Tag: happilyeverafter

The Art of Happily Ever After

Once upon a time, a group of knights received a distress call. “It’s another princess in trouble,” the leader of the knights said. “Who wants to deal with this one?”

“I helped with the last one,” Sir Cadmium said. “The one who turned herself into a goldfish somehow. It took me forever to find the right fish in that fountain. It had fourteen basins, and every single one was filled with goldfish. I had to hold them up one at a time for the prince to kiss, and it made him really grumpy.”

“I helped with the princess stuck in a tree. Why on earth she wished for wings, I don’t know,” Sir Ultramarine said. “The wings were all tangled in the branches and they didn’t want me to snap a single twig of the tree because it was some rare ancient important tree. I was there for twenty hours, and she complained every minute.”

“Don’t look at me,” Sir Ochre said. “I just got back from rescuing those twin princesses last week. The ones lost in the cave looking for some sort of fairyland ball, you remember? They didn’t want to be rescued, not matter what their parents said. They kept ordering me to leave, and the king would order me right back in. In the end, they gave up, but by then my feet hurt from running back and forth and fetching them things so they wouldn’t starve to death out of stubbornness. I still have blisters on my blisters.”

The leader looked around the circle. “Sir Umber is still tracking down the princess who ran away with the unicorns, and Sir Viridian is rescuing the princess who wished to be a mermaid. That leaves you, Sir Sap.”

“Why do I have to be Sir Sap. Can’t I be Sir Thalo or Sir Payne?”

The leader shrugged. “It’s the King who knights us. He picks the names.”

“Fine.”

“You’ll take the assignment? Great. Here’s the folder.”

Sir Sap jumped out of his seat. “That’s not what I meant. I helped the princess who got turned into a baby and crawled into a cupboard and fell asleep and no one could find her and…”

It was too late. Everyone had already left. Sir Sap sighed and picked up the folder. As always, the king had written the details in an awful scrawl that was nearly impossible to read. The hand painted map was lovely, but impractical. Sir Sap sighed. Was it too late to go back to dental school?

Hours later, he was following the map, hoping to rescue a princess who was maybe stuck in a well or writing a will. It was a little confusing. The woods he was passing through were dark and scary, and there wasn’t really much of a path.

But, Sir Sap was a brave knight who wasn’t scared of the dark at all. And if he was, he wouldn’t tell anyone. He pulled out his lunch and decided to eat while he walked. He always felt braver when he was eating. It was a good thing being a knight had so many opportunities for exercise, or he’d probably weigh a thousand pounds.

Just then, he heard growling off to his left. He looked down. Perhaps eating a roast beef sandwich in a forest filled with who-knows-what was a bad idea. Something started crashing though the bushes, and it sounded like it was getting closer.

A bear crashed onto the path. Sir Sap threw his sandwich as hard as he could to the right. After the bear ran past, chasing the sandwich, Sir Sap ran to the left. He stopped to catch his breath under a tree. “Is the bear gone?” a voice asked from above.

Sir Sap looked up. A lady dressed in black was sitting up in the branches of the tree. A witch? “It’s gone,” he said. “Couldn’t you have magicked it away?”

“I’m an herbalist,” she said. She began to climb down. “I make potions. It’s a different kind of magic. It doesn’t work right away. You have to be patient. But it works better because I tailor the potions to the individual, so it’s just what you need and works just right for you.” She jumped from the lowest branches.

“It is good to meet you, Madam Herbalist. I have great respecct for your craft. Could you tell me the way out of the forest? My map isn’t very clear.”

She pointed the way, and soon Sir Sap was able to rescue the princess stuck inside a rosebush on a hill. It was a massive, enchanted rosebush, and he ended up needing to find a prince to cut the whole thing down with tiny enchanted silver scissors. Organizing the witches and wizards and silversmiths and the very confused prince to find the solution took days.

Luckily, the princess and prince fell in love over the whole ordeal, and looked like they’d probably live happily ever after. This was always the best possible scenario, because it meant one less princess getting into trouble. Sir Sap went home, happy with the knowledge that all went well, and he wouldn’t have to rescue the next princess in trouble. It was probably Sir Ultramarine’s turn.

When he reached the forest, the herbalist was out picking leaves off of some harmless looking weeds. Suddenly, Sir Sap was struck by how normal it was. Here was someone who climbed a tree when she was chased by a bear, and didn’t ask her fairy godmother to change her into a bird or a dragon or a snowman in the middle of the summer.

