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Charles Nast picturefied Santa Claus in the mid-19th century. He was round with a red suit and white beard; but he's no bigger than a housecat. A far cry from today's Coke Santa.

Thomas Nast picturefied Santa Claus in the mid-19th century. He was round with a red suit and white beard; but he’s no bigger than a housecat. Who’d buy Coca Cola from that little wimp?

Simplia had just turned away from the Fairy Tale Lobby’s empty bulletin board. Sagacia was bent down, checking under that rock, as she had done every day since Bride-to-be in Brandenburg’s letter had arrived.

Sagacia stood up and said, “I give up. How is a fairy tale wedding like Mother’s Day, Paul Bunyan, and Santa Clause?”

“Madison Avenue made them what they are today. If they didn’t sell merchandise, they wouldn’t exist.”

“Simplia, you are such a cynic. Simpletons aren’t supposed to be cynical.”

“I’m not smart enough to be cynical. But I’m not too dumb to do a Google keyword search. Paul Bunyan is fakelore. The earliest versions of the Paul Bunyan story are early 20th century and they’re attributed to one writer, who was trying to use the big lumberjack brand to sell real estate. Mother’s day was started about the same time, by a lady in Philadelphia who wanted to honor her mother, but when she saw what a commercial hash had been made of her sweet idea, she lobbied to get the holiday rescinded. American Santa Claus started out as a little guy, not much bigger than a house cat, something that really could slip down a chimney…until Coca Cola’s graphic designers gave him a makeover, and now you’d never…”

“You’re ranting, sweetheart,” Sagacia said, reasonably. “What’s this got to do with fairy tale weddings?”

“They’ve all been idealized beyond the scope of reality! Google ‘fairy tale wedding’ and you get hits for tours of Disneyworld, Caribbean cruises, and holidays in Hawaii.”

Sagacia said, “Well then, that’s perfect for Bride-to-be. We can suggest she and her fiance elope and her mother gives them first class tickets and accommodation at the resort of their choice.”

“Hey!” said Simplia. “Something just appeared under that rock. See?”

She bent to lift the rock, and sure enough, where a short moment ago there had been nothing under it but dirt, now there was grocery store receipt with a note scribbled on the back. Lance Foster had written:

I think people who use the phrase “fairy tale wedding” haven’t read an old school fairy tale in way too long. They are just thinking about “the princess” and “the prince”, and “happily ever after,” and all those Disney movies. I think it would be hilarious to write a book called “Fairy Tale Weddings” with a saccharine illustration on the cover…and then have a whole bunch of excerpts from real fairy tales of fairy tale weddings like the one All-Fur barely escaped from.

Simplia looked at her friend and said, “Remind me again what All-Fur is about.”

“Turn the paper over,” said Sagacia. “Some new writing just appeared.”

Simplia continued to read:

A king had a beautiful wife with golden hair, blah blah blah. They had a daughter. The wife gets sick. On her deathbed, the queen tells the king he must remarry, but the woman must be as beautiful as she is. He looks and looks but can’t find anyone asbeautiful as his wife. His advisors keep telling him he must remarry as they need a queen. Years pass. And then one day, the king looks at his daughter and sees she is as beautiful as her mother was, and … 

“Oh yeah, that one,” said Simplia. “Rumplestiltskin leaps to mind, too. Can you imagine that poor miller’s daughter shackled to that troll of an avaricious king. And then conceiving a child with him. Ick. I cannot imagine any sort of ‘happily ever after’ for that family.”

Sagacia said, “No mother could wish such a sad, sick union on any child, no matter how impressive the nuptials. Like what happened with the Prince of Wales and Princess Diana. There was a wedding to beat all weddings; but what about the actual marriage?”

“So what do you suppose Bride-to-Be’s mother envisions when she thinks ‘fairy tale wedding’?” Simplia wanted to know.

“She probably envisions herself looking smashing in a designer mother-of-the-bride dress, her daughter twenty pounds leaner, and her husband and her future son-in-law twenty pounds beefier with chiseled jawlines and fat stock portfolios,” said Sagacia.

“Whoa!” exclaimed Simplia. “Who’s the cynic now?”