Fair, Brown and Trembling – FB Posted

castle-1483681_1280

Fair, Brown, and Trembling

Irish Folktale as adapted and written by storyteller Grace Wolbrink
All Rights Reserved; 2015

In the early days of the kingdom, a Queen gave birth to three beautiful daughters.  For most of this time her husband buried himself in the affairs of the kingdom. Raising their three daughters, Fair, Brown and Trembling, was something the King of Ireland seldom did. For most of their lives, he left the raising up to them. As for Trembling, their youngest daughter, her childhood days went from dismally fair to murky brown. For raising trouble is what Fair, the oldest, did best.

It all began early one afternoon while Fair and Brown sat gossiping over tea in the courtyard. Instead of joining them, Trembling busily engaged the local foul in a twitter-fest at the far end of the king’s gardens. Watching her, Fair’s mind whirred with ill-fated images of Trembling being than the queen herself.

“How could this be!” she quipped.

Brown looked up. Enraged, Fair took another sip of tea. Nearly choking, she blurted out, “What if Trembling gets married before we do!”

“Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!” screams Fair and Brown.

“Aaaah!” they scream. “Trembling is so much prettier than we are.” Pausing, they both look at each other.

“What if she does!” cries Brown.

“What would people say!” cries Fair.

“What would they say,” echoed Brown.

“This can’t happen!” cries Fair.

“This definitely can’t happen!” parroted Brown.

In-between all the screaming and not happening at the moment, a decision was made. For the next seven years, Trembling was forced to stay inside and do all the castle work. She was forced to do her work. She was forced to do all her sisters’ work. She was even forced to do all the servants’ work.

So, it was. For the next seven years, Fair and Brown went shopping daily and went to church weekly. Mystified, their father spent these same seven years amazed by how smoothly the inner workings of his castle functioned. He was even more amazed about how and why he didn’t experience the same forced-labor challenges and ungrateful servant uprisings like other Kings of his kind.

Per tradition, seven years later, Fair and Brown still lavishly paraded through town on their way to church. Knowing the routine of the kingdom life, the local henwife watched. She waited. Unlike the other henwives of her kind who held professional consultations in their homes, this henwife made castle calls. Arriving at the castle, she knocked. She waited.

Startled, Trembling approached the door.

“Who . . . who’s there,” she stammered.

“It’s me, your local henwife,” quipped the henwife. “Let me in. I don’t have standing time to waste.”

Silence.

“Come on, they’re gone,” cried the henwife impatiently. “Prince Omanya is already at the church waiting for them. They’re on the church’s clock and I’m on the castle step.”

Click. Swoosh. Bang. The door flew open. Out from behind the door swung Trembling’s head. In marched the henwife.

“Close it already,” commands the henwife. “We have work to do.”

Swoosh. Bang. Clack. The door slammed shut behind them.

“Would you like to go to church?” asked the henwife.

“Go …?” questioned Trembling.

“I didn’t say stay,” replied the henwife.

“If course I want to go but if they catch me, my sisters will have me digested alive.” cries Trembling.

The henwife nodded. she listened. Trembling told her about not being able to leave to house. She told her about having to do all the castle work. She looked at her dirty, ragged clothes. A tear ran down her cheek. “This is all I have,” she said.

“So, what kind of dress do you want?” asked the henwife.

“It doesn’t matter, I can’t go shopping anyway!” exclaims Trembling.

“I didn’t say shopping. I asked what kind of dress you want,” repeated the henwife.

“Oh,” replies Trembling. “I get it! I’d like a frosty-white dress with neon-green shoes.”

Preferring the cloak to closet method of clothing acquisition, the henwife puts on the cloak of darkness. Pulling out a pair of scissors she takes a snip from Trembling’s cloths. Placing the material in her hand, she asks the cloak for a frosty-while dress and neon-green shoes. Her order is granted. Grabbing the goods Trembling hits the hall closet behind the kitchen door.

“Wow!” she exclaims from inside the closet.

Opening the door, the henwife smiles.

“Now hurry, church doesn’t last all day,” says the henwife “Before you leave, here is a honey-bird for your right shoulder and a honey-finger for your left. You will find your transportation eating the flowers in your father’s royal gardens.”

