The author for the following works has asked to remain anonymous.
The Evil Goldilocks
(The Story of Goldilocks and The Three Bears from the Bears’ point of view)
Its bright rays stretched out plentifully, sunshine reached into the window of a little wood hut. The uneven wood planks on the floor lit up halfway across the room, then stopped. A pair of shoes. Bright red, glimmering with pride and selfishness. Then a long, dark shadow. It was a girl, about fifteen years of age. Her eyebrows were clasped down, her face twisted in the perfect expression of scorn. It was Goldilocks. Three bears huddled in a corner, squeezed between the table and the wall.
“The dishes must be washed, the beds made, the floor inspected,” ordered Goldilocks. “I should not see a particle of dust anywhere. The house must be spotless! There must be not a single weed in the garden. The turnips must be planted, the beans picked. And prepare delicious meals for all my co-workers – twenty people. The food should be fit for kings!”
“Why do we always have to do your work for you?” demanded Pa Bear.
“Because I am your master, and you are my slaves. Every chore must be done perfectly, else I’ll turn every one of you into bear soup!”
“NO!!” cried all three bears in unison.
“You already turned my father into bear soup,” pleaded Pa Bear. Goldilocks grunted. She tied her golden hair in a thousand fancy braids and slammed the door.
“Whew,” said Little Bear. “I’m tired of her. Why does she make us work all the time?”
“She treats us like animals,” added Pa Bear.
“Well, we are animals,” remarked Ma Bear.
“Oh,” realized Pa Bear. “But we’re not work horses.”
“She’s so mean I’m afraid I’ll turn into bitsy anyhow,” said Little Bear.
“Bear soup, not bitsy,” corrected Ma Bear. “I wish we hadn’t had compassion on her when got lost in the woods those few weeks ago. Remember?” Pa Bear sighed and sat down on the table.
“I know what we’ll do,” he said after a while, his face lighting up. “We’ll run away.”
“Where?” asked Ma Bear.
“I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be anywhere but here.” Ma Bear and Little Bear agreed. So, taking a morsel of bread with them, the three bears left the cabin. They walked through the peaceful forest and soon came to a road.
Suddenly, Little Bear whispered, “Ma, I hear something.”
Ma Bear jumped. “What? What is it?” The three bears stood still and listened. After a jingling of bells and a majestic blowing of trumpets, an emerald chariot pulled by a gorgeous set of blond horses rattled by. Little Bear peeked inside the window. A figure dressed in shining apparel courteously sat inside. On his head rested a huge golden crown.
“That was the king’s chariot,” said Pa Bear. “The king must be returning from his summer vacation. Let’s follow it to the castle. Maybe he will help us.” So they hurried on until they reached the castle. They hustled straight through the garden. A maid watering tulips gasped when she saw the bears, turned, and sprinted towards the gates. Except she overlooked a certain in-the-process-of-drying-up well and crashed headfirst into the mush. A hoard of a million best guards appeared out of thin air, as if it was the queen whose life was at stake. They pulled the sputtering thing out, and the three bears realized that it WAS the queen, royal apparel soiled permanently and her crown drowning somewhere in the muck. Evidently the maid had rushed so quickly across the garden, that she had knocked her-highest-majesty queen over. This incident distracted the bears quite a bit, and the next thing they knew, Ma Bear had knocked over a startled guard.
Pa Bear said politely, “Excuse me, sir, we people here happen to have a problem. I wonder if there is some way you can help us.” The guard gasped and fell down again.
“Oh my goodness!” he exclaimed. “Talking, walking bears! I must escort you to the king immediately!” The guard dashed through the castle and to the throne room so fast that the three bears barely had a sneak peak of all the castle’s gold and marble floors. On a glossy high throne sat the king.
“Well, bears,” he said sarcastically, as if their matter was of trifle importance, “what do we have here? What would you like, maybe a bit of rabbit meat, and I’ll send you on your way?”
“Your Majesty,” said Pa Bear, “we were wondering if you can help us. We-” The king raised his eyebrows and fainted, tumbling right off the throne. Immediately, as if called, appeared a million doctors trying to give him the best medical care under the conditions.
