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April 2017

Mini Camp NaNo update

Alright, who’s been messing with my calendar… and apple clock… and Greenwich Mean Time? It can’t really have been two weeks since my last NaNo update, can it? This is all one big April Fools conspiracy…

… or not.

If you haven’t guessed from my stalling tactics, things have not progressed massively from my last NaNo update. In fact, here’s exactly what my progress looks like (no shame… *gulp):

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This month of April has remained impossible to pin down for writing purposes. But I’m still not totally despondent about it. Why? Because there are some big positives to mention from the past two weeks:

  1. I’ve gone from 0 words to 7,350. That’s actually a fairly good chunk out of my goal of a meagre 25,000 words, and technically, finishing is still doable by the end of the month. But I’ve just about nearly come to the conclusion that using the remaining days to carefully plot out my novel so it’s spiffingly ready for May will ultimately prove more beneficial than just hashing out words now… though I’m still tempted.
  2. I’m going where I’ve never gone before as a writer & making a scene-by-scene SPREADSHEET!!!! I never thought the day would come! But I must say, throwing my tangled thoughts into a table to sort out is much easier than trying to rearrange them into some sort of order in my head, or even on multiple sheets of paper. So I’m trying it. Stay tuned for conclusions to this experiment.
  3. I got to meet up for a juice with THE Abi Elphinstone (authour of the Dreamsnatcher series). She was brilliantly encouraging, inspiring & just down right nice, & I came away from our meet-up with renewed determination to keep pressing forward with this crazy dream of mine. **If you are American or otherwise not British & are not yet familiar with Abi’s books, look her up here: http://www.abielphinstone.com & get ahold of them by any means possible (except piracy!)

So lots to be thankful for this month, even if things haven’t gone all to plan. And I’m still loving my baby dragon of a story as it grows, little by little each day. Now it’s back to plugging away into my spreadsheet! Any tips? I’d love to hear them!

 

Are you participating in Camp NaNo?
Good bits, hard bits? Any little victories along the way?

“Gretel & Hansel” retold by Amelia Jane

This April, we are posting one of our winning entries from the March Fairytale Retelling Competition every week. Check the blog each Monday for the latest winning story!

Amelia Jane is twelve years old and comes from the USA, though she currently lives in the lush green hills of Asturias, Spain.  When she isn’t using her imagination to write fantastic stories, you can find Amelia up a tree, filling her wildlife notebook with notes & photos, doing ballet, volleyball & karate, and going on all sorts of adventures with her 4 younger siblings (& sometimes mom & dad too). 

Gretel and Hansel

Gretel was six and Hansel was ten.  The brother and sister lived in New York City with their foster parents in a nice blue house in a quiet neighborhood.  They liked their home and school, and they were happy and well cared for, but lately their foster parents seemed worried and stressed.  One night as the children were laying in their bunk-beds, they heard murmuring.

What are they saying?”  Gretel asked her big brother.

The responsible Hansel sat up in bed and listened for a minute, then layed back down.  “I can’t hear” he said, as the murmuring went on.

“I suppose it would be bad to go listen to what they are saying through the door?”  Gretel asked her big brother.

He thought for a moment.

“Eavesdropping is a sin,” he replied.

After another moments silence Hansel dropped from the top bunkbed onto the hard wooden floor.  Gretel slid quietly out of her bed and joined him, and they both crept silently to the living room door.

“I just can’t find another job,” their foster dad said.  “No one will hire me, and with you expecting a baby, how will we cope?”

“What about that gardening place—have you applied there?” questioned their foster mom.

“They don’t want me”

it was quiet for a moment until the mom finally asked “well,… what are we going to do about the kids?”… then the whispering got even quieter.  Hansel and Gretel couldn’t make out what was being said any more.

Gretel turned to her brother sadly…”What about us?”  She asked… “They’re going to put us back in a group home, and we will be separated again!”  She was close to tears.  Hansel thought for a moment then spoke slowly.