Racing outside, Trembling finds a white mare wearing a golden saddle and a golden bridal munching daisies in the royal gardens.

Arriving at church, Trembling parked her horse under the giant oak tree. She watched. She waited. The church goers stared. The service progressed. Finishing the final hymn, her horse whined. Trembling turned. They galloped home.

Racing in the front door, Trembling trades in her church attire for her everyday rag-wear. Grabbing the saucepan from the henwife, Trembling takes charge of the stove.

Moments later the squawking shrills of her sister’s voices announce their arrival.

“Oh, that woman!” screams Fair.

“That woman!” parrots Brown, slamming the front door.

“What woman,” asks the henwife sitting down at the dinner table.

“Some neon-shoed chick parked her horse out front under the oak tree,” cried Fair.

“All the fancy-wear and horse parking caused a whisper-fest at church,” said Brown.

“Yah, all this hush hush stuff about her clothes and that dumb bird and honey-finger on her shoulders,” cries Fair.

“I want her shoes,” clamors Brown.

“I want her dress and that stupid bird,” cries Fair.

The following week, at their pre-appointed, pre-scheduled time, Fair and Brown leave for church. Arriving early, Prince Omanya waits for Fair. The henwife returns to the castle. She knocks.

Startled, Trembling approaches the door.

“Who . . . who’s here,” she stammers.

“It’s me, your neighbor, the local henwife,” quips the henwife. “Let me in. I don’t have standing time to waste.”

Silence.

“Come on, they’re gone already,” cried the henwife impatiently. “Prince Omanya is still waiting for them. They’re still on the church clock and I’m still on the castle step.”

Click. Swoosh. Bang. The door flew open. Out from behind the door swung Trembling’s head. In marched the henwife.

Swoosh. Bang. Clack. The door slammed shut.

“Is this about church again?” asks Trembling.

“It’s not about the annual asparagus soup cookoff,” replies the henwife. “Although it is a tasty event.” Pausing, she continues. “Would you like to go to church again?”

“Yes!” cries Trembling.

Putting on the cloak of darkness, the henwife delivers Trembling’s clothing and shoe orders. With immediate delivery guaranteed, Trembling grabs the black satin dress and a pair of blood red shoes. Disappearing into the hall closet behind the kitchen door, Trembling gets ready for church.

“Wow!” she exclaims from inside the closet.

Opening the door, the henwife smiles.

“Now for your transportation,” states the henwife. Addressing the cloak of darkness, the henwife puts in Trembling’s order for one black horse with fur as glossy and reflective as a mirror.

Expecting cloak to kitchen delivery, Trembling stood quietly by the stove.

Shaking her head, the henwife cried, “Hurry! Church doesn’t last all day. Here is a honey-bird for your right shoulder and a honey-finger for your left. Outside you will find your transportation fertilizing your father’s rock garden.”

Racing outside, Trembling finds a glossy black mare and a pile of road apples molting of her father’s royal rock garden. Checking her hair in the reflection in the horse’s fur, she climbs on his back.

Once outside, the henwife cries, “Remember, park your horse out front. After the service is over, get back here before your sisters do!”

“Thank you,” cries Trembling galloping through the front gate.

Parking her horse under the oak tree, Trembling waits. Church goers stare. The service progresses. Finishing the final hymn, her horse whinnies. Trembling turns. They gallop home.

Racing through the front door, Trembling exchanges her church attire for her every day rag-wear. Grabbing the frying pan, Trembling takes charge of the stove.

Moments later the squawking shrills of her sister’s voices announce their arrival.

Nearly knocking the wall off its foundation, Fair crashes through the front door. Slamming the door behind them, the door hinge breaks.

“That woman!” screams Fair. “She is ruining our Sunday’s”

“Yah, that woman!” parrots Brown. “She is ruining my Sunday’s”

“She’s ruining everyone’s Sunday!” screams Fair.

“Oh?” questions the henwife putting an extra chair around the dinner table.

“Yah!” cries Brown.

“Everyone used to look at us. Now nobody does. They all just stare at her,” shrieks Fair.