“Sir..,” continued a confused Pa Bear, not sure what had happened, “Sir, do you speak English?” Having changed out of her soiled gown, the queen strolled in crownless in the midst of the chaos.
“Oh, so this is it,” she said quietly. Approaching the shocked and completely mortified bears, she offered: “Since you are such an exotic specie of bear, how would you like to stay right here in the castle so you can eat off the king’s table and live a royal life?”
Gladly the three bears agreed. “But first, let us have a festival to honor you,” she added. Ringing a bell, she called the kitchen servants.
The high chef said, “Your highness, we have but one problem.”
“What is it?”
“What do bears eat?”
If I had known what was to happen that Sunday, I would never have gotten out of bed. Yet I didn’t know, so I swung my fishing rod over my shoulder and skipped cheerfully into the cool, wet morning. Thorns tore my trousers as I dodged every now and then to avoid bumping into poison sumac bushes or sycamores dripping in poison ivy. Mosquitoes whined at me persistently. But it didn’t matter. The flapping of red kite wings, the gentle tapping of Great-spotted Woodpeckers, and the lively calls of the pheasants filled my ears with music.
Greenery lined the land so thickly I could not see through. Moss thickly covered many of the trees, giving the woods its distinguished spicy scent. Gradually, the signs of wildlife diminished. The tits squabbled sometimes, but before long, I could almost hear empty vibrations in the air. It was so quiet… no noise other than my bare feet rustling though the leaves. Inhaling the sweet aroma of drenched pines, I listened to that familiar crunch…and slowly it stopped.
Below in the rocky field lay the beautiful Lake Ness in its perfect stillness. Mist rose from its muddy gray waters. Fog stretched everywhere. Deer snouts pointed out of the bushes, and the final wail of a lone coyote sounded in the distance. There was a certain stillness to this scene that always took my breath away. Sitting down cross-legged on the dock, I cast out my fishing hook. I let my mind wander far away, into the evergreens, into the oaks, into the pine needles littering the ground, and into the forest. Enthusiastically, I watched the squirrels chasing each other up and down the trunks and gazed in amazement at the agile larks sailing through the cloudy sky. A summer breeze blew in my face. Their wings tilted sideways under the pressure. Kerplunk! A tug on my hook brought me back to earth. I started to pull, then stopped cold turkey.
I glanced at my murky image in the water. One of my eyebrows was up in a puzzled expression. What was that loud moan? A coyote? A wolf? There it was again. I covered my ears. Maybe, but this was different – louder, fiercer, most likely coming from an animal larger than dog-size. The long, eerie cry rambled once more, resembling quavering laughter. This time it was closer than ever. I jumped down from the dock and looked carefully left and right in alarm. Suddenly, I felt hot breath at the back of my head. I flipped around and gasped, nearly falling backwards into the loch. I found myself staring straight into a pair of flashing green eyes and a set of bared teeth that flowed into a long, long neck, which later attached to two glimmering humps – a good twenty or thirty feet long. A pair of slim legs stuck out of each hump. Each one had a paddle-like foot attached at the end. The entire body was covered in shining scales, all of them greenish grey, but most having a slight rainbow tint to them. The monster sounded its wailing howl a final time.
I let out a shriek and ran as fast as my legs could carry me across the small field and up the narrow trail through the woods. I slowed down enough to peek over my shoulder. There was that giant lizard, crouched down, neck stretched in front of him, rattling gleefully after me. I screamed until my ears throbbed. My heart pounded so hard in my chest that I could feel it send excessive blood through my arteries. I leaped over a brier patch, but the needles embedded deep into my foot . I yanked it out, not even paying attention to the blood heavily trickling from it. The monster knowingly swerved to the right to avoid the thorns. He was close enough for me to examine each of his razor-sharp, yellow teeth.
“Help me!” I yelled until my lungs hurt. Yet who would hear me? “Faster, faster,” I hurried myself on, “run faster.” Pant, pant, pant. I could not breathe enough to keep up with my heart rate. My opponent was quicker though. His webbed feet cycled after me in a fog. I reached the fence to my yard and managed to scamper over barely in time. But I fell to the ground on the other side. Tears trickled down my chin. Since the fence wasn’t high, I knew the monster could easily stretch its long neck and get me. I sat up and tried to ignore the sharp pain in my left ankle, but I couldn’t stand. I glanced at the dark sky. Thunder growled its warning in the horizon.
