The Lute Player, by  Marilyn DeKing

The Lute Player, by San Antonio artist Marilyn DeKing

Simplia whirled through the door and stuffed her dripping umbrella into the stand.

“I got the valentines,” she said, tossing her cape into the wingback chair.

“And I found the address book,” Sagacia said. “Here!”

She scooted some pillows and books to the end of the Chesterfield, seated herself in the center and patted the third cushion insistently.

Simplia shuffled onto the appointed cushion, tore the cellophane off the box and poured the cards and envelopes out on the table.

“See?” she asked, or perhaps commanded, busily turning them face up for inspection. “Just like we used to have in school. And they are all kind of . . . .”

Simplia stopped short. One of the envelopes was sealed, and it had a heart-shaped sticker on it, suggesting intentionality.

“Oh dear,” said Sagacia. “Someone must have broken into the box!” She picked the envelope up. “We’d better count them.”

She turned the envelope over in her hands. It was addressed “Vasilisa the Wise.”

She handed it to Simplia.

“Third of the month,” they said together, nodding. “Of course!” On the rug by the hearth, Murzik flicked an ear.

Simplia broke the seal, pulled out a folded pink stationery sheet and handed it back to Sagacia, who read aloud:

Dear Vasilisa the Wise,

Well, here we are into February, the month of love, when we’re all thinking about love and who we love and how we show it, and it suddenly occurred to me that many of the Fairy Tales which are supposedly about romantic love don’t really show it at all. I mean, we hear that the characters fall in love, often at first glance, but we don’t hear any details about how the lovers feel or what they do to show it. Didn’t someone once say “Love is a verb”? Yet where are the fairy tales that show love in action? I don’t mean showing it by completing a physical task, by ‘doing or dying,” but by acting in a way that shows he – or she – really cares.

The only ones I can think of that show love in action are “Clever Manka” and “The Lute Player,” but Fairy tales reflect our social values, and love and romance are important to us all, so there are bound to be more. What are they?

Also, in those two cases, it is the woman who is acting in a loving way! And another thing: they are both set in the later years of a marriage, well past the courting and the honeymoon stages, yet they are the most romantic of all the ones I know! Care to comment on that?

Margaret at

“Oh, my!” said Sagacia, blushing.

“She makes a good point,” Simplia said. “In the form of a question, of course.”

“And, fortunately, we know who to ask!” Sagacia stated.

“Yeah! Let’s go post this on door of the Fairy Tale Lobby,” Simplia said.

“We don’t have to do that right this moment, though. Let’s wait ’til it stops raining.” Sagacia said, pushing herself up to a stand. “I’ll put on some tea.”

Simplia sat back down and reread the letter silently to herself. Murzik stretched, rolled over, then padded across the floor, leapt up to the Chesterfield, and snuggled his way into her lap.