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So sad! from Le Contes de Perrault, 1867, by Gustave Doré.

Sagacia sat at the table looking despondent, her chin resting on her two hands as her eyes moved across the letter that lay before her.

She heard Simplia flap-flap-flapping up the walk in her sandals and looked up as her friend pushed through the door and danced herself into the room.

“Ta-dah!” Simplia sang, her arms outstretched. “I’m ho-ome!”

Sagacia sighed and rolled her eyes. Simplia had been just a little too full of herself ever since that house concert a few weeks ago, she thought. She dropped her chin back into her hands.

“Something the matter?” Simplia asked. “You look—well, sad.”

“I am sad!” Sagacia said. “Sad as a fox! Sad as “Fox” Ellis, at least.”

“What do you mean?”

“Remember that letter to Vasilisa this month? The one asking for places where Fairy Tales could be heard told aloud?” Sagacia said. “Well, just listen to this! It’s from “Fox” Ellis.

Simplia pulled a chair out from the table and flicked Murzik off the seat. Ears lowered, he landed respectfully on his feet, hunkered over to the window, and leapt up onto the sill landing neatly between the begonia pots. Simplia arranged herself on the chair.

Sagacia picked up the letter. “Ahem,” she said before reading Fox’s letter aloud:

This post actually makes me sad… Even though I have more than 100 shows booked for this summer, only one is fairy tales and I had to create that myself. I am presenting living history in Springfield IL every Wednesday and the summer library programs are science stories, One night, July 25th at 7:00pm, I am hosting an evening of Native American Star Lore in my backyard in Bishop Hill, IL. A family oriented program with my buddy Jo Lakota and I sharing stories and songs, . . .

Sagacia put the letter back down on the table. “But only one program of fairy tales,” she said. “One in a hundred!”

“That’s 1%,” Simplia calculated.

Sagacia looked up wistfully. “And to get even that one, he had to create it himself!”

“Oh, well. That’s what everybody in the one percent says!” Simplia replied offhandedly, adding in a whiny voice, “I did it all by myself! Nobody helped me!”

Her friend was not amused.

“So, where does one go to hear Fairy Tales these days?” she asked. “I want to be able to walk down the street and just sit down and listen, but I don’t live near the statue of Hans Christian Andersen! I don’t even live in New York City! or New York State! Or Illinois state, either, where I could go to hear “Fox” tell fairy tales! I’d have to fly or drive for days to get to either one of those places!”

There followed a long silence. And, by that doth our faithful correspondent mean a lo-ong silence. No words. An occasional audible deep breath. A bird chirping outside. The clocketh ticketh. But nothing, um, substantive.

“Okay!” Simplia declared suddenly. “We are going to the National Storytelling Conference in Phoenix! We were thinking about it anyway, but that does it! We’re going!”

“Okay, sure,” Sagacia agreed. “But, what brought that on?”

“Well, it’s a place where you can hear a whole session full of fairy tales!”

“Really?” Sagacia asked, still puzzled.

“You know: the Fairy Tale Lobby Story Swap!” Simplia said.

“The Fairy Tale Lobby Story Swap!” Sagacia’s eyes grew as she spoke. “The Fairy Tale Lobby Story Swap!” she repeated with conviction.

Simplia smiled. Nothing like making a friend’s heart sing. “I’ll go online and make our airline reservations!”

“Okay, and I’ll call the hotel and book a room!” Sagacia said, reaching for her phone.

On the window sill, Murzik blinked, flicked his ears, and began to purr. If today turned out to be too bustly for a good cat nap, at least he had the certain knowledge of a few day’s peace and quiet come the end of July when his mistresses would leave town.

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