(Author’s Note: This story is the fourth in a series of stories that feature princesses, twisted fairy tales, and an interrupting co-narrator. For ease, I’ve numbered them in the title. While they really don’t have to be read in a specific order, there are sometimes references to previous stories. I hope you enjoy. – Dean)
Once upon a time…
You don’t like once upon at time?
“Once upon a time is great. It’s just my turn.”
“To tell you a story.”
You are going to tell me a story? What story are you going to tell?
The one I was going to tell?
“Yep. Who’s it about?”
“Got it. Once upon a time, there was a beautiful princess who lived in a tall tower…”
Why did you stop?
“You’re supposed to interrupt.”
“That’s the way it works. When you tell the story, I interrupt. So, you have to interrupt me.”
“So, I have time to think of what happens next. That’s how you do it.”
Not really. But, you seem to have interrupted yourself.
“Yeah. So, um, what happens next?”
You’re telling the story. You tell me.
“But, I don’t know the story.”
Make something up.
“You really aren’t helping. What’s the name of this story?”
Never Tangle With a Gorgon Princess.
“What’s a gorgon again?”
Greek myth. Snakes for hair. Turns men to stone by looking at them.
Yes. She was one of three gorgon sisters.
“I see the problem here.”
There’s a problem?
“Yep. The title doesn’t work.”
“You have to explain what a gorgon is when you should just say Medusa. So, the title is now ‘Never Tangle With a Medusa Princess.’”
Fine. It’s your story. You can name it what you want.
“That was too easy. You’re up to something.”
Why would you think that?
“I just know. Anyway, you can continue.”
Continue with what?
I thought you were telling it.
“Nope. Your turn. I did the hard part and set it up for you. You know. Once upon a time. Beautiful princess. Tower. Even fixed the title for you. And you are welcome for that.”
Thank you. But you said you would tell me the story.
“What do I know about medusas?”
“See? Think you just made my point.”
Alright. I will tell the story.
Once upon a time in a distant land, unless it was nearby, there lived three beautiful princesses in a single tall tower on a small rocky island.
“Three? And, how are they princesses?”
She has two sisters. And, everyone is a princess in these stories.
Okay. Not the Prince.
I’m not in this story…. What are you looking at?
Cute. The princesses were all beautiful except for their hair which was made up of snakes.
“Snakes are beautiful.”
Not everybody thinks that.
“Doesn’t mean they aren’t.”
The princesses were all beautiful and their hair was made up of snakes. Medusa’s hair was special as it was made up of many different kinds of snakes while her sisters each had only one.
“Not a king snake.”
“Her hair couldn’t have a king snake because it eats other snakes and then she would be bald.”
She would still have the king snake.
“Nope. Without the other snakes to eat, it would starve to death and fall out. Bald.”
No king snake.
Medusa thought she was more beautiful than her sisters and told them so all the time. She made them serve her. Her snakes would bite theirs if they didn’t do what she said. She spent most of the time staring into mirrors and feeding her hair.
One night, while Medusa was sleeping, her sisters carried her up to a room in the top of the tower and locked her in. They hired an old woman to look after her, took the only boat, and left the island.
“Good for them. She was mean.”
They locked her up.
“Did they leave her a mirror? And food for the snakes?”
“Then, she’s fine.”
Not really. She liked to go for walks.
“You never said that so it doesn’t count.”
After her sisters left the island, Medusa felt very lonely and regretted the way she treated them. The old woman would never speak to her. Medusa spent the whole of every day in a little room in the top of a tower just looking in a mirror and feeding her snakes. She was really bored.
One day, a prince arrived on the island.
“Here we go, dead prince time.”
I don’t always kill the prince.
“Yes, you do. This one is about to die too.”
The prince walked up to the tower expecting to find his beautiful princess. However, a storm had blown his ship off-course and he was expecting to be at that other tower with that other beautiful princess. He shouts up at the window at the top of the tower.
Medusa hears this prince outside the tower yelling at her to let down her hair. She panics a bit. Not really knowing what she should to do, she grabs one of the snakes, pulls it from her head, and throws it out the window. The snake hits the prince in the face. They are both very surprised and the snake bites him.
The snake was one of the poisonous ones. The prince died.
“Told you. Dead prince.”
About that time, the legends started of a beautiful princess locked in a tower on a rocky island. She was under a curse that turned her hair to snakes and could only be cured by True Love’s Kiss. Getting turned to stone was never mentioned.
“Can the kiss do that?”
Nope. Because, she isn’t cursed. It’s who she is.
So, prince after prince comes to the island seeking to rescue and kiss her. Medusa learned from the first prince not to pull out the snakes…
“If she keeps pulling them out, bald.”
That too. But, bald is still beautiful. She would miss her snakes, though.
Instead, she would look out her window as they looked up at her and…
“They turned to stone.”
Every one of them.
“You go through a lot of princes. There can’t be many left.”
I have an unlimited supply.
After years of prince after prince turning to stone at the base of the tower, a small ship arrives at the rocky island and Princess Awe Some steps ashore.
“Wait. Awe Some? Finally! If you turn her to stone, I am never letting you tell me another story.”
“Well, I will. But, I will be very mad at you.”
Then, I won’t turn her to stone.
“Or, have her bit by a poisonous snake.”
I won’t have her bit.
“No stone prince falling on her and crushing her to death.”
I hadn’t thought of that one.
“No killing Princess Awe Some. Promise.”
I promise. No killing her.
Double pinky swear.
“Yay. What happens next?”
The Princess Awe Some walks to the tower. She doesn’t pay attention to the stone princes or the skeleton of the snake-bit prince. She doesn’t even look up at the window at the top of the tower. Instead, she goes up to the door and knocks. The old woman opens the door and points Some to the stairs.
“She doesn’t say anything?”
Nope. She actually can’t speak. She wasn’t being mean.
“Did the sisters cut out her tongue?”
Now who’s being dark? She was born that way.
Some walked up stair after stair until she reached the room at the top. She politely knocked before unlocking the door. She slowly opened the now unlocked door and there was Medusa looking directly at her.
“Nooooo. You promised. Pinky swear and everything.”
Some understood something that most people didn’t. Medusa’s gaze turned MEN to stone.
“Some’s not a man.”
It was a long voyage, Medusa was beautiful, and Some had been waiting to kiss another Princess a very long time. Some moved quickly across the room with nothing but kissing on her mind.
Medusa, realizing what was about to happen, grabbed all the snakes with both hands and pulled them back. Some reached Medusa, took the snake-haired beauty into her arms and kissed her.
“Whoa. True Love’s Kiss.”
More lust than love. They just met. But the tower shook and all the stone princes crumbled.
“The kiss did that?”
The area is prone to earthquakes and there happened to be a tremor at that moment. Some and Medusa made their way over to the bed while still kissing.
“Right. Move along, folks. Nothing to see here. You’ll tell me later.”
“Yeah. I’m not at work.”
“That means yes.”
Some covered Medusa with a hooded cloak and led her from the tower. They got on Some’s ship and sailed away in each other’s arms.
“Into the sunset?”
The sun was setting, but they sailed the other way.
“Did they get a happily ever after?”
It wasn’t long before Medusa met a gargoyle she really liked and was already made of stone and her and Some parted ways. Some was okay with that as Medusa still spent a lot of time in front of mirrors and the snakes could be annoying. Some went on a search for another princess.
“I think I can sleep after that one. What’s next?”
“But not tonight.”