April 16, 2012

Once Upon a Time FF Contest!

As part of National Flash Fiction Day in the UK, a contest is being held over on Yearning for Wonderland, a neato little blog if you haven't discovered it yet. The contest challenge is this: write a 350 word flash fiction based on the theme Unexpected Fairy Tale. Without further ado, here is my story.

“The Seer of Viceroy”

A lazy tradesman is driven out by his wife, and bidden to make something of himself. He comes upon a washerwoman who has lost seven milking cows in seven weeks. He promises to restore the cows and heads off in search. As he walks he asks the wind a favor.
“Mighty wind, you travel far and wide. There is no land you do not touch. Help me find these missing cows, and I shall be forever grateful.”
At this humble request, the wind whispers in his ear the location of the missing cows. He follows the whispers, finds the cows, and returns them to the washerwoman, who rewards him with two bags of silver.
The tradesman comes upon two servants of the King. A pitcher of gold has gone missing, and he pledges to find it lest the servants be hanged. He spies a stream nearby, and once more he begs assistance.
“Mighty water, you travel far and wide. There is no crevice you cannot seek. Help me find the missing pitcher of gold, and I shall be forever grateful.”
 At this modest request, the water gurgles in his ear the location of the missing pitcher. It has fallen deep within a well, and he fishes it out, and returns it to the King, who rewards him with four bags of silver.
 On his journey home, he meets a sage who says, “Tradesman, you are so very wise. Tell me what I hold in my hand. I wager six bags of silver you cannot.”
The tradesman places his own six bags of silver into the wager. He is eager to double his fortune. He looks up at the sun, and once more asks for help.
“Mighty sun, your rays reach far and wide. There is no object you have not seen. Help me guess the item this sage conceals, and I shall be forever grateful.”
But the sun does not speak to him. Clouds obscure it from sight. In his despair he is unable to guess, and the sage collects his winnings, and tradesman is left with nothing.
(Word Count: 348)

16 comments:

  1. Brilliant. This is a wonderful homage to the traditional fairy tale structure, complete with the moral at the end. Fantastic piece!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I love traditional fables. Their simple messages really make a connection.

      Delete
  2. Nice! It does remind me of the old fables. However, I realized I could take it two ways. One, that he was only thinking of himself and the sun refused to help, or that there was really nothing in the trader's hand and so the sun could not show him something that was not there. ;) Pretty cool little tale.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know! Either way he's FUBAR. . . and I can't imagine what his wife would do to him when he got home empty-handed and no better off. Would he tell her the truth? That he'd won and lost? Or lie? Either way, he'd be up a creek for sure.

      Delete
  3. Absolutely elegant, Melanie! I love this line: "At this modest request, the water gurgles in his ear the location of the missing pitcher." IDK, this line struck me with a vivid image so clear that I don't need anything else to embellish it! Beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly! Slipping into the Aesop mindset magically eradicated my addiction to adverbs. I'm trying to keep a bit of that for future writing.

      Delete
    2. I'm a recovering adverb junkie ;) Took a while for me to break the habit!

      Delete
  4. I like Daniel's theory - the sun couldn't show him what was not there. I didn't think of a fable! You've written it beautifully, so clean and rhythmical.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love that. I always found fables so mysterious--that was part of the allure. On the first reading, you find one meaning that seems quite obvious. Yet on further readings, you find other meanings and layers, and eventually discover that this is the essence of fable--it means to each of us what it must. :)

      Delete
  5. Wonderfully written with a very folk-tale style. Well done!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I too love old fables. This also reads like a proverb. I agree with Meg McNulty, it's clean and has a great rhyme to it. Great work.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Love this! Very fairy-tale-fable-like. I really enjoyed the rhythm and repetition. Perhaps even the elements have their limitations ...

    ReplyDelete
  8. Well-paced fable, excellent! Thank you for entering :)

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...