If you traveled far back in the woods
(Farther than the Farthest back tree),
you may find a tiny cottage made of stone
with gentle puffs of smoke billowing from the chimney.
In that house you can find three people:
One is an old man who reads fairy tales day and night.
A second is his son, who listens to these stories,
then runs into the world to free the princess’s from their plight
The third, you may guess, is the old man’s fair daughter.
You may see her throughout the cottage
organizing books, washing pants,
and thinking of her gendered disadvantage
Occasionally, she will pick up a story and read a few lines:
“Sleeping Beauty awakes to the kiss of true love”
“And Snow White opens her eyes to a prince”
“Even Cinderella’s shoe fits like a glove!”
“Oh what must I do to get out of this place?”
She says slamming the books closed,
“Hush! Her father says, “This is the best part!”
“The part where the princess is saved?” she opposed
“Why is it always the princess? Can it never be a prince?”
“Of course not” laughed her brother with glee,
“Who would save a cursed prince? Certainly not I!”
“That’s just the rule” chortled the old man, “and that’s the only rule there’ll be!”
But came the day when the old man cried
And his young son shrieked in fear
“A prince! A prince! He’s cursed! He’s cursed!”
“And I shall be the female volunteer!”
Daughter, Sister, and now princess charming
ran past the farthest back tree and through the forest.
Past villages and castles, and cats in boots.
She got to the tower without an ounce of rest
There she was met with a dead end.
For no locks of hair fell from above.
Nor stray shoes scattered the ground.
She would have to be cunning to act as true love.
“Excuse me!” She called, “Is anyone there?
I am here to break a curse?”
“Yes? Who’s there? I didn’t think anyone would come!
For you see, I’m getting worse!
I’m freezing up, I can’t really move
And my feet are stuck to the floor
I’d let you in, but, Oh woe is I
I cannot open the door!”
“Never fear!” quoth the girl, more determined than before
“I think if I can climb up, I can break that curse of yours!”
So one foot, one hand followed by the other two
She scaled the tower wall
and tumbled through the window
Some stray clothes breaking her fall
And there he stood, the only prince
in need of true love’s kiss.
The curse breaker’s daughter knew
the cottage she would not miss.
One year later, wedding bells rang,
the daughter was dressed in white.
For you see, dear reader, true love does not always
show up as a gleaming knight.
Sometimes it takes a bit of freedom,
and sometimes you must seek.
For finding your one true love
is certainly not for the meek.