“Yah,” cries Brown. We even wore our brand new, beautiful white dresses and special ordered green, neon shoes, but no one even noticed.”

“Then that stupid bird and honey-finger perched on her shoulders. It isn’t like we could find anything like it anywhere,” cries Fair.

“Trying to find fashion upgrades in comparison to her fashion drabbery is detracting from our fashion trendy, buy as we go, lifestyle,” complains Brown.

Bird-less and honey-finger-less, dressed in their drab-black dresses and yellowed-red shoes, Fair and Brown leave for church.

Relishing in the internal solitude of Fair and Brown leaving for church, the henwife once again raps her knuckles against the castle door.

Startled, Trembling approaches the door. “Who . . . who’s there,” she stammers.

“It’s me,” quips the henwife. “I’m still on the step and you are still behind the door.”

Click. Swoosh. Bang. The door flew open. Out popped Trembling’s head from behind the door. In marched the henwife. Swoosh. Bang. Clack. The door slammed shut behind them.

“You’re here!” cries Trembling.

“I’m not anywhere else,” replies the henwife.

“Does this mean I get to go to church again?” asks Trembling.

“Yes,” replies the henwife. “Plus, I want to try out my new dish for the asparagus soup cookoff. Pulling out her recipe, she continues. “Church isn’t waiting and neither are we.”

Putting on the cloak of darkness, the henwife places Trembling’s order. In the anticipated cloak to kitchen delivery process, the henwife presents an elegant dress with a rose-red design from the waist down and a snow-white design from the waist up. For her, over the dress attire, she selected a vibrant green cape and a complimentary hat with a flashy red, white and green feather on the side. Grabbing her outfit and her three-toned, red toed, white centered, green-backed, green-heeled shoes, she heads for the hall closet behind the kitchen door.

“Wow!” she exclaims from behind closed doors.

Opening the door, the henwife smiles.

“Now for your transportation,” states the henwife. Addressing the cloak of darkness, the henwife puts in an order for a white mare with blue and gold diamond-shaped spots. One accessorized with a complementary golden saddle and golden bridle.

Once again, expecting cloak to kitchen delivery, Trembling stands quietly by the stove.

Shaking her head, the henwife cries, “Horses belong at the stables not inside castles. Now, here is a honey-bird for your right shoulder and a honey-finger for your left. Let’s go! There’s a flirting match down at the stables.”

Running outside, Trembling finds teams of horses swooning over a tiny songbird perched on her horse’s head.

“A hitchhiker!” cries Trembling.

“Yes! cries the henwife, “Now hurry! Church is moving faster than you are.”

“Thank you,” cries Trembling racing through the front gate.

Trembling’s mysteriously fashionable, Sunday morning appearances made their church a popular visitor destination. Lining pews, cramming aisles and spilling into the courtyard, onlookers gathered to catch a glimpse of the legendary woman on horseback. Standing at the edge of the property line, Trembling catches a glimpse of an unaccompanied Fair sitting beside a downcast Brown.

Unable to move any further, Trembling waits. Still perched on top of the horse’s head, the songbird sings. Over packed onlookers look on. Yet unknown to Tembling, camouflaged, hidden in the woods behind the courtyard, Prince Omanya and his horse anxiously await. Finishing the final song, her horse whiny’s. Trembling turns. She and Prince Omanya gallop towards the castle.

Hearing horse’s hooves fast approaching, Trembling looks back. Horrified, she sees Prince Omanya quickly gaining on her. Pressing her feet into the side of the horse, she rides on. Reaching out, Prince Omanya grabs her shoe.

“Stop!” he cries.

“Unhand my foot!” screams Trembling.

“Unhand your horse!” cries Prince Omanya.

Feeling the intensity of his grip, images of cannibalistic digestion flash inside her head. The riveting voices of her sister’s screams echo in the distance. Fearing the worst, still uncertain of the best, Trembling yells, “Faster!”

Jolted, the horse lunges forward. Her shoe leaves her foot. The song bird’s voice sings louder. Prince Omanya screams seems softer. His voice fades into the distance. The world around her gets quieter. The tears streaming down her face get hotter.

Sobbing, Trembling races through the front door.

“Bad church day today?” asks the henwife.

