Gramma was getting tired and she wasn’t feeling well. She had been taking care of me when mom and dad were at work. So she decided I was old enough to go wandering in the woods. Alone. She gave me a red cloak and told me it was magic. No beast could see me as long as I kept it on. So I wore it. All. the. time… It was HOT in that cloak.
She sat me down when she realized that I actually followed that one rule and told me the other rules that belonged to the faerie forest.
- don’t go into the three pigs’ cottages. The wolf can huff and puff them down. Afterall, what kind of builder can a pig possibly be?
- don’t go into the bears’ house and eat their porridge or sleep in their beds or they’ll chase you till they can have you for dinner.
- don’t accept beans and scatter them or a stalk will grow and there’s a giant’s castle above it.
- don’t climb a stalk and take a golden goose or the giant will follow you and try to eat you, singing “fee fi fo fum” all the while.
- don’t let the wolf follow you home, or the wolf will eat up gramma and no one wants that! Right?
- don’t go outside the faerie forest or the bull in the field will chase you down cuzz bulls hate red cloaks!
- don’t be alone with a boy and let him kiss you or you’ll have a baby to carry around all day.
- don’t let the red queen see you, or she’ll cut off your head!
- always say nice things to the woodcutter and the huntsman if you meet them, because one day they might want to marry you and you’d have a good life.
I asked her how I was supposed to remember all those rules…
Gramma gave me a list and said keeping the cloak on would help me remember. So I went tramping thru the woods.
On my own.
I was excited by the flowers, I was thrilled by the birds and deer. The squirrels and I had quite the chatter. Even the racoons were a great conversationalist with me. We really enjoyed our chats.
I walked on and saw the bean stalks. I gave them such a wide berth that I ended up under a tree I’d never seen before. I sat under it and had a nap. I woke up because I felt creepy and saw a pair of eyes in a bush. So I ran and ran, but not in the direction of home. I was sure it was the wolf!
I saw the pig’s houses. But remembered the rule. So I just asked for a drink of water from the well.
I ran on further and saw the bears’ house. I grabbed a pear from a tree near it, because i was hungry and thirsty.
I saw the edge of the faerie forest, so I circled around and stayed inside the treeline. No bull for me!
I saw a boy, so I waved to be polite, but ran in another direction. What girl wants to carry a baby around all day??
I saw a soldier and a carriage, so I hid under a bush till the queen went on her way.
I was so tired, hot and hungry, I sat again and napped. I woke up to see those eyes again. So I ran. I accidentally bumped into the huntsman and apologized profusely to him. He offered to escort me home to safety. I said yes. I told him the wolf was following me. He beat the bushes and didn’t find him anywhere. So we went to my place.
Gramma thanked him for his escort and offered him tea and cookies. We had a lovely chat. Then he left.
I had the weirdest feeling that Gramma and I were being watched. She said she didn’t notice anything. She asked if I had followed the rules. I said yes and went to bed after she reassured me we’d be fine then.
I woke up in the middle of the night to the sound of … nothing? But something had woken me. So I went looking thru our home. The coals on the fire were warm still. The kitchen was cleaned up after supper and the bedroom doors were all closed. Ok, so I went back to bed.
I was almost asleep again, when I remembered the paw print on the floor in front of the fireplace. But I had followed all of gramma’s rules!! I started up and went to look again. There it was. It was all my fault!!
I woke up to my own screams and mom, dad and gramma banging their way into the room. It took awhile before I calmed down again.