I’m serializing my fairy tale novel, Tickling Butterflies. A new fairy tale ‘episode’ is published every Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday.
Here’s the story so far.
Enjoy the latest fairy tale:
The Blindfolded Woman
(Containing the impossible tale of King John the Cute’s impossible love.)
Once he had been banished from the Happily Ever After Home for the Married, King John the Cute returned to the clearing where he had left Chariot. There, sitting beside the king’s cloud, he saw a blindfolded woman with a broken heart.
The woman was wearing a strip of black cloth around her eyes, making her blind to the world. She did not see that she was sitting near a cloud. Nor did she see King John the Cute’s crown and royal garments.
“Woman,” King John the Cute approached her. “You seem sad. Would you like some water from my canteen?”
“I don’t need your pity,” replied the woman with anger.
“That is good, because I was not giving it,” replied the king. “My question was simple. Would you like some water from my canteen?”
“Why are you bothering me?”
“Nor was that an answer to my question,” replied King John the Cute. “Would you like some water from my canteen?”
She raised her hand. “Sure. I have cried for quite a while, and through my tears have lost a lot of water.”
The king offered her his canteen, while signaling for Chariot to remain silent. “This canteen is filled with fresh water. I have just filled it in the new river nearby.”
The woman took and one gulp and spat it out. “I know that taste. That river was not here last week. I have cried for six days and six nights and my tears have filled an entire river. This water tastes of sadness and misery.”
King John the Cute sat next to the woman.
“What is your name?” he asked. “Why is your heart broken into two pieces? Why are your eyes covered?”
The woman sighed. Yet seeing no reason not to confide in the stranger, she said, “My name is Sarah O’Connell. My heart is broken because I have loved and lost. My eyes are covered because I have sworn never to love again. Never again will I be tempted by what I see. Never again will I look at another man. Never again will my heart fall in love. Never again will my love be thwarted by Death. Never again will my heart break.”
“That is a sad story,” said the king.
“What is your name, stranger?” asked Sarah O’Connell. “Why have you found your way here?”
King John the Cute hesitated. By this time he had fallen completely in love with Sarah O’Connell. He did not want to say that he was king, lest it was the title that she would like.
King John the Cute began to say that his name was John the Cute, but he hesitated again. He feared that when she took off the blindfold from her eyes, she would be disappointed that he was no longer cute and beautiful.
“My name,” he said, “is John the No Longer Cute.”
“That is a strange and awkward name,” said Sarah O’Connell. “Is there a story behind it?”
“My name used to be John the Cute, but a troll on a bridge took away my looks.”
“Trolls will be trolls,” said Sarah O’Connell.
“Sarah O’Connell,” said King John the Cute. “Perhaps this is too fast, but I have fallen in love with you. Will you go back with me to my pa…” he hesitated again, then corrected himself, “to my home?”
“No, I shall not, John the No Longer Cute. Only two months ago did I still love a love beyond words. And my love was shattered for no reason I could perceive.”
“Sarah O’Connell, my love for you is genuine and true. Will you not even try to take off your blindfold and look at me?”
Sarah O’Connell’s answer came quickly, “Will you live forever?” she asked.
“No, I fear I shall not.”
“Will you at least live a long, long life?”
King John the Cute thought about the prophecy. “No, I fear I shall probably die within two years.”
“Will you spend the rest of your life, these two years, with me?”
Once more, King John the Cute knew that he would spend the rest of his life journeying and questing, trying to save the Land of All Legends. “No, I fear I will not.”
“Really? You will not?” Sarah O’Connell looked slightly disappointed. “You profess your True Love, and you will not spend the rest of your life with me? No more than five hundred paces from here is the Happily Ever After Home for the Married. All you have to do is take my hand and live there for the rest of your life. We would be in love, and nothing would break us apart.”
“Sarah O’Connell, there is truly nothing I would like more than this. But I cannot do that.”
“Then why,” said Sarah O’Connell, “should I take off my blindfold and risk falling in love with you? I do not want my heart to break to four pieces.”
King John the Cute thought about her question and realized she was right. He bowed his head in sadness and came to his feet.
“You are correct. There is nothing I can offer you. I regret this is my life, and I regret I shall not live happily ever after with you. Perhaps, in another story…” he took her hand and kissed it gently. “It was a pleasure to have met you, Sarah O’Connell.”
King John the Cute climbed aboard Chariot, and Chariot rose into the sky and quickly disappeared from sight.
Behind, in the forest, Sarah O’Connell felt that John the No Longer Cute had disappeared quite suddenly and without a rustle. And she was left with her sadness, never knowing that she had met a king, never knowing his true name.
This has been the impossible tale of King John the Cute’s impossible love.(To be continued on Sunday…)