“It was awful! Some guy stole the shoe right off my foot!” cried Trembling.

“Would you like another one?” asks the henwife.

“But he stole it!” screams Trembling, revealing an unclad foot.

“So?” replies the henwife.

“I’ve been seen! He knows my foot. He has my shoe. I can never go out in public again!” cries Trembling, “What if he tells my sisters?”

“And?” asks the henwife.

“You know. What if they find out,” says Trembling pointing to her dress.

“Oh. I got it. What if he takes a DNA sample from the lining of your shoe and traces the evidence back to this address. Or maybe he’ll have the results analyzed and cross-indexed with the kingdom’s gene pool and trace it back to you and your sisters,” replies the henwife.

“What?” asks Trembling, half smiling.

“Or do you mean someone might discover that you disguised yourself as you?” asks the henwife. Without waiting for an answer, she continues, “Hurry! Un-disguise yourself. Your sisters are coming.”

Wiping the tears from her eyes, Trembling exchanges her church attire for her daily rag-wear. Grabbing the roaster, Trembling takes charge of the stove.

“Besides, you never know what good might come from this,” says the henwife with a smile.

Trembling smiles.

Moments later the squawking shrills of her sister’s voices announce their arrival.

Yanking the door off its remaining hinge, Fair crashes through the entry way. Pretending to slam the door behind them, Brown stomps in after her.

“That woman!” screams Fair. “She’s ruining our lives!”

“Yah, that woman!” parrots Brown. “She’s ruining our lives!”

“She’s ruining everyone’s lives!” screams Fair.

“That’s a lot of ruining and a whole lot of lives,” comments the henwife putting an extra dinner plate on the table.

“Yah!” cries Brown. “Everyone in the entire universe is looking at her!”

“Our trendy, cut-above-the-times, fashioned designer-wear customarily exceeds the standardized limits of the average church-wearing, fashion-less, pew-sitter. But nooo! Now thanks to this woman, we’re lucky to get a blink, while her mass of fashion-less, droning garb gets all the stares,” screeches Fair.

Filling her bowl with a second helping of spicy-plumb asparagus soup seasoned with roasted ham hocks, the henwife nods.

“Plus, she’s a bird-aholic,” cries Fair. “One feather-pooper is bad enough but this week she hijacked a second one.”

“Yah, one that needs a good beak clipping,” exclaims Brown. “The thing blasted its beak the entire time.”

Galloping back towards the church, Prince Omanya is greeted by the Princes of the world. Surrounding him, they each wonder what happened and how it happened. Giving them a detailed update on the greatest shoe heist in recorded history, Prince Omanya declares, “This shoe will hold the foot of my future wife!”

“The shoe can hold a foot, but a battle determines the bridegroom,” bellows the King’s sons.

“Then a grand battle it shall be. Yet, without a foot, there can be no battle, so let the great foot hunt begin” cries Prince Omanya.

The great shoe hunting battle cry temporary ended in a moment of breath hanging silence. Boar, bear, deer and even hare hunting came with its set of pre-subscribed tools, rules, ceremonies, procedures, parties and notorieties, but foot hunting encompassed none of these. Awkwardly the King’s sons and Prince Omanya stared past each other. Their eyebrows twitched. Their ears throbbed and their toes curled.

Staring into the emptiness of his tri-colored shoe, Prince Omanya’s heart dropped. His eyes drooped. His pride teetered. His preconceived wedding plans dwindled. Facing the exhilarating challenges of possible-lizing the impossible, he reaches into the cellar memory banks of his mind’s eye. Images of lost shoes and missing feet still whirring inside his head.

Struck with a flash of inspiration, he realizes the monumental value of his, once despised, royally advanced, academic training. Recalling a twenty-page essay on the structural implications and impact plausibility of highly breakable footwear, he had cross-referenced a Prince from another kingdom facing a similar challenge. Only instead of a stolen tri-colored shoe, this Prince’s foot hunting expedition involved a glass slipper; one left on the palace steps, in the middle of a ball. Following his example, Prince Omanya’s eyes confidentially meet those of the Princes of the world.

“Let the great foot hunt begin!” cried Prince Omanya again.

“Finally!” exclaimed the Princes of the world.

