Four 'Fairy' Stories

Michael Gouda

Little Guy in the Red Hat

adapted from the story 'Little Red Riding Hood' by the Grimm Brothers

Once upon a time there was a dear little boy who was loved by every one who looked at him, but most of all by his grandmother, and there was nothing that she would not have given to the child. Once she gave him a little cap of red velvet, which suited him so well that he would never wear anything else. So he was always called Little Guy in the Red Hat (though to be strictly accurate he wasn't all that little, especially in the groin department). Of course treating him in this way, wasn't all that good for him and some people looked at him a bit askance as he minced along in his red velvet hat.

One day his mother said to him, "Come, Little Guy in the Red Hat, here is a piece of fruit cake and a bottle of wine. Take them to your grandmother, she is ill and weak, and they will do her good. Set out before it gets hot, and when you are going, walk nicely and quietly and do not run off the path, or you may fall and break the bottle, and then your grandmother will get nothing. And when you go into her room, don't forget to say, good-morning, and don't peep into every corner before you do it." What advice to give to a growing boy - but then, as I told you, his upbringing was not of the most sensible.

"OK, mum," said Little Guy in the Red Hat to his mother. But he picked out a raisin from the cake and ate it as he went along. (If you think this is significant, then I'm afraid you'll be disappointed.)

The grandmother lived out in the wood, half a league from the village, and just as Little Guy in the Red Hat entered the wood, a wolf met him. He was tall and he walked with a sort of louche grace and sported a moustache. Anyone else would have been very suspicious but Little Guy in the Red Hat did not know what a wicked creature he was, and was not at all afraid of him.

"Good-day, Little Guy in the Red Hat," said the wolf.

"Thank you kindly."

"Whither away so early, Little Guy in the Red Hat?"

"To my grandmother's."

"What have you got in your shoulder bag?" Carrying a shoulder bag was another habit of Little Guy in the Red Hat which was to be deprecated but it was in fact useful to carry the cake and wine in.

"Cake and wine. Yesterday was baking-day, so poor sick grandmother is to have something good, to make her stronger."

"Where does your grandmother live, Little Guy in the Red Hat?"

"A good quarter of a league farther on in the wood. Her house stands under the three large oak-trees, the nut-trees are just below. You surely must know it," replied Little Guy in the Red Hat.

The wolf thought to himself, "What a tender young creature. And I can see from the shape in his jeans he'll be a nice plump mouthful, he will be better to eat than the old woman. I must act craftily, so as to catch both." So he walked for a short time by the side of Little Guy in the Red Hat, and then he said, "See Little Guy in the Red Hat, how pretty the flowers are about here. Why do you not look round? I believe, too, that you do not hear how sweetly the little birds are singing. You walk gravely along as if you were going to school, while everything else out here in the wood is gay." Now that should have given Little Guy in the Red Hat a big hint, but he was very innocent.

Now a normal guy would have told the wolf to piss off, that he wasn't interested in the pretty flowers and the little birds, but, as I said Little Guy in the Red Hat was a bit, well, you know, like that. . .

Little Guy in the Red Hat raised his eyes, and when he saw the sunbeams dancing here and there through the trees, and pretty flowers growing everywhere, he thought, suppose I take grandmother a fresh nosegay. That would please her too. It is so early in the day that I shall still get there in good time. And so he ran from the path into the wood to look for flowers. And whenever he had picked one, he fancied that he saw a still prettier one farther on, and ran after it, and so got deeper and deeper into the wood.

Sickening isn't it? Sunbeams, flowers, nosegays! The little prick deserves everything he gets and we'll soon see what that is. You think you've guessed? We shall see.

Meanwhile the wolf ran straight to his grandmother's house and knocked at the door.

"Who is there?"

"Little Guy in the Red Hat," replied the wolf in a high-pitched falsetto which would have fooled no one except a half deaf old woman who'd been at the gin all morning. "I am bringing cake and wine. Open the door."

