In this exercise, participants wrote a fairy tale adaptation from the point of view of one of the characters — a challenge inspired by Mini Grey’s delightful The Pea and the Princess, narrated by the world’s most famous pea.
by Stephanie Beattie
I dragged the poor wench through the wood. My job, quite clear. I understood.
My role was finish off this lass,
And all because the looking glass
Declared her lovelier than a hag
That happened to have wed her dad.
The evil step-mum quite despised
This girlie’s looks, so she devised
A cunning plan – the Evilest Kind,
For she was quite out of her mind.
I grabbed the pint-sized child then fled.
Her lustrous hair flowed round her head.
The twinkly, smiley, hazel eyes
Shone teary with frightened surprise!
But frankly I’m not paid enough
To have to do such gruesome stuff –
Murdering princesses? Where’s the sense?
It seemed to me complete nonsense.
So I dragged this tearful tot
To a dark, dank, dreary spot,
Deep within the ancient wood,
And let her go, for bad or good.
I said ‘Now Miss, you can’t return!!!
They want you DEAD! They mustn’t learn
That you survived. You must stay here
Or else we’re both done for, I fear.
Wander, look about and roam
Until you find a nice new home.
Disappear, GO, STAY AWAY!!
With that I bid you a ‘Good day’.’
I bowed, she curtsied, her face aghast.
In pity, I passed her my small flask.
A parting gift, an act of mercy.
She hoarsely whispered ‘Thank you, Percy.
When faced with dire adversity
There’s nothing beats a cup of tea’.
I turned, departed, left her there,
But I was not without a care.
I hid and watched to check her progress.
I worried for her, I’ll confess.
I’ve heard strange things about this place,
Weird; bizarre; so just in case
I lingered, kept a watchful eye
Her ultimate fate I hoped to spy.
But wait!!! What crazy thing was this
Approaching our heroic Miss?
A band of brothers, seven in all
But each was barely 2 foot tall.
Cloaked and hooded. Crazy folk
Have oft of these strange creatures spoke.
But none believed them, until now.
I thought ‘Cor Blimmey! Holy Cow!!’
Those Seven Dwarfs approached Snow White.
The young lass stood in trembling fright.
They whispered words between themselves –
These hobbits/midgets/odd shaped elves?
And then yelled, as a single chorus,
‘You’ll come and clean our cottage for us!!!
You’ll wash our clothes and clean our floor.
We’ve tonnes and tonnes of chores galore.
And years from now, when you’ve had enough
Of taking care of dwarves and stuff;
Of tucking us into our beds
And saying ‘nigh night, sleepy heads’;
Of cooking onions, beans and mince;
One day you’ll find a handsome prince
To rescue you from servitude.
We’re sure he’ll be a righteous dude.’
Snow White took stock. She paused for thought.
She pondered all that she’d been taught.
And wondered what she really ought
To do, as she felt rather caught.
And a tinsy, winsy bit distraught.
‘Do not take sweets from strangers, dear‘.
She heard her dad’s voice in her ear,
And this thought helped to calm her fear.
Within her hand she felt the tea
That had been given her by me.
The flask felt solid, strong and true.
It was a heady, potent brew.
And she knew what she had to do.
She made the dwarves stand in a line.
She patted them. She looked sublime.
A picture of shining nobility.
They didn’t realised her hostility.
She took her aim and bowled that flask –
It felt an entertaining task!
She knocked the dwarves clean off their feet
Then beat a most speedy retreat.
I never saw that wench again.
The Queen believed that she’d been slain.
She disappeared from this place,
That luscious lovely, Princess Grace.
And rumor tells she left our valley
To start a seven-pin bowling alley.
What the Clock Saw
by Jackie Cranmer
When Mummy Bear bought me at the jeweller’s shop I was very excited because she seemed so pleased with me.
“What a beautiful clock, look at those perfect red hands and the way the numbers glow in the dark! “She said.
