The Story of 

The Three Dresses

A  Fairy tale

 

The Three Dresses

By Kandra Niagra

 

Inspired by stories about magical dresses from Grimm's Fairytales

October 30th, 2008

 

 Long ago and far away in a land that was ancient even back then, there dwelt a craggy-browed, rigid-jawed, often blind old King, the hero of this tale. We find him waiting like just another protrusion of stone at his castle window.

The King fingered his gray beard, which hung like old Spanish Moss around the stone fortress of his frown, as he listened. There. There it was. His favorite sound. Made by the hooves of a single horse clomping slowly upwards along the old cobblestone path. His face held its shadows but his eyes filled with light.

A strange feeling, wild and giddy, ran through him. How sweet it was! How devilishly daring to break his own taboo against having FUN! Never! Not him! And yet... One could almost hear the stone cobbling of the King's countenance as it strained and cracked into a grin, (a GRIN!) now certainly detectable in his sculptured cheekbones, as he stroked the bumpy skin of the apple he had hidden in his cloak. He even thought of a joke he might tell!  A JOKE! Too much! He sat there nodding his head approvingly, then shaking it disbelievingly, keeping a watchful eye all the while on the entrance to the rose arbor tunnel.

Several times a week, Mattie, our sturdy mailwoman from the village below, rode her big, slow, good-natured mail horse, Mailmarymare, out to the castle. Mattie always talked to her horse, so the King could hear the distant one-way conversation floating toward him through thickly entwined rose vines as Mattie and Mailmarymare approached through the rose arbor tunnel. Mailmarymare was never in a hurry. It was a beautiful sunlit morning. Perhaps this horse just liked to smell the roses.

Mattie would always dismount from Mailmarymare and lead the big horse over to the window where the King usually sat like a gargoyle, as gray as the stones which framed his old head. But then suddenly the motionless gargoyle would call out,

"And how is Mailmarymare today?"

And the old King would stand up, like the rising of a creaky drawbridge, and Mattie could see a mischievous smile working itself out through the tree bark of his face, and he'd be hiding a carrot or an apple, in his beard or in his clothing. The gentle horse happily played the game of nuzzling and rooting out the hidden vegetable. And the sour old King enjoyed a few fleeting moments of merriment. But too soon Mattie had to be off again, which is something all mail-ladies must do: go and deliver the rest of the mail. The friendly mail lady would turn and trot away on her horse. And the King would harden into stone again. Although he had never said so, he really just wanted her to stay.

Mattie sometimes merrily suggested that he get out for a while and ride one of his fine stallions along with her. She dared him to ride along with her on horseback while she delivered her mail. Get some fresh air! But he always shook his head, declining her invitations as if the very thought of disconnecting himself from his stone walls was preposterous. This King preferred his safe dark hole- oh, did I say hole? I meant home, of course. His home, tomb-like, yet familiar, a five-story gray dungeon- oh did I say dungeon? I meant his castle, of course... well, it was his sanctuary. As dank and dark and gloomy as it was, he never left it to go anywhere.

So he wouldn't go and she wouldn't stay. And that was the way it was. And it was that way for a very long time.

Ah, sigh. My friends, tis true that in life and in fairytales, some things take a long time to change, but change they do, sooner or later. And in this tale it is no different.

*

One day a caravan arrived in the courtyard.

It was the Kings Sister, Gertrude, arriving unannounced and toting along with her a mysterious female Guest. The Guest evidently had Disciples of her own who literally followed her, and then there was the inevitable crowd of curious onlookers who followed along behind the Followers. So, it was a large group of people who took the King by surprise that day.

Mattie he loved; otherwise, the craggy old King abhorred visitors; he even considered leaving secretly out the back door when he saw them coming. So it was with great reluctance that he met his sister and her entourage in the throne room, where he was introduced to the mysterious Guest who informed him that she was convinced that there was a secret treasure buried somewhere inside his castle and that the time was astrologically right to find it. The King snorted, (He had heard that one plenty of times before!) but he summoned the courtesy to give orders to show the unexpected assemblage to the Great Hall where they could sleep on the floor. Sister Gertie and the famous Guest had their own private quarters.

The Disciples and the hoard of curious onlookers made themselves comfortable in the huge Hall where they all eventually sat down to dinner alongside members of the Court. The famous Guest then stood up before the assembled throng and introduced her Cat whom she claimed could find the treasure if it existed. There was much murmuring and applause from the crowd. (As the night wore on, there was also much toasting and a bit of friendly wagering...)