"Lift the latch," called out the grandmother, "I am too weak, and cannot get up."

The wolf lifted the latch, the door sprang open, and without saying a word he went straight to the grandmother's bed, and turned her out into the woods, first stripping off her clothes. She was so terrified she raced away and was soon lost to view. Then he put on her clothes, dressed himself in her cap, laid himself in bed and drew the curtains.

Little Guy in the Red Hat, however, had been running about picking flowers, and when he had gathered so many that he could carry no more, he remembered his grandmother, and set out on the way to her.

He was surprised to find the cottage-door standing open, and when he went into the room, he had such a strange feeling that he said to herself, oh dear, how uneasy I feel today, and at other times I like being with grandmother so much. There's a curious atmosphere in the room.

He called out, "Good morning," but received no answer. So he went to the bed and drew back the curtains. There lay his grandmother with her cap pulled far over her face, and looking very unfamiliar.

"Oh, grandmother," he said, "what big ears you have."

"The better to hear you with, my child," was the reply.

Little Guy in the Red Hat stroked them and felt the soft fur tremble. Careful, big boy!

"But, grandmother, what big eyes you have," he said.

"The better to see you with, my dear."

The eyes were brown and glistened with a strange intensity, so different from his gran's usual tiny grey ones in their wrinkled sockets.

"But, grandmother, what large hands you have."

"The better to hug you with."

And he put out one and clasped Little Guy in the Red Hat round the waist, though it did slip a little and seemed to end up on his buttocks.

"Ooooh, but, grandmother, what a terrible big mouth you have."

"The better to eat you with."

And scarcely had the wolf said this, than with one bound he was out of bed and ripped off Little Guy in the Red Hat's trousers and tender white underwear and his terrible big mouth took hold of what was inside and began to taste and slaver, and chew, and relish so that LGRH (work it out) was soon moaning and sobbing with feelings he'd never experienced before.

"Oh, grandmother, what a big willy you have."

"All the better to give you the biggest and best shafting you've ever experienced." And he turned him over and gave him what for until LG lost his RH. and also lost his heart to the wolf.

So the two of them set up in Grandmother's little cottage in the woods and lived happily ever afterwards.

As for grandmother herself. As she went racing through the woods, she was seen by a huntsman who, only seeing flashes of white through the trees, thought she was a deer and shot her dead.

Oh well, Not everyone has a happy ending!


adapted from a story by the Grimm Brothers

Once upon a time when blue moons were more common than there are today, there was a miller who was poor, but who had a good-looking son. Now it happened that the miller had to go and speak to the king of the country on a business matter, and in order to make himself appear important he said to him, "I have a son who can spin beautifully."

The king said," Hmmm, sounds a rather girlie occupation for a boy."

And the miller, who was stupid but still wanted to impress, said," But, your Majesty, he can spin straw into gold."

The king, who was greedy, said to the miller, "That is an art which pleases me well, if your son is as clever as you say, bring him tomorrow to my palace, and I will put him to the test." You will note that most of the characters in this story are either stupid or greedy - even the hero should have had more sense. A real hero would have run off to the big city to seek his fortune rather than rely on his idiotic parent.

However when the boy was brought to the palace, the king took him into a room which was quite full of straw, gave him a spinning-wheel and a reel, and said, "Now set to work, and if by tomorrow morning early you have not spun this straw into gold during the night, you must die." Thereupon he himself locked up the room, and left the boy in it alone.

So there sat the poor miller's son, and for the life of him could not tell what to do, for he had no idea how straw could be spun into gold, and he grew more and more frightened, until at last he began to weep. See what I mean about being less than heroic?

But all at once the door opened, and in came an ugly little man with a crooked nose and legs which were so bowed you could have run a pig through them. There's no political correctness about this story - but then that's the fairy story tradition. The man said, "Good evening, handsome youth, why are you crying so." What a dreadful pickup line, but that's how they talk in fairy stories.

