Simplia was appalled to look up and discover that August had almost gone.

Sagacia, intent on properly refolding the roadmaps, said, “Well, it’s not as if either one of us has been sitting on our thumbs. How many miles did we put on the Packard this summer?”

“A few thousand,” Simplia admitted. “And you feel so unproductive when you’re en route from Point A to Point B. Not to mention the pile of Things to Do when you finally do return home. Look at this stack of mail!”

Sagaica said, “I know. There are some bills left over from before we left. Oh goodness! Some of these aren’t bills at all, but responses from our Magical Friends and the Fairy Tale Lobby.”

“You mean in response to ‘Challenged in Chattahoochee,’ who implies that fairy tales are irrelevant in these modern times?”

“CHALLENGING iin CHATTANOOGA,” her friend corrected. “Don’t be catty.”

Murzik stopped grooming himself long enough to give the simpler Simpleton a Meaningful Look.

Sagacia said, “I don’t recall ever meeting anyone identified as coesa9, but here, you’ll take heart in what they have to say.”
I tell traditional folktales from the varied cultures of the world to listeners of all ages: in schools, libraries, senior living residences. I call them survivor stories — those stories that every generaton passed to the next because they contain rich, complex insights on what it means to be human, and ways to meet the challenges we face in our external and internal lives.

“Exactly!” Simplia agreed. “They are survivor stories! I’d go so far as to say they can operate as templates for how to identify toxic situations, how to behave toward strangers, how much to trust — and distrust — people in power and femmes fatale, regardless of gender…”

“…how and when to ask for help, and the reality that even with supernatural assistance you don’t get a free ride…”

(The choir was preaching to itself now. The Simpletons were on a roll!)

“…you have to take responsibility for your own actions and inactions. Yeah!” Simplia stomped her foot and gave the air a hefty fist pump. “Which would you rather sit through — a lecture, a sermon, or a fairy tale?”

Just then they heard Adam Hoffman strolling past the house, talking to somebody, evidently discussing this very question, because (they did not eavesdrop; they couldn’t help overhearing) he was saying:

Though I understand I may be outside the norm, I usually tell a fairy tale or folk tale at every Story Circle meeting I go to. As for “What good do they do these days anyway?” the simplest answer, and we should never discount the simplest answer, is that they’re fun to listen to. There’s also just generally something gratifying about hearing how the main character’s life turned around. We like to hear how Snow White or Cinderella escaped their toxic family situation or how poor Jack found his fortune or how the soldier from “The Twelve Dancing Princesses” or “How Six Men Got on in the World” got a new life together after their service was done.

Turns out, it was Csenge Zalka he was walking with, because it was her voice, ripe with a big smile, they heard next:

I have a great example of what happens if we don’t (tell fairy tales in this day and time): Today I drove past a place named the “Bluebeard Hotel.” Do you see the problem with the name? If you do, you probably heard more fairy tales than most people… ; )

To which Adam replied:

Every time you check in, the concierge is like “Here’s your room key, and here’s a key to a room you should never open or go into. Well, enjoy your stay.”

Simplia, finally appeased, said, “Oh, and this one I found scrawled on a gum wrapper at the bottom of the mail pile. From Ingrid Nixon.”

Here in the Pacific Northwest, we’ve been having a great time putting together Grimm’s shows as evening programs for adult audiences. Seems the stranger and creepier the better!”

“So I think we’ve put that ridiculous question…”

“…that earnest query,” Sagacia corrected.

“Yeah, whatever. …to rest. Let’s get these responses bundled up and take them to the post office while it’s still August. I have a feeling the next question is going to arrive while we’re still unpacking.”

Sagacia, without a trace of smugness, said, “Oh, I’m already unpacked. And here. Would you put the maps back in the map cupboard?I just got them re-alphabetized.”