The King, however, could barely contain his indifference; he choked on the Guest's perfume (and made sure she sat as far from himself at dinner as possible); he uncharitably found her pushy and self-absorbed and he didn't like her nose (nostrils too flaring). He mimicked her in front of his mirror, pointing his nose skyward and trying to make his nostrils flare in and out, to the amusement of his attendants. To him the "mystical" Guest was just one of hundreds of wandering charlatans who concocted stories and gathered crowds, embellishing legends told by fools of treasure hidden in every castle and cranny up and down the entire convoluted seacoast!

But he liked the part about the treasure-sniffing Cat. And what with all the wine and applause, as ridiculous as it was, he went ahead and ordered the Guest to set her Cat to the task of finding what treasure there might be buried in his castle. It promised to be a droll evening.

The Cat was released and lost no time winding its way down staircases to the cellars, through rooms full of giant barrels, past dungeons, and down dimly lit corridors. The Brilliant Guest (nostrils aflaring), the Kings Sister, the Guest's Disciples, a small army of Guards, a multitude of loud and drunken members of the Court and the obligatory crowd of curious onlookers followed closely behind, but not too close, so as not to distract the Cat from its business.

The old King, unimpressed, disbelieving, mostly-blind, and even more gargoyle-like when immobilized by strong homemade wine, assisted by his attendants, stood at the top of the fire-lit stairwell, watching their shadows disappear and listening to the throng of excited voices draw farther and farther away down the winding staircases.

He thought to himself, "Ha. Idiots." 

Then he passed out and they carried him to bed.

Well, the cellars were dark and wet. Unfriendly things hung from the walls. Unfriendlier things crawled into dark shadows along the floors. Very soon after the unfriendly things were spotted, the laughter and merriment died down considerably and soon after that there could be heard echoing through the drafty stairwells the sounds of ladies shrieking and the sounds of men protecting the ladies by thrashing at spider webs and rodents while spilling wine on themselves and trying unsuccessfully not to curse. A very short time after that there were significantly fewer people following the Cat.

Soon nobody was following the Cat except for a few brave, wet, spider-web-encrusted Guards. The party had long ago headed back to the nice warm dry feast hall when one of the Guards shouted through the echoing tunnels- "She's started digging!"

That night the Cat located an antiquated but colorful trunk buried deep in a secret chamber behind a wall in one of the underground tunnels. The Corps of Palace Pickers and Diggers worked through the night extracting the trunk from the secret chamber. The King and the whole hoard of inebriated palace guests were fast asleep sprawled upon their beds and bedrolls by the time the trunk was dug all the way out.

*

The next morning the King had a headache. He had had a bad dream, which he could not remember, but it all came back to him when the dusty old patchwork trunk was brought into the room and set down before him.

"What's in it?" he demanded to know.

The mysterious Guest came forward, holding her Cat. He thought she looked particularly smug this morning.

"A Great Treasure." she murmured, bowing her head.

"'Good then! Strings of pearls, coins of gold, silver daggers...?"

"No."

"Then what?"

"Dresses."

"Dresses?"

"Three Dresses."

"Surely you jest." growled the King.

Within hours, well-meaning Sister Gertrude, the mysterious famous Guest (nostrils really flaring this time) and her Cat, the whole company of Disciples and the hoard of curious onlookers had all hurriedly packed their gear and were headed on down the road, back to wherever it was they came from.

The trunk stayed where it was, in the middle of the floor. The displeased and sniveling King had not opened it. He was circling it though, talking to it. Gesturing at it. Cursing it, if you want to know the truth. He was just getting into the part about how legendary treasure is never what it's cracked up to be, when he heard the clomping of horse hooves outside on the path, and realized that his dear mail lady had arrived. Suddenly a dim yet hopeful light shone in his eyes. The King resolved then and there to invite Mattie in and show her the trunk.

What an idea! It was brilliant! He raced to the windowsill and leaned out, extending his hand to wave a greeting! It felt strange and good to wave a greeting. It was all he could manage, but by the time Mattie got there he even had an odd crooked smile on his face. Mattie chuckled and wondered what was up. He rushed to get past the usual courtesies.

"My dear Mail Lady, I beseech you to please come in, this day-"

"Come in? Oh! Your Highness, I couldn't possibly do that. I have to deliver the mail! Cheerio, then, you know it's always good to see you!" and she turned her horse around and started to leave.

"I will get someone to deliver your mail for you!" the old King suddenly shouted.