"Alas," answered the boy, "I have to spin straw into gold, and I do not know how to do it."

"Will you give me a kiss," said the manikin, "if I do it for you?"

Now, as I have said, the man was monstrous ugly but the boy reasoned. If this will save my life, I can at least shut my eyes and imagine that perhaps I'm kissing the Love of my Life (whoever that might be). So he said, "OK."

The little man locked on to the boy's lips and gave him a long, passionate kiss - tongue and all, and the boy had to use all his imagination not to shudder, but at last it was over and the man seated himself in front of the wheel, and whirr, whirr, whirr, three turns, and the reel was full, then he put another on, and whirr, whirr, whirr, three times round, and the second was full too. And so it went on until the morning, when all the straw was spun, and all the reels were full of gold.

By daybreak the king was already there, and when he saw the gold he was astonished and delighted, but his heart became only more greedy. He had the miller's son taken into another room full of straw, which was much larger, and commanded him to spin that also in one night if he valued his life. If you are wondering why the king should have rooms filled with straw, then I'm sorry I can't help you. I don't know either.

The boy knew not how to help himself, and burst into tears again, (What a cry-baby!) when the door opened again, and the little man appeared, and said, "Oh dear, you are in a pickle. Tell you what, will you let me give you a blow-job if I spin that straw into gold for you?"

Well, thought the boy, I can always imagine it's the Love of my Life (whoever that might be), so he said, "OK."

The little man undid the boy's hose, took out his schlong and fastened his jaded old mouth around it. Hours, it seemed, later, the man was satisfied and again began to turn the wheel, and by morning had spun all the straw into glittering gold.

The king rejoiced beyond measure at the sight, but still he had not gold enough, So, (yes, you guessed it, for these things always happen in threes) he had the miller's son taken into a still larger room full of straw, and said, "You must spin this, too, in the course of this night, but if you succeed, I'll make you a prince and my heir so that after my death you will become King."

"Even if he be but a miller's son," thought the King, "I could not find a richer or more useful heir in the whole world."

When the boy was alone the manikin came again for the third time, and said, "What will you let me do if I spin the straw for you this time also?"

"I have nothing left that I could give," answered the boy - who was intent on saving his cherry for the Love of his Life (whoever that might be).
"Then promise me, if you should become Prince, you'll let me have your cherry."

"Who knows whether that will ever happen," thought the miller's son, and, not knowing how else to help himself in this dire strait, he promised the manikin what he wanted, and on the strength of that the old man once more spun the straw into gold.

And when the king came in the morning, and found all as he had wished, he ordered a huge and elaborate ceremony and created the miller's son a Prince and his heir (though from the way the boy behaved it might be more appropriate that he named him his queen.)
A year later, the Prince was enjoying his new life and had started to think about finding the Love of his Life (whoever that might be) when suddenly the ugly little man (bow legs and all) came into his room, and said, "Now give me what you promised."

The Prince was horror-struck, (for he was saving his cherry for you-know-who) and offered the manikin half the riches of the kingdom if he would leave him alone. But the manikin said, "No, that thing is dearer to me than all the treasures in the world." (He really ought to get a sense of proportion!)

Then the Prince began to lament and cry, so that the manikin pitied him. "I will give you three days," said he, "if by that time you find out my name, then shall you keep your cherry and I will leave you for ever."

So the Prince thought the whole night of all the names that he had ever heard, and he sent a messenger over the country to inquire, far and wide, for any other names that there might be.

When the manikin came the next day, he began with Caspar, Melchior, Balthazar, and said all the names he knew, one after another, but to every one the little man said, "That is not my name."

On the second day the Prince had inquiries made in the neighbourhood as to the names of the people there, and he repeated to the manikin the most uncommon and curious, "Perhaps your name is Shortribs, or Sheepshanks, or Laceleg," but he always answered, "That is not my name."

