Okay, so I am at it again. You know how I do. It is the challenges I take on. The writing and reading ones, of course. So, what is it this time? It is a writing contest sponsored by Picture book author Susanna Leonard Hill. Here are the rules.
The Contest: Write a children’s story, in poetry or prose, maximum 400 words, that is a fractured fairy tale. Feel free to add a theme of spring, or mix in one of the spring holidays if you like – St. Patrick’s Day, April Fools Day, Easter or Passover, Arbor Day, Earth Day… Have fun with it! The madder* the better! 🙂
*as in wild and wacky, not angry 🙂
You do not have to include spring – that is optional.
The story can be a picture book or a short story – whatever you like.
Now, here is my attempt.
Title: MARIELLA, A Jamaican Fairytale
Word count: 398-words
They lived on an island. Mangoes, papayas, and coconut trees were everywhere. The shoreline stood seventeen steps from their verandah. (Mariella counted.) Hummingbirds hummed. Butterflies fluttered. And with all of nature’s beauty, they were still unhappy.
Tired of being alone, the Prime-Minister married Queenie. “Life is too short to be lonely,” he said.
Queenie wanted children. So her husband adopted JACKson and JILLian.
“Why not wait and have our own?” asked Queenie.
“Life is too short to be lonely,” he replied.
Everyone was happy except Queenie.
“She doesn’t like us,” said JACKson.
“Then we will make her,” said Mariella.
And JILLian showered her with compliments. These became her favorite things, including the children.
One day, the Prime-Minister passed. Queenie became sad, sick, and spiteful. She griped, grumbled, cussed, and fussed everyday about everything and everyone.
Nothing the children did cheered her. The flowers lost its fascination. The Porridge lost its punch. And the compliments lost its charm. Eventually, she moved from the house to the coal-shack next to her husband’s grave.
One spring morning, there was a thump-thump-thump at the door, and an envelope tucked in its frame.
Mariella read: “In honor of our new Prime-Minister, come to The Springtime Reggae Ball.”
“The Reggae Ball will cheer her up,” said Mariella.
“Perfect!” said JACKson. “Come! Follow me!”
The children sprinted to the fanciest store in town – Fairy Godmother’s Bou-T- Q.
“We need your fanciest dress, shoes, and ribbon, please,” said JILLian.
But when they couldn’t pay, they told Fae, the owner, the truth.
That evening, Fae showed up to give make-overs. She scrubbed, rubbed, snipped, clipped, plucked and tucked.
“You look pretty!” shouted the children to Queenie.
At the Ball, the Prime-Minister mesmerized by Queenie’s beauty.
“Come ska* with me beautiful ooman*.”
For the first time, in a long time, Queenie smiled. She danced and pranced from room-to-room. Whirling and swirling. Flipping and flopping. Twisting and twirling for hours.
The cuckoo-clock chimed a dozen times. The Prime-Minister announced, “We’re getting married next spring! Reggae dance everybody! Celebrate!”
“Why the rush?” asked Fae.
“Life is too short to be lonely,” Queenie replied.
Everyone was happy. And they lived happily ever after.