• [ULWPQSF id=2945]
  • Coronavirus in the Fairytale Land, first week of the pandemic

    Princess Reasonzel was sitting in her chamber, reading her agenda for the second half of the week. She had never derived much pleasure from official meetings, exhibitions, concerts and sporting events in which her only duty was to bestow royal smiles on her subjects. Nevertheless, since her early childhood, she had been trained to fulfil her monarchical obligations, so she suppressed a yawn and marched towards the door.

    As soon as she touched the handle, she heard a soft “puff!” and saw a figure in white materialising right beside her.

    “Who are you?” asked the princess.

    “Fairy godmother,” answered the spectre.

    Reasonzel thought that an exceedingly prominent, hooked nose jutting out above a white face mask is more characteristic of a wicked witch, but she refrained from pointing it out. Her royal education ensured she didn’t judge by appearances.

    “You need to lock down your kingdom,” demanded the spectre dressed in a snow-white gown.

    “Is that so?”  The princess looked appalled. Though she had been very well-brought-up, it didn’t mean she would let anyone patronise her in her own palace.

    “Haven’t you heard what’s happening in the neighbouring kingdoms?” A stethoscope hanging from the fairy’s neck jumped on her agitated chest.

    “I have no time to follow foreign news each day. I only do it on weekends, and I don’t seem to recall anything significant happening until last Sunday unless you count a certain bad wolf somewhere far east who puffed on three little piglets.”

    “That’s how it all started. The Big Bad Wolf puffed on a piglet that was buying his groceries in the local market. Once he caught flu, he went to visit his brother to recover, and when the brother got infected, they both moved in with the third one. Now it is not just their whole family and friends who are infected, but the entire Pigese Republic.”

    “I am truly sorry to hear it, yet I have numerous duties, and it all happened far, far away, so if you don’t have anything more to tell me, I really need to get going,” Reasonzel tried to fob off her unexpected guest.

    The fairy, however, barred her path.

    “I have come here to warn you like I had warned princesses in other kingdoms.” She took out a thermometer from her pocket and aimed it at the princess for a better effect.  “None of them listened. Would you like to hear what happened next?”

    Without waiting for an answer, the fairy pulled out a notebook from another pocket and read in a monotone:

    “Snow White. Although she did lock herself down in a forest with her next of kin, she kept receiving visitors and accepted an infected apple from the hands of a stranger. Needless to say, she had washed neither her hands nor the apple before taking a bite. Her demise ensued immediately.

    Princess Aurora. She was supposed to cancel all major events, yet she couldn’t resist organising a huge party to celebrate her eighteenth birthday. Result? All of her subjects became infected, and now her whole kingdom is in a critical condition, with patients laying all over the land due to the lack of space in hospitals.

    Shall I go on?”

    Princess Reasonzel grew increasingly speechless.

    “I… need to consult my advisers,” she stammered finally.

    “Do as you wish, but you need to decide today. Each day of delay will increase your dismay.” Looking very content with her little rhyme, the white spectre disappeared as suddenly as she appeared, leaving the princess utterly distraught.


    When Reasonzel demanded an explanation from her advisers, they didn’t seem to be much perturbed.

    “This spectre is not a good witch but a troublemaker. She could even be a foreign agent! She surely wants us to lose our position in the international arena and run into debt. Maybe she has already suggested that you locked yourself down on a glass hill?”

    Reasonzel chose to ignore the gibe.

    “And what about Aurora’s kingdom?” she asked.

    “Oh, yes, we heard about that. These lazybones are staying home and pretending they can’t go to work. Our trade relations have worsened considerably, though not as dramatically as the condition of their own economy. Reasonzel, you surely aren’t considering treating this warning seriously?”

    The princess refrained from answering.

    “If you closed the borders, we would have to cancel the concert of the Town Musicians of Bremen,” noticed the Minister for Culture. “They have decided to include our kingdom in their tournée for the first time ever. People bought tickets for their concert a year in advance! Do you want to disappoint thousands of their fans?”

    “No,” denied the princess.