On the third day the messenger came back again, and said, "I have not been able to find a single new name, but as I came to a high mountain at the end of the forest, where the fox and the hare bid each other good night, there I saw a little house, and before the house a fire was burning, and round about the fire quite a ridiculous little man was jumping, he hopped upon one leg, and shouted -

'Today I bake, tomorrow brew,
The next I'll have the Prince's ring.
Ha, glad am I that no one knew
That Rumpledforeskin I am styled.'" (He may have been something of a magician but he was a rotten poet.)

You may imagine how glad the Prince was when he heard the name. And when soon afterwards the little man came in, and asked, "Now, noble Prince, what is my name?" at first he said, "Is your name Piddletrenthyde?"


"Is your name Bootlebumtrinket?"

"No." And the little man began to jump up and down in his excitement and there grew in his pantaloons an enormous shape.

So the Prince said, "Perhaps your name is Rumpledforeskin?"

The little man let out an enormous yell. "The devil has told you that! The devil has told you that," he shrieked, and in his anger he plunged his right foot so deep into the earth that his whole leg went in, and then in rage he pulled at his left leg so hard with both hands that he tore himself in two which, not surprisingly, was the end of him.

So the Prince lived happily ever after and eventually found the Love of his Life (but that, as they say, is another story).

Brian Rose

Adapted from the story 'Briar Rose' by the Brothers Grimm (English Version as you'll know is entitled 'The Sleeping Beauty')

Once upon a time long, long ago when people believed in witches and curses and such, and magic really worked, there lived a rich and powerful couple called Mr and Mrs Rose. They had money (lots of it) and influence (as rich people always do) and were reasonably contented with their lives (it's easier to be rich and unhappy than poor and unhappy) with one exception – they had no children.

That is not to say they hadn't tried. They had tried over and over again – in various positions – doing the 'two-backed beast'; they had even tried IVF (in vitro fertilisation) which in those days was very experimental so it wasn't particularly strange that it didn't work; they had tried all sorts of alternative medicine: homeopathy, and acupuncture, and Yoga, and Chinese herbs, but all to no avail (except that Mrs Rose felt rather strange from the last and Mr Rose got a bad back from attempting a Half Lord of the Fishes Pose – Ardha Matsyendrasana).

So, at last they resigned themselves to being childless when (and this you're going to find really hard to believe) something strange happened. While Mrs Rose (Perdita – her mother was a Shakespeare fan) 'was bathing (I quote from the original), a frog crept out of the water on to the land, and said to her, "Your wish shall be fulfilled; before a year has gone by, you shall have a' son." (Now why Perdita was bathing in the open – apparently in a pond – perhaps she was under the influence or some sort of Chinese drug, how the frog was able to talk, and apparently talk in perfect English, I do not know. I am merely the narrator and tell what happened. I do not explain the inconsistencies. You'll just have to take those for granted or provide your own explanations.)

Anyway, what was foretold came true, before the year was over (though how the frog knew was never explained), Perdita was (as they say) delivered of a boy. Right from the start he was a beautiful baby. He even slipped out without too much pain for the mother, nor did he cry, just lay there breathing quietly and making soft bubbly sounds. Mr Rose (Percy – unknown provenance – though apparently means 'piercing the valley' – Is that sexual? Possibly just my dirty mind.) was overjoyed in so far anyone called Percy could be.

"We'll call him Brian," he said, "and have a grand christening party to which we'll invite everyone who is anyone."

Perdita, who was feeling just that little bit exhausted, agreed. "Don't forget to ask 'the aunts'," she said.

Ah, the aunts! Percy had seven of them and Perdita six, making a total of thirteen – a witches' coven if ever there was one. Occasionally one or other of them would 'visit', usually unannounced and point out everything that was wrong with the household, the servants, the grounds, the animals, the business, the tout ensemble! This was bad enough but if they found everything wrong with the Rose household, it was even worse if two arrived at the same time – for they loathed each other with a strong and abiding hatred which knew no bounds.