“We won’t be separated again.  We can run away.  Let’s pack up some food and we can go live in Central Park.  If that doesn’t work out we will find somewhere else.’  Just as he finished saying this, the door flew open.

“What are you two doing awake?” their foster mother asked.

Thinking quickly, Hansel replied “We were hungry–we were looking for some bread.”

“Ok, go get a snack, but I hope you remember that eavesdropping is not polite,” said their mom.

With one more hug the grown-ups were off to bed and the children went to theirs.  The next day Hansel got the two hunks of break, several sandwiches, cookies, and a bottle of water and packed them into his backpack.  Gretel packed only the essentials; her shiny sequin shirt, fluffy pink socks, and her favorite stuffed duck.  Then they both set off to school.  Only instead of going to school they went to the train station.  Hansel bought two tickets with the change he had brought and they boarded the train bound for Central Park.  Finally, they arrived and got off the train.  It was afternoon, and they walked through the garden paths until Hansel said it was a good time for lunch.  Unfortunately, the sandwiches had gotten squashed.

“Well, at least we still have the bread,” said Gretel, trying to look on the bright side.

As she bit into her bread a hungry pigeon approached and looked at her wistfully…

“Well, hello there!” she called.  She threw it a crumb of her bread and the pigeon ate it up, coming closer for more.  “No more” she said, as she put the rest of the bread back in the bag and placed it on the bench beside her to save for later.  The she and Hansel went to look around a bit.  Central Park was beautiful in the summer, and there was much to see.  When they came back the bread was gone! Pigeons flocked around the bench.

“They’ve eaten it all!” wailed Gretel.

‘Don’t worry,” said Hansel, “we’ll find other food, now come on, let’s find some place to sleep.  It’s getting late.”  They walked through the park back to where they thought the path should be, but they couldn’t find it.  The sun was sinking down in the sky, and it was getting harder to see.

“We are lost…” moaned Gretel.  After a bit they came out to a street.  Their eyes were drawn to a brown house with gingerbread trim.  It had big planters in the front with colorful pansies that looked like pin-wheel lolly-pops.  The roof shingles looked like vanilla wafers and the railings just might be chocolate covered pretzels.  The door was a bright licorice red.  The house stood out amongst the drab gray houses around it.  The red door opened.  A woman with a big bumpy nose and a black dress peered out.

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The gingerbread house in Central Park/ original artwork by Amelia Grant

“What are you kids doing out here at this time of night?  It’s not safe,” she asked as she looked at them closely.  “Come in and I’ll give you something to eat,”  she said in a much softer tone.  The children shook their heads.  They knew better than to trust adults, especially strangers.  But they were hungry.

“What do you have to eat?” blurted out Gretel before she could stop herself.

“Pecan pie, plum pudding, pumpkin pie….,” the lady listed off.

Finally, hunger overcame them and they walked inside.  As they sat down at the table Gretel noticed something.

“Look,” she whispered to her brother, “there are bars on the windows.”  Hansel looked.  There were.  A white cat ran across the floor.  The lady stirred up the fire, looking at them from the corner of her eye.

“Let’s get out of here!” Gretel begged her brother.  “I bet she’s a witch!”  They edged towards the door, and Hansel slowly reached out to turn the handle.  It was locked.  The lady walked into the kitchen and they heard her talking on the phone.  She returned with black and brown cat in her arms.  Gretel started to cry.

“Don’t cry, child,” the lady said, “you are safe here”

“But aren’t you a witch?” Gretel asked.

“Goodness no!” laughed the lady.  Then she explained that she had called the police in case they were searching for the children, which they had been.  The police were on their way now to bring the children back home.   Hansel and Gretel were a little worried that they wouldn’t be welcome.  Would their parents be angry with them?  Would they still want them?

They soon realized they didn’t need to worry.  They were quickly embraced by their foster parents who were so relieved to have them back safe and sound.

“Why did you run away?” their parents asked.

