Once upon a time that may or may not be imaginary there lived a lady. This lady was called Rachel, because that’s what her parents chose, therefore everyone followed suit and called her Rachel likewise. She had no complaints with this as she lived in a town where everyone had a name of sorts, and all addressed each other by the name that was chosen for them at birth.
One morning, Rachel walked to her local watering hole where other women like herself would gather and drink the water from the well and talk about menfolk and alcohol and rude books written by abysmal authors. Here was her friend Dooma, who believed that she was a drum yet honked like a seal at dogs and cars and the postman. Together they sat and talked and drank and smoked legal tobacco products laced with nicotine until it went dark and they had nothing left to talk about. Dooma went home but Rachel was in party mode, and when Rachel is in party mode, you had better party too.
Rachel transferred her location to a watering hole unsegregated by gender where she could listen to popular tunes of the time and visit with menfolk and fellow females alike. She would dance here many nights each week until her feet were sore and the water from the well grew tepid signalling that she should go home to bed. In bed, Rachel would dream of deep fried chicken and banana milkshake, but when she awoke there was none to greet her. Rachel prayed to Jeebus and wished upon all the stars for a handsome prince to bring her what she craved.
Many more moons passed during which time she experienced all the hormonal imbalances one would expect of a human female, but still there was no prince. Not even a princess, or a duke, or a knight to bring her the deep fried chicken and banana milkshake that only the masters of the village could drink. So it was one afternoon when Rachel was at the watering hole with Dooma that Rachel declared:
“I am bored here. Let us leave this inbred town and venture further afield so we may seek our fortune.” Dooma didn’t really disagree or show any inclination that she was interested but nevertheless complained of a headache, took some paracetamol, packed her things and together they set off for the nearest city.
For a small town pair like Rachel and Dooma the big city was exciting and scary in equal measure. Unfortunately, the cost of living was extremely high so they had to find a place to live outside the city. Dooma just went along with Rachel did and trudged behind her, taking paracetamol whenever the headache returned. Soon after wandering through a deep, dark forest they came across a cottage in a state of neglect and disrepair.
Rachel, being the one with more personality hence the focus of the story, knocked on the door. There was no answer. She knocked again. Still no answer.
“Please don’t knock again,” said Dooma “for I have a terrible headache and the banging sets off a craving for paracetamol.”
Rachel just rolled her eyes and looked around the back. There was an untidy garden, signalling that no one had lived her for some time.
“You know Dooma, I think it would be ok if we stayed here for a while.” Rachel said. Dooma agreed, somewhat unsurprisingly as she couldn’t be bothered walking home now anyway. They entered the cottage and set about turning the house into a home. Before long they had the garden working and were growing their own fruit and vegetables. Soon they had enough surplus to begin to trade at market, and did so, earning them cattle and sheep and a horse or two.
Now the two girls were becoming to be quite popular in the city as word spread, and the royal family began to take an interest. Dooma was the more maligned of the two by constantly suffering from debilitating headaches, yet she was quick to become the poster girl of paracetamol by single-handedly keeping the manufacturers of the drug in business during the economic crisis. Dooma in fact became so famous that she moved out of the cottage to concentrate on her new career, except she met and fell in love with a bouncer at a bar and the two had many children together. And so concludes Dooma’s part in this tale.
Rachel now was fending for herself. She could only do so much by herself. The business was growing and she couldn’t expand further. Then one day while she was out in the garden hard at work and sweating like a pig, an old crone came towards her. Rachel was too hard at work to notice.
“Hello young lady” started the crone. “I have heard a lot about you.”
“Have you now?” said Rachel, not even looking up from hoeing the ground.
“I have heard the prince would like to meet you soon. But he will not until this business grows bigger, and you cannot do that alone.”
“You are correct. This farm is becoming too big for me to tend alone. I will need help. But what can you do, mysterious stranger?”
“Plant these seeds. They are magic seeds. They will grow overnight and tomorrow you will have four dwarves who are experts in agriculture.” The old lady grinned a toothless grin. It was almost too good to be true.
