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Lady Mary presents the hand to Mr. Fox. John Batten’s illustration from Joseph Jacobs’ English Fairy Tales.

“What do you mean?” Simplia asked.

“Life imitates art. What I mean is…,” Sagacia began, rearranging herself in the wingback chair. “This crazy ‘Adventurous Adventuress in Ada’ illustrates exactly the thing that parents fear most about fairy tales: that their children will use outdated, oversimplified Fairy Tale characters as role models for managing their own lives! Role models! That is no more how Fairy Tales work than I’m a shoe!”

“I’ve never thought of you as a shoe,” Simplia replied. And it was true; she hadn’t. She tried to imagine Sagacia as–what? a loafer? a sneaker? a flip-flop? An oxford? But the shoe just didn’t fit, to borrow a metaphor from a fairy tale to be named later.

“If Adventurous Adventuress wants to imitate a character, she should imitate Bluebeard’s bride. Not at the beginning of the story, when she stupidly marries him in spite of her doubts, but at the end, when she calls upon her resources–her brothers, that is–to slay her savage, salacious, psychopathic spouse,” Sagacia suggested.

Hmm… A boot? Simplia was thinking. Huaraches? No, Espadrilles, maybe. Beside her on the Chesterfield, Murzik purred contentedly.

“On the other hand, Bluebeard’s bride was mostly pretty pathetic,” Sagacia reconsidered. “Our lady in Ada would be better off imitating Lady Mary. Remember when she broke in to Mr. Fox’s house to find out whether or not he had been telling her the truth? Ada should google this Crispin guy; she ought to check out his Facebook page. Read his tweets. Right?”

Maybe Stilettos, Simplia thought. Or mules. She eyed Sagacia studiously. Or mocassins. Murzik blinked agreeably.

“Or Ada could imitate Lady Mary in that part when Mr. Fox was right there in the room with her, and he was actually murdering some poor woman. Remember? When Lady Mary bravely hid herself and remained so quiet and still, even when she was deathly afraid? Even when the victim’s cut off hand fell into her lap? Even when Mr. Fox started searching for it and kept getting closer and closer to her hiding place?” Sagacia stood up and leapt onto the hassock.

“Remember?” she insisted. “I mean, if you’re looking for a role model, look to the courageous parts, the bold parts!” She shook her fist in the air. “Go, Ada!” she cheered.

Simplia continued pondering footwear. Murzik rolled off the Chesterfield, landing gently on his feet.

“Even better: Ada should imitate Lady Mary when she calmly went through the ceremony to marry Mr. Fox,” Sagacia continued. “Then at dinner when she laid out that whole story about her dream, skillfully confronting him with his evil crimes before calling forth her co-conspirator brothers to put an end to him,” Sagacia said with relish. “Now, THAT’s bold!” She stomped her foot on her hassock soapbox for emphasis and affirmed her conviction by jutting her chin.

Simplia didn’t respond. She was still squinting in Sagacia’s direction. Murzik looked up, too, at the stalwart woman posed on the hassock.

“Why are you all looking at me like that!?” Sagacia asked.

“Platforms!” Simplia exclaimed decisively.


“I was thinking that if you were a shoe; what kind would you be?” Simplia said. “And right now, when you’re on your soapbox, you’re definitely platforms!”

“And you are impossible!” Sagacia said, stepping down!

“Right!” Simplia agreed.  “But there’s just one more thing. What was it you meant about life imitating art?”

“Oh,” Sagacia said. “This risk-taking Ada woman is trying to be the star of her own fairy tale by imitating classic heroines, and she thinks that, in the end, she will either live happily ever after or make her mark in a legendary death scene. Only she’s not even trying to be herself! She’s turning over her own life to a folkloric motif. That’s just not right.” She fell into the wingback. “It’s not sane.”

“So, what do we say to her?” Simpia questioned.

“Well, we have to be kind and really helpful. Heaven knows she needs it!” said Sagacia.

“And we can’t mention that we think she’s a lunatic,” Simplia muttered.

Murzik hopped onto the vacated hassock.

“Or maybe we should mention it. That might be the kindest thing of all,” Sagacia speculated.

“I wish Vasilisa were here!” Simplia sighed.

“Or our magical friends. There must have been some wild New Years’ Eve parties across the kingdom!” Sagacia said. “But maybe they are back and ready to help out poor Adventurous Adventuress in Ada by now.”

“Yeah,” said Simplia. “I’ll fluff the pillows on the Chesterfield.”

“I’ll put on some tea,” said Sagacia.

“Meow,” said Murzik.