“We thought you didn’t want us anymore,” Hansel answered.  “We heard you talking about losing your job and expecting a baby.  We thought you wouldn’t keep us, and we didn’t want to go back to a group home.”  The adults knelt down beside them.

“We love you like our own, and even if money is tight, we will stick together as a family.  We will have a baby coming soon, and we hope that you will consider this baby as your own brother or sister,’ their mother said.  Their father nodded in agreement.   They got pulled into a big hug that lasted a long time.

So, it turns out that the nice lady who was NOT a witch found a job opening in her gardening business for their father.  He designed many more gardens that looked like candy.   Hansel and Gretel loved playing with their new baby sister.  SO, in the end, they all lived ……

happily ever after.

The End.

Best Fairy Tale Video Blog

We promised one of our winning Fairytale retellings each Monday of April, and the other two are on their way (just getting a few last-minute tweaks to their gorgeous illustrations!).

But we are interrupting our schedule due to popular demand for MORE FAIRY TALE POSTS!!! Lots of you have asked us to extend fairy tale month one month longer because you just can’t get enough fun facts about your favourite tales.

Well you’re in luck! Rather than reinventing the wheel ourselves, we would like to direct you fairy tale enthusiasts to our favourite Youtube Vlog channel for all things fairy tales, from origins to modern retellings and inspired artwork.

So if you’re hungry for more from the World of Faerie, check out Jen Campbell’s Fairy Tale Videos for hours of fun! (and we mean hours! Caveat: Do NOT go on this channel if you’ve got an impending deadline!!)

Hope you enjoy! Keep the requests coming, and stay tuned for our next two winners of the Fairy Tale Retelling Competition… coming soon!

NaNoWriMo Camp Update

Morning and happy Easter (a day early)! Can you believe we are halfway through April?! It feels like just yesterday it was New Years… How is everyone’s years going? Sticking with your resolutions or did they fall away?

Me, I was doing okay. Then Spring happened which translates to kidding season with my goats. Baby goats EVERYWHERE!! I’m having a lot of fun, but it is a lot of work at the moment. And when I’m not working, I don’t really want to work more by writing. So I have been very bad and watching anime instead, specifically Inuyasha. I do not regret this. Okay, maybe a little.

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That said, we are entering the last half of April, so time for the procrastinator in me to rise and get in gear. I’ve only added about 1000 words to the manuscript I picked for NaNoWriMo Camp, still 49K to go. Can I do it? No clue. But I figure any writing is better than no writing!

Well, that’s my update. It’s 7:00 AM here in Georgia, time for me to head to the barn for the morning milking, then I want a nap! Er, I meant I’m going to sit and write. Right?

“In Conversation with Rapunzel” by Loonyloonyvish

This April, we are posted one of our winning entries from the March Fairytale Retelling Competition. Check the blog each Monday for the latest winning story!

“Loonyloonyvish” is a writer & the author of  idlejabber.wordpress.com. She loves reading, especially fantasy, but is less than keen on romance. Besides describing herself as a Potterhead, she is fond of Hollywood movies and Superheroes, as well as food and tea. When not writing/blogging, she keeps herself company by talking to herself (but of course she isn’t mad!).

 In conversation with Rapunzel

It happened some four years ago. I was a reporter with the —- magazine. When I joined, I had been warned that the editor was a bit eccentric but when I met him, I realised that calling him that would be a bit of an understatement. He would shuffle about wearing pink suits and a yellow spotted tie, his nails painted blue, hair a deep shade of green. But this story isn’t about him, or me either; it is about a task he set us.

He was quite fascinated by those princesses of old; they had provided him with quite a lot of material for the magazine when they were young. “The case of the missing shoe”, “Beware of poisonous apples”, “Frogs are good kissers indeed: a new revelation”, etc. But he wasn’t satisfied with all the happy endings. He believed that the public would want to know what happened to them now that they are old and no longer trending. So we were assigned the task of looking for those royalties which was not an easy task given that most of the places they used to frequent are now government property. So, by the end of the month, I was the only one without a story.

