The Culture of a Vampire: A Fairy Tale

english castleWhen Princess Margaret was a young girl, her mother taught her: “Always respect and honour other cultures. If you do this, you will be a Queen who is loved around the world.”

Margaret followed her mother’s teaching, and whenever she travelled to other lands, or received visitors at her castle, she tried new types of food, wore new styles of clothing, and learned about other traditions, values, and beliefs.

As Margaret grew older, she wanted one thing more than anything else: to marry a Prince from another land whose culture was different than her own.

When Margaret became a young woman, a Prince from a kingdom across the sea came to visit her castle. He was tall and thin with pale skin, and Margaret was mesmerized by him. She did not know that the Prince, whose name was Renaldo, was a vampire.

The Prince visited her each evening, and they talked until late into the night. Rumours spread throughout the castle that the Princess was in love.

On his third visit, Renaldo brought Margaret a bouquet of black roses.

“Thank you, Renaldo,” Margaret said. “But no one has died.”

“Where I come from,” Renaldo explained, “black roses signify a new beginning.”

“Oh,” Margaret replied. “How fascinating!”

The Queen had her doubts about Renaldo. “He seems kind of odd, and sickly looking,” she told Margaret. “Are you sure he is the right man for you?”

“As soon as I saw him, Mother, I fell in love. If he proposes to me, I want to marry him.”

“If you love him,” the Queen said, “then you have my blessing. Love is all that matters.”

The next day, Margaret’s wish came true. Renaldo asked her: “Will you marry me, Margaret?”

“Yes!” Margaret cried, and she hugged and kissed him, and ran her fingers through his long black hair.

“You make me happier than any man alive!” Renaldo said, and a drop of blood fell from his right eye, which he quickly wiped away.

“We’ll have the largest wedding ever,” Margaret said. And she began to twirl and dance about the room.

“Whatever you wish,” Renaldo said. “But I do ask that you honour one of my cultural traditions.”

“What is it?” Margaret asked eagerly.

“The wedding ceremony must be held after the sun goes down.”

“Okay,” Margaret said. “Are there any other traditions you want to observe?”

“No,” Renaldo replied. “Everything else can be according to your desire.”

Margaret planned the wedding. She invited hundreds of guests, and a month later, the ceremony was held in a church. Margaret wore a white wedding dress, and Renaldo wore a black suit with a dark red carnation.

After the ceremony, there was a feast in a great hall.

When Margaret and Renaldo sat down at the head table, they were each brought a plate of food: Roast beef, sweet potatoes, broccoli, carrots, and gravy.

“Where I come from,” Renaldo said, “the bride and groom do not eat on the night they are married. Their love for each other sustains them.”

Margaret frowned. “I don’t think I can follow that tradition. I’m starving.”

“Don’t deny yourself on my account,” Renaldo said. “It’s part of my culture, not yours.”

Margaret ate two full plates of food, and after everyone was fed, a band of musicians entered the hall. The bride and groom danced, and the wedding party went on until midnight.

When the clock struck twelve, Renaldo and Margaret said farewell to the remaining guests.

As Margaret hugged her mother goodbye, she started to cry. “I will miss you, Mother.”

“The next time I see you,” the Queen said, with tears streaming down her face, “I hope you will have a new life within you.”

After wiping away her tears, the Queen turned to Renaldo and said, “Take good care of my daughter.”

“I will make her happy forever,” Renaldo promised.

Renaldo picked up Margaret and carried her to his coach. When they were both inside, the driver closed the door, and they drove all night until they reached a port where Renaldo’s ship was docked.

Renaldo and Margaret boarded the ship, and the ship set sail.

“My dear,” Renaldo said. “Among my people, it is tradition that the bride and groom separate for one week after the wedding ceremony.”

“What? No,” Margaret said sadly. “Where I come from, the bride and groom make love on their wedding night. Sometimes even twice!”

“We will make love as soon as we arrive at my castle,” Renaldo promised.

Renaldo escorted Margaret to her room on the ship, and then he kissed her. “If you need anything, just call for the Captain.”

“Okay,” Margaret sighed.

A week later, the ship reached its destination. The ship landed at night, and Renaldo and Margaret took a coach to Renaldo’s castle. Renaldo carried his bride through the castle doors, and then up the stairs to his bedroom.

But when Renaldo opened the bedroom door, Margaret could not believe her eyes. In place of a bed, there was a coffin.

“Where are we going to sleep?” Margaret asked.

“Among my people,” Renaldo explained, “it is tradition that the bride and groom sleep in a coffin. Today is the beginning of our new life together, and by sleeping in a coffin, we are reminded of our mortality.”

