Lily & The Lion :Anti Fairy Tale

Image of an old book courtesy of and Anna Langova.


My name is Lily and I am here to tell you the fairy tale life is terrible. Here is why, years  ago when I was a young, around the holidays my Father, a wealthy merchant asked my sisters and I what gifts we wanted.

My Father easily obtained the diamonds and the pearls  for my sisters but the lark I yearned for was surprisingly hard to find.   My Father did find one only a lion did not want to part with it initially.

After further conversation the lion finally said give me the first person who sees you when you get home and I will give you my lark.  Father without giving it a thought said yes then made his way back.

As soon as I saw my Father approaching, I flung open the front door and ran out to him.  I embraced him then looked into his face expecting to see joy instead all I saw was anguish.

Once inside and Father had a brandy in him, he told my sisters about the bargain he made with the  lion.  After recovering from our shock, my sisters and I said forget the lark. He said if only it could be that easy, but alas it is not. A promise is a promise and I can’t break it.

So with sorrow filling my heart, I left for the lion’s realm. Instead of him and his pride snarling at me with teeth barred I got a warming welcome.   Another pleasant surprise came when night fell when suddenly before my very eyes the lion and his pride took human form.

Human again the no more lion, said I am a prince and who were once my pride are my servants.  Some years back a witch put a curse on us all because I thought more of wealth than love.  She said until I learned to truly love they and I will  keep turning into lions.  I shed tears at this with little awareness love for the prince would grow inside me.

The only people missing from the wedding was my Father and sisters.  I would not see them again until one sister married then the other.  The first time my husband stayed home but for the second wedding he came along with our child.

To lower the chances of his curse striking, we decided he would hide in  an impregnable space to avoid turning into a dove (long story) and separating us for seven years. You can imagine what happened next my child and I followed dropped feathers.

At the end of seven years I dreamed my husband would fly through an open window and turn back into his true form before my and our child’s eyes. Not so.

I never held many clues to my husbands whereabouts but after an exhaustive investigation I found out his location at the Red Sea.   Easy enough you say just hop on a boat then ride a camel and voilà a reunion.  If only it had been that easy for my child and me.

Oh no the universe went ahead and ensured as we made our journey my precious child was taken from me.   I immediately attempted to regain by child but to no avail.  At one point I almost ended my life my despair was so overwhelming.

Eventually my will  came back and I made it to the the Red Sea only to face an angry dragon. Between my husband, in lion form, and I we beat the dragon only to witness to our horror the corpse turn into a living, breathing princess. Suffice to say she made off with my husband on the back of a griffin that appeared out of nowhere!

After I found them again I expected the princess to give up. Instead she scoffed at me and with a gleam in her eye, says if I just give her a glittering dress with a hen and twelve chicks, she’d free my husband.

Little did I know while I was away that blank, blank princess gave my beloved amnesia!  You can imagine what went through my head when I found out. I gulped down my anger and I helped my husband regain  his memory. Then just as we began to walk away, the princess springs her wizard father on us!

Yup capture and escape yet again. This time it was for good, thank goodness!  And we reunited with our child well our adult child another long story.  I tell you all this about myself so if you are ever presented with the opportunity to have the fairy tale life, turn around and run and do not look back.

Note to reader: The following is my take on the Brothers’ Grimm Fairy tale  The Lily and the Singing, Springing Lark. (See on Internet copy via the link)
There are other versions of this fairy tale where a rose à la Beauty and the Beast replaces the lark.  In my personal copy of The Complete Brothers’ Grimm Fairy Tales , it is very similar to the one I have linked to in this post.