She took me home to a cottage in the woods. Daddy Bear was very rough with me as he struggled to put me on the wall.
“Is the straight NOW?”, he kept saying grumpily.
I could tell I was wonky because I struggled when my hands had to pass the number nine.
The days were quite boring and I wished that Baby Bear would learn to tell the time so that Mummy Bear would stop poking me when explaining what the hands said…..
Then….one morning they all went out BEFORE my hands told them it was nine o’clock. They didn’t even finish their breakfast! A few minutes later I thought they were back but it wasn’t the Bear family .Oh no, it wasn’t any bears at all –it was a little girl. I had seen little girls in the shop where they came and bought bracelets and necklaces. At first I thought she was a mini burglar. I’d heard about burglars while I was in the jeweller’s shop. He had noisy bells that made a horrible sound to warn us we might be removed without being paid for!
The Bear family did not have an alarm like that so I was very concerned as you might imagine. Mummy Bear had some pretty necklaces AND bracelets that a little girl would surely like.
But this little girl tried …….the bowls of porridge! All of them. She made strange noises.”Urgh.Yuk.Mmmmm”
Well I hoped she was not dangerous.
She sat on all the chairs too. More strange noises.”Eergh.Awww.Ooooh!”
She had broken the baby chair!!!!Would I be next? She came closer and closer.
Whew, she walked away….towards the bedrooms.
I couldn’t see what she was up to in there but she made some more peculiar noises.
‘PING! TRING! BOING! BING! THUMP!’ Then silence……”Snore, snore, snore”
The cottage door opened.”Uh oh!” They’re back…….had she gone?
Mummy Bear looked at me but Daddy went straight to his bowl.
“WHO HAS BEEN EATING MY PORRIDGE?”
‘Wasn’t me, wasn’t me, wasn’t me’. I tried to say.
“Oh, dear, “murmured Mummy Bear, “Someone’s been eating my porridge too.”
Baby Bear let out a horrible wailing noise like the alarm in the shop.
“My popridge all GONE!”
Mummy Bear looked at me-again!
“Look at the clock,”
‘Wasn’t me, wasn’t me, wasn…’
“I’ve got time to make some more so you two go and sit down.”
“SOMEONE HAS BEEN SITTING IN MY CHAIR!”
I nearly fell off the wall.
“Actually it does look as if someone has been sitting in my chair too”.
Then before I could try to tell them it wasn’t me-Baby Bear did the alarm noise again-this time even louder!
“It’s broked, my chair it’s BROKED UP!” he sniffed.
They ALL looked at me –AGAIN!
“Let’s all have a little lie down,” suggested Mummy Bear.
‘Uh oh, had she gone?’
Well, the next thing I heard was growling and screaming ……..much, much worse than Baby Bear’s alarm noise.
I almost forgot to move my hand onto the ten and my long minute hand shook as it went to the twelve.
In a blur the little girl ran out of the door followed by Daddy Bear then Mummy Bear and last of all Baby Bear, still sniffing.
Daddy Bear slammed the door so hard…..I fell off the wall!
He came towards me….picked me up…
“This clock is a nuisance”, he grumbled.
He took me outside and put me in the bin.
It was dark and horrid but I didn’t have to stay there long.
“This will be lovely,” said a voice as a lady pig picked me out of the rubbish.
“For one of my three boys to take with them when they leave home!”
Cinderella – the Mouse’s Diary
By Helen Vaughan
All my life I’ve lived inside the wall of the kitchen in a great castle. I know it’s a castle because sometimes John, the footman, comes to sit in the chair which is just outside the hole we use to get in and out of our little home. He talks about the rooms and all the long corridors he has to walk down when someone rings the bell. And, boy, do they like ringing that ole bell.
We think John fancies Cinderella. He comes and sits in this chair and talks and looks at her as she sweeps and cleans and does all her other jobs.
