…knowing that Sagacia would have an answer. Maybe not the correct answer. But an answer nonetheless.
Sagacia didn’t hesitate. “It’s in a country far away, across the seven seas,” she replied with an air of authority that suggested further details were merely tedious.
Being a full head taller than Simplia, it was easy for her to peer over her friend’s shoulder for a closer look at the elegant handwriting and the thin, crinkly paper.
“Wow,” said Simplia. “That’s far. I wonder who wrote it and what it’s about.”
“That’s none of our business,” said Sagacia briskly. “We can’t make a habit of opening other people’s letters.”
“I know!” Simplia’s tone was a bit defensive. “I was just wondering. And as long as I’m already wondering one thing I guess it would be efficient for me to wonder something else. I wonder where Vasilisa went. Without telling us goodbye.”
At that very moment, as if by magic, a toad appeared on a tree stump beside the path. It’s clothing and regal bearing bespoke royalty. Without a word, he opened his mouth, croaked out a postcard, and hopped away.
The card was addressed to the two simpletons. And it was from none other than Vasilisa herself. Eagerly, Simplia and Sagacia read:
Dear friends — Had to leave in a hurry. Will be home as soon as quest is accomplished. Gate hinge needs butter, cat’s probably hungry, and I’m expecting some mail. Would you two please keep an eye on things? xoxoxo — Vasilisa
“‘Keep an eye on things.'” Sagacia mused. “She really sort of not only gave us permission but actually almost outright asked us if we would please…”
“…look at the mail while she’s gone,” Simplia agreed.
In a trice, they had liberated the letter from it’s envelope, and this is what they read:
Dear Vasilisa the Wise —
I’m confused. Why is the genre in which you figure so prominently called Fairy Tale? I don’t think I’ve encountered one story with you in it that has actual fairies. Apparently it’s not just a Russian thing, either. I’ve read and listened to “fairy tales” from all over the world, and what I notice is that fairies are vastly outnumbered by witches, ogres, genies, trolls, giants, elves, mermaids, dragons, wizards, crones and geezers with magical gifts, and talking animals. Who cornered the market on all these stories and branded them Fairy Tales?
–Curious in Caracas
p.s. How big are fairies, anyway? I mean, could you swat one? Like Tinkerbell. Who I know is made up and not real. Not that you’d want to. Just asking.
The two simpletons scratched their heads for a befuddled moment, and then simultaneously they cried, “The Fairy Tale Lobby!”
They decided to thumbtack the letter onto the message board outside the Fairy Tale Lobby and see if any of their magical friends might help enlighten both Curious in Caracas and themselves.
Simplia was on a roll that day. She just couldn’t stop wondering.
“I wonder if our magical friends are still hanging out.”
Sagacia replied, “We’ll see. While we’re there, let’s find some butter for that gate.”