What, wondered Perdita and Percy would they be like when they all arrived for the christening. Yet they could not be left out for certainly they would find out and then the merde would really hit the ventilateur. But what could be done? Finally Percy hit on a solution. They must all sit at a single table, away from the rest. Certainly they would squabble but perhaps they would keep the rowing to themselves and not spoil the atmosphere for the rest of the guests. But then Perdita found a snag. Tables were for a dozen guests only. An extra chair 'shoved in' would provide that particular aunt with grounds for a hissy fit of gigantic proportions with who knew what consequences.

Clearly one of the aunts would have to be excluded from the guest list. Percy and Perdita pondered and worried and considered and agonised and eventually decided that the most quarrelsome, the most cantankerous aunt, Emelda, who also by happy chance lived furthest away, would be the one who was 'left out'. Cleverly Perdita decided that – to cover themselves – the invitation would be sent, but so late that it would never arrive in time for Emelda to attend.

And so it happened. Brian's christening day arrived, bright and clear – as all good days of celebration must be. Guests appeared in their best or most outlandish gear. Everyone smiled, especially at baby Brian, who lay in his cot, alternately gurgling and bubbling.

"Ah that's sweet."

"What a beautiful girl."

"It's a boy," said Perdita.

"What a handsome boy."

"Who's an ickly lickly googy woogy."

"Ugh!" (narrator).

After the food (I won't describe it because it was hugely unhealthy and made with quantities of frowned-on ingredients, like cream, and sugar and fat, and lots of carbohydrates - though mouth-wateringly delicious) The aunts lined up to give their gifts. They still squabbled but the gentle appearance of the young boy seemed to bring out some element of humanity in them. One by one they offered their presents:

He shall be handsome.

May he be tall.

I give him strength.

Wisdom and intelligence.

He will charm the birds from the trees. (What's the use of that, thought Percy)

Everyone will fall in love with him. (My little boy, thought Perdita)

He will be a great leader

I give him bravery and courage.

He is kind and generous. (He'd better not give too much of my fortune away, thought Percy)

And a stupendous lover.

He will have a huge genital appendage. (Ah, now we're talking, thought Percy.)

There was a pause and Perdita, who had been counting, waited for the twelfth aunt but what then happened shocked everyone. There was a wild, eldritch shriek (what other sorts are there?), the huge wooden doors at the end of the hall burst open and the thirteenth aunt, the one who shouldn't have received her invitation until the following day, rushed in, waving her arms and shouting imprecations at anyone who stood in her way. She looked a strange, rather frightening sight. Her hair stood up from her head in spirals and spikes and her eyes were wide and staring. She wore a long robe that was muddy round the hem as if she'd waded through a marsh to get there. She looked like a cross between the Wicked Witch of the North and the first Mrs Rochester – not an edifying sight!

Alarmed, the crowd drew back and Emelda rushed to the cradle where the baby lay. For a moment people feared she was about to attack the child and a security man stepped forward but she stopped and stared at the child. Then she looked around.

"You didn't want me to come," she said to Perdita and Percy, "but I did, bringing my gift." She made a strange movement with her hand as if she was dropping something onto the child. "When he's fifteen," she said, "he will get pricked and die." And she ran cackling to the door and disappeared.

Immediately the celebration turned to lamentations. Perdita let out a cry of horror and Percy cursed his aunt. The crowd, sensing a real drama, began to prepare statements for the press for they knew reporters would be round as soon as they caught wind of it.

Then a little old woman pushed her way towards the baby, now cradled in his mother's arms. It was the twelfth aunt. Now I expect you've lost count, what with all the kerfuffle and drama but if you look back, you'll see that there were only eleven 'gifts' and Emelda had burst in before the twelfth one had offered hers. Now she paused over the baby and everyone grew quiet.

"I can't cancel my sister's evil curse," she said, "because that's not what happens in fairy stories, but I can alter it a bit. The boy won't die but will fall asleep for a hundred years."