Then the cook gets mad and asks him whether he hasn’t got anything better to do than sit around cluttering up her kitchen.
I’ve got three brothers and we have to wait until it’s really quiet out there before we nip out and see what there is to eat. It’s amazing what the cook drops on the floor when she’s making those huge meals for the Baron, his fat wife and two ugly daughters. I think Cinderella sweeps some of the bits of cheese and carrot and stuff towards our hole so that we haven’t got so far to go and collect it. That’s how I know . . . I’m sure Cinderella knows we’re here but the cook . . .Yuck!
I stuck my head out once, she saw me and screamed and bashed the wall with a broom.
“Oh, the dirty creatures,” she shouted.
Dirty! We’re not dirty! We clear up all the bits she drops all over the place! We’re not the dirty ones!
Cinderella is so pretty. My brothers tease me.
“You want to find yourself a nice girl mouse,” says Mickey, the eldest. “I went for wander the other night when everyone was asleep and there are these girls living in the wainscot in the dining room. Come up with me tonight and see.”
Well, I don’t know. I’m happy enough here in the warm kitchen.
Wow – what a few days we’ve had! The two sisters were down in the kitchen fussing and flapping and clacking at Cinderella to iron their ballgowns, polish their shoes, curl their hair and I don’t know what else.
The prince was holding a Ball and rumour has it that his mother, the Queen, wants him to choose a bride so all the beautiful young ladies in the kingdom were going to see if they could catch the eye of the Prince, who is apparently handsome and charming – whatever that means.
Well our two needn’t bother. They’re not young and they certainly aren’t beautiful.
But it was all go: John was outside washing the coach; the horses were brushed until they shone and they brought the harnesses into the kitchen to show us, all polished up
and decorated with feathers.
Then finally the Baron, his cross looking wife and two unrecognisable daughters all got into the coach with John in his best livery holding the door and bowing. Then he sat up with the coachman and off they went.
The kitchen felt so silent.
“Never mind, love,” said the cook as Cinderella sank down and sighed. “If your mum were here you’d be at that ole Ball. She were lovely, your mum.”
I’d never heard anyone talk about Cinderella’s mother before. I was just inside the entrance and I thought my beautiful girl looked tearful. I’d have crept out and sat by her feet but I knew Cook would throw a right paddy if I did.
Then, wham! Bang! Suddenly there’s this bright light and a sort of whoosh and there’s this woman in our kitchen. She had on a shiny cloak and the light was coming from this stick thing with a star on the top in her hand.
Oh my! Then the cook was shrieking and Cinderella really did begin to cry.
“Don’t worry, my dear,” says this woman. “Don’t panic. I am your fairy godmother and I’m here to make sure you do go to the Ball.”
“Oh, my lawks,” says the cook, fanning herself with a teatowel.
“But . . . but . . .I haven’t got a ballgown . . .” stammered Cinderella.
“I know, I know,” beamed our fairy godmother. “Stand up my dear. Ah, let me see . . . Yes.” And she touched Cinders with the star on her stick, then shook it twice, mumbling some words.
Oh, my! I couldn’t believe it. My beautiful Cinderella was a picture. She was transformed in the most gorgeous white ball gown you ever saw – much more elegant than those two ugly daughters of the Baron. Then godmother was brushing out her golden hair and smoothing her work worn hands which suddenly became white and soft.
“But how will she get there?” asked the cook, all agog.
“Well,” smiled our godmother, “I think you can help us there. Isn’t there a nice, fat pumpkin in your pantry? Can I have it?”
Oh, off bustled our cook, all important and bursting with pride.
“Can you put it just outside for me?” asked godmother, oh so politely.
You bet your life, cook could do just that, no problem.
Out we all go. (They were too excited about what was going on to notice me, creeping out behind them) One touch of the star, one shake of the magic stick and we all leapt back because there in front of us was a golden coach with two white nodding horses at the front.
“Aah! Look out!” yells the cook as she steps back and finds me, sitting there.