Mattie turned Mailmarymare around again, surprised at his tone of urgency. He immediately sent for his swiftest horseman to take her mailbag and deliver the mail. He turned to her.

"It's quite urgent- it's- a mystery, you see... Please, won't you come in?" He leaned farther out the window. After a thoughtful pause, she smiled and said, "Very well then, I will come in and see about this mystery of yours."

The old King was waiting for her at the door. He walked outside, not blindly stumbling, but like a man on a mission, and helped Mattie down from her horse himself. He gently gave Mailmarymare over to a servant, and then took his friend's arm and led her to the great hall, where the mysterious trunk rested beside a window, its shadow deep and long.

He didn't see hundreds of tiny dust particles hovering above the magical trunk in a ray of afternoon sunlight- miniscule dust fairies glinting and dancing, illuminated by the light from the window which beamed upon the colorful patchwork of the lid. No, friends, he actually didn't even see the trunk.

But the moment our girl Mattie beheld the trunk she could see that it glowed with magic.

"My dear Mail Lady," The King began, somewhat formally,

"I have, as of last night, acquired a mysterious box, a trunk really, and I'm told that what's inside it is a treasure, but I have determined that it is not, well, not my kind of treasure, if you know what I mean... no deep pile of gold coins, no ornate silver vases," he gestured with his one outstretched hand, " No pearl-handled daggers or bejeweled swords... you know, the usual thing one might expect a magical trunk to contain... well, I don't know what I was expecting... he shrugged.

The Mail Lady held his arm entwined in hers. She laughed merrily.

"Well, good King, it sounds like you already know what is NOT in the trunk.

Do you, then, know what IS in there?" She asked, looking right at him.

"I'm told... Three Dresses." The blind King stared off into space.

Her eyebrows raised in surprise.

"Yes, I am told that inside this trunk there are three so-called "Magical" dresses. Even though I have never seen them myself, I want you to have them."

He turned toward her and almost saw her, as she studied his face, smiling and thinking that the King probably had no idea what her dress size was.

Mattie considered the situation. She couldn't refuse the gift of a King, yet she was a simple woman unaccustomed to offerings of magical gifts, so she hesitated.

"Go ahead. It's alright." He urged her to go forward, to stand before the trunk.

She didn't think she could lift the lid, and hesitated again, but with both of her hands touching it, the lid lifted itself. As old as the trunk probably was, and as long as it had remained closed, Mattie would have expected a moldy, sour smell, but no- Cool fresh air, sweet as spring blossoms, came from within. She peered inside, the King right at her shoulder. On top and tucked in neatly was an embroidered coversheet depicting a scene in the embroidery. The carefully embroidered picture showed several long fronds of a willow tree blowing in the wind. She folded the coverlet back and the first dress was revealed to her. She gasped.

"What does it look like?" the blind King asked, craning his neck but trying not to sound too interested.

Mattie held up the first dress and it billowed out as if caught by a wind.

"Why, it's the Dress of the Willow Trees!" She exclaimed.

"A dress made of a willow tree?" the King frowned.

"Not made of wood, sire. It's made of fabric and, Sire, this dress is moving in some kind of a wind all by itself. I am guessing that it must be called the Dress of the Willow Branches Blowing in the Wind."

The old King could not see where it was coming from, but he sure did notice that the wind had picked up in the room. What little hair he had on his head was streaming straight back.

 "Is it wearable?" The King asked, doubtfully.

The dress was flying around like a sail all by itself. Our bewildered mail woman gathered up the billowing mass and stepped behind a dressing screen. When she began to try it on, the dress felt to her like it had a will of its own. It changed its contours to fit her shape exactly- Suddenly she felt the dress lift her onto her toes.

"I'm light as a feather in this dress!" Mattie exclaimed, as she began to wobble.

As soon as she took one step forward, she rose into the air and instantly blew out the window.

"Ahhhh! I'm blowing out the win-dow!" she cried.

The King, still standing there, heard the lid of the trunk slowly closing, after which he heard a creaking sound as the trunk began rising into the air. Next, he heard a whooshing sound as the trunk took off after Mattie, right out the window. And then, the blind old King, to his enormous shock and surprise, was whisked by the Magic, kicking and flailing, right out the window behind the both of them.

Set against a backdrop of blue skies and puffy white clouds, Mattie the Mail Lady, wearing the magical Dress of the Willows Blowing in the Wind, flew, rocket-style, in an arc above the upturned heads of the stable hands, the garden staff and the horses in the fields.Their mouths gaping open, they traced the trajectory of the Mail Lady in flight with their pointing fingers, but then they saw the trunk, flying nobly along behind the Mail Lady, and then the King, waving his arms and running backwards through the air, flying along after them. Workers in the fields were moved to applaud.

