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“They just make it heavier.” Sagacia said.  “More to carry, more postage to pay, and, by the time they arrive in At A Loss in Altoona’s mailbox, they’ll probably be nothing but crumbs!”

Simplia simply sighed.  “If you’re tired, I’ll carry it for a while,” she said.

Just then they heard a mewing sound.

Both simpletons turned to see what it was, and, “Murzik!” they both said at once.

“What are you doing here! Halfway to town!” Sagacia scolded.  She handed Simplia the box of letters and cookies and picked up Vasilisa’s cat.  “Bad Kitty!” she scolded.

Murzik lowered his ears, but then, when Sagacia relaxed, he did, too.

“I’ll just carry him. It’s not more than fifteen minutes to the Post Office,” she said.

Now that might have worked out just fine had it not been for the sign on the post office door: “Service Animals Only. Absolutely No Pets.” Someone had underlined “Absolutely” twice with a Magic Marker.

Sagacia sighed. “I’ll wait in the park with Murzik,”

Simplia took the package in and paid for the mailing. Then she bought two sheets of stamps–more than they needed by far, but she couldn’t decide between the commemoratives for Danny Thomas and the ones for Aloha Shirts–Jeff Gere’s had inspired her! She got them both.

The Postmaster gave her her change and the stamps and also a letter addressed to Vasilisa.  She thanked him and crossed the street to the park, then ran toward Sagacia and Murzik resting on a shady bench.

“Guess what I have?” she asked, holding the letter behind her back.

“A letter for Vasilisa,” Sagacia answered.

“And…?” said Simplia. “What else?”

“Aloha shirts,” said Murzik.

Simplia looked at the cat. “Did he just say… ‘Aloha Shirts?’” she asked, befuddled.

“Of course not!  That was a cat sneeze!” Sagacia insisted.

“But I got Aloha Shirts commemorative stamps, and…and…” She glared at Murzik. “Okay! What other kind of commemoratives did I get!” she demanded.

“Just open the the letter, okay?” Sagacia ordered. “Murzik’s getting restless.”

As Simplia tore off the end of the envelope, she noticed its stamp. “España correos 0,70€.” She slipped out the letter, and began:

Dear Vasilisa the Wise,

In her review of the 500 New Fairy Tales found in Bavaria, Maria Tatar said that the manuscripts contained a large proportion of stories with male protagonists. She said, “Our own culture, under the spell of Grimm and Perrault, has favored fairy tales starring girls rather than boys, princesses rather than princes.”

However, it seems to me that so many of the fairy tales out there with female “stars” portray young women as patient (meaning inactive), valued for beauty alone, or as victims.  What good does it do girls and women to have more fairy tales featuring their gender if all those heroines ever do is sit around and look pretty and get mistreated? And now, more “Cinderfellas?” Do we need that?

Here’s all I ask:  Just give me one fairy tale with a great heroine. Or one with a great male hero. Or one of each, if you like. And tell me why you think they’re so great?

–Searching in Sitges

“Hmmm…” said Sagacia.  “I’d say Rapunzel. Because she knew her own heart, overcame her present bad circumstances and persisted until she found her long lost life partner.”

“Or maybe Jack?” said Simplia.  “He was lucky, and he mostly didn’t kill anyone.”

“Let’s take Searching in Sitges’ letter to the Fairy Tale Lobby,” Sagacia said, standing up.

“Yes!” said Simplia. “I just wonder which of our magical friends will help us answer this question?”

“Danny Thomas,” said Murzik.