“Oh, just what we need,” exclaims our godmother. “Hello, little fellow,” she says looking straight at me. “have you got any friends?”
“Yes, “ I squeak and scurry back inside to my brothers. “Come on,” I say and I’m the one bursting with pride now. “Come on with me.”
“Get off!” snaps my brother as I try to pull him out. “I’m going to see Minnie while they’re all away.”
“Well get Minnie and then come.”
My other brother s and me chase each other outside to the coach.
“Aah!” yells cookie AGAIN. “How many are there? Nasty creatures!”
“Who are you calling nasty . . .” starts my brother but godmother interrupts: “Now I need two of you to get up and drive and one of you to be footman and another to be groom. Let’s see. Yes, that’s right. Now stand still a moment.” And she touches us all with the star and shakes the old stick and wow. .ee we’re growing and our whiskers are disappearing and we’re suddenly standing up, wearing these smart red jackets with gold buttons and Minnie, well, all dolled up in a pretty frock and I don’t know what else.
“You’ll be the perfect lady’s maid, my dear,” says our very own fairy godmother. “Now are we all set? Just one thing you must remember. My magic will only last until midnight so you must leave the Ball before the clock strikes twelve. Otherwise it will all disappear.”
“Oh,” shrieks Minnie, the lady’s maid, “her feet! Look at her feet!”
We all peer down. Oh, my! She’s still wearing her tatty old work shoes. But, never fear! Fairy godmother to the rescue. Out comes the magic stick again and ding! There on our Cinderella princess’s feet is a glistening pair of glass dancing shoe thingies.
“Perfect!” sighs our very own special godmother. “Off you go and remember what I told you. Now goodbye all of you. It’s time I was off.”
And away we go. The horses trotting proudly, their harnesses jingling and me on the box shaking the reins and calling ‘giddy up’ and ‘walk on’ like I’d done it all my life.
You could see the palace all lit up on the hill and hear the music and see all the people inside. We drew up smooth as you please even though I say it myself. It must have been the unique way I called Whoa and with a light touch on the reins pulled the horses up.
Mickey leaps down, smart as you like, and opens the door with a right old flourish. Off they go, Minnie fussing and flapping over that beautiful white dress. So me and my brothers settled down to wait . . and wait . .and wait.
Next thing I know here come Cinderella and Minnie tearing down the palace steps.
“Oh, hurry miss, please,” I can hear Minnie call.
Poor Cinderella isn’t used to that beautiful long dress and she stumbles a bit.
“Leave it, miss. It’s no use to you now. We’ve got to go. We’ve only got a minute left.”
I shake my brother the groom. “See to the horses. Where’s Mickey?”
Fast asleep inside the carriage, that’s where.
I bang on the door with my whip handle and that wakes him up. He leaps out and the girls bundle in.
“Coachman go. Go quickly,” says my lovely lady all breathless.
As I’m geeing up the horses and starting with the giddy ups I see the Prince in the Palace entrance looking our way. A flunkey picks something up from the steps and takes it to him but then we are gone, driving fast for home as though all the cats in the world were after us. Just as we get close to the Baron’s castle I hear a clock strike one and then two and then we’re all in the courtyard together: Cinderella, five mice, a rather battered pumpkin and one single glass slipper.
I was so tired I slept right through, safe in our little home in the kitchen wall. When I woke up this morning and peeped out through the hole there were cook, Cinderella and John the footman all as cosy as you please near the fire.
“So tell me again, John what did they say?” demands cook.
“Well, like I said, they were full of it in the coach on the way home. The Ball started nicely, nicely with the Prince dancing with all the different ladies. He even danced with our Lady Arabella.”
Well, really, she’s the ugliest of those two – face like a horse and that’s an insult to the horse.
