I hate men.
I don’t know why I dislike them so much. I like to think that I don’t need a reason. I suppose if I truly sat down and thought it over, I would be able to come up with a conclusion as to why I hate them with a vivid passion, but, I don’t really care why.
I can, however, say with perfect accuracy that my hatred of them began with Princes.
Princes that would ride through my beloved forest on their pure milky white steeds, searching for their one true loves, and not even caring about the status of my beautiful herb garden when their horses felt peckish. All it took was one horse munching away on a bundle of parsley, and I was beside myself with rage.
How do you like being a frog, Mr. Charming? I’m sure it’s much better than your life as a human, since now you can’t destroy people’s carefully tended gardens with your carelessness.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. My name is Drusinella. And I’m a fairy.
I know what you’re thinking.
“You’re a fairy? I thought fairies were supposed to be nice! They grant wishes and spread love wherever they are!”
Boo. Being nice is for princesses. And the only wish I grant is the ability to catch flies. Not that anyone ever wishes for that, but I grant it anyway. See, I can be nice.
I live in a beautiful forest, as I mentioned. My home is a snug little structure built into the base of a giant willow tree. It’s quite lovely, if I do say so myself. Right outside it is a cheerful little pond, that admittedly is getting quite crowded with frogs. They do keep the bugs away, which is nice, but at one point there was more frog than water, and I was forced to magically make the pond bigger. Eventually, I’ll have more pond than yard, but that is a bridge I can cross when I literally can’t stand anywhere else.
“You really need to stop, Drusinella.”
That’s Alfrigg, the talking cardinal bird that lives in my house. He is a bit of a pill. I watch him hop over to my empty teacup and peer inside to see if I left any tea. I didn’t. He gives me a withering glance, before pecking at the side of the cup to annoy me.
“I don’t take advice from talking animals, Alfrigg,” I told him frostily from the sofa. I didn’t know why I kept him around. Perhaps because he was the only talking creature that wasn’t a man turned animal. I couldn’t bear the thought of spending time with a man, even one that was turned into an animal, when I loathed them so deeply.
“The thought had occurred to me, since my advice is never good enough for you.” He flapped his wings slightly to readjust his vibrant red feathers. “You didn’t leave me any tea,” he complained.
“You’re a bird. Go drink from the pond outside.” I heard his small noise of displeasure, as neither of us enjoyed going outside for very long. Let me just paint a picture of dozens of talking frogs, who know you can turn them back into a human, and are convinced that if they beg hard enough, you’ll have mercy on them and do so.
“Drusinella, please?” Alfrigg tried again. In answer, I lifted my arm and pointed two fingers towards my front door. It was a Dutch door, the kind that is split halfway down, allowing you to open the top part or the bottom part separately. The bottom part was closed and locked, while the top was wide open so Alfrigg could come as go as he pleased. Alfrigg hmphed noisily and lifted off the table, flew to the half open door, and turned back to me. “You could be a little nicer.”
“I can’t be nice,” I said while closing my eyes. “I’m asleep.”
“No you’re not!” he declared in anger, his little wings ruffling noisily.
“What? I’m sorry, I can’t hear you because I’m asleep.” I rolled over to the inside of the sofa. Alfrigg hmphed again and I heard him fly out the Dutch door.
I should really turn him into a bug. A few nights running from all those frogs will set him straight. Then he’d stop being so grumpy and asking me to do things for him. I was a fairy. I did whatever I wanted. I didn’t care about anyone else, leastwise Alfrigg and his annoying demeanor. Besides, he was a bird. What do birds know? I’d been around for a very long time, and I’d never known birds to be particularly intelligent, though they were definitely loquacious. (That means chatty. They talk a lot. Mostly about which bugs are the tastiest. I’d be lying if I said they were the most interesting conversationalist I’d ever heard.)
Before I knew it, I’d fallen asleep. I dreamed about living in Fairyland again, and turning all the fairies into pigs. I woke up with a snort after several hours and saw that the sun had gone down. Alfrigg was perched on top of my wardrobe, his little beady eyes closed, sitting on top of an old pot holder I knitted.
