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.
I’ve been goddessing since the Iron Age. Born in water, manifested on land as horse/seductress, I lured Roman soldiers to their deaths. There’s a coin to prove it.
But Rome won. They couldn’t bury me; too many loyal followers. A demotion to domestic goddess, that’s all they managed. A warrior at heart, I spent centuries in the kitchen baking and plotting, biding my time.
We struck. Me, Ceres, and Demeter took back fertility and reproduction. It’s what they fear about women. The secrets we know about life and death. The patriarchy can try, but they can’t take away our power.
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.
I’ve always wanted to find a hidden passage behind a bookcase or though a trap door in the floor. Wonderland or Narnia. A priest hole would work. Maybe that’s why British mysteries hold such appeal for me. So when Rosie the Roomba mapped a passage from my study to the street, I was ecstatic, if confused. Was the opening hidden under the rug? Had we covered the exit to the street with a raised bed like we did the clean-out for the sewer?
My husband says the new room is a mapping error from Rosie getting stuck. I hope not.
I send my mother cards because she has trouble answering the phone. Today’s is a Hungarian landscape from World War II. It’s remarkably free of destruction and death, unlike what we see in war photos from the newspapers.
The place in Texas where she’s living resembles the card’s frontpiece. There’s a lake. There are houses. The hills are a dull green, shot through with bare soil. A year ago, when she hated where she was, my mother threatened to move to Czechoslovakia. Next to Hungary. Close to Ukraine. I’m glad she didn’t. Here, she imagines escape without confronting the reality.