I was quite desperate and understandably so. Most of the people on my survey list were either frauds or had severe cases of hallucinations. I could have interviewed them and got it over with but the real princess (if alive) would have sued me for publishing the wrong story. I mean, there was an old woman pretending to be “The Belle”. As a matter of fact, her husband was a passable beast but she was no beauty. So I continued my search for the real princess but in vain, that is, until a few days before the deadline. A few of my trustworthy sources revealed that in a town in the valley (whose name I won’t disclose for protection of her privacy), lives a lady whom the townspeople believe to be the real Rapunzel. I was quite unsure but decided to give it a try. If she was who she claimed to be, I could as well save my job.

The valley was quite beautiful: no wonder she chose to stay here. Just to make sure, I asked a particularly old goldsmith (who turned out to be her friend) about how long she had stayed here. He said that she had moved here some 57 years back which is roughly the number of years that have passed since Rapunzel had been rescued by the prince. Satisfied, I headed towards her house which was at the edge of the town, just where the mountains began.

I knocked on the wooden door which was presently opened by a sweet old woman in a lavender night gown. Although her face was wrinkled, her hair was the colour of gold, only shorter than the story goes. I thought that she was yet another fraud and that I could very well give up the dream of becoming a popular journalist. I must have been staring for she raised an eyebrow questioningly. I didn’t want to offend her so I stated the particulars of my business here and asked her if she knew some Rapunzel.

“ You are standing right in front of her, dear. Come on in,” she said, holding the door open for me.

The room was sparsely furnished and airy, the smell of freshly cut grass wafting in through the open window. She bade me sit down on a stool by the dining table which was covered in a patchwork table-cloth. Meanwhile, she disappeared behind a curtained passageway and returned bearing a tray full of tea and gingerbread-men.

“ They are my favourite,” she said. “You know, I never used to get them in the tower.”

I smiled. I still couldn’t come to terms with the idea of a short haired Rapunzel and so I asked her about it.

“Oh!” she laughed. “ I just cut them. You cant expect me to tend to them at this age, can you?”

Sensing my disappointment, she said, “They’ll grow back in a month’s time and then you will be convinced that I am the real me.”

Even though I had a few misgivings, I warmed up to her and even described my not so normal editor.

“Ah men! They are a peculiar lot. Not all of them but all the ones I encountered surely were. Take my father now. He agreed to hand me over to the witch without hesitation. And my saviour, huh! I shouldn’t even call him that. He just made my life all the more miserable.”

“But he was a prince and a rich one at that. Didn’t he take you to his palace and make you his queen?” I asked, intrigued.

“I did run away with him but he turned out to be a peasant without land of his own. When he had rescued me, he had dressed up a prince for a local parade, and I had believed him to be one! Those people who wanted something to gossip about, made up a story of a long haired princess being saved by a valiant prince and their living happily ever after. But no one bothered to check on us after the talks died down and so I had to carry the bulk of my hair everywhere until we stumbled upon a tumbledown cottage which was to be our temporary retreat. He was so poor that he could not even afford to buy a comb!”

She sipped at her tea a while, then continued, “ I hated him. You see, when I had lived in the tower, the witch had given me all I needed but with him, I starved. So I sent him out to look for a job.

“It so happened that while roaming in the streets of a nearby town he came across a tavern and stopped there for a drink. There he heard the story of a poor girl who had been locked up due to her father’s unbelievable claims and had been asked to spin gold from straw if she wanted to see the light of another day. So my fool of a husband decided to visit her and get some gold for himself. When he sneaked into the room, he found that she could do no such thing and she would be executed the first thing in the morning.

“Now however guileless my husband is, I must say that he has got cunning. He exchanged all the straw for a portion of my hair which the king took for golden threads. He was awarded a ring by that girl along with all the straw in the room which he brought home.”

“Wait a minute. Who is your husband?” I asked.

“Well, it’s Rumpelstiltskin, of course. Thought you had figured that out.”

