Miscellaneous

Reflections – A Traditional Fairy Tale

My first attempt at writing a traditional fairy tale - what would happen if people were addicted to their own reflections?

Some time ago, I wrote a blog about how you should write a fairy tale. It might have occurred to you that I have since then not written a single one myself. It bothered me, anyway. That’s why I’ll publish a couple of fairy tales here, which might inspire you to write your own fairy tales. This is my first attempt at a traditional fairy tale. Let me know what you think of it in the comments!

Once upon a time, in a kingdom far away, there was a wizard who had invented a magic mirror. If a person looked into it and asked the mirror a question, it would answer them truthfully. The wizard was beside himself with happiness, because he was known as a silly wizard who could only invent silly things, like inflatable swords or roosters that couldn’t crow (and therefore would never wake up those farmers that really needed waking up in time). He knew that this time he had created something that everyone would love. He made little hand mirrors for everyone, so even the poorer people could buy one. It was a huge success, and he had to keep working day and night in order to keep up with the demand.

What this poor wizard hadn’t anticipated, was that it changed the entire society. Where its inhabitants used to be kind to each other, loved throwing parties, and enjoyed being out in nature, they now became vain and self-obsessed. They would bring their precious mirror with them wherever they went, so they could admire their own reflection at all times. And when they asked their mirror who was the most beautiful of them all, each mirror would invariably reply that they were. For you see, these mirrors had only beheld their own owner, so they wouldn’t know there were any other people that they could be pretty, too.

It was in this time that the girl Sandra grew up. She didn’t like these mirrors, because her parents had changed overnight from loving parents to self-absorbed people whom she could not even talk to anymore. She practically brought up herself, learning from the books she read, and the people she saw outside. She swore to herself that she would never, in her entire life, look into a magic mirror. She didn’t need to hear how she looked from anyone but herself. A normal mirror would do, for her.

Sandra, having not been corrupted by the mirrors’ sweet words and therefore not obsessed by nothing but the way she looked, loved having adventures. She would wander about in ancient forests, visit the calming sea shores, and lie down in endless meadows with no other companions than sheep and crickets. She never felt more like herself than when she was out there, instead of in the city she grew up in. She was happy out there.

Meanwhile, there was a boy called Beauregard, who was quite the opposite. If people had bothered to look up from their own mirrors, they would have noticed that Beauregard was the most beautiful boy they had ever set eyes upon. But of course, they hadn’t, and wouldn’t. Beauregard was satisfied just looking at himself all day, and having the mirror pay him the biggest compliments.

            “Mirror, mirror, in my hand, who’s the prettiest in this land?” he would ask every two minutes.

            “There is no one as pretty as you, my lord,” his mirror would reply.

            Every day he was walking around town, not knowing where his feet would take him. Not that he minded though; he was perfect wherever he was. He did notice that the light of the village was not the same as the shadows which the trees of the forest threw. Every day, his mirror would inform him which would complement his appearance the most. And that’s how it happened.

One day, when Beauregard was standing on the beach, enjoying his perfect golden hair in the mirror, with the blue sea in the background, he asked his mirror the same question: “Mirror, mirror, in my hand, who’s the prettiest in this land?”

            The mirror took slightly longer than usual, and then answered: “I see someone prettier than you, my lord, it’s true.”

            For the first time since he could remember, Beauregard tore his gaze away from the mirror and looked around, terrified. What was going on? Who could be prettier than him? It must have been his own reflection in the waves that the mirror had seen.

            But that was not it. When he looked around, he saw a girl. She had long brown hair, dark round eyes, and a perfect smile. She seemed perfectly at ease with the nature around her. And, he noticed with a shock, she wasn’t carrying a mirror.

For a couple of minutes, he was petrified. He didn’t know whether he should go to her, or to run away and forget about her. But he was afraid that the mirror would remember her, and he would never again hear that he, himself, was the prettiest. So he decided to be brave and walk towards her. She still looked very peaceful, and apparently didn’t even know he was there.

            “Hello”, she heard a voice saying, “who are you?”

            She gave a tiny shriek, and immediately sat up. “Who’s there?”

            “It’s Beauregard. I was out walking admiring my own reflection when my mirror noticed you. It said you were the prettiest of the land, and now that I see you with my own eyes, I can see it was right. I can’t take my eyes of you.”

            Sandra looked up at him. She noticed that he was the most beautiful boy she had ever set eyes upon. Within two seconds, she had forgotten all about nature and couldn’t look at anything else but him.

            “I’m Sandra. I’m glad your mirror was there, otherwise you would not have noticed me. However, could you promise not to pick up that mirror again? Look what it’s done to the world. That’s why I come out in nature, to get away from it all.”

He agreed. He would never care for it again, now that he had found the prettiest girl in the country. She showed him around the world and was very happy that she had finally found someone whom she could share all of it with. He discovered that being around her, and enjoying the views, was much better than having a magic voice telling him his appearance was the only thing that mattered.

What happened to the mirror, you may wonder? Well, it lay forgotten on the sea shore. It might have been picked up years later, by an evil Queen of a neighbouring kingdom…

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