“Somebody help me!” I cried as hard as I could with the little strength I had. Fortunately, the neighbors heard me. There was a surprised shrill when they saw the sea lizard, but they bravely rushed out of their homes and clanked pots and pans. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw it slowly slither away. I let myself exhale. I was exhausted. Everything was a blur. All I knew was that a very kind someone must have carried me all the way to my bedroom, because when I woke, I was cozily lying under a pile of blankets, with my foot bound into a white cloth and placed on a stool. I was staring up into the picture I had hanging from the ceiling. It was a dragon that I had painted when I was little. Suddenly, my brain revolved. It wasn’t a mysterious sea lizard that I had been chased by this morning, or that Loch Ness “Monster” they’ve been talking about on the radio lately. It was a dinosaur, a real live dinosaur. My head sank back into the pillow and my eyes shut.
She pried the window open.
“Go first,” she said hurriedly. Thick smoke had begun to vibrate around the room, acrid and putrid, wrapping its fingers around my neck and choking me. Flames lingered on the other side of the closed door, daring to creep in through the cracks. Billows of smog whirled by the ceiling.
Elizabeth coughed. I gasped for breath and placed my foot on the windowsill. Wriggling through the tight space, I reached out to grasp the handle of the fire escape railing. My hand twitched and waggled around, searching for that rusty metal handle. It clutched nothing but air.
Something was wrong. I vowed myself to open my eyes despite the stinging blazes. I looked down. My heart leaped. No fire escape! It was 40 feet to the ground. I pictured myself plummeting down, down, down and crashing my skull on the concrete below. Or Elizabeth and I both staying in the building, waiting for the bitter, wicked fire to torture and burn us…
Someone grabbed me. My foot slipped on the windowsill. I reached out to find something to stable myself, but there was nothing.
I heard Elizabeth whisper, “No…” She grabbed my legs in despair. But it was too late. I let go of the window pane and slipped completely. I was falling.
It was 40 feet. I clasped my eyes shut. Wind streamed past my sides and gushed in and out of my ears. My lungs burst for air, but I couldn’t breathe. I braced myself for the crash on the rough concrete and spread out my arms. It was coming.
Suddenly, the pounding in my ears stopped. The wind stopped swishing up my body. My arms. They were changing. A feeling of flight and ecstasy filled me. I pried my eyes open. I had stopped falling in midair. I froze. I was changing.
My arms had power. I could feel strength and balance in my middle. I twitched my finger just a little bit. I moved up. With enthusiasm, I began fluttering my arms up and down as fast as I could. I swooshed up. By kicking my legs, I went even faster.
I had discovered my ability to fly.
Big, Bad Riding Hood and the Little, Good Wolf
So there I was. My stomach rumbled, and ripples of hunger vibrated up my throat. Sweat cascaded down my back like a waterfall. My shirt was drenched as if I had just drowned in a pond. Rays of sunlight danced around the door as sparks of fire. Not even a tiny breeze relieved my pain. I knocked.
I guess I better introduce myself. My name is The Big, Bad Wolf. At least that is what they call me in the storybooks, and that is what most people believe. But I am not very big at all. I’m going to be 20 next week, and 20 isn’t very old, and I’m not fat. I’m more on the thin and short side. And I’m definitely not a bad, little wolf. I am kind, generous, and merciful, while Red Riding Hood is the one who is bad. She is very mean and selfish, never having any mercy on a poor, little wolf like me.
Speaking of Red Riding Hood, let me get back to the story. I was standing in front of her house, knocking on the door. I know this is not at all what the storybooks say I was doing, but they seriously got the story wrong. I wasn’t at all trying to eat Red Riding Hood. I just wanted to steal her best hat for my dinner party, and maybe just nibble on her a bit. I had barely knocked on the door a few hundred times when it flew open.