Cruising along the northern tip of Ireland, Prince Omanya and the Princes of the world converged on every house they stumbled upon. Laboriously moving through countless numbers of feet, the royal shoe to foot hunters marked their progress; hundreds of negatives and counting to a solid positive zero; and holding.

News of the upper-crusted royalty making house calls dominated local tabloids. Gossipy grape-juicers and map-questing enthusiasts tracked their course. Soap and perfume merchants reported alarming rates of nationwide merchandise shortages. Wedding planners, facing the escalating demands of over-optimistic, non-confirmed brides, imposed non-refundable booking fees. Hitting on what was left in the marketplace, Fair and Brown scooped up co-coordinating bridalwear, exclusive menu planning deals and custom designed, reception décor. Still canvassing across the countryside, gossipy grape-juicers and map-questing enthusiasts pre-announced Prince Omanya’s and the Princes of world’s pending arrival.

“They’re coming!” shrieks Fair.

“They’re coming!” parrots Brown.

“They’re coming!” gasps Trembling.

“They’re coming and you’re going!” cries Fair, shoving Trembling towards the hall closet behind the kitchen door.

“It’s a closet fitting for you,” screams Brown, shoving her inside.

Bolting and barricading the hall closet door, Fair and Brown scheduled a brief pre-shoe fitting and local shopping spree. Returning home minutes prior to Prince Omanya’s and the Princes of the world’s arrival, they scramble into their newly purchased attire.

“We’ve arrived!” cries Prince Omanya.

“We’ve arrived!” cry the Princes of the world.

“So, have we!” cry Fair and Brown opening the newly hinged front door.

“You’re blocking my way,” bellows Prince Omanya.

“You’re blocking our way,” bellow the Princes of the world.

“This way,” replies Fair and Brown, escorting their royal suitors into the drawing room.

“Have a seat but I’m first!” screams Fair.

“No! I’m first!” cries Brown, slamming into Fair.

“I’m first!” bellows Prince Omanya. “Sit! Both of you!”

Trembling giggles. The Princes of the world’s turn their heads.

Prince Omanya continues, “Oldest first, youngest second. We are trying the shoe on both feet for a more accurate assessment.

“Nope!” declares Prince Omanya, pushing Fair’s feet away.

“It’s mine!” shrieks Fair, trying to wrestle Prince Omanya for the shoe.

Stepping between them, the Princes of the world cried, “Next!”

Brown grabbed the shoe from Prince Omanya’s hand. Stuffing her foot inside the shoe, everyone looked. Brown screamed in agony.

“Help!” cries Prince Omanya. “We might have to amputate!”

Forming a line, Prince Omanya and the Princes of the world tugged and pulled until they freed the shoe from Brown’s foot.

Noticing the extreme lack of castle servants, Prince Omanya asked, “Does anyone else live here?”

“Nope! We’re do-it-yourselfers,” replies Fair.

“Yup, we are do-it-yourselfers,” parrots Brown.

“Thanks for coming,” says Fair attempting to escort them towards the newly hinged, front door.

“Nooo!” screams Trembling pounding on the hall closet door. “I live here too!”

“I thought I hear another voice,” declared Prince Omanya.

“You did!” cried Trembling, still pounding on the closet doors.

“Release her!” commands Prince Omanya.

“Release her!” commands the Princes of the world.

“Release me!” cries Trembling.

“Sisters,” groan Fair and Brown unbolting and unbarricading the closet door.

Trembling emerges. Prince Omanya and the Princes of world recoil. Their eyes water. Their noses cringe.

“See,” declares Fair, “we are do-it-yourselfers with only one non-hired help. No worries. We keep her inside for the sake of the community. Since she isn’t the one you are looking for, you can go now.”

“Yah! We’re just do-it-ourselves with a little stay-at-home help so you can leave,” parrots Brown.

Grabbing Prince Omanya by the arm, Fair and Brown tried dragging him towards the door.

“Release me!” commanded Prince Omanya.

They obeyed.

“Sit! All three of you!” commands Prince Omanya. “Smell or no smell, a foot is a foot. Hand me the shoe!”

“Smell or no smell, a foot is a foot! Hand him the shoe!” echo the Princes of the world.

