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Jack and the Beanstalk

  • Posted on April 12, 2014 at 1:41 pm

To be quite honest, old Jack has tapped me out. I have no idea what to write about this particular fairy tale. So I decided to try something stream-0f-consciousness, to see if I can get to the bottom of what Jack and the Beanstalk means to me. You see, I never really liked the tale, even as a child. It made no sense to me. If you were going to sell a cow, why would you do it for a few coins? Cows make milk, right? So why not keep the cow, scavenge for food around the forests and stuff, and try and survive that way?

So, yes, even as a child, I wasn’t easily fooled. I knew that no giant beanstalk would grow from a few green beans. I’d tried. It didn’t work. Magic, or not, beans did not equal giants. This was clear to me from a very young age. But there was one part of the fable that drew me. I loved the idea of the Harp of Gold and the Goose that Laid the Golden Eggs. These two prizes, seemed so very, very unreachable for me.

Perhaps it was because Harps always seemed so… elegant and rich to me. I tried very hard not to put myself down, but I knew I would never have that sort of beauty in my posession. And the goose? I wouldn’t even know how to care for it. So I envied Jack these few things. I wanted to have them, and he did, so I hated him. Amazing how easy it is to fall into sin that early.

The thing about these two prizes was, however, you had to pass by a giant to get them. And this giant wanted to grind your bones to make his bread. Clearly, the poor guy was calcium deficient and needed some kind of supplement.  I felt sorry for him! But at the same time, he was really, really annoying. All that fee-fi-foh-fum humdrum, it made no sense. Why let your prey escape by being so loud?

Also, the whole tale has no real conclusion. Yes, Jack cuts down the stalk, but what about the rest of the giants? Can’t they come down any time? Shouldn’t they be able to toss down some magic beans and then wreak revenge on the wayword Jack? Oh wait, I don’t remember THAT happening in the original story. Someone should tell Jack and the Beanstalk from the Giant’s point of view. That’d be nice.

And another thing! There are NO female parts in that story, except for the ‘naggy mother’. Really? Maybe Jack should be Jill! Girls can climb giant beanpoles too! Although to be honest, I can’t think of a woman who’d sell a cow for a couple of magic beans. …Well, not off the top of my head anyway. That isn’t to say there aren’t any, just that I don’t know any. Perhaps Jill could climb the stalk and then make peace with the giant?

Well, now I’m getting into territory of a new novel, and that really can’t happen, so I’m going to end this respectable five hundred some odd words with this. Don’t sell your cow. Feed it grass. Milk it. Live. Be happy.

Eggs of the Golden Variety

  • Posted on April 5, 2014 at 12:32 pm

Papi didn’t have life insurance. He worked part time for four different companies. But he didn’t have anything to leave us when he passed. Mama was distraught. She was too used to being able to be pretty, nails done, hair cut every week, too used to being pampered to accept the death of the only man who ever truly loved her. My brother left town, on some bender through the next several towns on his way to Santa Monica. I was left with the baby, and the birds.

We had four chickens, Allah, Monica, Veronica and Dolce, one goose, Ricardo, and an old rooster named Bernardo. They lived in a coop in our back yard, and the noise they made sometimes kept the baby awake during her naptime. Little Isadora never did sleep very well. She kept us all awake at night with her crying, unless Papi came home, and held her. He sang to her, little songs from his homeland. I loved those songs.

Life was dull, colorless, without Papi’s songs, without his strength. I took to selling the eggs in the morning so that we could buy milk for Isadora, and bread and cheese. I barely felt it one morning when Ricardo nipped my fingers so hard they bled. We were all different, now that Papi was gone. Armando hadn’t been back home in weeks. Mama wouldn’t come out of her room, and spent all her time talking on the phone to grandmama in Oregan. I think she might have been planning to move us out there.