Sir Sap realized he was tired of being a knight. He was tired of trying to help people who kept misusing powerful magic and never learning their lesson. He was tired of princesses. “Is it hard to learn to be an herbalist?” he asked.

“Well, it takes patience. You don’t learn everything all at once. But, if you like helping people and are good at figuring things out, it might be just right for you.” She smiled and picked up her basket. “I wouldn’t mind having an apprentice to help out at the shop. I have more business than I can deal with right now.”

“I’ll return within the week. I just need to hand paint a letter of resignation,” Sir Sap said. He was already mentally composing the letter. He was thinking of using one-point perspective to draw attention to the words “I quit” in the center of the page. He would sign it John, and be Sir Sap no more. And maybe, if things worked out just right, he’d find his own happily ever after.

Jack, After the Giant

Jack had gone from being the part-owner of one old cow to owning a magic harp, a magic chicken, and a big bag of gold. All it took was a few days and a few magic beans. His mother was happy, he was happy, and it looked like they would live happily ever after.

Of course the giant wasn’t happy, but that didn’t really matter to Jack. The giant had stolen the treasures anyway, so they didn’t belong to him in the first place. Besides, he’d threatened to eat Jack, so Jack didn’t really feel all that sympathetic.

He went to bed feeling like he was on top of the world. He left the bag of gold on the table by his bed, so that it would be the first thing he saw when he woke up. It was a nice idea, but it didn’t work.

The first thing Jack saw when he woke up was a tiny person waving a tiny sword an inch from his eye. Without even thinking about it, Jack tried to swat the tiny person with his hand. He hit the tiny sword instead. Or maybe it hit him. Either way, the tiny sword was as sharp as a needle.

Jack screeched in pain and sat up. The little man tumbled off Jack’s pillow. With a mocking laugh, he slid down the bedding and ran across the floor. Jack jumped up and chased him.

Just as the tiny man ran into a mouse hole in the wall, Jack realized that the little man had a gold coin strapped to his back. Jack peered into the mouse hole. He couldn’t see anything.

He raced back to the table by his bed. The bag of gold was suspiciously flat. Jack snatched it up and opened it. It was empty.

It took just a few minutes to discover that his magic chicken and magic harp were gone also. That terrible tiny man had stolen all his wealth, and he didn’t even have a cow left to trade for more magic beans. What would he do?

Trudging into the kitchen, he slumped into his chair at the table. “Mother, I have bad news.”

She looked up from the steaming pot she was stirring. “What happened? Is the terrible giant back?”

“Even worse,” Jack said. “A tiny man came and stole everything that I got from the giant.”

“A tiny man? Are you sure?”

“As sure as I am that I saw a giant.”

His mother sighed. “I knew it was too good to be true. Well, easy come, easy go.”

Jack frowned. “Mother, I assure you that it was not easy to take things from a giant.”

“It was probably as easy for you to steal from the giant as it was for the tiny man to steal from you.”

Jack wasn’t really sure how to respond to that. So he changed the subject. “But what will we do now? We don’t even have a cow to sell.”

“Luckily, you did get those magic beans.”

Jack sighed. “But they’re gone now. Besides, I took all of the giant’s treasure. They wouldn’t do me any good.”

“Who needs the giant’s treasure? We still have the beanstalk.” She pointed out the window dramatically.

Jack looked out the window at the remains of the beanstalk, now a tangled mess in the backyard. “What good is a beanstalk? It will dry out and be too brittle to build with. No one wants a beanstalk.”

“Foolish child, have you forgotten what grows on a beanstalk?”

“Beans?” Jack sat up in surprise. “Are they magic beans?”

“Not as far as I can tell. But they are giant beans.” She pointed to a neatly stacked pile next to the stove.

Jack had initially mistaken it for a pile of wood for the fire. But, they were too green to be logs. “They’re giant beans,” he yelled.

His mother sighed. “I just said that. We have enough to sell at all the major markets in the country and have some leftover to save for seeds.”

That sounded promising. “So we aren’t going to starve to death, even though a tiny person came and robbed me of everything I rightfully stole? We’re going to be fine?”

“That’s right. We’ll be better than fine. With a little effort, we’re going to be able to earn a respectable living for the rest of our lives.”

“Oh. Well, that’s okay then.” Jack thought for a moment. “Maybe I should send an apology letter to the giant. It wasn’t very nice of me to steal from him, was it? I didn’t like it when someone stole from me.”

“You do that,” his mother said. “We’ll give it to him next time we see him. I’ll call you in when breakfast is ready. I hope you like beans.”

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