“Okay,” Margaret said. “But that’s really weird.”

Margaret took off her wedding dress. Renaldo took off his suit, and they snuggled together in the coffin.

“My dear,” Renaldo whispered, “would you mind if I nibbled your neck?”

“Nibble away!” Margaret said excitedly. “Where I come from, a girl loves to get a hickey.”

Renaldo gently bit Margaret’s neck, and she cried with delight. Then he bit deeper and he struck a vein.

“Renaldo!” Margaret yelled. “That hurts!” Then she touched her neck. “Oh, my God! I’m bleeding.”

“Do not be alarmed,” Renaldo said. “Among my people, it is tradition that the bride and groom taste each other’s blood before they make love.”

“What?!” Margaret yelled. “That’s sick!”

Renaldo bit again into Margaret’s neck and sucked more of her blood.

“Stop it!” Margaret cried.

But Renaldo did not stop. He bit deeper into her neck and sucked more and more of her blood.

Margaret struck Renaldo with her fists, but his bite was so strong, she could not break free.

When Renaldo had his fill of Margaret’s blood, he said, “Now, Margaret, you must taste of my blood, and we will both become one.”

Renaldo opened his mouth, and Margaret stared at his fangs and screamed. “Are you going to kill me?”

“No,” Renaldo said. “I love you. I’m a vampire, and you will be my vampire bride.”

Renaldo bit into his wrist and said, “Now drink my blood, and we will be one.”

Margaret felt so weak from the loss of her blood, she knew she could not resist him. “I will honour your tradition,” she promised. “I will become a vampire like you.”

“Nothing would make me happier,” Renaldo said with a smile, his teeth dripping with blood.

“But first, it is a tradition with my people,” Margaret explained, “that the bride gives the groom a lock of her hair before they become one.”

“I will get a knife,” Renaldo said, and he left the room. A few minutes later, he came back with a knife. Margaret cut a lock of her long red hair and gave it to Renaldo.

“When I was a little girl,” Margaret said, “my mother taught me to honour and respect all cultural practices.”

“Your mother is a wise woman.”

“No,” Margaret sighed. “My mother was wrong.”

Then Margaret drove the knife into Renaldo’s heart.

“Your culture is evil!” she yelled. “You’re a monster, Renaldo!”

Margaret twisted the knife, drove it deeper into his chest, and the vampire fell dead on the floor. Then, all of a sudden, his body decayed and became ashes and dust.

Soon after, a servant came and carried Margaret out of the room. He laid her in a bed and bandaged the wound on her neck.

“Thank you for destroying him,” the servant said, and he explained to Margaret how Renaldo had sucked the blood of all his servants, and many had died.

When Margaret recovered from her loss of blood, she was crowned Queen of the castle. She ruled her kingdom with justice and mercy and was loved by all the people.

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The Three Lazy Pigs: A Short Story

three pigsThere was once an old sow who lived in a barn in New Brunswick. She gave birth to three piglets, but her boar-friend, who didn’t want to be a father, left her.

The old sow raised three sons all on her own: Big Snout, a black pig with a large nose; Curly Tail, a white pig with a long tail; and Barn Breath, a white pig with black stripes and a large mouth.

When Big Snout, Curly Tail, and Barn Breath became full-grown, they ate so much that their mother couldn’t afford to keep them anymore.

So one summer day, she opened her barn door and said, “The more I fill my fridge, the more food you eat! None of you have ever worked a day in your lives. It’s time for you to stop freeloading off of me, and start earning your own money.”

The three pigs knew better than to argue with their mother. Big Snout strapped his TV to his back; Curly Tail filled a bag with barley for them to eat; Barn Breath folded up their blankets; and as they walked out the barn door, they hugged their mother and kissed her on the cheek.

“I’ll miss you, Mother,” Big Snout said with a tear in his eye. “You’ve been good to us.”

“We’ll make you proud of us, Momma,” Barn Breath said with a smile.

“Yeah, cause we’ll be rich!” Curly Tail laughed.

“Lazy pigs don’t get rich,” the old sow sighed.

The three pigs said goodbye, and then walked to the Trans-Canada Highway, hitched a ride on a tractor-trailer truck, and travelled west to Saskatchewan.

Seeing a farmer bailing hay, they asked the truck driver to stop, and they hurried across the field to see the farmer.

“Please, Mr. Farmer,” Big Snout said, “We are homeless and have no money. Could you give us one hundred bales of hay? We want to build a house to give us shelter from the cold and the rain.”

