This is a work of fiction, any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.


Laramie Sasseville, copyright 1996
First Published in "Daughters of Nyx, winter/spring 1996

In answer to popular demand we, the members of the committee for 'Niceness in Fairy Tales, yes! (NIFTY), have composed a series of alternative scenarios, which we believe will prepare young minds to see older women not as threatening witches to be approached only with caution, but as comforting grandmotherly figures. Women of Age will be pleased, of course, to fill such roles for the sake of Society, and there will be no talk of burnings at stakes.


Maleficent, learning of the Christening, and realizing that she had not received an invitation, turned to her magic mirror and said, "Why bother myself over whether or not those people notice me; shall I concern myself where they do not?"

She went on to muse, "this is really the best season (it was mid-winter) to visit Rotorua for the mud baths! I can feast on those marvelous native meals - I just love the way they cook chicken, ham , and those delicious roots in flaxen baskets suspended in the steaming, underground rivers…"

Maleficent listened to her own sound advice, and off she flew to join the Maoris - taking part in their drum rituals, and inspiring a whole series of remarkable legends when she showed them her powers.

Aurora no doubt grew up to beautiful, wise, and talented, but we can't be sure because history has forgotten her.

"Rampion?" Your wife is craving rampion? Certainly; you just help yourself. Now, when she's feeling better, you all be sure to stop by for a visit - and bring the baby when she's grown a bit; I'd love to show her some of my books!"

And so they brought little Rapunzel to visit the old woman and learn her letters, and there's nothing more to be said of them, for they all lived quiet, pleasant and uneventful lives.

"Now girls, I don't want to hear another unkind word to your new sister, Ella. She's my own daughter now, just like you. We're all one family and we LeMontrose women need to look out for one another: the family that sticks together has kicks together! Now let's all bring the croquet set out to the garden!"

Years later the Prince of the Kingdome had grown to be a man, and his parents thought it high time that he chose a bride. He refused to choose from among the daughters of the neighboring royalty (there weren't many, and they were all of mismatched ages and temperaments). SO the royal family declared a magnificent ball to which all the eligible young women of the area were invited.

Ella and her sisters all attended and had a wonderful time. It was so exciting to be surrounded by everyone dressed in their finery; the music and dancing were delightful; the buffet was full of more things than any of them had ever dreamed of. They were even introduced to the Prince!

(Who thought to himself what a gaggle of geese those LeMontrose sisters were.)

Hortense met a good-natured fellow while standing in the buffet line. He came from a good family and later they married.

Cecilia was swept into conversation with a dapper young man who knew EVERYONE at court; she involved herself with his crowd, going on to become a coquette who toyed with the affections of half the local gentry.

Ella danced, but wearied of it before long, and wandered into the library where she engaged in conversation with a visiting cousin of the Prince, who had broken his ankle in a fall and could not join the dancing. They argued heatedly over the merits of certain authors and were quite in love by midnight.

Meanwhile the Prince saw that there was no one among all the young women in attendance with whom he felt that special spark of magic. But there was a daughter from one of the wealthier families who was exceptionally beautiful, clad in the finest of gowns, pleasant of manner - suitable. She even proved to be rather nice company as they got to know one another over the years.

"Hansel and Gretel, you say! Well, children, there's no call to be nibbling on my house when I have a fresh batch of gingerbread hot out of the over. You must be starved half to death to eat that crusty old stuff! It's hard as a rock. I use the stale stuff that doesn't sell at my bakery shop in town instead of stucco. You come along in, and we'll get you something better."" The kindly old woman was as good as her word, and it soon developed that she could employ a couple of industrious children as go-betweens to deliver baked goods daily to her shop in the nearby town. (She preferred country living, but was growing too frail to commute so often.)

She taught the children her trade. (Her gingerbread was exceptional, enjoying a favorable reputation wherever she brought it for sale.) She didn't impart the secret of its spicing until she lay on her death bed. At that time Hansel and Gretel inherited her shop and the bakery-kitchen attached to her cottage. They led prosperous lives, expanding the bakery business to several surrounding villages, But, who cares?

"Snow White? What a darling little moppet! Delbert, she has your eyes. Wouldn't she look like a little doll it I dressed her in that same aquamarine watered-silk, with the Valencienne lace, that makes such a fine state dinner gown? We'll look so charming together! Oh, I'm just going to spoil her silly!"

And she did. But there was no one there who complained of it. There were always plenty of princes willing to marry a princess, however silly.

"Get out of my way, old woman!"

"Certainly, lad. On another day I might have turned you into a frog, or some dreadful beast - until such a time as a beautiful woman should love you - but I think it will be more amusing to leave you to the fate to which your own disposition leads you."

With a nerve-wrackingly evil laugh the old woman vanished.

This was all once upon a time, but what do we care for that? There's plenty of gingerbread to be had, and never a care in the world.


Counselor A:
"Of course you are not wicked. We all have days when stewing babies seems like the best application of available resources. They have no manners; they make constant demands, contributing nothing in income or conversation. It's only natural that there will be days when one forgets long-term gains, and considers the immediate gratification of a good meaty broth - what with the price of poultry.

"The important thing is to distinguish impulse from action. Just thank yourself for showing such a sensible concern for the preservation of your health and sanity, and keep that big picture in mind."

Counselor B:
"Are you SURE that you were not abused as a child by your father? Perhaps some other authority figure? Let's dig a little deeper."

Counselor C:
"Now breathe deeply, imagine that glowing sphere of gentle pink light surrounding you. Visualize yourself in a safe place, a place where there is no one to harm or threaten you… what do you see?"

"I'm in a lovely tall tower. There is no doorway - only a single window high above the ground… I have a darling companion with long golden hair; I climb her tresses like a rope-ladder to reach the sanctuary of my tower; we spend long happy hours in intellectual discourse, creating lovely needlework tapestries…"

"What do you see?"

"I have a lovely little cottage deep in the woods where no one ever comes. There are no hard edges to bump into; the cottage is made of fresh, fragrant gingerbread, still warm and soft from the oven.. It's such a comforting scent; my mother used to feed us fresh gingerbread when we came back to the house after playing out in the snow. (This is before my mother was torn apart and eaten by a vicious pack of wolves on horrible winter). Living in this little gingerbread house makes me feel like I am snuggled safely in my mother's lap…"

Counselor D:
"What does being a witch mean to you, Griselda?"

"It's not what it means to me; it's what other people call me. It's what little boys and girls call me when I refuse to mother them. It'' what men call me when I refuse to cater to their egos; it'' what mothers and vamps alike will call me because I would rather be like myself than like them."

At Witches Anonymous:

"Hello, my name is Griselda and I am a Wicked Witch."

"Hello, Griselda."

"I'm here to tell you all to go to hell if you expect me to change my ways."

"Way to go, Griselda. Same to you."


"Let's not talk about that, shall we?"

"Ribbet, ribbet."

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