She looked around, waiting for congratulations but by then the spirit had gone out of the party and the guests sloped off, some slightly embarrassed, leaving Percy, Perdita and Brian and the aunts alone. Immediately they began to quarrel about who had given the greatest gift so the twelfth witch, grumbling to herself, left, closely followed by all the others.

Now, we have a gap in the story while Brian grows up. With all the benefits given to him by the aunts, together with his own innate good nature, he grew into a lovely youngster and, even when puberty struck him, his adolescent nature was unmarked by any tantrums or rebellions. He was blond and handsome and altogether a delightful child and young man.

Percy and Perdita though worried about Emelda's curse. What sharp object would give their beloved Brian a prick that would cause him to fall asleep for a hundred years? The worried parents consulted various experts and authorities, seers and clairvoyants. Of course they realised that there were numerous things that could inflict such a wound on Brian, all sharp things, knives, pins, needles, hypodermic syringes, swords, cutlasses, scimitars, splinters, shattered glass – the list seemed endless. One so-called archivist researching into antiquity, even suggested a spinning wheel which was clearly nonsensical. How could all these dangerous implements be somehow excluded from the Rose mansion? They tried plastic cutlery but even a plastic fork could, with sufficient force, inflict a nasty flesh wound.

Still they did their best and worried, and kept him away from sharp things and worried while Brian grew and became more handsome and strong and wise and intelligent, just as his aunts had promised.

Now let's resume the actual story. It is Brian's fifteenth birthday and he doesn't feel much excitement. There were gifts, though of course none with any sharp points on them. So it wasn't a very exciting day. His parents had made a list which ran as follows:

Gifts for a 15 year old
(as suggested by the aunts)
Buy him some new outfits, shirts, jeans, sneakers...

Go-cart. (That was interesting but because his father insisted that he be accompanied by a servant who was attached to the cart by a rope, it wasn't very exciting)

A fifteen year old girl. (Perdita put her foot down with a firm hand at this suggestion)

Gift card - condoms (No, said Perdita firmly, though Percy wondered) – start a saving account with some cash in it

Nowadays teenagers love jewellery. (Not normal ones, thought Percy)

A book! to encourage teenagers to read. You can give him a sports novel or sports history or something related to sports. Take advantage of what he likes and find something he's gonna enjoy reading. (Sensible, but bloody dull – narrator)

Perhaps give him a watch.

Tickets to a big game.....autographed item from his favourite player....jersey of his favourite team..... (Yeah, yeah, yeah)

Get him a gift card to ... umm.. like Dick's Sporting goods or something... where he can choose whatever HE wants. Or if you know he has a FAVOURITE place... fave place to eat? shop? whatever... get him a gift card there...

Remote controlled car, project that you make a rocket or model car, movie passes, gift certificates for fast food, play station games, 3 tickets to a concert. one for friend one for him and one for chaperon....

MP3 players are good

An electric guitar. What kind of music is he into? Does he like NickelBack, Creed, KidRock, Greenday? Get him a few CD's of his favourite bands. Or get him a new CD player and include a CD or two of his favourite bands.
Buy him an iTunes gift card, that way he can download songs.

Buy him a matching pair of lacy satin panties and bra; he will love them forever. ("Who's that from?" demanded Perdita. "Guess," said Percy heavily.)

The day wound to its conclusion and, slightly bored, Brian wanders around the house, looking for something to make his birthday special. He climbs the stairs to the first floor (what you Americans would call the second), then to the second (third) and finally to the attics. (I told you that the house was a mansion).

Up here there are dusty shapes of unwanted furniture, covered in even more dusty drapes. Dust, and dust and dust. Finally he finds a small room and is somewhat startled to see (You've guessed it. Wasn't so hard was it?) a little, shrunken old woman sitting at a strange sort of machine which consists of a large wheel, a treadle and yarn whizzing round ending up wound on a sort of bobbin expertly handled by the crone.