    “And what about Catskin’s fashion show? And the international dragon conformation show?” asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, who was known for breeding a fine dragon himself. “Do you wish us to lose all the support and sympathies of our people?”

    “No,” admitted the princess.

    “And the Olympic Games? It might be the very last chance for the Wolf and the Hare to win medals and beat records in races and jumping,” reminded the Minister for Sport. “Do you want to take it away from them?”

    “Of course not,” sighed the princess.

    The advisers looked at each other knowingly, then bowed their heads and left, satisfied that they had managed to convince the princess and content that they wouldn’t need to change any of their plans.

    When the last of them vanished from sight, and their steps could no longer be heard on the stairs, the princess collapsed onto the throne behind her work desk.

    “Fairy godmother?” she called out half-heartedly, sorry that the spectre hadn’t left her any means of contact. Fortunately, the fairy seemed to have been waiting for her summons because she materialised in the chamber right away.

    “I intend to make use of one of the ideas set forth by my advisers. Could you, please, brick up the entrance to my study and vanish the stairs that lead to it? If what you’re saying is true, it seems to be a reasonable step.”

    The eyes of the spectre showing from above her face mask lit up with a smile.

    “Excellent.” Reasonzel licked her lips seeing that the fairy had granted her wish. “Now, let’s get down to work. If I am to cancel all of my meetings, I will finally have time to take care of more meaningful affairs.

    First, I need to call for Hansel and Gretel. They are our best scientists. We will lock them together so that they can outwit the virus and develop a vaccine. They should be forbidden to exit their confinement and get distracted. I shall ask the witch from the Gingerbread House to provide catering for them.

    Next, the Rumpelstiltskin looming plants need to switch to producing face masks like yours. And red riding hoods,” added Reasonzel as an afterthought.

    “Red riding hoods?” The spectre raised her eyebrows far above the rims of her old-fashioned glasses.

    “Yes. We need to take care of the senior population. If we want them to remain house-bound, special couriers will need to manage their food and medicine deliveries, and the red hoods will warn passers-by of their proximity. If I understand correctly, the point is to keep people at a distance, right?”

    The spectre nodded vigorously, almost letting her white-and-black cap slip from her forehead.

    “How do you intend to stop your subjects from leaving their homes?” she asked.

    “I shall introduce a nation-wide CINDERELLA programme, which will enable remote work. I expect many people to be actually relieved once they no longer have to dress up for work. Teleworking can be performed without make-up, practically in rags.

    The programme will also cover for virtual meetings and dates. On a social media platform BALL (acronym from Bizarre Albeit Likeable Location), people will be able to exchange thoughts, experiences, books, videos…”

    The princess clearly got into the swing. Forgetting about the fairy, she issued one directive after another, and when she was finally done and raised her head, the spectre was gone.

    “She must have moved on to protect other kingdoms,” assumed Reasonzel. “She will surely get back when it’s time to release me. Until then, I will finally have time to indulge in some solitary leisure activities, and at last no one is going to interrupt me with matters of alleged national importance!”


    …to be continued below…

    I hope you enjoyed this story. Feel free to share the link to this page with anyone you want!

    If you would like me to write a similar (or a totally different 😉 ) story for someone you know, please read my OFFER or contact me directly at joanna@mypresents.eu .

    And if you are at a loss as to how you can celebrate someone’s special day while maintaining social distance, read my ideas for “12 safe gifts to give in the time of a disease”.



    JOANNA OSESIK – Polish-English-German translator, teacher, lecturer; privately wife, mother, friend and blogger. In 2020 she published the first of her numerous short stories, which have so far been enjoyed only by her family and friends.

    What she cherishes most in fiction is uncovering stories that are concealed or inconspicuous and providing ordinary content with an original, magical lining.

    On her blog mypresents.eu/en, she recalls wonderful, ingenious gifts she has given or received and shares her ideas on how to make others smile with personalised presents. In her free time, she also helps readers to write stories as gifts for their nearest and dearest.

    Feel free to consult your ideas by writing at joanna@mypresents.eu .

    Follow the adventures of fairytale characters in the next story: Coronavirus in the Fairytale Land. Epidemic at the BALL