“Oh. You’re back,” I said in disappointment. He was asleep, or he wasn’t in the mood to talk to me, because he didn’t answer. I glared at him as I got up, stretched, and picked up my basket from the floor beside the couch.
It was time to brave the outdoors.
It’s usually a good idea to go outside at night, so it was fortuitous I’d slept so late. Armed with my basket, I opened the bottom half of the Dutch door, and marched outside of my tree house.
Nothing, or I should say no one, greeted me when I closed the Dutch door behind me and stepped across the moss bed that covered the ground. I kept an eye out for any movement in the pond, but it was still and quiet.
“Excuse me, miss,” a voice said timidly. I rolled my eyes and sighed loudly enough to wake up Alfrigg all the way in the house.
“Go away,” I threw out to where the voice had come from. It was a little red frog with black stripes. I remembered him. He was a cobbler that had refused to sell me some pretty shoes because he said he’d made them for his true love, whom he hadn’t even met yet. Stupid true love. That’s for believing in fantasies, hoppy. And for not selling me pretty shoes.
“Unless you’re asking me where to find carrots that aren’t in my garden, I suggest you get to hopping,” I told him with a flip of my hair. I continued walking, making it clear to the frog that I’d use my shoe on him if he got too close, and made my way to my garden.
All of the frogs, as well as the normal animals that lived nearby, knew better than to mess with my garden. It had a spell on it now, after so many stupid horses munching on it, so that if anyone except me ate from it, they got the worst stomach ache known to man.
I plucked several things from the patch before turning to go back home. Standing at the edge of the pond was a dashing young prince. He stooped low to take a drink from my pond. The populous of frogs eyed him hopefully, and although they could speak, they knew better than to talk to him in case it made me mad. Which it would.
The prince looked up after his drink and noticed me standing with my full basket on the other side of the pond. He brightened and stood up.
“Good evening, fair maiden,” he said with a dazzling smile.
That’s how it always started. I did look mostly human, since I didn’t have wings anymore.
“Hello,” I quipped. I walked closer to him, and saw his horse grazing nearby, safely far away from my garden. It made me less grumpy.
“Is this your home, my beautiful princess?” he asked me, also stepping closer. HIS princess? Ugh. Princes were so pretentious. But he was right. I was beautiful. Not that it mattered.
Fireflies danced around the pond, illuminating his handsome face. I saw that he had beautiful curls underneath his coronet. Curls the color of sunflowers.
“Yes,” I told him with a smile. “I built it myself. With magic.” I didn’t mind bragging. I liked my house a lot. Maybe he could appreciate that. I hoped.
“Magic?” he said in confusion. “But only witches and fairies can do magic.”
“Yes,” I confirmed. “I’m a fairy.” Anything I’d had growing inside me at that moment, and I’d never call it hope, was about to burst.
He looked even more confused. “You’re a fairy? You have no wings.”
I waved my hand at him. “Long story. Would you like to come inside?”
His face lost the glow it had when he thought I was a princess. “If you’re a fairy, then please. Help me find my true love.”
I sighed, only slightly disappointed, and set my basket down. “Why should I,” I demanded, crossing my arms over my chest.
He held his hands out in front of him to beseech me. “I must find my true love, and only a fairy can help me.”
I rolled my eyes. “Did you try, you know, looking? That seems to work for some people.” Or he could stop ignoring women who weren’t princesses.
He stepped closer to me, and I didn’t like the determined glint growing in his eyes. His smile had zero warmth now. “You will help me.”
“As awesome as that sounds, imma have to pass.” I cleared my throat and held out my hands to summon my magical fairy power. “If ye be so inclined, as to obey this spell of mine. Not a cat, nor bird, nor dog, but you shall be a slimy frog.”
Where there once was a stupid prince, there now sat a stupid frog, croaking and looking up at me with those same haughty eyes.
“What have you done to me?” he shrieked with his new vocal cords. I stooped to pick him up and threw him as hard as I could into the pond, making a giant splash.
I cupped my hands over my mouth so he could hear me after he surfaced in the water. “I hear the grasshoppers taste the best!” I wiggled my fingers at him in a sarcastic wave.
His horse was still grazing, so I approached it and gave it a smack on the rump. It bucked and ran away into the forest. Good riddance.
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