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tomten_525

Christmas card designed by 19th century artist Jenny Nyström.

The Simpletons exited the parking garage of the Richmond Hilton Hotel and Spa (Short Pump) excited, weary, filled with so many grand ideas to process and still feeling the warmth of their magical friends. Oh, and storied to the brim!

“Would you get the TomTom out of my glove box?” Simplia asked.

Sagacia turned white.

“It might be under the owner’s manual,” Simplia added, checking her rearview mirror.

Sagacia didn’t move a muscle.

“What’s the matter? Is it locked?” Simplia inquired.

Sagacia said nothing. She opened her mouth, that is, but nothing came out.

“Are you okay?” Simplia asked, putting on the brakes.

Sagacia swallowed. She gasped, shaking her head. She was near to tears.

“Wha-,…” she sniffed. “What is it doing in your glove compartment?”

“People like to steal them, so it’s best to keep them locked up.”

“But, but…” Sagacia was astonished at her friend’s cavalier attitude! This was a side of her she’d never seen before!

Simplia shifted into park, reached over, opened the glove box, and pulled out her GPS.

Sagacia watched its long black cord trail across her knees as the facts of the case washed over her.

A TomTom! She felt the heat of a deep blush, then burst into laughter as she watched her friend plug in the little instrument.”

“I thought you said ‘Tomten’!” she laughed. “I couldn’t figure out why. . . ”

“Oh, you thought I had one of those little Swedish critters in there, did you?” Simplia smiled.

Sagacia nodded, still laughing. Laughing is about all one can do when one’s luddite density rears its idiotic head, which, in Sagacia’s case, seemed to be happening more often lately.

Simplia pressed the gadget’s suction cup onto her windshield then clicked it on, accepted the terms, and was prepared to tap the Fairy Tale Lobby address. Instead a message appeared.

“What, the . . . ?” She turned off the car engine, and the Simpletons watched the words scroll their way up the monitor:

Dear Vasalisa the Wise:

I just read one of Linda Goodman’s “Tales from the Tapestry” blog posts in which she describes how just the right story came to her at just the right time, and it gave her an important insight into a critical personal event. Hers was a tomten tale, and it shed light on something happening in her own life and reignited that positive spirit Linda is known for. If you haven’t read about it, you should! It’s right here.

Something like that has happened to me, too. For several years while my children were busy middle and high schoolers, my mother struggled with a terminal disease in our hometown, an hour away from where I lived. Each time I went to see her, I would chastise myself: “I should be cheering at that basketball game.” “I should be setting up that birthday party.” But whenever I stayed home for their events, I would think, “I should be with my mother, helping my dad take care of her.”

One day, browsing 398.2 at the library, I read a story called “Chien Nang” in Ruth Manning-Sanders’ Book of Charms and Changelings. Chien Nang was also pulled between two great, incompatible longings, and her dilemma was solved in a way that can only happen in fairy tales! As I approached the end of the story, I began to weep with joy! Of course, I could not replicate the story’s magical resolution, but I felt healed nonetheless. I made peace with my circumstance; I was empowered to persist.

So, if this kind of story magic has happened to Linda and me, I wonder how many others have experienced it? Vasalisa, beloved and wise, would you ask your readers if any of them have found such insights and empowerment in a particular tale at the very time they needed it? Did anyone else ever have a real-life problem solved by a fairy tale?

I, for one, would love to read about it!

Waiting in Winnipeg

“Oh, my!” Sagacia said. “I know that’s happened to me!”

“Me, too,” said Simplia. She turned on the engine again and looked over her shoulder to back up. “Let’s get past some of this traffic and I’ll tell you about it.”

“A letter for Vasalisa never fails to arrive on the third day of the month!” Sagacia said. “I can’t wait to tell our magical friends at the Fairy Tale Lobby about this! I know they will have plenty of tales to tell!”

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