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A fairy tale as grim as Grimm could ever be (second reprint)

I posted this first on December 8th, 2010, and this is the second time I have reprinted it, but with every passing year, the story seems even more relevant than it did back then. DS

Good Fairy

Once upon a time in a far off and pleasant land, during the reign of King George the Idiot, there lived a young man who dreamed of fame and greatness.

He yearned so long and so deeply, that the Good Fairy was moved by his constant pleading and praying and appeared before him in all her beauty and magic splendor.

“Young man,” she said, “because of the depth and especially because of the unusual insistence of your desires, I have decided to grant you three wishes. After each wish I shall disappear until the wish has been granted and then return to grant your next request. Now, think hard, what is the first boon that you wish for?”

The young man thought for a moment and said, “Oh Good Fairy, I would like to write my life story and have everyone in the kingdom read it and think that I am wonderful.”

“Really?” asked the Good Fairy, “Since you are very young and haven’t done very much, that will be a lot of work for me… Are you sure?”

Puhleeeeeeeeeeze!” the young man begged.

“So be it!” said the Good Fairy, and disappeared.

No sooner had the Good Fairy left then the young man sat down at his table where the few sheets of paper on it magically multiplied into hundreds, and soon a magic quill pen appeared out of thin air, and taking it in his hand he began to write well into the night, as if his hand had a life of its own, which indeed it had.

He awoke the next morning to find that a thick manuscript sat on the table before him. As in a trance he took it in his arms and presented it to a publisher, who, as if hypnotized,  immediately ordered all other work in his print shop to stop and for all the printers to work at nothing else but printing the young man’s life story.

The very next day the freshly printed life story of the young man appeared in all the book shops of the land, and it sold out immediately. In no time at all the entire Kingdom could talk of little else than the young man’s fascinating life story.

He sat at home enjoying his new found fame, when the Good Fairy appeared for a second time.

“It is time for your second wish.” the beautiful Good Fairy said, “Have you thought of what you want to wish for?”

“As a matter of fact I have.” the young man replied, “I would like a golden tongue and the power of rhetoric, so that all who hear me will be enchanted by whatever I say, no matter how pompous and platitudinous it might be”.

“That won’t be so difficult.” the Good Fairy said, “Talk is cheap. Are you sure that is all you want?”

“Puhleeeeeeeeeeeze!” the young man implored.

“So be it!” said the Good Fairy, and disappeared.

In a short time everyone in the entire kingdom sat in awe of the young man’s marvelous speeches, their mouths dropping open, while visions of sugar-plums danced their heads, as they dreamed of the beautiful land of milk and honey that the young man’s golden tongue evoked. Soon crowds followed him wherever he went hanging on his every word.

The Good Fairy appeared for the third time.

“Think carefully young man” she said slowly and gravely, “This is your last wish…” She paused, “Have you decided what you want now?”

“Oh yes!” he cried out, “Old King George is abdicating… I want to be King!”

The Good Fairy looked at him steadily and for a brief instant a cloud of melancholy crossed her charming features. “Are you absolutely sure, young man? George wanted the job as much as you do and look at what a horrible time he is having, all he wants to do now is to retire into the forest and cut brush like a common wood cutter. Are you absolutely sure?”

Puhleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeze!” the young man wailed.

She shrugged her pretty shoulders.

“So be it!” said the Good Fairy and disappeared.

No sooner than she had disappeared a great clamor rose up in the land and great cheering crowds appeared before the young man’s home and he was carried on their shoulders though the gates of the palace and crowned king of the land with all pomp and splendor. Masses were sung and soldiers paraded and all was feasting and wassailing for days on end as the kingdom reveled in the joy of having such a splendid new ruler.

And then…

The magic spell wore off: the money lenders appeared with insatiable demands and the treasury was emptied by endless wars and sadness gripped the people. In the market place and in the countryside the peasants and nobles muttered and plotted against the new king. The adoring courtiers that once clustered around him, showering him with flattery, abandoned him to his fate and returned to their homes to write their memoirs.

The young man tried to speak to the people as of old, but his tongue seemed glued to his palate and nothing but mumbling issued from his mouth.

One night in the darkened palace, with his hair turned gray, he slumped on his throne in the empty throne room, abandoned by all, weeping disconsolately and ruing his fate.

“Woe is me,” he sobbed, “How did I ever get into this mess?”

And then…

The Good Fairy appeared for a fourth time.

The young king fell on his knees and implored her, “Can you help me?” he groaned.

“Sorry, you’re on your own now, buster”, she replied, a hardness he had never seen before was in her eyes and a coldness he had never heard before was in her voice… once so sweet, now metallic. Slowly her beauty vanished and before him stood a hideous hag.

“You had your three wishes” the apparition said, “I gave you everything you asked for. You could have asked for wisdom, you could have asked for a long life and the gift of contentment, but this is what you wished for, so you have made this misery all by yourself.”

“I wish I had never seen you!” the young king shouted, “I wish you didn’t exist!”

“So be it.” said the Good Fairy and disappeared for the last time.

Moral: Everyone has their wants and their wishes but if a fairy asks, don’t tell. 

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David Seaton

David Seaton