“Now!” bellows Prince Omanya.

Fearing for the life of the shoe and their olfactory senses, the Princes of the world hand him the shoe.

Scowling, Fair and Brown stomp their feet.

Straining backward, Prince Omanya takes Trembling’s feet. He statistically places the shoe first on one foot, then on the other one.

“It fits!” cries Prince Omanya!”

“It fits!” cry the Princes of the world.

“It can’t!” chorus’s Fair and Brown.

“Wait!” cries Trembling, racing towards the front door. “I’ll be right back!”

Dashing over to the henwife’s house, Trembling returns wearing a frosty-white dress with neon-green shoes. She has a honey-bird on her right shoulder and a honey-finger on her left.

Outside of the castle a stray horse whinnies.

“I’ll help!” cries the henwife, racing around the side of the castle towards the royal flower gardens.

“I’ll help too!” cries Trembling chasing after the henwife.

Watching Trembling turn and run, Prince Omanya and the Princes of the world stampede through the front door, nearly ripping it off its hinges. Coming around the side of the palace, trots a white mare wearing a golden bridal and a golden saddle with half eaten daisy’s dangling from its mouth.

“It’s her!” cries Prince Omanya.

“It’s her!” cried the Princes of the world.

“It can’t be!” cries Fair and Brown.

While Prince Omanya and the Princes of the world stand admiring the transportation, the henwife grabs Trembling by the arm.

“Let’s go!” she whispers.

Disappearing into the hall closet Trembling reappears wearing a black satin dress and blood red shoes.

Once again, Trembling appears in the entrance way. Prince Omanya and the Princes of the world heads turn. Their eyes widen. Their jaws drop. Seeing her, they begin stampeding towards the front door. Trembling leaps out of the way.

“It really is her!” cries Prince Omanya!

“It really is her!” cries the Princes of the world.

“It’s not her. It’s the mysterious woman from the church!” cries Fair and Brown.

“Road apples!” cries the henwife.

“Rock garden!” cries Trembling.

Racing outside, Prince Omanya, the Princes of the world and her sisters follow the henwife and Trembling to the rock garden.

“Grab the horse!” cries the henwife.

“Grab the road apples!” cries Trembling.

“I’ll grab a shovel instead!” replies the henwife.

Taking the horse by the reins, Trembling pauses. Checking her hair in the reflective coat of the mare, she turns and leads the horse away from the rock garden.

“Shinny!” exclaims Prince Omanya.

“Really shiny!” exclaim the Princes of the world.

Tying the mare to a post, Prince Omanya and the Princes of the world huddle around the horse. Looking into its reflective fur, each one spruces up their hair and re-adjusts their clothing.

“They’re busy, so let’s hurry!” cries the henwife, grabbing Trembling by the arm.

“To the closet!” cries Trembling.

“To the closet!” echoes the henwife.

“Get out of my way!” trail the voices of Fair and Brown, attempting to break through the horse hogging herd of princes.

Once inside Trembling changes into her rose-red and snow-white dress. She dons her vibrant green cape and flashy red, white and green feathered hat. She slips on her three-toned, red toed, white centered, green-backed, green-heeled shoes. Then she heads for the front door.

Stampeding horses and high-pitched whinny’s signal trouble at the stables.

“It’s the bird!” cries Trembling!

“On it!” cries the henwife.

Trembling, the henwife, Prince Omanya, the Princes of the world and Fair and Brown race to the stables. Upon their arrival, they find teams of horses swooning over a tiny songbird perched on the head of a white mare, with blue and gold-colored, diamond-shaped spots.

“See! I knew it!” She’s a bird-a-holic!” screams Fair.

“Yah! She’s a bird-a-holic!” parrots Brown.

“At least the one on her shoulder has the good sense to keep its beak shut!” cries Fair.

“Yah! At least it has the good sense to keep its beak shut!” parrots Brown.

“Now if only you two had the good sense to keep your mouths shut!” exclaimed Prince Omanya.

“Yes. If only you two had the good sense to keep your mouths shut!” exclaimed the Princes of the world.

“Isn’t anyone going to help!” cries the henwife reining yet another horse into the stables.