Mattie would have curtsied or bowed but she was too busy praying and seeing her life pass before her eyes. The First Magical Dress, with Mattie in it, rocketed straight to a group of old grandmother Willow Trees growing beside the Winding River near the castle. The trunk, following along, was set down under the trees by the magical forces, and the King was gently set down on top of the trunk, but the Dress kept Mattie the Mail Lady sailing and drifting around through the gently blowing boughs of the Willow Trees, while the Wind and the Willows shared their songs with her and whispered the secrets of their joy into her ears. She was entranced! Spellbound! Such a gift!

Now, meanwhile, the cranky old King was unaccustomed to being outdoors in the first place, but flying through windows and waiting around under Willow Trees by himself was just infuriating, and he gnashed his teeth and shook his fist, blind to the blue sky, and deaf to the songs of the Willow Trees and the whispers of the Wind.

He spent his time there muttering and complaining to the magical trunk about what an outrage it was and how dare the trunk be so presumptuous and that it had been lunchtime and how could the trunk betray him and so forth. He growled at the wind and snarled at the willow branches which brushed his face, and sat there accusing the trunk of a hundred different crimes against humanity; listing all of his ailments over and over, and railing about how hungry he was, and thirsty, and how this was all so unnecessary.

The Mail Lady was finally set down beside him on the trunk, breathless with wild abandon from singing the spirit songs and communing with the Nature Entities.

The blind King had not seen what had happened to her, and did not ask what had happened to her. The stable hands and gardeners brought a horse and a cart down to the Willow Trees to carry the King, the Mail Lady and the trunk back up to the castle, and all the way home the King just kept bringing it up: how he just couldn't understand why he was involved in the magic- how the inconsiderate and misguided trunk must have mistaken him for the Wearer of the Dress; how annoying it is when magic goes wrong; didn't the trunk hear him say clearly that he would not be claiming the treasure; what ridiculous treasure it was, anyway. He had everyone wondering, indeed, why the magical dress had taken him along, since he was such a grouch.

Only Mattie the Mail Lady smiled.  She was still flying from her experience with the Dress of the Wind Blowing through the Willows.

So the Blind King went home to his nice dark castle, had lunch, and fell asleep. He woke up suddenly, hearing horse hooves. Mattie the Mail Lady was leading Mailmarymare back from the fields where the old horse had been grazing. He could hear her voice and he knew she was telling the horse all about her exciting adventure, and suddenly he realized that she was getting ready to saddle up and leave! He popped out of bed, and briskly, if blindly, trotted over to the window, hurriedly shouting out,

"Wait! Wait, my Lady! I want you to have the second dress in the trunk!"

Mailmarymare stopped at the sound of his voice, thinking of vegetables, and Mattie looked around at him.

"But Sire, your gift of the Magical Dress of the Wind Blowing in the Willows I will remember for the rest of my days. I have never received a finer gift in all of my life!"

"Really?" said the King. He truly had no clue.

"Really." She assured him, and left.

*

However, the next day the King had mail, so here came Mattie, to deliver it. The King was not the only one waiting for her. He had his swiftest horseman waiting there too, and Mattie knew as soon as she saw the two of them, that the King meant to give her that second dress. She just shook her head, remembering how the trunk had made him so mad the day before, but she was also smiling.

The formerly stony old King startled Mattie by greeting her with even more enthusiasm than the day before. The swift horseman took off with the mail- what little mail there was in those days; Mailmarymare was gently led out to graze; and the King took Mattie's arm and ushered her down a long winding hallway to a rather dreadful dungeon room where the trunk was chained to a wall and there were bars over the windows.

She would have been rather horrified, had an attempt not been made to give the place a cheery look. There was a great bouquet of flowers on an ornate three-legged table, a changing screen, and sumptuous carpets softened the cold stone floors. Still, dungeons gave Mattie the creeps anyway, and she almost felt bad for the poor trunk, being chained up like that.

The King, on the other hand, was feeling smug, and in high spirits he boldly gestured, offering her the trunk with open palms. Mattie graciously nodded, forgetting that he could not see her response, and stepped up to the trunk a second time, hesitating before she touched it, remembering its power.