“No… no that cannot be. He cannot…”

“Well, of course it is him. How else would all that straw turn into gold if my hair was not used? What do you think, some fairy godmother helped her?”

Now that I come to think of it, it all makes sense. So I prodded her to continue.

“The king must have rewarded her probably, I don’t care. My husband got the straw home, all right, but he lost the ring. He lost the damn ring!” she cried in exasperation. “What a husband I have got! I really preferred the old hag over him. What was I supposed to do with the straw? So I sent him out again because we had nothing to eat. Well, he set out and did not return for three whole days until life was slowly ebbing out of me. And what does that fool bring me? Nothing but a bagful of beans.

“It so happened that on the second night of his travels, he had come across a monastery. As it was snowing outside, he sought refuge in there. And that is where he chanced upon a few monks talking about a few magical beans which, when planted, would sprout out a huge beanstalk leading straight to the land of giants. Whoever’s heard of such gibberish?” she spat. “Well, even my beloved did not fall for that and brought them home. I thought I should cook the beans lest we wanted to survive the winter on stale bread ..”

“Wait… what! You couldn’t have cooked them! That was a grave mistake!” I told her. Now where would Jack get his beans from?

“You’re right in saying that, my dear. They tasted like a horrible mixture of.. of spinach and shrimp flavoured porridge! So I filled a bag with the remainder of the beans and sent my husband out again.” Here she coughed a bit and adjusted her lopsided spectacles. She is quite an amiable lady now that she is old but I really pity her poor husband. I bet there isn’t a single person out there who has been thrown out of the house these many times.

She continued with a smile, “He must not have gone too far when he met a boy called Jack who did not surpass him in wits. He persuaded him to trade his cow in exchange of those apparently magical beans, and he readily agreed. He actually bought the tale! He must have got a good spanking when he reached home.

“It went alright for another few days but you can’t survive solely on cow’s milk, right? And then my hubby dear heard about that gold spinning girl’s plight and went off to do some good. He had planned to exchange my hair for some gold but when he heard that she was to marry the king, he asked for her first child instead.

“I didn’t think it was a good plan until he explained that the child could be used to extract money from the king. I must admit it was quite clever of him but then, when the child was finally born and he found that queen-girl in tears, he offered a bargain. If she could guess his name in three days, she could keep the child. True, he doesn’t have a particularly common name but then only a fool would take such chances.

“My hopes did go up when even on the second night that stupid queen could not guess his name. Only a day was left and there were thousands of names left in the world. I’d heard that the queen had sent spies everywhere to intercept him and I did warn him but he had to go to the tavern and get drunk! Now, he is not particularly sane even when he hasn’t touched his drinks so it was not very surprising to hear the next day that he had been singing and shouting out his name for the world to hear.” She snorted.

“So the queen won the game after all,” I finished the tale for her. “But then, what did you do?”

“Um… nothing much. He was too ashamed to come home so he went off someplace else. Good riddance, I’d thought. I would be much better off without him to look after. But a few days later some soldiers arrived on my doorstep with my husband in their hold. His clothes were torn and he had a blackened eye. I think it was his left eye. The soldiers told me that he had ventured into their lands and had heard the news of their princess’s 100 year sleep from which she could be wakened only by a true love’s kiss. And what does my husband do? He sneaks into her bedroom and kisses her. What’s more, she indeed wakes up!”

“ What!” I spat the tea out of my mouth. “She really woke up?”

“Well yes but apparently the news had been outdated and some prince had already done the needful, and she had just been enjoying a good night’s sleep, as if she just hadn’t had enough!”

I smiled at her. I desperately wanted to meet her husband now. The first hand version of his tale would sell greatly. So I asked her about him.

“You cannot expect him to be here unless you believed in life after death,” she said.

Upon my incredulous questions, she nervously smiled and said, “Oh… well he was …uh embarrassing and you couldn’t expect decent married men to go about ogling other women, let alone kissing them. So I poked his eyes out. If he won’t have eyes for me, he will not see any other woman either.”

“But that doesn’t explain his death.”

