There once lived a striking teenage girl who was named Rocket and was being raised by a witch, for reasons having to do with her mother, her father, an herb garden, and a rash promise. Let this be a warning.

Rocket and her stepmother, whose name was Dame Darnet, lived in a cottage in a vast wood, but still Dame Darnet was afraid that some dashing young prince would come along, notice how striking Rocket was, and spirit her away. It was her opinion that Rocket was just the kind of girl who would fall for some dashing stranger and want to run off with him, so for Rocket’s own good she locked her in a chamber high in a tower she had built for that purpose. Rocket protested loudly that she wasn’t the least bit interested in dashing young princes, having decided that what she really wanted was to join a nice, quiet little convent somewhere far away from witches and towers and dashing strangers. She had read about convents and dashing young princes in the Märchen Times. Continue reading

Men and Pain

Acacia tree in the desertThere is a disconnect in our society’s idea(s) of how men deal with pain. On the one hand there is the well-known fact that if a man catches a cold he thinks he’s going to die, and requires 24/7 nursing care until he is well again. On the other hand we have western movies in which the hero is shot seven times from twelve different directions in all the major limbs and internal organs and a few auxiliary ones, and yet struggles back up onto his horse and rides into town to save the day.

Both of these cannot be realistic at the same time.

In the interest of brutal honesty, therefore, I bring you the final scene from a newly rewritten western (One Bride for One Orphan).
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The Dragon-Eating Man

A coin with an image of St. George slaying the dragonOnce upon a time in a faraway land there was an evil prince who loved to breakfast on dragonet steak and dragon eggs (over easy). His bravest knights scoured the three-duchy area, stealing eggs and dragonets from every nest they could find, and killing any grown-up dragons who stood in their way. Soon the dragon population began to seriously dwindle, and the local dragon variety (Draconis horribili delectamentis) was placed on the principality’s Endangered Subspecies list. Unlike the wicked prince, however, the principality’s Environmental Ministry had no teeth.
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Windfall apricots in the shade of a treeOnce upon a time there was a little girl who was no bigger than your ear, although she looked in every other respect like a normal human child. Her parents named her Earbellina.

By her eighteenth birthday, Earbellina was the size of a small doll, say one that’s about a foot in length, although shaped more like a young lady than a baby doll. “Well,” said her father after breakfast that morning, “you are welcome to stay here with your mother and me as long as you like. But at this age your older brother left to seek his fortune in the Wide World, so if you wish, you may leave with our blessing.”
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