s outrageous,” the queen said pulling the hood of her cape to cover her widow’s peak. She took a card from her purse. “You do take Visa.”
He did. “How about a CosPlay evil fairy for the christening.”
“CosPlay? I want a professional.”
“Who’s gonna know?”
“You horrible dwarf. You have no idea. It’s hard to marry off a princess. You start as soon as they’re born. Then there’s preschool, private school, etiquette… They need skilled help and compelling stories to get to a happily-ever-after.”
The cottage was set back from the street, not at all gingerbread as you might expect. No dwarfs or princesses resided in the bright kitchen where a woman with waist-length crone gray hair, sat at a rhythmically circling wheel. “I need to spin. Someone’s collecting the skeins tomorrow.”
I asked about doctor’s visits for a study of healthcare options at Stanford. She answered, skeptical that yearly physicals made much difference. All the while her fingers moved in a subtle dance pulling the fluff of wool into ivory yarn.
“This is what keeps me healthy,” she said. “This magic wheel heals.”
We suspect there is a magic passage under our redwood because the garden gnome who guards the tree by day disappears at night. Important forest matters require his attention. Animals trapped in fire ravaged landscapes. Small fawns and mountain lions equally threatened, equally important to the health of a recovering ecosystem. He treats them all with the utmost care.
By daybreak, our gnome has returned. We see an article in the morning paper. Ten small pumas rescued. Feet wrapped in gauze socks. You wonder how they keep from biting through. Probably the influence of our gnome. His voice is hypnotic.