“ About that… um… he went off strolling in the dark (not that it would matter to his sightless eyes) and fell off a cliff and died,” she ended flatly.

“ But this does not mean I killed him, right?” She twirled a lock of her beautiful hair and looked at me expectantly. “All the same, you mustn’t tell the authorities. You wouldn’t want to ruin the last few years of my life, would you?”

I looked at her awhile, ruminating over the numerous times she had turned her husband out of the house and how he had lost his life to her. If this didn’t work with the public, I do not know what else will. “No,” I replied. “The authorities won’t hear about it but only if you lend me your story.” I looked at the troubled face of that much hyped about lady and added, “The more uncomfortable parts will be left out, of course.”

And so, I saved my job and wrote a marvellous article which pushed me up the ladder to fame and fortune. Rapunzel got to keep her secrets until her death a few days back which provided me an opportunity to relate the few interesting titbits which I had discreetly left out earlier, hence trending more than our beloved heroine. And the old lady has also left in me a permanent impression of the nature of wives chosen in a hurry.

Camp NaNo Diaries: week 1

Happy April! It’s Mez, and I’m here to talk about what happens when – as a writer or just in life – your best-intentions go right of the rails, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

Officially 1 week into Camp NaNoWriMo, and de-railing has defined my experience of camp so far. Last year in preparation for our Novel in November campaign, Bri wrote an excellent post about making sacrifices for the sake of sticking to your novel-writing goals, things like saying “NO” to social invites, requests and perhaps even your ever-growing laundry pile.

I support her advice 100% – if you’re ever going to achieve those goals, you’ve got to take responsibility for them & carve out the time to let the magic (aka. countless hours of hard work) happen. 100% essential. 100% true.

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BUT… (brace yourself. Important life lesson ahead!)

Sometimes things come up in life that you simply can’t, or shouldn’t, say ‘no’ to. When you weigh them up even to the importance of sticking to your goal, they win out in importance. I’m talking about REALLY big stuff, like when you lose someone close to you & you need to be there for the friends & family who are grieving… or when a close friend invites you to her wedding in a far-off destination… or when family in another continent suddenly surprise you with a visit… or when a family member is at wit’s end & really needs you to step in & lend a hand with her kids.

All of those examples & quite a few others have unexpectedly flown into my path this month of Camp NaNo. And do you know what, whilst I passionately want to finish my novel this month & it hurst to see my hopes melting away like cotton candy dropped into the pool, it’s actually O.K..

Writing books is what I want to do with my life. But it isn’t & never will be the end-all of what my life consists of. More important than my career & passions are the people who bless my life. While I may often have to say no & dissapoint them for the sake of meeting a deadline, I never want to sacrifice my relationships to my writing. This Camp NaNo has taught me to prioritise, to realise that I’ve got to work for your goals, but I’ve got to live for more than achieving them. Namely, when real needs arise, you’ve got to put the people in your life first. And ultimately, that’s living, and what do we write about if not life?

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What now?

The other lesson I’ve learned (for the umteenth time) this NaNo is not to give up when you hit hurdles in the road. Having made peace with not achieving my original goal this month, we are yet only 1 week in! I can still re-caliber my expectations and work towards a new, trimmed-down goal (that’s one of the joys of Camp NaNo.. you can revise your goal up to the midpoint of the month!).  I’ll let you know how that’s going in a couple weeks’ time! Meanwhile, check in next Friday to hear about Bri’s Camp NaNo experience so far…

What about you?

Are you a NaNo Camper this month?

Have any unforeseen life events interrupted your writing goals?

What do you do to keep on going, even when you get derailed?

 

April Greetings!

Happy April! Has spring come to everyone? We are very green and have had some fun (and scary) storms. So it’s one in the morning here in Georgia. Why am I up late? Because there is a Camp NaNoWriMo going on, and I am determined to write at least a little every day, even if it’s just a couple hundred words. Mez is also joining me at camp, so wish us luck!

