Marisol’s hands were sweating. Then again, her hands were always sweating. Marisol scanned through her limited vocabulary (which was quite extensive, considering she was only eight years old) and finding the worst word she could think of, used it to curse the witch who… well, who cursed her, “Flatulence lover!” Feeling quite a bit better, despite not actually knowing what flatulence meant, Marisol went back to writing her letter to father. Adjusting the pinky finger of her mitten she scribbled a few more lines and, after several attempts on scrap paper, signed her name with a flourish. Dropping the missive in the hands of her faithful servant Chauncey, Marisol marched into the rose garden to spend the rest of her free time observing the bees and passing clouds, as she did every afternoon. Sometimes, on sunny days when the wind wandered through the garden, giving breath to the aromatic roses, Marisol could almost forget she had no friends besides Chauncey, and that she wasn’t stuck on some backwoods plot of land far from her family. Today it was cloudy.
From birth, Marisol’s parents knew she was special. But her parents, the king and queen of Travescrest, a lovely, if not modest kingdom, would have no time to dote on their infant daughter, for as soon as word spread that the princess Marisol had been born the witch of Appeldorf pounced upon the unsuspecting child. A spiteful and malicious viper of a woman (if you could call her that), the witch despised all that was good- especially babies with gifts that were rumored to rival her own. Storming into the castle nursery, the witch overwhelmed the wet nurse and snatched the baby from her bassinette. Clenching the baby’s tiny magical hands in her own, the witch muttered something before tossing Marisol screaming into the basket- just as the castle guards rushed in along with the king and queen. “Ye be too late, ye fools! The child is forever cursed and should anyone be touched by any of the girl’s fingers it will be the last thing you remember on this earth!” the witch screamed over her shoulder before letting out a chilling cackle and disappearing through the window and into the inky night.
Terrified by the witch’s threat and the curse she put on their child, the king and queen quickly called the royal physician, and after relaying the happenings of that night, charged him with wrapping the baby’s hands in swatches of cloth to protect anyone who may mistakenly touch them. Using forceps and a bit of ribbon, the doctor was able to safely bind the baby’s hands before anyone could fall at their touch. As she grew, so did the problem of what to do with Marisol’s hands, especially since the curious girl was constantly tugging and removing whatever they tried to cover her hands with. After a few near misses, the royal couple believed it would be in the best interest of their daughter (and their kingdom) if Marisol was sent somewhere isolated where she would not run the risk of harming anyone or be subjected to the growing sense of mistrust and fear she was beginning to generate within the castle and beyond.
And so, at the tender age of two, Marisol was taken from her parents and, in the trusted care of their most loyal servant Chauncey (who also dabbled in the magical arts), she would live in an undisclosed part of the kingdom until she was freed from the curse, and the mittens she was forced to live in because of it. Every day, Marisol would sit with Chauncey and he would try, unsuccessfully to lift her curse. These sessions were then followed by breakfast and her lessons. While Chauncey tried to remove the spell with his own magic, the king and queen entrusted seven of their bravest knights to seek out the witch and discover how to remove the curse. For six years, both efforts went unrewarded, and the king and queen were beginning to lose hope.
As for Marisol? She hadn’t lost hope- she had never been given the chance to have it. What she had instead was anger, simmering, and constant, Marisol felt it in her soul and its potency outstripped anything most adults were capable of feeling. She was angry at her parents for sending her away, she was angry at Chauncey for not being able to help her or let her have any friends, she was angry at the witch- the cause of all of this, but most of all, she was angry at her mittens. Her uncomfortable, itchy, stinky, sweat-filled mittens.
As she lay on her back and watched a large cloud shaped like a bowl of cherries float by, Marisol was suddenly struck by a remarkable idea, “Why don’t I just take them off? There’s no one around so I couldn’t possibly hurt anyone and the curse wasn’t supposed to harm her so what could be the worst that could happen?” She couldn’t believe she had never thought to do it before! Sitting up in excitement, Marisol began to peel the right mitten off of her hand with such satisfaction, she almost didn’t want it to end. The right mitten was off, so far- nothing. “Here goes nothing,” she thought as she began to remove the other mitten.
Just as the mitten fell to the ground Chauncey bounded around the corner- right where her hand was pointing. “Princess! I have wonderful ne—“, Chauncey had been saying before he abruptly froze and his face turned into a twisted mask of horror and disgust.
“Oh Chauncey, I’m sorry! What have I done?!?” Marisol screamed as she rushed to Chauncey’s side. Convinced that Chauncey had been turned into a gargoyle or sometime equally awful because of her curse, Marisol began to weep as she embraced her beloved servant.
“What’s all this blubbering about, then?” Chauncey replied a little uncomfortably, unaccustomed to such an emotional outpouring from his little mistress.
“Chauncey! You’re all right! I thought for sure you were a goner!” Marisol exclaimed in disbelief. “I’m sorry Chauncey, I took my mittens off. I just hate them so much and… wait, why didn’t anything happen?” she said as she stared down at her pale and chapped hands.
“That’s what I was coming to tell you!” Chauncey replied with obvious excitement. “The knights commissioned by your parents, they found the witch. The old bat was on her deathbed and before breathing her last wretched breath revealed to those good men the truth- there is no truth! There never was! It was all a trick, a most awful trick to punish your parents for their happiness and to rob you of yours. Can you believe it?” Chauncey was smiling broader than Marisol believed possible.
“But Chauncey, when you came around the corner, you had some sort of affliction, if it was not my curse, then what was it?” Marisol asked skeptical to believe she was really free.
“Oh that,” Chauncey huffed and reaching down to his foot pulled of his left shoe and turned it upside down. “In my haste to come tell you the good news, I must have stepped in some fresh dog doo doo, see?” and showing Marisol the underside of his shoe, which was practically covered in the odious stuff they both doubled over in laughter.
The Not So Fantastic Reality:
The above story was inspired by the following tidbits I encountered today:
ONE: ON the way home today, I saw a girl in mittens. Why is that strange, you ask? Several things, I would then answer. First, it was a high of 80 degrees in Orlando today. Second, this young woman walking with an odd gait and determined pace was also outfitted in ill-fitting shorts, a hoodie and flip-flops… oh, and there was a hat, can’t forget the hat. As I sat in traffic and watched this interesting individual make her way down the sidewalk, my mind began to invent reasons why she would choose to wear mittens on such a balmy day, and with such a, eh… ‘special’ outfit. Were her hands hideously burned in a hot boiled peanuts accident? Was she on her way to load a large quantity of ice into a truck? Maybe she had claws for hands? Maybe she just really likes mittens?
TWO: As I was typing away at tonight’s story, I was interrupted by the dogs makin a ruckus in the backyard. Sliding into my flip flops, I peered into my very dark backyard (really need to invest in some lights back there or something) to ‘see’ what they were up to. Since the ‘seeing’ part was pretty much a bust, I decide to walk back there and get them to come inside. Well, I brought something else in with me… doo doo, all over my Reefs. Ugh, is there anything worse than stepping in dog mess? If so, I really can’t think of it… excuse me as I try not to gag as I scrape this muck off my flop.
Love & Squirrels.