Once upon a time

December 12, 2022 / Henry Dumas

By Henry Dumas

The assignment: Take an old fairy tale and reset it in modern times and in your hometown. 

Once upon a time in a far-off land called West Jordan, Utah, three fairies lived. Elfie, Lucy, and Sadie buzzed around the garden, protecting it from unwanted pests. They weren’t cute like Tinker Bell with her long blond hair, blue eyes, and skinny Barbie doll body. They were short, fat, and frumpy.  


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Elfie was the oldest. She had bright green eyes and long black hair with a gray streak down the middle. Her hair looked like a skunk sitting on her head. She was short in stature, dressed in dark gray, and sometimes wore body armor. She fluttered around the garden, cared for the trees, and pollinated the flowers. She ran the garden and its inhabitants with an iron fist, and never started a fight, but was not afraid to end it.

Lucy was the prettiest of the three, with short brown hair and dark-green eyes. She collected baubles, shiny or sparkly objects, and things that represented the sun’s essence. She gracefully flew around the garden, ensuring there were plenty of brightly colored tubular flowers. The kind hummingbirds like to drink nectar from.

Sadie was the youngest. She still had her young girlish looks, and her body fat was in all the right places. She was fast in flight and nimble as she buzzed around the garden. Her long brown hair fluttered in the wind and her blue-green eyes sparkled in the sunshine. The male fairies followed her, offering her the finest fruits and vegetables they harvested from the garden. She was not interested in the male fairies and waved them off with her magic wand.

The queen of fairies removed magic powers from their wands and confiscated fairy dust. She wanted to keep the fairies from terrorizing the garden’s inhabitants. The wands didn’t work, but that didn’t matter to the three fairies. They slid the magic wands in their belts like pirates, and used them like swords on garden creatures, including Cindy, the neighbor’s cat. Cindy was a typical cat. She would lie around the house all day sleeping and meowing when dinner time came. She loved watching the birds at the bird feeders and considered them a quick snack. The birds were safe because she was too fat and slow to catch them. At night she sat on the fence singing cat songs, trying to attract an old tomcat. Sometimes he joined her on the fence; and they sang their favorite songs as they dodged shoes and other objects that the gardener tossed at them. There were rumors that they slept together, but no one could prove it.

The old Gardner’s name was Henry. His long, grayish, unkempt hair and beard fluttered in the wind. The birds loved Henry because his hair provided leaves and other nest building materials. Henry was a widower. His wife passed away years ago. And for whatever reason, Cupid never found his way to his garden to shoot him in the heart. He loved digging in his garden, and looked forward to leaving Utah, and spending his winter in Mesa, Arizona.

It was a warm summer morning when the queen fairy arrived in the garden surrounded by a cloud of shimmering fairy dust. She fluttered over the three fairies, scowling at them like a schoolteacher in a misbehaving class.

Lucy pointed at Elfie and spoke. “It’s your fault that the queen immobilized our magic wands and confiscated our fairy dust. You used your wand and fairy dust to make Henry fall in love with Agnes Bell, his next-door neighbor. And you told everyone Miss Bell had a thing for him.”

“You’re all at fault,” the queen fairy said. “It took all my supplies of fairy dust to fix that mess you got into. I will return the power to your wands and let you have more fairy dust when you ladies stop using them on people.”

“That isn’t going to happen,” the three fairies mumbled under their breath.  

 The queen scoffed at the three sisters and flicked her magic wand. She faded into a rainbow-colored cloud and disappeared into thin air.

“I’m still mad at Henry for traveling to Mesa, Arizona last winter and leaving us outside in freezing weather,” Elfie frowned. “I froze my butt off.”

“It looks like you still have a lot of your butt left,” Lucy snickered.

“You don’t have room to talk!” Elfie shouted.

Summer became fall, and fall became winter. The three fairies decided not to spend another freezing winter in Utah. They hitchhiked on passing geese heading south for winter and followed Henry to Mesa. The fairies spent the winter in the sunshine and blue skies working on their tans, and staying out of eye contact with Henry. They fluttered around the many gardens, and used their magic wands and fairy dust to terrorize hummingbirds, pyxies, and other garden creatures. The queen fairy couldn’t stop them or remove their fairy dust because Mesa was outside her jurisdiction.

 Late one afternoon, a little old lady with purple hair walked past the fairies as they sat near the pool. She attracted their attention, and her looks and mannerisms fascinated them.

The next day, Henry pushed a shopping cart down an aisle at Walmart and randomly tossed food into the cart. From the corner of his eye, he saw what he thought were fairies and a cloud of magic fairy dust. His attention quickly shifted when another cart bumped into him. Pushing the cart was an older lady about Henry’s age. Her unruly purple hair stuck out in all directions, and was covered with twigs and leaves. She looked like she had spent her morning digging in a garden. Henry reached over, gently removed a leaf from her hair, and smiled. Their eyes met, and Cupid shot arrows. It was love at first sight, and they got married the next day. They spent their summers in Utah and winters in Mesa. The ideal combination of both worlds. She became best friends with the fairy sisters and they made all her, and Henry’s dreams come true.

Everyone lived happily ever after.

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