Brian is surprised rather than startled. Presumably this is a servant doing one of her jobs, though certainly one that he's never seen before.

"What are you doing, madam?" he asks. (I told you he was a polite young man.)

"Do you want a go?" she asks.

At this moment something should have told Brian that he was treading on dangerous ground, that his fate was about to take a leap into the darkness, but of course it didn't.

Blithely he walks to the odd machine, sits on the stool, places his foot on the treadle, whirls the wheel, attempts to catch the thread on the spindle and – well, do I need to tell you? – pricks his finger.

"Ouch," he says banally, "I've pricked my finger."

On which Emelda, for of course it is she, cackles and disappears, and everything in the house drops off to sleep, and by everything I mean everything. Even the spiders in the webs doze off and a bluebottle panicking gets an intermission before its fate eventually catches up with it.

Now there's a bit of a problem here. The article in Wikipedia explains it well so I will use its exact words, hoping that I'm not infringing copyright:

"In the story of Sleeping Beauty, Princess Briar Rose is cursed to prick her finger on a spinning wheel, thus causing her to fall into a deathlike sleep. The origins of this folk tale are sometimes debated by spinners, as most spinning wheels themselves lack a point upon which pricking a finger is possible. One suggested explanation is that Rose pricked her finger on the point of a distaff. Another theory, proposed by master spinner Alden Amos suggests that Rose caught a bit of mouldy flax (called boon) under a fingernail and suffered an allergic reaction."

Make up your own mind as to what happened to Brian.

* * * * * *

A hundred years pass.

* * * * * *

And lots of things happened during that time. There were wars and rumours of wars as both St Matthew and St Mark have it. Governments stumbled and fell, and new ones arose to take their place. Men and women made love in whatever ways they wanted and also with whom they fancied, and were respectively reviled and praised by fundamentalists and liberals. In short, life carried on as usual – except that in the Rose mansion, nothing stirred and after a while, even the postmen and milkmen (sorry post/milk-persons) stopped calling.

The gardens around the house though seemed not to be affected by the curse for everywhere brambles, thorny shrubs and weeds grew, and thicker and thicker became the undergrowth so that, after a while, it was impossible to get through.

And a story arose of the great prize that existed there in the middle of the waste ground and various people tried to get through but, as the story has it, 'from time to time kings' sons came and tried to get through the thorny hedge into the castle. But they found it impossible, for the thorns held fast together, as if they had hands, and the youths were caught in them, could not get loose again, and died a miserable death'. (Ah!)

At last, though, when a hundred years were up, a young Prince, dark as the Devil, with a face and body so handsome that even the straightest of guys felt attracted to him, arrived in the locality, heard the story and wanted to claim the prize.

"Don't try it," advised an old man, who might (or might not have been Emelda's son, but doesn't appear again so don't worry about it). But the Prince would not be dissuaded and approached the fearsome place, full of briars and thorns and brambles, above which only the highest part of the mansion showed.

Around it grew a thick tangle of noisome plants with sharp thorns which seemed about to tear the flesh from the Prince's pliant young body yet at his approach they drew back turning aside their spiky points as if they did not wish to desecrate so perfect a skin. (I told you there was magic from time to time in this story.)

He found the house. its door standing open and inside, people, animals and everything lying around apparently asleep. But something drew him upstairs to the top of the house where in the attic he saw a young man, blond and lissom (whatever that means) lying on a bed.

The Prince approached, fancied what he saw, bent over, fearing that the young man was dead. But the chest rose and fell and the Prince could feel the sweet breath on his cheek as he bent over him. The lips were seductive and demanded (and got) a gentle kiss which became fiercer and fiercer as the Prince felt a response.

Brian's eyelids fluttered and he stared up unto the dark, bottomless eyes of his rescuer. "A prick, a prick," said Brian waking.

