Illustration by Margaret Evans Price from Once Upon a Time: A Book of Old Time Fairy Tales, 1921.

Margaret Evans Price illustration from Once Upon a Time: A Book of Old Time Fairy Tales, 1921.

“Yikes!” exclaimed Sagacia. “What was that?”

“Ah, the sound of a trumpet!” Simplia sighed romantically. “I love that sound! It signals a grand announcement.”

“Okay, but the radio is off; the TV is off; the laptop is off. Where did it come from?” Sagacia asked. “Have you changed your ringtone!”

“Nope,” said Simplia. “It’s a real trumpet.”

Tah T-T-Tah Ta TA-A-AH!

“And it’s coming from outside. In front of our house.”

Sagacia ran to the window and pulled aside the curtain.

“It’s a trumpeter, Simplia!” she said with astonishment. “A trumpeter! What’s he doing here? Announcing a royal wedding?”

Simplia joined her companion at the window, and the two stared in awe. Before them stood a youth with fine posture sporting a red uniform with two rows of gold buttons down his chest and golden fringed epaulets. He held a gleaming trumpet, and, as they watched, he put his lips to it and blew again.

Tah T-T-Tah Ta TA-A-AH!

“Yeah, maybe it’s a wedding, or it could be a decree of some kind,” said Simplia. She opened the window, and they both leaned out to listen.

“Hear ye! Hear ye!” the youth elocuted when he saw them. “By these presents doth the Czar call upon Vasilisa the Wise to come forward and receive conveyance from these hands to her own of a document known and certified to be of utmost importance and timeliness.”

“She’s not here!” shouted Simplia.

“We’re keeping her mail for her!” shouted Sagacia.

“And feeding her cat!” shouted Simplia.

“He doesn’t care about the cat!” Sagacia hissed, as she was wont to do when Simplia was too forthcoming.

“I’m just being thorough!” Simplia whispered.

The trumpeter called back, “I must deliver it to her in person,” he said. “Czar’s orders.”

“Well, of course, but that’s impossible,” Sagacia began. “You see,…”

“How ‘bout giving it to her cat?” Simplia asked. “Her personal cat. You know, her familiar.”

“Okay,” said the trumpeter.

Simplia scooped up Murzik and carried him, ears downturned, out the door to the end of the sidewalk. Sagacia followed, and caught up just in time to see the trumpeter slip a scrolled document inside the feline’s rhinestone collar.

“For Vasilisa’s eyes only,” he said to the cat, assuring the spirit, if not the letter, of his mission.

And at that, he turned and marched off into the sunset, epaulets glistening in the light, his trumpet gleaming beneath his arm. Smaller and smaller did he become as he walked away, the Simpletons smiling innocently and waving farewell behind him lest he turn around and read their minds.

“Good-bye!” Simplia called, then muttered from the side of her mouth, “So, are we going to read Vasilisa’s letter?”

“Of course!” Sagacia replied in a low voice, still waving, her lips taut. “We know what it is; she knows what it is. Even Murzik knows what it is. It is the third day of the month, right?

“The magical third day,” Simplia agreed.

As soon as the trumpeter disappeared around the curve of the path, Sagacia whipped the letter from Murzik’s collar. The trembling cat leapt from Simplia’s arms and darted eastward down the path. The Simpletons followed at a walk, their intent understood: to post the letter on the door of the Fairy Tale Lobby so their magical friends might once again offer aid to some letter writer in distress.

As they walked, Sagacia read aloud:

Dear Vasilisa the Wise,

I plan to be a June bride (June 2014, that is!), and my mother keeps talking about a “Fairy Tale Wedding.”

So, what is that, exactly?

The fairy tales I know have almost no wedding description at all. Maybe they mention a feast. Often, the bride and groom have never even met until the afternoon before the ceremony. Usually the marriage decision was made by the father of the bride, and probably he didn’t even mention it to her until the last minute. In fact, all that’s usually said is that the bride is beautiful. I could hold my own in my college class or, these days, in my office, but I’m no cover girl, so that’s not it.

By the way, is “Mr. Fox” a fairy tale? Because that is one wedding I don’t care to use as a model! And as for those species disorders not discovered until the couple is alone in the bridal chamber, I’m not even going there!

So, what is my mother trying to suggest regarding our nuptials? Are there better models for weddings than in the few famous fairy tales I know, because–Sheesh!–given the facts at hand, why would anyone want a Fairy Tale Wedding?

–Bride-to-be in Brandenburg

“Poor girl!” said Simplia as they arrived. Murzik was waiting for them on the steps.

“I’ve even heard of professional wedding planners who push th–Oh, no!” Sagacia gasped. “We left without any thumb tacks!”

“It’s okay,” Simplia said. “We’ll put it under a rock. Our magical friends will find it.” She placed the letter on the top step, and weighed it down with a stone.

“Of course,” Sagacia sighed. “That’s one of the most magical things about them. They will do whatever it takes to help someone whose heart is pure!”

Simplia rolled her eyes. Murzik did, too, actually.