Fairy Tales and other appendages

Charli’s prompt from over at the Ranch

January 13, 2016 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) begin a story with, “Once upon a time…” Where you take the fairy tale is entirely up to you. Your character can break the traditional mold, or your ending can be less than happy. Elements of fairy tales include magic, predicaments, villains, heroes, fairy-folk and kingdoms. How can you turn these elements upside down or use them in a realistic setting? Write your own fairy tale.

I don’t recall fairy stories being told to me as a child. I must have learned them, had them read to me and read them out of the many ladybird books we had at home. But if I was pushed I’d say I remember legends being told, poems recited. Ingoldsby Legends was one such from which stories were culled. Smugglers and dodgy clergy had more resonance in my youth than any number of gingerbread cottages.

The Archaeologist led the way often with this love of myths and legends. I remember any number of books and papers in his room about the Loch Ness Monster. I think, for him, he didn’t want a legend, he wasn’t interested in stories, he wanted evidence that Nessie existed.

Dad was different. He loved the idea of stories, especially ghost stories.  And eventually he combined his love of these spooky tales with his talent as a poet. You can read them here. Dad’s epic poems


Dad, during a recitation

MR James, a Victorian ghost story writer was a favourite of his; one about a Bishop’s Chair that was possessed he loved.The Archaeologist embraced these too and I can remember him spooking me with one about Casting some Runes. They  made some great Christmas TV as I recall.

And Mary? She could do wit a little ‘Happily Ever After…’

The Truth behind the Myth

 ‘Once upon a time…’

‘Please, mum, give me a break.’

‘I was talking to Lotte, Penny.’

‘Can I tell her a story, mum?’

Mary smiled. ‘Sure.’ She snuggled the baby and closed her eyes.’

‘Once upon a time, there were two sisters and one went missing. The other was determined to find her lost sister so she gave up everything, neglected everyone to find her.’

Mary shuddered. Is that how Penny sees things?

‘Finally, despite every setback she found her darling and brought her home. And everyone understood and lived happily…’

Mary hugged her daughter, soaking her with her tears.

You can follow Mary’s back story here


About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published several books: a four book series following Harry Spittle as he grows from hapless student to hapless partner in a London law firm; four others in different genres; a book of poetry; four anthologies of short fiction; and a memoir of my mother. I have several more in the pipeline. I have been blogging regularly since 2014, on topic as diverse as: poetry based on famous poems; memories from my life; my garden; my dog; a whole variety of short fiction; my attempts at baking and food; travel and the consequent disasters; theatre, film and book reviews; and the occasional thought piece. Mostly it is whatever takes my fancy. I avoid politics, mostly, and religion, always. I don't mean to upset anyone but if I do, well, sorry and I suggest you go elsewhere. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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32 Responses to Fairy Tales and other appendages

  1. My dad loved MR James too. We had an omnibus edition, in a black cloth binding that my dad found in a boggy puddle on Adwalton Moor on his way home from work (sounds very ecky thump doesn’t it?). My mum didn’t want us children reading it but we were drawn to it like a summoning spell. Terrified me.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I like your story…the plot of the older sibling. Nicely done. 💕

    Liked by 1 person

  3. willowdot21 says:

    Now that’s a lovely faiytale, well written Geoff.
    My Dad was one for poetry too. He loved to read to assembled family and friends.
    He also would have us, the children and any unlucky friends present at the time, stand on a chair and read poetry. My husband was among the unlucky few! I am surprised he still married me. Dad also read Hans Christian Andersen and the Brothers Grim to me at bedtime as he did the rest of the family. The Brothers Grim certainly lived up to their name. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  4. julespaige says:

    A mystery to unravel… off to the back story.
    (so many interesting links and so little time…)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Lisa Reiter says:

    “Smugglers and dodgy clerics had more resonance in my youth than gingerbread cottages” – perfect!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I only know of the Brothers Grimm. Children do love to be scared…in a safe environment, of course.
    Your story brought a tear to my eyes. So young and such determination. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      Thank you Tess. Yes I can recall my daughter wide eyed at some Potter exploit and furious with her mother when we were told to stop. No discipline you see. Hopeless father, sadly.


  7. jan says:

    Your father sounds like a fun guy! Victorian ghost stories are the best!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. mudpilewood says:

    Lucky you having such a fun filled dad, to scare, encourage and prompt you to think outside of the box.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. roweeee says:

    With our Australian wildlife, we don’t need scary fairy stories to scare the kids. Last week it was funnel webs, this week I was simply walking the dogs along the beach with our son, when I was watching man doing battle. His rod was bent right over and the fish was putting up a mighty fight and I couldn’t but think of Hemingway’s “The Old Man and the Sea”. Finally, he pulls the fish up onto the sand and I recognise the unmistakable silhouette of a SHARK. It was a baby bronze whaler weighing about 6-8 kilos. When you swim in that water, you don’t need to manufacture horror stories. A shark that size probably wouldn’t be an issue for humans but there are a lot of dogs at the beach. That said, I haven’t heard of any dogs being attacked and the dogwalkers are our local bush telegraph. xx Ro

    Liked by 1 person

  10. trifflepudling says:

    What a relief things are going well for Mary!
    Fairy tales are in the news today

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Pingback: Once Upon a Time « Carrot Ranch Communications

  12. Charli Mills says:

    How could I have missed my weekly Mary saga! Arg! Mary’s flash this week is an insight to fairy tales — to correct what we feel is wrong.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I’ll have to ask hubbie about MR James. Seems his thing. Will take a look at some of these links here… 👻

    I read your flash already so I don’t know why I didn’t comment but I love it. I always love the new installment of Mary’s story.

    Liked by 1 person

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