A Particularly Harmless Fairy Tale

Once upon a time, there was a storyteller who loved to start with
“once upon a time”
and then go badly wrong.

He couldn’t help it;
he’d seen too much.

He’d seen the feral look in Little Red Riding Hood’s eyes
when she went out,
carrying that seductive basket
of goodies,
looking to have her grandmother slain
by the Wolf
so Red would inherit everything,
and then her lover,
the Huntsman,
could marry her –
he was doing it for the money,
but she was doing it because she wanted
a strong person with an axe around,

because she knew that there was a house nearby
which contained three very angry bears,
sometimes depicted as small, medium, and large,
or mama, papa, and baby,
but actually,
they were three gigantic bear sisters,
all the same size,
who hated living in a stupid human house
eating stupid human food,
but they knew that, if they did,
some stupid human would someday wander in,
eat their food,
mess up their furniture,
fall asleep in their beds,
and wake up
to the (final) sight
of three pairs of ursine teeth;

teeth almost as sharp
as those of Hansel and Gretel,
who, having been thrown out
by their angry and terrified parents
(themselves too busy hiding the evidence
of what their children had done
to really think about what
they were inflicting on the world,
the selfish bastards) –
learnt many fine lessons
from the old cannibal witch
who lived in that cottage of candy,

and do you begin
to see a pattern here?

the basket, a trap,
the bears in a human house, a trap,
the cottage of candy a trap,
this fairy tale a trap—

I’m just kidding about the last part.
This fairy tale is
just a fairy tale,
one of those modern retellings
which believes itself to be edgy,
but in fact,
it’s perfectly harmless.

You can finish it off now,
leave the story here,
because you needn’t worry;
the story doesn’t have teeth,
the story isn’t hungry,
and the story isn’t in your mind now.

We promise;
and, let’s be real here,
would a fairytale lie?

~Jeff Mach


My name is Jeff Mach (“Dark Lord” is optional) and I build communities, put on events, and make stories come into being. You can get most of my books right here. Go ahead, pre-order I HATE Your Prophecy“. It may make you into a bad person, but I can live with that.

Jeff Mach Written by:

Jeff Mach is an author, playwright, event creator, and certified Villain. You can always pick up his bestselling first novel, "There and NEVER, EVER BACK AGAIN"—or, indeed, his increasingly large selection of other peculiar books. If you'd like to talk more to Jeff, or if you're simply a Monstrous Creature yourself, stop by @darklordjournal on Twitter, or The Dark Lord Journal on Facebook.