“Where’s the non-hired help?” asks Prince Omanya.

“Yes, where is the non-hired help?” ask the Princes of the world.

“She’s right there,” exclaims Fair pointing towards Trembling.

“Yah! She’s right there,” parrots Brown pointing towards Trembling.

Stumbling over each other, Prince Omanya and the Princes of the world assist in reining in the remaining horses.

Serenaded by the sound of a chirping songbird, Prince Omanya offers Trembling his hand in marriage.

“Marriage!” exclaims Trembling. “To a thief?”

“A prince I am. A common thug I am not.” declares Prince Omanya.

“So, stealing defenseless foot-ware from an innocent person on horseback makes you better than the average thug or thief?” asks Trembling.

“Asparagus soup . . . anyone?” inquires the henwife.

“Food before the battle, if there is to be one!” cry the Princes of the world.

“Will you?” asks Prince Omanya.

“Eat asparagus soup?” replies Trembling.

“No! Marry me!” exclaims Prince Omanya.

“Maybe, if the shoe fits,” replies Trembling.

“Does returning your shoe make it fit better?” asks Prince Omanya.

“Getting tighter,” replies Trembling.

“I’m sorry for stealing a piece of defenseless foot-ware from such a worthy opponent,” says Prince Omanya.

“It fits!” cries Trembling.

“Let the battle begin!” cry the Princes of the world.

“Dinner first!” cries Prince Omanya.

Finishing dinner, the Princes of the world cry, “Now, let the battles begin!”

“I’m ready,” cries Prince Omanya.

“I’m first,” declares the King of Lochlin,

“Let the battle begin,” cry the Princes of the world.

Nine hours later, Prince Lochlin stops fighting. Exhausted, he leaves.

“Now it’s my turn,” cries Prince of Spain.

“Let the battle begin,” cry the Princes of the world.

Six hours later, the Prince of Spain stops fighting. Exhausted, he leaves.

“Now it’s my turn,” cries the Prince of Nyerfó.

“Let the battle begin,” cry the Princes of the world.

Eight hours later Prince Nyerfó stops fighting. Exhausted, he leaves.

“Finally, it’s my turn,” cries the Prince of Greece.

“Let the battle begin,” cry the Princes of the world.

Six hours later the Prince of Greece stops fighting. Exhausted, he leaves.

“Anyone else?” asks Prince Omanya.

The remaining Princes of the world look at each other. “Nope!” they cry. Putting down their arms, they return to their countries.

Prince Omanya, takes Trembling by the hand. Kneeling he asks, “Will you still marry me?”

“Yes!” cries Trembling.

“Great!” replies the Prince. “When?”

Together they set a wedding date. A wedding which lasted for a year and a day.

As time passed Trembling gave birth to a sparkling baby boy. Her oldest sister, Fair, comes up to the castle to help.

“Oh, how cute,” scowls Fair peering at her nephew.

Turning towards Trembling, she continues. “You must be exhausted! Let’s take a break and go for a walk. The ocean is gorgeous today.”

“Sounds wonderful!” cries Trembling. “I’ll grab a scarf!”

“Let’s go!” cries Fair, shoving her out the door.

“Ocean smell! My favorite!” cries Trembling, standing high on the cliffs overlooking the waves.

“You’ll enjoy this even more!” cackles Fair, kicking her over the edge.

“Awwww!” screams Trembling.

Trembling falls. The waves slosh. The tide pulls. A giant whale emerges. Opening its mouth, Trembling disappears inside of it. Returning to the open ocean, water spews from the whale’s spout.

In the distance, surrounded by bellowing cows, a young, cow-herding boy watches in stunned silence.

“Finally!” declares Fair, wiping her hands on her dress.

Returning to the castle, Fair rips apart Trembling’s closet. “Better,” she murmurs, slipping on one of her sister’s favorite dresses.

Returning home from a hunting trip, Prince Omanya asks about Fair.

Knowing she and her sister look almost exactly alike, Fair replies, “She has already returned home.”

Sensing trouble, Prince Omanya continues,” I don’t believe you.”

Fair’s eyes widen; each one crossing between worry and surprise.

