What makes a fairytale? And in contrast what makes an “unfairytale”? or is it “unfairy tale”? (is there a difference?) or perhaps “unfair-y tale”?
Never was there a time… A man never lived… or Never lived a man…
There was a fairy who wasn’t fair – not fair of face and not fair in his dealings. He struggled to face himself in the mirror every day because he was homely and because he knew he was not kind to himself or anyone else. He was selfish and it showed in his ugly countenance. Now if this were a true fairytale, he would be redeemed by the end of this story. He would learn his lesson and perhaps with the improvement in his outlook his appearance would change, too. Since this is an unfairytale, we do not find any such redemption. He continues in his wicked ways unchecked throughout his life and dies miserable and alone. We could go through all the nasty things he does to others, the ways he tries to make them as unhappy as he is, and yet he never succeeds, so why bother describing his actions. The others go on with their lives, slightly disappointed in the moment they encounter him and still manage to maintain their equanimity. He never understands why he is the way he is. He never knows that his treatment of others, although rude and hurtful, is never enough to truly ruin their lives in the way that his is ruined. And he never comprehends that his life could have been different.
He lives a very long time because the powers that created him wanted him to change. They wanted him to understand that his life could have meant something other than as a trial to those around him. They wanted him to have redemption. And somehow he stubbornly persists until the very end. Even in death he is not repentant and not worried about where he will go after he dies. Of course, there is no hell, so he passes to the next world. And because that very passage brings with it the awareness of why one has lived and died, he is finally shamed by his behavior. He has no chance to make amends for the wrongs he has caused others. And no opportunity to atone for the sin of selfishness. He realizes he has only harmed himself and his progress. And so he chooses to spend the interval in solitude to contemplate how he could have changed and how he can correct himself and his path so that when he is given the next opportunity he can use it to its fullest. He won’t waste another chance and he will prove to them that he is deserving of that chance. His next life begins in abject poverty in the gutter of a large Asian city. And he is happy to be there.
So perhaps, since he is finally redeemed it has become a true fairytale. Maybe there is no such thing as an unfairytale after all. The End.
With thanks for the inspiration to D Anthony Brown http://danthonybrown.me/
and for the Story-A-Day challenge at Forward Motion for Writers http://www.fmwriters.com/