“But why would you show such largesse to me? I don’t even know you. What are you expecting in return?” Rachel only questioned the way a sane person would.
“This cottage was mine many years ago. It fell into disrepair when my husband died. I had to move out and sell my organs on the black market just to stay alive until I met my new husband. I give you these seeds as a thank you for helping restore this cottage to its former glory and making the heart of an old woman glad.” There were tears in her eyes. Rachel was moved by this gesture and the kindly old woman’s words.
“Then I accept and I thank you from the bottom of my heart! I shall plant them immediately.” As Rachel took the seeds, she saw something in the old woman’s eyes that she recognised, but she shrugged it off as over exertion. Rachel turned and planted the seeds in the freshly tilled soil.
“I thank you old lady of the forest. This is truly a kindness that you have done for me. Now let us retire inside and I’ll make us tea and coronation chicken sandwiches.” But when Rachel turned back around, the old lady had vanished. Thinking it nothing more than slightly unsettling, Rachel retired to her bedchamber to sleep.
That night she had the most unpleasant dream that she was giving birth to quadruplets. She was in agony, but she could not wake up. The four children exited her womb and proceeded to run about the hospital causing mayhem. It was only when the nurse asked her if she wanted another that she awoke screaming. Something told her that it wasn’t all quite a dream. There were noises coming from downstairs, laughing and whooping and banging and crashing. She crept down in her Wonder Woman pyjamas wielding a tennis racquet and threw open the door to the living room. What she saw you wouldn’t believe, because she surely didn’t, although if you have been paying attention you may actually have already guessed. In the room were four boys causing havoc. They all looked a little muddy and slightly green-faced as if they could have been plants.
They stopped to look at her. The four had caused so much commotion and destruction that it was going to take Rachel days to clean up. The old woman had tricked her! Incredulous, Rachel kept her decorum long enough to ask for their names and learnt that they were called Timmus, Jeek, Evan, and Frodo. They explained that they were naughty boys and apologised for the inconvenience.
Rachel, being good natured, resigned herself to the fact that they were probably here to stay and began to tidy up. As she leaned over to collect fruit that had been cast out a bowl and lay strewn akimbo on the floor, Frodo accidentally hit her over the head with an ironing board. The noise ceased immediately, and the boys/dwarves were silent as Rachel lay there unconscious. Suddenly, the front door flew open and the old woman stood there in the opening laughing madly. She removed her glamour and revealed herself to be none other than Dooma!
You see Dooma was jealous that Rachel was the more interesting and intelligent and attractive of the two and had conspired with her new husband to take the farm for themselves. Unfortunately, her husband caught her headaches but the paracetamol was ineffective and he passed away. He kept complaining the he didn’t like the taste.
The dwarves were upset as they never meant to cause Rachel harm and they certainly didn’t want to share the house with Dooma. They renounced their destructive ways and set off to research how to save their dream mother. Alas the city was no place for boys, but they hung around a nursery hoping to catch showings of old popular animated fairy tale movies. This they did and they learned a great deal.
Feeling as though they needed to save Rachel themselves, they wrote to the prince and asked for help. The prince was very bored when he received the letter and he hadn’t had a single match on his dating app for his smartphone in over a week so he agreed to help. The prince rode to the cottage on his horse and slew the evil Dooma with his greatsword. He found Rachel outside on a deckchair holding a bag of frozen peas to the back of her head.
“Oh beautiful Rachel, I have slain your tormentor and now ask for your hand in marriage. Do you accept?” he asked with all the grace of a true prince charming.
“Did you bring me anything?” Rachel winced.
“I brought you a bargain bucket and this banana milkshake, fair maiden.”
Rachel immediately threw her arms around him and they kissed deeply for a long time. Later that week they were married and they opened a fast food restaurant with the boys called ‘The Chicken Brothers’, which they used as a front to distribute crystal meth. And they all lived happily ever after.
© Kris Blackburn 13/07/2015