She touched the lid and it lifted. Another beautiful coverlet concealed the second magical dress. This coversheet was filmy and yet, embroidered. With thread that glistened as if the threads themselves were strands of spun water, the embroidered picture showed a river flowing over many stones. Slowly, as Mattie pulled aside the gauzy fabric, the material itself grew thinner and mistier, and by the time Mattie removed it completely, the fabric had become nothing more than a light spray of water. Even the old King felt the sudden moisture on his face.

She gasped.

"Tell me- what does it look like?"

He gripped her arm, excitedly. Mattie held up the second dress.

"This dress also seems to swirl- to move on its own. It seems to be filled with the river rushing over countless stones."

And, indeed, the King thought he heard a distant waterfall. Mattie heard it too- the sound of water coming from- where? Was it coming from the Dress? He gestured in the direction of the changing screen. 

"Should you try it on?" He didn't mean to sound so doubtful, but the sound of rushing water...

Again, Mattie felt the depth of the magic in the dress as she put it on. It swirled and bubbled and changed itself to fit to her shape. The sound of a waterfall grew louder. The King looked around nervously. Mattie took one step and there was suddenly water everywhere- She actually felt it pouring out of the dress into the dungeon.

The lid of the trunk slammed down. Cursing with disbelief, the King felt his pant legs get wet and as the water quickly rose to waist level, he heard the horrendous sound of what he thought must be the trunk freeing itself from the dungeon wall. Actually, the trunk wasn't exactly freeing itself from the wall- What the King was hearing was the sound of a massive chunk of the wall being taken out by the force of the magical trunk trying to leave the room.

Mattie couldn't help thinking that he didn't need that old dungeon anyway, when all the water was sucked into the giant hole made by the missing section of wall, and they were both swept along by this river into an underground tunnel, as the dungeon crashed in upon itself behind them. As dark as it was in the tunnel, the King, for some reason, (perhaps dire necessity) could miraculously see well enough to locate and scramble up on top of the floating trunk and help Mattie to get up on top of it too.

They worked together to free the trunk of its chains, finally releasing the heavy chunk of wall that the trunk had been dragging along. Exhausted, the two of them floated through the underground tunnel and back out into the fresh air again, where their watery tributary met the big Winding River. There were a few moments when it seemed to Mattie rather romantic, floating along together with the King, the green countryside all around and the moldy old castle receding into the distance.

But then the Second Magical Dress, the River, and Mattie became One, as the Dress of the River Flowing Over Stones rolled Mattie overboard, and to her great delight, she became one with the twist of the currents as the ancient song of the water racing over the stones echoed in her ears. She dived like a dolphin in the water alongside the King who was still perched upon the floating trunk.

The old King, unaccustomed as he was to high adventure, was inclined to complain when the willful trunk dragged him into the action again! However, this time Mattie was close by, splashing him, laughing, and teasing him, inviting him to come in for a swim. He would not swim, but he did seem to be having a better time with the second dress.

Up ahead, at a bend in the river, a group of loyal servants had gathered with a cart, expecting the King to be in distress. Mattie looked at the King, wondering if he would see the rescuers. He did appear to at least hear them, but instead of calling out for help, he just waved. They waded in and got him into the cart anyway. During the whole way back to the castle the King sat on the trunk and made jokes, astounding the servants with his wit, while the second magical dress, still worn by Mattie but hanging out the back end of the cart, an ever-flowing fount from which water constantly poured, trailed a stream of water behind the cart all the way back to the castle.

Once they had arrived at the castle, the King would not let Mattie leave until she had bathed, changed clothes, and had drinks and dinner with him. Then, since it was after dark, he mounted up and joined an equestrian escort, which rode alongside Mattie and Mailmarymare to their home. And he required her to promise to return the next day whether he had mail or not, for there was still the matter of that Third Dress...

*

The King slept very well that night and was up bright and early the next morning. Considering the unpredictability (and strength!) of the Magical Forces and the damage to the dungeon, he had instructed his servants to leave the trunk outside the castle. It looked quite contented, resting on a slab of stone on a small hill.

Mattie smiled and Mailmarymare snorted, when they saw the King perched upon the magical trunk, waving to them as they approached, resembling one of his own jesters. It looked like he was orchestrating with a baton, or magic wand in each hand, but the wands turned out to be stalks of celery for Mailmarymare. Perhaps it was a trick of the light, but it seemed to Mattie that the King was taking on some of the glow of the magical trunk- or was it just the sky behind him? Mattie took the King's arm; Mailmarymare took the celery; and they all walked out to the pasture where the big horse was left to graze. Then arm in arm, the King and Mattie returned to the spot on the hill where the trunk waited placidly, it's patchwork colors softly glowing.