Fortunately for us, we held a Fairy Tale Competition last month, and to help us out with the blog, we will be posting our top four reimagined fairy tales each Monday, and a quick how we are doing on Friday. Thanks to everyone who participated!! So here is out first one, a reimagining of Goldilocks by Alex Thaxton!

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Goldilocks: The Untold Story

Re-imagined by: Alex Thaxton

    Once upon a time, in a land very far away, there lived a young girl with beautiful golden hair… Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.  I’m sure you have, in some way or another, but I’m not here to tell you that she was eaten when the bears suddenly came home to find her snoring in one of their beds, or to tell you that she lived happily ever after; this is the real story.

You see, Goldilocks (for that was the name of the young girl) was my best friend.  We did everything together—rode our ponies, went to school, window shopped in our little village, and went on walks through the woods.  It was on one of these such walks that the incident occurred.

While humming and skipping along, we came across a house in the woods which we had never happened upon before.  Our parents had taught us not to speak to strangers, but they had also always encouraged us to be polite, so we decided we should try to say hello to the inhabitants.  After walking all the way around the house, we still couldn’t find anyone nearby.  I tried to convince Goldilocks that we should be on our way, but she wouldn’t listen.  She always was a stubborn girl.

Goldilocks found a door that was unlocked, yelled “Hello!” as she opened it, and crept inside.  I followed, hesitantly looking over my shoulder the whole time.

“Goldi,” I whispered, “we really shouldn’t be in here.”

“Why are you whispering?  There’s no one home.  Let’s just explore the place!  Look over here…there are three different-sized chairs.  That seems strange—so mismatched…” she muttered as she marched herself right over to the largest of the chairs.  “Here, give me a boost.”

“We really should go, but I’ll do just this one thing for you, and then I’m going home—with or without you.”

I gave her a boost into the giant chair.  It was large enough for her to lay down without any of her body hanging off of it.  She stood on the edge of it and looked down at me, pouting.

“I think you should stay.  We could both fit up here.  Come on, take my hand,” she said as she knelt down and stretched out her hand.”

“Fiiiiiine.  But then I’m going home.”  I had to climb the leg of the chair as though it were a small-ish tree until I could reach her hand.  She helped me the rest of the way up.  “Wow, this is an even bigger chair than I thought.”

“See!  It’s so fun.  But I also want a chair that’s not so hard to get into.  Let’s climb down, then try the medium-sized chair.”

“Ok…but I still think that one will be too big.  You try that one, and I’ll try the smaller one.  And then, for real, I’m going home.”

“Ha ha, seems like I’ve heard that before,” she said with a smirk.

She hoisted herself into the medium-sized chair, and I sat in the little one with ease.  “This one is just right,” I said.  “Maybe a little bit too wide for me, but at least I didn’t have to climb into it!”

“Let me try it!”

No sooner had Goldi sat in the smallest chair, than she spotted a table with bowls on it.  One of them was steaming.

“Ooooooo I wonder what that is!”

“Goldi, don’t even think about it!  You’ll barely be able to reach the table anyway.”

Unfortunately, I think she took those last words as a challenge.  She clamored into one of the chairs at the table, and up onto the table itself—that was the only way she was able to reach the bowls.

“Mmmm, it looks like porridge.  I love porridge…especially after all the climbing I’ve just done.”  The steaming bowl was, of course, too hot for her to try.  The second bowl she came to had apparently been sitting out for a while.  She dipped her finger into it, pulled out a glob of porridge, and tasted it.  “Well, it’s tasty, almost like they added cinnamon to it, just like I always do…but this one is cold.”

“Goldi, get down here now, and let’s go.  Please!”

“Hold your horses!  There’s one more bowl up here, and I’m hungry.  I just want to try it, then we can leave.”

She moved to the next bowl.  Just as she had done with the previous bowl, she dunked her finger into this one, pulled it out, and tasted the porridge.  “Oh, this one is just right!  And it tastes like cinnamon too!”  To my disgust, Goldi began to use her entire hand to eat the porridge.  She started off slowly, but then a sort of frenzy took over, and she was nearly shoveling it in, until the whole bowl was empty—at which point, she licked the bowl clean, then licked what was left of the porridge off of her hands and arms.

