mindlovemisery’s menagerie fairy tale prompt 2 evil stepmothers

“So, she’d be my evil step-grandmother.”

“What honey?” I asked over my shoulder.

Chloe was always bambling to herself, to friends visible only to her, and sometimes to me. Listening with half an ear; I must have missed something.


Sounding exasperated that I didn’t immediately know, “your evil stepmother.”

“Well, I guess she would be.”

“What was she like? Did you have a fairy godmother? Was my father Prince Charming or a huntsman? Did you live with little people? Did she make you sweep and eat poison apples? Did she have a mirror? . . . .”

Chloe often strung together questions, without stopping to breathe. Sometimes, I could get away with simple “yeses” and “noes,” but this string was a bit more complex and complicated. And, I wasn’t sure this was the optimum time to tell her family history.

“Yes, I had a fairy godmother, your father is charming and our last name is Prince. No little people, sweeping or poison apples. She had a mirror in her room.”

“Just like Snow White and Cinderella!” Chloe exclaimed.

Drying my hands, I sat across the table from her serious, questioning little face with those gleaming excited eyes. “Why are you asking?”

“Because the woman on tv looks just like the photographs.”

I didn’t know what to ask first – what woman on tv or what photographs. Chloe made it easier.

“I found the photographs in the attic. I brought them down and put them in my book.”

Chloe and I made her books from large pieces of newsprint, bound together with decorative brads. Each one had a hand-drawn and lettered cover. Chloe pasted in images she found in magazines, newspapers and on-line. She wrote stories, often imagined from these pictures, and illustrated by her.

“It must have been fun, everyone playing dress up all the time. You even decorated your pony with a horn on her head, and a wreath of flowers. Step-grandmother eyes don’t smile. The castle looks scary – all big with dark passages. The garden looks pretty – lots of flowers with faces”

She answered the photograph question. “Snapshots” of a sort, from when I lived at home. One of the few possessions from that part of my life I kept. I had planned to show Chloe some day when she was older, explain her heritage, and leave resolving it up to her.

“What lady on television, Chloe?” I monitored what she watched, steering her away from inappropriate programs. If Evilina was on tv, then the program definitely wouldn’t be appropriate.

“The one in a new reality show: “The Real Evil Stepmothers of Fairytaleland.”

I needed to reset the parental control key words. I hoped “evil stepmother” wasn’t too hard to program in.


9 thoughts on “mindlovemisery’s menagerie fairy tale prompt 2 evil stepmothers

  1. summerstommy2 April 7, 2014 / 7:44 am

    Very good, well done and excellent piece of modern fairy tale.


    • phylor April 7, 2014 / 1:58 pm

      Thank you. As I commented to Anja, evil stepmothers can fit into the 21st century.


    • phylor April 7, 2014 / 2:00 pm

      Thank you — I’m glad you enjoyed my story!
      Fairy tales still resonate; I moved evil stepmothers forward unconsciously at first. It started with the first line and wrote it’s self from there.


      • Tracesofthesoul April 7, 2014 / 9:49 pm

        It just takes that “first line”; sort of like when I go into a group for a workshop…I just need “one question” to get the group going…the magic question.


  2. Anja April 6, 2014 / 10:29 pm

    hahahaha I love this! Very creative.


    • phylor April 7, 2014 / 1:56 pm

      Thanks Anja. The line “So, she’d be my evil step-grandmother” popped into my head while I was thinking of your prompt, and it went from there.
      Great prompt! Evil stepmothers are so much a part of fairy tales but also can be translated into 21st century versions.


    • phylor April 6, 2014 / 4:16 pm

      Well, seems like everyone has a reality show — why not evil stepmothers, lol.
      Had fun with this prompt — anja picked a good fairy tale theme.


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