Reaching for the sword of truth, Prince Omanya continues, “Tonight I will put this sword between us. In the morning, if the blade is cold you are not the one I married. If it is warm, you are.”

The following morning, the blade was cold.

Along the ocean shore, a little cow-herding boy walked his cows. In the distance, he heard the familiar “Psssh!” of a giant whale. Looking up, he sees the giant whale open its mouth. A woman emerges.

Whipping off the whale slime, she calls to the little cow-herding boy. Startled he listens. He listens as she tells him about her unexpected trip off the edge of the cliff. He listens as she tells him about being under the whale’s spell and unable to leave the beach. He listens as she tells him how the whale will swallow her and spit her back up two more times and after the third time, she will become its dinner.

The little cow-herding boy nods.

Since being digested alive is not on this week’s schedule Tembling begs him to tell Prince Omanya about what has happened and how it happened. She also left careful instructions for Prince Omanya, asking him to pack a silver bullet and to meet her here in the morning.

“Blubber mouth here can only be killed with a silver bullet shot through the reddish-brown spot underneath his fin. Don’t forget” cries Trembling.

The boy nods.

The next day, standing along the shore, the little cow-herding boy again hears the familiar “psssh” the giant whale’s spout. Nearing the water’s edge, he again sees a woman being spit out from its giant mouth.

Standing up, Trembling cries, “Where is he?”

“Where is who? . . . What?” asks the little cow-herding boy.

“My husband, the Prince,” cries Trembling. “Remember, you were supposed to tell him.”

“Oh . . . I’m sorry. I forgot,” apologizes the little cow-herding boy.

“You what? You forgot? You can’t forget, I only have one day left before I go from whale barf to whale meat,” cries Trembling.

“I didn’t mean to,” he cries. The woman who kicked you off the cliff gave me something to drink. I forgot everything after that.

“Sisters,” cries Trembling. “Don’t drink anything from that woman until after you talk to Prince Omanya. Promise?”

“OK. Got it. I will tell him as soon as I get back,” promises the little cow-herding boy.

In the early morning hours, standing along shore, the little
cow-herding boy and Prince Omanya hear the familiar “pssst” of a whale’s spout.

“That’s her!” cries the little cow-herding boy.

Stunned, Prince Omanya winces and covers his mouth.

“Hurry!” cries Trembling. “It’s leaving!”

“Oh!” cries Prince Omanya, cocking his gun.

Pssst! The water sprays. The whale turns, revealing the reddish-brown spot underneath its fin.

Bang. A shot is fired. The whale flounders.

“Run!” cries the little cow-herding boy.

“Dinner!” cries Prince Omanya.

“Thank you!” cries Trembling.

“The smell!” chokes Prince Omanya, wrapping her in his arms.

“You should have been on the inside,” replies Trembling pushing back her whale slimmed hair.

Prince Omanya smiles.

Returning to the castle they knew something had to be done. Not knowing what else to do, they call on Trembling’s father, the King of Ireland, for help.

A knock on the front door announced his arrival.

“What’s done is done and I’m done,” declares the King in a semi-private meeting with Fair.

“But father!” cries Fair.

“I have already decided. Here’s your barrel. When you’re out at sea you will have more than enough time to redecorate. Joining you is enough food and supplies to last for seven years,” replies the King.

Standing below the cliffs, the family says their final goodbyes.

“Barrels away!” cries their father. Bidding his command, Prince Omanya, Trembling, the little cow-herding boy and his cows launch Fair and her supplies into the ocean.

The next day, the little cow-herding boy and his cows move into the castle. The following day after that, the little cow-herding boy and his cows start school. Soon afterward, Trembling’s son gets a sparkling baby sister.

In end, following in the tradition of other, truly valient, princess-freeing heroes, the little cow-herding boy was offered their oldest daughter’s hand in marriage. Ocean voyaging Fair and non-ocean voyaging Brown were never seen or heard from again; with their marital status remains unknown. Fourteen children later, Prince Omanya, Trembling and the little cow-herding boy all delight in going to church weekly and playing outside and shopping where ever they want to. Although, this was only true for Prince Omanya and Trembling, as with anyone, until they died of old age.

Thank you . . . Until next story!