I stepped in and headed to the closet for what was soon to be my hat. But something went wrong, because the next thing I knew, I was lying sprawled on the floor with a thousand bruises over me, trying to pull a bare foot out of my ear. It was Red Riding Hood. Now she stood over me with a victorious smile pasted on her face. This expression trigged my anger (and my hunger) quite a bit so I decided to forget about the hat and have Red Riding Hood’s grandma for a snack. I rushed at Red Riding Hood’s grandma, but the she stopped me again. She poked me with her walking stick. I flexed my claws and launched at her but fell down. She poked and poked me all the way out of the house and locked the door.
I sighed. This was terrible! What had happened to my balance and my strength? I could barely walk. Oh of course! My shoes! I had borrowed my sister’s high heels for the dinner party, because I needed shoes in order to be a well-respected guest at the party, and something had happened to mine (probably Red Riding Hood ate them).
Anyway, this incident disturbed me so much, that I decided to quit the party and schedule an emergency appointment with my therapist instead. So I hobbled all the way to his office, and, as usual, tripped over the doorway. I looked all around, expecting to see an old lady’s foot in my ribs, but didn’t see one. I had tripped over my own feet again (those high heels are messing up my life). I crawled into the office.
Now, my therapist is a bald, young man with glasses. His collar is always so starched, I don’t think he can move his neck. (I’ve never seen him move his neck, so I bet he can’t.) I don’t like such sophisticated people, but I still choose him to be my therapist. His office is filled with certificates that have “best therapist of 2001” and “best therapist in WolfRidingHoodville” written on them. Also, his name is Professor Therapist, and he is said to have graduated from Harvard University with “flying kites”. Or is it “flying colors”? I don’t know.
Professor Therapist sat stiffly behind his desk. He only raised his eyes to look at me (told you he can’t move his neck).
“Sit down, please,” he said in a deep voice. I groaned inside myself. Each time I come for a visit, he makes me sit on one of those backless chairs that slope down like a slide. You have to constantly push with your legs, else you’ll end up on the floor. Oh, well. I’ll have to make it.
I told him all about that mean Red Riding Hood and her grandma. He reminded me sternly that he was tired of my and Red Riding Hood’s relationship never working out.
“What would you have done if you were Red Riding Hood?” he said. “Put yourself in her shoes.”
I was in a rather bad mood when I staggered home. Walking on those high heels seemed like tight-roping across Niagara Falls. Sitting on that slide for an hour had turned my legs into a pair of ragged curtains, which didn’t help at all. I tried walking home but fell every two seconds. So I crawled home on my hands and knees. Fortunately, I later had to spend only a couple of centuries in the bathroom pouring gallons of rubbing alcohol on myself and massaging my poor legs.
Although I was angry and annoyed – at both my therapist and the high heels – I decided to take Professor Therapist’s advice. After all, he had a master’s degree in Therapistology. Or is it therapology? Of course, I didn’t understand the first part of his advice at all – that was probably some kind of therapist-talk – but I did understand the second part: “Put yourself in Red Riding Hood’s shoes.” I could do that.
So the next day, I put on the shortest shorts I could find in my closet. I returned the high heels to my sister. I yelled at her quite a bit and showed her every single bruise on my legs. Why had she even let me borrow her high heels? Oh, well. Then I waited for Red Riding Hood to leave to the outdoor pool (she does that every day in summer). Finally, she appeared in her sparkly bathing suit. I leaped out from behind a garbage truck, relieved to finally have a breath of fresh air. I sneaked into her house and stole her pretty red Mary Janes. They were three times smaller than my feet, but I was determined to obey the therapist. I used up all my strength pulling them on, and I think my feet felt a little pinched.
Or maybe a lot pinched. Because that day I ended up once again sliding down Professor Therapist’s slide, working my legs into rags. I yelled at him long and hard. His advice had been terrible. Professor Therapist just sat there. Evidently, he was speechless at my wisdom. It really doesn’t take a terribly wise person, I mean wolf, to realize that it’s not a good idea to wear shoes that are three times too small. Now I have a thousand foot diseases: Achilles’s foot, Athlete’s career, foototosis, and what-not else.
I think I’ll have to spend the rest of my life going to foot doctors and trying to find cures. Big Bad Red Riding Hood, I thought, Uneducated, foolish therapist.
“Good, little me.”