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This Is the Fairy Tale

by Trent Walters

This is the fairy tale your mother wouldn't tell you. This is the fairy tale the brothers Grimm found too horrifying to ink on pure white parchment. Through the years only the meanest mothers passed it down to their most iniquitous children to frighten them into submission (and wetting their beds) in the darkest, coldest hours of bleak German winters when the bloated moon cast shadows of swaying tree limbs into the children's bedroom--the gnarled fingers of a witch lingering just outside and tapping at the window.

This is the fairy tale that survived on the back flyleaf of dusty library tomes hiding Grimm's worst fairy tales that an unfortunate listener had to pen in order to purge herself of the nightmares that still stalked her into adulthood or in order to burden new generations with his own childhood afflictions. This is the fairy tale, rumor spreads, that the fabled old wives share with a hearty cackle as they squat around a boiling black cauldron deep in the thickest thorny bramble and poison-oak woods.

This fairy tale is typed here only to purge the world. Legend tells that if the story were told to the world at once, evil would flee from the land and leap back into Pandora's lock box. And so, paradoxically, I wound the world to save its soul from the stain of this story:

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