"Are you ready for the Third Dress?" The King asked, looking right at her.

Mattie laughed. "I think so. Are YOU?"

Mattie the Mail-lady stood before the trunk for the third time. She squeezed the King's hand, then ran both of her hands over the top edge of the lid. The lid opened slowly, as if it were asking-

"Are you sure?" 

The last coverlet was a dark blue veil with a violet light racing and shimmering along its surface wherever it moved. The embroidery on the coverlet depicted a total eclipse of the sun in the center of a great shimmering starry sky. As Mattie lifted the dark veil, a line of blinding radiance began to shine out from behind it, along its perimeter. The Light coming from the Third Magical Dress. She held the shimmering dark veil up in front of her eyes and peeked out from behind it, down at the last wondrous dress.

She gasped. Her trembling hands paused above the open trunk, above what looked like a nicely folded sky full of stars, each one glowing away and raring to get into motion. Mattie lifted the third dress out of the trunk and held it up. It was dazzling! The old King was standing on his toes gripping his fists in breathless anticipation.

"What does this dress look like?" he nearly shouted, and though his eyes were tightly shut, he could see flashes of Light from behind his eyelids..

As Mattie held it up in the air she knew: This was the Dress of the Sun, the Moon and the Stars.

  As she held it, completely speechless, the Third Magical Dress shimmered and began to slowly spin...It was essentially velvety dark- the deep darkness of Space, but from within it's dark depths shot comets- a sudden display of fireworks- a birthing star- the sun, whose brilliance was nearly overwhelming- rose from within the Dress and when the Dress turned, the sun set and a grand procession of glittering stars formed astrological symbols in the deep dark Heavens of the Dress.

The King saw nothing of this, and, since Mattie was speechless, he said,

"Go on! Go ahead! Try it on! If you can!"

Mattie was trembling all over as she slipped into the dress, which instantly swirled brighter and faster. She felt the vastness of the heavens in her soul and she knew where she was going- she knew that, if she took one step, the magical dress would take her out amongst the planets, through star fields and on into infinite space. She was afraid that this time if she took a step, she would never return.

"What is going on?" the King yelled, with his hands over his tightly shut eyes.

The dress shimmered and flashed and sparked, as Mattie stood perfectly still, holding her breath.

"It's the Dress of the Sun, the Moon and the Stars!" she finally shouted. "I dare not move- I dare not take even one step!"

"Then STAY!" cried the King, feeling the power of his full Intention pour forth into his words.

The King reached out blindly and caught her hand in both of his, and, at the moment he made contact with Mattie, the powerful magic of the Dress of the Sun, the Moon, and the Stars entered him and he became One with the Magic. He SAW the perfect eclipse, and at that moment the eclipse ended and a beam of intensely bright sunlight hit him right between the eyes. As the Moon moved away from the Sun he felt his soul fly.

Then, as the Dress spun round, so did the King's Soul, and he danced with the stars themselves, growing old and emerging young as the sun glowed and the moon and the earth chased eachother around and around and a never-before-experienced thrill cracked his inner eyes wide open, and he saw the field of stars laid before him as a field of limitless possibilities.

At the same time Mattie became aware that she had not flown off into outer space! The King was somehow grounding the magical energy by holding onto her. They held onto eachother tightly, unmoving, with their eyes closed, as the magic of the Dress of the Sun, the Moon and the Stars surged through both of them.

Suddenly the trunk lid slammed closed and the magic stopped. The Dress of the Sun, the Moon, and the Stars shimmered down into a dull black, and Mattie and the King just stood there holding onto each other, trembling, hollow with wonder, with their eyes still closed.

 

When they opened their eyes, they found themselves in eachother's arms and they just couldn't stop laughing.

*

From that day forward, Mattie and the King stayed together. He would often say,

"Let's go have a picnic under the willow trees!" or

"Let's go take a boat ride on the river!"

And she fixed up the dark castle. Yes, she painted Suns and Moons and Stars on the walls. (...and comets, and fireworks, and willow trees, and waterfalls...) What was left of the dungeons became root cellars, so there were always vegetables for Mailmarymare to find in the King's beard.

 

And they lived there happily together for all the rest of their days.

 

*****************************************

 

 

Kandra Niagra, Dollmaker

PO Box 326

Smithville, Texas 78957

Phone: 512-332-6680

Email: bigkandra@aol.com

 

 

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