The Prince looked at him in a calculating way. "Of course I have," he said, and then fumbling with Brian's nether garments, "and so have you. And what a monster!" (this was one of the aunts' gifts.) The Prince clasped it and it grew and grew in his hands (remember Brian hasn't had any sexual relief for one hundred years. (Wow)

So the Prince stripped himself and then did the same for Brian who was still slightly sleepy and not sure what was going on. Soon though they woke fully (I think I mean they were fully aroused) and the Prince, who was quite well-versed in the ways of the (gay) world, showed Brian the 69 position, and the 70, and the 71 etc. For those who are not sure what 70 is, just imagine 69 plus one, digit or tongue in a suitable aperture. Add finger numbers as you count up.

Then the prince introduced Brian to yet another custom which Brian had never tried before (he after all had only had solitary sex up until then) but which, after a bit of discomfort, he decided he liked, and the Prince, (who was ambisextrous) let him do it to him, which was just as exciting, though in a different way.

Now, hang on a minute. Someone is bound to say that this is illegal. Brian is fifteen and below the age of consent, even in the liberal European Union, but – and you lawyers get this – in years Brian is actually 115 years old, even though he may look like a young adolescent – so get out of that!

Finally in a tumultuous embrace, they both came and the Prince marvelled at the amount of squidge that Brian produced (but then, he'd been saving it up for some considerable time.)

And, at that moment everyone awoke, (the spider ate the bluebottle - remember) and Brian took the Prince down to introduce him to Percy and Perdita, as his boyfriend. And Percy wondered whether the birthday gift of a matching pair of lacy satin panties and bra had been a good idea after all. But, seeing Brian's obvious happiness, they got used to it.

Sadly the affair didn't last; the Prince wasn't looking for a long-term relationship, being himself a bit of a 'wanderer'. He liked the baths and cottaging and casual sex which, in the end, did for him – another story.

But Brian, freed from the curse which had hung over him for so long, blossomed and came out (decloseted) and soon found someone nearer his own rank and station (middle class though rich) with whom he settled down – and of whom even Percy and Perdita, after a while, approved. So, in spite of various domestic tiffs, they lived happily ever after – which is how a fairy story ought to end.


The Tale of the Pious Boy
(adapted from) The Star Talers

by the Grimm Brothers

There was once upon a time a boy whose father and mother were dead, and he was so poor that he no longer had a room to live in, or bed to sleep in, and at last he had nothing else but the clothes he was wearing and a piece of cheese and onion quiche in his hand which some charitable soul had given him. The boy, whose name was Theodoric (though this isn't important) was good and pious, however. And as he was thus forsaken by all the world, he went forth into the open country, trusting solely in Fate.

Then a poor man with a long beard reaching right down to his feet met him, who said, "Ah, give me something to eat, I am so hungry."

The boy handed him the whole of his quiche, and said, "May God bless you," and went onwards, though his own stomach rumbled with emptiness.

Then came a child with an icicle on the end of his nose which reached right down to his feet, who moaned and said, "My head is so cold, give me something to cover it with."

So the boy took off his baseball cap and gave it to him and the wind whistled round his own ears and made them red.

And when he had walked a little farther, he met another child who had no jacket and was frozen with cold and whose nipples were blue and almost turned inside out.

Then he gave it his own, and a little farther on one begged for his pair of jeans, and he gave away those also though his knees were chapped.

At length he got into a forest and it had already become dark, and there came yet another child, and asked for a shirt, and the good little boy thought to himself, "It is a dark night and no one can see me, I can very well give my shirt away," and took it off, and gave away that also.

And as he so stood, and had not one single thing left, naked as the day he was born, the moon came out and suddenly he was surrounded by a group of men who offered him money if he would do certain things with them. Then the boy said to himself, "Sod this pious life for a lark, all I got for it was hunger and cold. I'll do what they want and enjoy it."

So he did, and it wasn't all that bad anyway. It certainly beat being hungry and cold.

And he was rich all the rest of the days of his life, or at least until he lost his youth and beauty.

The End