“Well that was one of the most horrid displays I’ve ever seen,” I said.

“Stop trying to be such a grown-up.”  Goldi then climbed back down onto a chair, and down to the floor.  Then, in spite of my objections, she seemed to sort of float towards the back of the house—away from the door we came through.  I tried to grab her arm and pull her back towards the door, but she didn’t even seem to feel it.  She had suddenly grown very strong…and if I remember correctly, her arm felt bigger than normal.

“Leave me alone,” she grumbled (or was it more of a growl?) at me.  “I’m going to take a nap, and I don’t care what you say.  Go home.  I’ll be fine.”

She entered a room with three different beds in it—one giant, one just a little too big, and one that seemed like it was somewhere in between.  With the hand that I wasn’t pulling, she felt each bed, but settled for the smallest of the three.  The first was much too soft, the second was too hard, but the third was, apparently, just right.  I tugged on her arm one more time as hard as I could, but to no avail.  I didn’t know what to do.  I knew our parents would be looking for us soon, and who knew when the owners of the house would return…but as my brain fired off different scenarios, something started to happen.  The golden hair that she was known for seemed to be growing in soft curls on her face, neck, and arms (at least, that was all that I could see since she was under a blanket).  It stopped growing once it reached about two inches thick, but the only “normal” thing that was still visible were Goldi’s eyes.

Then, her eyes started to change too.  They grew farther apart, and became more round.  I was slowly backing away, out of the room, when I noticed that she was growing ears—and not human ones.  These were round and fuzzy, and more on top of her head than human ears.

Snap!  I heard a twig break outside the window.  “Oh no, they must be back!  What do I do now?”  I barely had time to recognize that I had just spoken aloud to myself, when Goldi’s hands shifted on top of the blanket.  Only, they weren’t Goldi’s hands anymore.  They were the hands (well, the paws) of a bear!

It was all I could do not to scream.  I knew then that the house must’ve belonged to bears, and that there had to have been something strange in the porridge that Goldi ate.  I heard the front door creak open, and voices coming through—one very low and gruff, one that kind of sounded like honey (if honey could make a sound), and the third was somewhere in between.  I hid under the bed that my friend was sleeping on.  I couldn’t just leave her there—I had to make sure she would be okay.

I heard some grumbling near the table about porridge being eaten, and I heard them shuffling and clomping toward the bedroom.  They took in the scene of Goldi lying in the bed, and I heard them mutter “not another one.”

I peeked my head out from under the bed.  “Umm, excuse me,” I said nervously.  “My friend and I wandered in here, and she ate a whole bowl of porridge, even though I tried to stop her, and then, she, umm, turned into a bear?  I don’t know what to do.  Please don’t be mad.”

The giant Papa Bear turned and stomped out of the room.  The Mama Bear came toward the bed.  In her honey-like voice, she began to tell me a sad story about how they, too, used to be humans.  An evil witch had played a trick on them and given them some cinnamon to use in their favorite meal: porridge.  Years ago, they used it, and the same thing happened to them as happened to Goldilocks.  She explained that the only reason they still used the cinnamon was that it tasted so good, and that they assumed they were the only ones who would be eating it, so it wasn’t doing anyone any harm.  She promised they would look after my friend, if I would promise to one day catch the evil witch and bring her to justice.  Mama Bear knew that no one would listen to a family of bears.  BUT, Mama Bear did tell me that I shouldn’t tell the real story until the witch was finally caught, or she might come after me.

So I came up with the lie to tell Goldilocks’ parents—that she was eaten by bears in the woods, and that I barely escaped with my life.  Now, however, after years of searching and spreading that lie, I am able to come clean.  I am happy to report that the evil witch was indeed found, put to trial, and condemned to a life sentence of scrubbing out bowls of old porridge.

And she did not live happily ever after.

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