Tag: enchantment

The Golden-Haired Pirate

Greta Goldenlocks was a fearsome and mighty pirate. No pirate or soldier alive could defeat her in battle. She could defeat ten men as large as grizzly bears with one hand tied behind her back and the wind blowing her hair into her face. She could surround and defeat an armada of ships with three rowboats and a crossbow.

And as for treasure, Greta had a nose for it. No one could hide their valuables from Greta’s sticky fingers. If it was golden false teeth, they’d be gone and in her loot bag while you were in the middle of eating dinner with them. You wouldn’t notice they were gone until you tried to eat the mashed potatoes.

One day, after getting up early to explore the surrounding seas, Greta sailed up to a castle. She rowed to shore and jumped from the rowboat, eager to explore. She approached warily, but no guards or lookouts stood outside the gates.

The front door was unlocked. It was a little unnerving. Greta thought of all the ghost stories she heard on quiet nights. Yet, she never once saw a ghost, after all.

She couldn’t walk away from this. A castle? With the front door unlocked? She wouldn’t be a pirate if she didn’t walk right inside. So, she did.

The front hall was empty. Following her nose for treasure, she turned into the first room. It was a banquet hall with a lavish feast served but untouched. Greta sampled the dishes.

No poison.

After sampling the last serving, she finished the meal. Why leave good food to go to waste? She considered finding the kitchens later and bringing some extra provisions to her crew.

But first, she needed to look for treasure. She went into the next room. It was a throne room, and the chairs looked like solid gold.

However, Greta was an expert treasure hunter, unwilling to be fooled by imitations. She checked first one chair, then another. She hacked the last chair apart with her sword. It wasn’t gold, just painted wood.

Disgusted, she moved along. She found a bed chamber. The expensive linens would fetch a pretty penny if sold to the right buyers. Yet, linens would be a poor treasure to take back to her crew from the castle. Even if she added the provisions.

Surely there must be something better. Letting her mind go blank, Greta tuned in to possible treasure. But all her senses told her that the treasure in this castle was the beds.

She looked under the beds. She scratched the paint of the headboards to see if they were made of gold. She checked under the mattresses. She checked the seams of the bedding.

Maybe they were enchanted beds? Greta didn’t really believe in magic, but she was willing to keep an open mind. She crawled into each of the beds, with her boots on, to see if anything felt different.

Nothing did. Maybe she needed to fall asleep first. And so, in the last bed, she fell fast asleep. The bed was marvelously comfortable, and she slept well. Unfortunately, she didn’t sleep long.

Greta started awake with the feeling of someone watching her. Opening her eyes, she was shocked to see three large bears. Actual bears. Yet they wore clothes and stood on their hind legs like people.

Was that what the enchanted beds did? Did they turn people into bears? Or was it the food that changed them?

In alarm, Greta looked down at her hands. They were still normal hands. She cautiously put her hands up to check her face. No fur.

She remembered her treasure-seeking instincts telling her the beds were important. It must be the beds. Luckily, she hadn’t slept there long. She needed to get out of here before anything happened.

The bears were still staring at her in shock. Greta jumped from the bed, and in two steps she was out the window. She landed gracefully on the lawn and waved at the bears watching her from the window.

Her crew sailed away from the enchanted castle as quickly as possible. The ship’s doctor said her voice sounded a bit hoarse, but it was probably just a cold. He told her it just wasn’t possible for people to turn into bears. But Greta and the crew knew better. She’d had a narrow escape.

Greta is still just as good in battle. She can still find any treasure no matter where it’s hidden. But she might wait a moment or two before taking it now. She checks to see if the owner looks cursed. Greta Goldenlocks is a wise and mighty pirate.

Flashback Friday: The Rose Prince

This story was originally posted on May 11, 2017. I like this story. It’s one I can imagine telling as a bedtime story and then turning it into a series of stories as the characters have further adventures. That’s the kind of story my kids like best.

One day, Princess Matilda cut through a rarely used courtyard in the older part of the castle. She was late to archery practice, so she was taking the shortcut.   Most people didn’t use the short cut, because there was a tall fence with spikes along the top at the end of the courtyard.

However, Princess Matilda wasn’t most people, and she knew the trick to climbing the fence. There were chips in a few of the stones in the wall of the castle next to the fence. If she ran straight at the wall and jumped, she could use the chipped spots as toeholds. If she climbed quickly enough and turned and jumped just right, she could sail right over the fence.

