September 30, 2015


In the time of castles a sad queen slipped into the woods on a blue moon midnight. She hurried along the glow of a path lighting up in front of her as she muttered over and over again, ‘Never forever.’ When the cottage appeared under a drapery of vines, as she had been told it would, she stopped in her tracks and shuddered. Summoning courage for her child’s sake, she walked forward and resumed repeating, ‘Never forever.’ The cottage door swung open.

‘So here a visitor, is it? What would ye ask of Old Nan, daughter?’ asked a cracked scrape of a voice. ‘Stand still and advance not one more step.’

‘Never forever, never forever,’ repeated the sad queen, standing stock-still.

‘That’s right, my dear. Say it again and again. Ah, I see, but your daughter doesn’t,’ said Old Nan, and she cackled. ‘What reward for a daughter’s sight restored? Hmmm, Old Nan, what do ye need? Not a thing. I have all I want … but wait. I know. A troubadour to sing to me two evenings a week. More would be annoying, that’s true. If ye agree, continue repeating “Never forever.”‘

‘Never forever, never forever,’ repeated the queen with increasing urgency.

Old Nan beckoned. The queen entered the cottage, and was instantly struck blind. Or so she thought. Blackness all around, fear in her heart, nevertheless she continued to say, ‘Never forever.’ Soon a tiny flicker of a flame danced in the blackness in front of the sad queen’s eyes.

‘Never forever, never forever,’ she said, an ember of hope reborn in her soul.

Old Nan cackled. The queen awoke in her chamber. Her daughter, the princess, rushed in singing, ‘I can see! I can see!’

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