Wednesday, November 03, 2010

The Rejection...

So this got rejected for the sixth issue of an online magazine called The New Fairy Tales.

Moral of the story: don't think you or your story is so great!

The Wicker Basket.

The basket floated down the weed green marshy stream, got caught among the gently fermenting reeds near the woodcutter’s hut and lay there quite still, a wicker basket among brown, green and cloud grey water.

The woodcutter, his wood chopped for the day, went to the stream to wash his splinter bruised hands. On seeing the basket, he waded in to have a closer look.

Inside lay a baby, perhaps a few months old. Black, curly ringlets spilled over her eyes and ears, little drops of water clinging to them like fairy lights. Her eyes were green, a dark mossy wood green. Around her neck was a thick chain of gold with a pendant of green stone. In the twilight it lay on her tiny throat like a leaf with the first hints of autumn on it.

He quickly took the pendant and its ropelike chain and waded out of the marshes.

The baby began to cry as night slowly filled the spaces between the trees.

The woodcutter sat by the fireside and smiled as the stone glowed green and gold. He knew this stumbled-upon stolen treasure would fetch a high price in the market.

The next morning he did not take any of the bundles of neatly chopped and bundled wood to the market. Instead, he took with him a small bundle and on reaching the market, sat at his usual place, opened the bundle and spread out its contents.

'Oh, what a beautiful pendant!' exclaimed the woman. 'My lady', said he sadly. 'My lady, it was my mother’s, she took it off the day my father died and could never look at it again. Now that she too is gone, I cannot bear to look at it', he added.

'What is your price?' she asked.
'For you, dear lady, so lovely, so fair, it is only five pieces of gold. If you take it with the chain, it will befive more gold pieces'.

She smiled and gave him a bag of coins. He took out the gold, bit a coin and satisfied, put it back in. She laughed and clasped the pendant around her neck and walked away.

That evening, the curiosity of the guilty made him wade into the marshes to have a look at the basket again. The baby was there still, alive, perhaps sustained by tiny droplets of water that fell from the reeds that surrounded her.

Something in the basket caught the last rays of the sleeping sun and glimmered. Feeling around in the basket he found a mirror. A tiny mirror, just the size of his palm. Framed in gold and blood red stones it glowed, setting the last rays of the sun on fire.

The baby let out another wail and he waded back to the shore,

'And for this, oh lovely one, I ask you for fifteen pieces of gold.' he said the next day, back in his stall in the market place. The lady, too, was back.

She took the mirror and looked at her reflection and smiled, her lips as red as the red stones of the mirror. 'Oh your price is so high!' she said sadly.

'My lady, it pains me to see you so sad, so I will ask for only twelve. This mirror was my sister’s. She died you know, dragged down by water sprites when she went bathing in the river'.

She gave him a bag and laughed gaily at her reflection.

When he looked at the basket later that day, the baby was still, either sleeping or dead. He unwrapped the white embroidered stole that someone had lovingly, perhaps sadly wrapped around the baby to keep her warm.

The stole was made of fine soft silk. It was hand embroidered with beautiful flowers and fairies. Each delicate wing was in shadow stitch and each pink, yellow and red rose so real, he tried to smell them as he allowed the cloth to brush against his cheeks.

'And, my lady, this is for your fair shoulders. A gift to me from my grandmother, should I find a lovely maiden to marry. Alas! that is not to be, and so I must part with it.'

'What will you take for this?' said she. Green eyes and blood red lips tantalized him.

'For you my lady, just 20 pieces of gold'

'You ask for too much.'

'Fifteen then,' he sighed.

That evening he took all the three bags of coins out of his box to look at them again, to count the coins, again, and to lick his gold.

He opened the first one and screamed. It was filled with dust. He emptied it and the weightless dust spilled all over the table. In a terrible rage he tore open the other two and shook them. Dust.

Screaming he ran out and waded into the stream. The basket was there but there was no baby. He picked up the basket and crushed it.

Nearby he heard laughter. Lying stretched out teasingly with green eyes reflecting the green stone around her neck, the silk stole carelessly thrown over her naked body she lay looking at the red stone encrusted mirror, seductively biting her blood red lips. Her hair, wild and curly fell over her breasts, her hips and teasingly touched her navel.

He felt himself sink, as the reeds choked him. He did not fight, there was no struggle. He sank, slowly, looking at her all the time and she looked at him, laughing.


JP said...

This is possibly my favorite among your stories, a perfectly formed fairy tale that was just waiting to be told.

Jellicles said...

its a lovely tale..:) keep writing!

amruta patil said...

Yasmine. This one was particularly moving. Don't waste these rubies as one-offs cast before people who don't know any better! Perhaps the way forward is to compile it all, get someone with a playful, faerie tale flair - like Shilo? - to illustrate it. Even a single image panel per story would suffice. And share it with a publisher only as an exquisite complete work.

JP said...

Also, let me remind you of the very wise Jane Yolen's words:'Enjoy your talent, even if no one else gets to read it. Enjoy your hard work. Enjoy the moment of creation.'

Yasmine Claire said...

heyy thanks all :)

Deepak Menon said...

This was a story that can make a persons hear bleed .. a shattering sadness fills one throughout the story - growing and growing .. and anger and frustration at the greedy farmer - but the climax was extraordinary!! Clap Clap Clap!!!

Jellicles said...

i think you have enough material for half a book's worth..of a collection of short stories.

Deepak Menon said...

I came back to this blog after a long long time and re read it including my earlier comments. The feelings as one read the story remain the same. But perhaps the rejection came because it is a very very serious piece of writing .. perhaps they thought that it did not fall within the definition of a fairy tale as THEY had defined for their site - PERHAPS they found it too sad because all the fairy tales I have read have always ended in Happy Endings - what ever the case may be - I would like to again tell you that you are an amazingly accomplished writer - Keep writing!