Of course this meant she had to tuck and roll to survive the fall without breaking anything, but that was part of the fun.   As long as she shook the dust and bits of grass out of her hair, no one had to know.

Halfway through the courtyard, Matilda paused.   There in a corner of the courtyard where some weeds had sprung up in cracks in the stonework, a little rosebush was growing. She would come back later. Matilda secretly loved roses. For now, she raced ahead, then turned and ran straight at the wall.

The next day she returned with tools she’d borrowed from a gardener. She cleared away the weeds and then sat by it. It looked so lonely standing by itself in the corner.   She told it a little about her day, and placed some pebbles around it in a ring. When she left, she promised to come back.

She came back often to clear away weeds or water the rosebush when it hadn’t rained in a while. She brought pretty pebbles or bits of wood that caught her eye and added them to the ring around the bush. Every time she came, she stopped to talk to the rose bush for a little while.

The rose bush grew and branched out. After several weeks, it sprouted a single bud.   Matilda began visiting more often, hoping to see what the blossom would look like once it bloomed. One day, she came to the courtyard early for archery class so that she had time to check in with her rosebush.

The flower had bloomed. It was a simple rose, but the fragrance filled the courtyard. It was lovely. Matilda leaned in closer and smelled the rose. It was wonderful. “You’re perfect!” she said. Then she kissed the soft petals.

The rosebush began to sparkle. It grew brighter and brighter until Matilda had to squint to look at it. Then there was a flash of light. Matilda blinked the stars from her vision, while holding her bow at the ready.

There was a young man standing where the rosebush had been. He was wearing glasses and his clothes were well made but practical. He was smiling. Princess Matilda frowned. “Who are you?” she asked.

He opened his mouth to speak, when there was another flash of light from the opposite side of the courtyard. Matilda turned, bow up and arrow notched, while stepping back so that the strange man was at her side rather than her back.

A young woman dressed in black was pointing a stick at her. Matilda’s eyes narrowed.   That was no ordinary stick. The woman raised her eyebrows and scowled.   “You broke my enchantment. You had no right to do that. I shall turn you both into frogs and let my cat chase you.”

Matilda shot an arrow through the top of the woman’s tall black hat. “Put your stick down,” she said. “Or next time I wont miss.” She notched her arrow. The woman lowered her wand.

“Hide here all you want, little prince,” the woman said.   “If you ever come back home, I’ll get you.” There was another flash of light and she was gone.

“So, you’re a prince who was turned into a rose bush?” Matilda asked.

“Well, I was turned into a seed that grew into a rosebush,” the prince said. “But otherwise, yes.”

“Why did she do it? Did she steal your kingdom or something?” Matilda asked.

“I have three older brothers. As far as I know, the kingdom is fine,” the prince said. “However, that woman was responsible for killing thousands of striped gilkie birds. She used their tongues in a hair removal potion. When I submitted a proposal to the court that the birds should be protected so that they didn’t all disappear, she got angry.”

“Hair removal potion? Do people like the bald look where you’re from?” the princess asked.

“No, they don’t like leg hair,” he said.

“Weird.”

“I know, right? Besides, if she hunted until the birds were all gone, she wouldn’t be able to make her potion anyway,” the prince said.

“That makes sense,” the princess said. “Did you explain it to her?”

“Sometimes people don’t want to listen. I tried to explain how everything is interconnected and everything relies on other things for survival. If you take out a link in the chain, you could have dangerous consequences. She muttered something about how the strong survive and that I’d see that nature wasn’t gentle.”

“Then she turned you into a seed?” Matilda asked.

“And tossed me into the wind,” the prince said.

“So, what’s your name,” Matilda asked.

“Frank. I’m sorry I hadn’t introduced myself, I feel like I know you so well after all your visits,” Frank said.

“Then I guess it’s my turn to get to know you better,” Matilda said. She smiled.   “I know something already.”

“What?”

“You still smell like roses. It’s nice.” She laughed as Frank tried sniffing his arm.

“I do?” he asked.

“Yes. Would you like to come in for sandwiches?” Matilda asked.

“Don’t you have archery class?” Frank asked.

“Oh, you’re right. Sandwiches can wait. Come cheer me on,” Matilda said. She stooped to pick up the black hat and pulled the arrow out of it. “Do you think she’ll come back for this?”

“I guess it depends on whether she needs it back or not,” Frank said.

“You’re probably right,” Matilda said. She stuffed it into her quiver. “Well, let’s go. I hate being late.”

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