December 29, 2004

Rumpelstiltskin 1: Ingrid's straw-spinning prowess goes public

"You told him what!" Ingrid’s voice could be heard loud and clear throughout the entire cottage. Granted, it wasn’t a big cottage to begin with for Ingrid’s father was a desperately poor man.

"I told the King that I had a beautiful daughter who could spin straw into pure gold," her father said.

"You could’ve told him how our house burned to the ground last year when the milkman tossed his lighted cigarette onto the cat. You could’ve told him how our pie business went bust when our very first customer keeled over and died. You could’ve told him how grandma had come back to life after she had been pronounced dead from a fatal allergic reaction to yam cakes. But you chose to tell him I could spin straw into gold!"

"Ingrid, you’re too young to understand. It was my first time having an audience with the King. I had to say something important, something impressive," he explained. "I could hardly tell the King I was a poverty-stricken, unemployed man whose wife have left him for some clown from some freak show circus, could I?"

"A tightrope walker, dad. He was a tightrope walker."

"I don’t give a rat’s ass what he is, how much money he has or how his eyes seem to twinkle with different colours from different directions. I am reminded every single day every time I set foot out of this house, I see his exasperating face on every billboard on every surface in the village. So don’t tell me what I can or cannot say."

Ingrid’s father slumped over in his chair, his hand loosely holding onto a half-finished bottle of beer. He squeezed his eyes shut as though it would somehow erase some of the misery he had had to endure for so many years.

Life has certainly been unkind to Ingrid’s father. But he had not always been poor. It was only a little over two decades ago when he was a man of importance ...

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