“Then,” carries on John, all important like, “this young lady in a beautiful white dress arrives late. She was stunning. I saw them getting out of their coach from where I was waiting. I’ve never seen such a lovely lady.” He paused. “She had a bit the look of you, Cinderella.”
“Get on with you,” said the cook, impatiently, “then what happened?”
“Well, as soon as the Prince saw this new young lady he went and asked her to dance and that was that, he never left her side for the rest of the evening. All the other ladies were quite put out. But then, after a few hours, the girl, the one in the white dress, says ‘oh look at the time, excuse me your Highness, I must go’. ‘No, not yet,’he says ‘it’s too soon.’ ‘Yes,yes,’ she says, ‘I must leave before midnight.’
And she and her maid rush off into the night and are never seen again.
“But,” and John pauses for dramatic effect, revelling in his new found fame, “but it seems she lost a shoe in her hurry to be gone. And the prince has sent out a decree. They were talking about it when I was serving tea this afternoon. The prince says whoever the shoe fits, he will marry. Well, you can imagine those two up there convincing themselves that they’re the one. As if! With their great fat feet! He’s sending people round to all the grand lords and ladies’ houses to see if the slipper fits anyone.”
John leant back in his chair and stretched out his legs, satisfied with his story.
We’re still waiting. Non-one’s come to the Baron’s castle with a glass shoe for a trying on ceremony yet. Those two upstairs are in a fever waiting, according to John. They’ve been down here too shouting at Cinderella to do this and fetch them that. I’d like to rush out and bite their ankles, I would, really. They’re so mean.
Oh my, oh my, I can’t believe it! Our Cinderella is going to be a princess!
The prince’s men arrived yesterday and there was such a squealing and carrying on upstairs as those two tried to squeeze their fat ugly feet into the little glass slipper. They nearly broke it shoving it this way and that. Then apparently the man asked if there was anyone else in the house as this was the last place they were visiting and they hadn’t found the lady the prince was looking for.
“No, no,” said those two. “But look if I twist it like this it fits,” said one.
“No, my lady,” said the man getting ready to go.
Then up pops John, as bold as you like. “If you please, your honour, there IS another beautiful young lady here.”
“What? You whippersnapper,” says the Lady Arabella, “who asked you? Get out of here.”
“Let him speak,” says the man. “No, better still, take me to her.”
So down they all troop into our kitchen and cook, all of a fluster, flaps about. My Cinderella puts down her broom and sits in a chair and puts out her lovely little foot. And well, you’ve guessed it, of course it fits. It’s the shoe the fairy godmother gave her to go to the Ball.
“Your Ladyship,” says the man and sweeps a lovely deep bow to our beautiful Cinderella. Just like a real princess, more regal than those two ugly cats, she puts out her hand and he kisses it. Oh, me and my brothers we were filling up. Tears were falling because we knew, we’d seen it all. Then cook gets all excited.
“Show him the other one, love, I mean your lady . .,” and from a shelf in the scullery she fetches the other glass slipper.
“The Prince commands that you come to the Palace immediately,” booms the man.
Oh my, oh my, now Cook’s crying and John’s struggling to bite his lip.
“Please thank his Highness,” says my beautiful girl, “but I must tell my father first.”
Well, would you believe it? It turns out that Cinders is also the Baron’s daughter but her mother died. When the Baron married his fat second wife she had these two daughters who were jealous of Cinderella and rightly so; she’s ten times more gentle and lovely than both of them. So they made her work in the kitchen so no-one would see her. The Baron, well he wanted a quiet life.
Now Cinders is off to the Palace to marry her prince and John’s going too. She knew his life wouldn’t be worth living here, not after what he did. But he’s promised to come back and tell us all about it and give us all the news from the Palace.
Oh, and we’ve got news too. My brother Mickey is getting together with Minnie and they’re going to live in the dining room. And Minnie, she’s got a sister called Laurabelle and she’s quite nice. She gave me a right lovely smile yesterday. It’s a pretty name, Laurabelle, isn’t it?