One day, though, there was a new bird in the coop. Isadora babbled on my hip, old enough to walk, but still easily tired out by the distance between the back door and the coop, reaching for the new bird. It was… beautiful. It shone in the sunlight like gold, it’s eyes dark and fathomless. Long plumes like a peacock I’d seen once at the zoo spread out behind it. Dolce was cozied up to it’s side, cuddling up like she did with any bird that sat still long enough, and she looked drab in comparison. This new addition lifted it’s head, and then, I swear to God above, spoke.

“Mi Flora, take a feather. Sell it, and use the money to buy food. Sell the eggs no longer.” It was Papi’s voice. It was Papi’s voice, coming from the bird, and I was going loco. Isadora squealed, and I must have put her down without realising it, because she toddled over, and just like Dolce, cuddled up to the bird’s side. The bird nuzzled her with it’s beak, and she burbled at him in baby language. Him. Oh god, now I was thinking of it as Papi.

I stepped closer, and again, I must have taken a feather without realizing it. The bird was singing, one of Papi’s old songs, and the golden feather was warm in my fingers. I must have dozed off, to the sound of Papi singing. Isadora and I woke up with the chickens clucking around us, and the strange bird gone. I sold the feather for a fifty in the city, and paid it forward to the landlord. He was happy. Mama asked me where I got the money, but I shrugged and didn’t answer, scraping the last of the mac and cheese out onto Isadora’s little baby plate.

It happened again the next day. And the day after that. Months passed, and we were caught up, had food on the table, Isadora had new clothes and a new blanket. Papi came and sang for us every morning while I fed the birds, and Ricardo got fatter, and the girls’ feathers were shining and their eggs had tripled. Life was good.

Then one day, Mama came out of her room. She took money from the pretty yellow jar I’d found for the extra money. It looked like an egg, and Isadora loved playing with it. She disappeared for hours, and came back dolled up. This became the new routine. Weeks passed. We grew wealthier. I put a new roof on the house. The garden started growing better with the fertilizer we bought. Mama got prettier each day.

I came out every morning and spoke to Papi, and he sang, and then one day, Mama must have heard… because she found us there, and gasped. “Orlando?” She breathed, and Papi turned his golden head to her.

“Mi corazon, te amo, you are more beautiful than ever.”

Mama wept. She cried all day. All day and all night. And then, the next morning, when I went out to feed the birds and listen to Papi sing…

He was dead. Again. Mama sat next to his headless body, and held handfuls of swan-feathers, none of them gold. None of them glittering. Isadora screamed, and then cried. And the world turned grey once again. Papi was dead.

A-To-Z Theme Challenge

  • Posted on March 21, 2014 at 1:29 am

I am here to announce my theme for this year’s A-to-Z theme challenge, which I know you all have been anticipating with bated breath! As you all know, for the challenge, each participant must choose a theme for the entirety of April, and then post once each day with a post related to their theme. So, without further ado, my theme for April:

Fairytales

  • A is for Alice (in Wonderland)
  • Beauty and her Beast
  • Cinderella
  • Darling Mother Dearest
  • Eggs of the Golden Variety
  • Fairy Godmothers
  • Greener Pastures (for Goats)
  • Hansel and Gretel
  • Is He or Isn’t He (Human)?
  • Jack and the BeanStalk
  • Kraken in the Deep (or monsters just out of sight)
  • Ladies Locked in Towers
  • Milk Maid’s Dreams
  • Nightmares in Human Shape (Villains who do not seem villanous at first)
  • Open Mic Night at Disney
  • Princesses Dancing (Twelve of them!)
  • Queens: Are they so evil?
  • Rumpelstillskin
  • Snow White
  • Tristan and Ysolde
  • Under the Bridge
  • Vassilissa the Fair
  • Why the Youngest Son?
  • X-Rated Endings (not always the sexy kind)
  • Your Best Friend (the Mouse)
  • Zoloft for Fairytales

So join us for a romp through the themes and practices of Fairytales, and the minds that created them. You might learn something from my musings, or perhaps you’ll find a few of my little retellings interesting! Please leave comments and make sure to subscribe so that you can keep track!

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