Out she went.
With the sun glaring down squeezing her like a shrivelling lemon, she trudged along squinting her eyes and wriggling her nose. Not a good day. She hated going to school today, just like every other day, and the closer she got to the lake bridge, the slower her trudging got. The wrist watch told her that she was getting late, but she couldn’t help stopping to smell the roses, or rather the hyacinths in this case. What on earth was that rustling in the leaves. She peered down and plop, splash, there went her spectacles, away and away and away.
Definitely not a good day.
Without her spectacles she couldn’t see the board, without seeing she couldn’t write down the notes, without the notes she wouldn’t be able to do her homework, and without doing the notes or the homework she was bound to fail the weekly test.
Probably not a good week either.
Now Rani had a fairytale life. She lived in picturesque town in a cute little cottage with a father who loved her more than any other in the world, and of course she had a fairytale’s step-mom.
In she went.
“Rani, where are your spectacles? This time did you loose them or break them?” asked step-mom.
“I swear it was not my fault. I was being really really careful and walking straight to school without chatting or gadding or dawdling, just like you instructed me to. But they jumped of the bridge and swam away.”
“So you are telling me that YOUR glasses jumped of YOUR nose and its WASN’T YOUR fault!”
“No. It was my stupid nose’s fault. The bridge is too small. Nothing can safely sit on it. I need a more shapely nose.” A pretty long sharp one like yours. I want a nose-job.”
Step-mum walked up to Rani, shaking her head in obvious disbelief, muttering some words under her breath, and pinched Rani’s nose, and voila, Rani now had a nice long nose with a nice long bridge, upon which many a spectacles could be sat. But this nose was too long and Rani wasn’t the happiest girl in the world. Next step-mum put her hand into her cloak and pulled out a new pair of stylish red spectacles. Rani felt a tad better with this style.
How you ask? Didn’t I mention? Naturally our fairy-tale step-mum was a witch.
The next morning, out she went.
This time Rani didn’t stop until she reached school.
All the girls took one look at her and started laughing. “Liar, Liar, pants on fire, nose as long as a telephone wire”, “Pinocchio… Pinocchio”, “O Red Riding Hood what a big nose you have”, “Rani nose best”, etc etc. The taunts were endless. By lunch break, she was so upset that she hid in the girl’s room and snapped the end of her too long bridged nose off, and the bit that remained she pushed up.
Hah, amazing. Step-mum had really made her nose flexible. Now Rani had a cute little upturned nose off of which no spectacles could accidentally slide down.
But children are cruel and a fresh set of jokes started. “Snooty Rani, turning her nose up at other people.” Snoot, snob, piggy, etc etc. The taunts were endless. By day break she was so upset that she ran all the way home, her bag billowing behind her.
In she went.
“I want my old nose back. Please please mum. I beg you. I want my old nose back.”
“But the bridge was too small. It wasn’t fit to keep anything on.”
“I lied,” she blurted out. “It was my fault. I was peering down at the bridge despite you instructing me not to stop along the way, and my face was sweaty, so they slipped off. My nose was perfect.”
Step-mum’s knowing laughter filled the room with the thinking of a hundred church bells. “If you tell the truth we can find the correct solution. If you foolishly shift blame to all the wrong places, you will end up becoming the fool.”
This time when mum pinched Rani’s nose, a warm fuzzy feeling filled her, and she knew without a doubt that her face had been rearranged, and her own, albeit imperfect, nose was back. But a lesson had been learnt, a bridge had been crossed, she was transformed now, risen far above the trappings of vanity and jay-walking.
“Step-mum, I think I want contact lenses from now on.”
Step-mum smiled an indulgent smile and reached under her cloak.
Hey, all fairy-tale witch step-mums don’t have to be wicked too!