The farmer frowned. “You want hay? Go get a job, and then pay me! I don’t give free handouts.”

The three pigs got down on their knees and begged, and the farmer said, “Alright, alright. You can work for me, and I’ll pay you in hay.”

For the next two weeks, the three pigs worked from sunrise until sunset, and when they were done, the farmer gave them all the hay they wanted, and they each got a bag of corn as a bonus. The pigs built a house of hay in the corner of the field; then they sat down, watched Big Snout’s TV, and ate like pigs.

“Brothers,” Big Snout said. “We must never do hard work like that again to get what we want.”

“Yeah, that was terrible,” Curly Tail groaned.

Barn Breath wiped his forehead. “We sweated like pigs.”

A few days later, a big bad wolf knocked on the pigs’ door. On the run from the police for killing three sheep, he needed a place to hide.

The wolf said, “Little piggies! Little piggies! I feel chilly. Please let me come in.”

“I’ll open the door if you give me fifty bucks,” Curly Tail promised.

The wolf slid fifty bucks under their door. Then he said, “Now please be nice pigs and let me come in.”

“No! Not by the peach fuzz on our cheeks and chins,” Barn Breath snorted.

The wolf threatened them: “Then I’ll huff, and I’ll puff, and I’ll blow your house down.”

“Ha, ha,” Curly Tail snickered. “We don’t believe you.”

The wolf said, “I’ll stomp on the roof of your house.” But he didn’t. Then he said, “I’ll kick down your door.” But he didn’t. He just took a deep breath and walked away.

“What a moron!” Curly Tail laughed as he folded the fifty dollars and put it in his pocket.

Big Snout said, “I don’t think you should have made fun of the wolf. He might come back and try to eat us.”

But Curly Tail and Barn Breath just laughed.

Later that night, while the pigs were sleeping, there was a great rainstorm, and the house of hay collapsed.

Barn Breath shouted: “Let’s get out of here before the wolf comes back!”

And so, Big Snout strapped his TV to his back; Curly Tail picked up their bags of corn; Barn Breath folded up their blankets, and the pigs left the farm.

The three pigs hitchhiked along the highway, got a ride with a man in a van, and went west to the Rocky Mountains. Seeing a logger cutting down trees, they asked the man in the van to stop, and hurried across the clear cut field to see the logger.

“Please, Mr. Logger,” Big Snout said. “We are homeless and have very little money. Can you give us some logs and nails? We want to build a house to protect us from the cold and the rain.”

“And wolves!” Barn Breath added.

The logger thought for a moment. Then he said, “OK. You can all work for me, and I’ll pay you each one log a day.”

“But we have no logging skills!” Barn Breath yelled.

“And we might get injured,” Curly Tail cried.

Big Snout said, “Given our inability to do this kind of work, if you won’t give us logs and nails, then we’ll sit and squat.”

“And hug every tree you try to cut!” Barn Breath blurted.

The logger put his hand on his gut, let out a loud laugh, started his chainsaw, and went back to work.

But the three pigs meant what they said. They all sat and squatted, and hugged every tree the logger tried to cut.

“OK, you tree-hugging pigs!” the logger thundered. “Take all the wood you want.” And then he handed them a hammer and a box of nails. “But don’t bother me again.”

The three pigs thanked the logger, and dragged dozens of logs to a meadow where they built a house. Then they wrapped themselves in their blankets, watched Big Snout’s TV, and ate like pigs.

A few days later, the big bad wolf knocked on the pigs’ door and said, “Little piggies! Little piggies! I feel cold. Please let me come in.”

“I’ll open the door if you give me fifty bucks,” Curly Tail promised.

The wolf slid fifty bucks under their door. Then he pleaded again, “Now please be nice pigs, and let me come in.”

“No!” Barn Breath boomed. “Not by the peach fuzz on our cheeks and backs!”

The wolf threatened them: “Then I’ll huff and I’ll puff. And I’ll blow your house down.”

“Ha, ha,” Curly Tail chuckled. “You’re not strong enough.”

The wolf threatened them: “I’ll rip the roof off your house.” But he didn’t. Then he said, “I’ll set your door on fire.” But he didn’t. He just breathed a heavy sigh and walked away.

Curly Tail laughed out loud and said, “What a big bluffer!” And then he folded the fifty dollars and put it in his pocket.

Big Snout said, “Brothers, you shouldn’t have made fun of the wolf. He might come back and try to eat us.”

But Barn Breath and Curly Tail just laughed.

Later that night, there was a great windstorm, and the house of logs fell down.

“This house sucks!” Barn Breath yelled. “Let’s get out of here before the wolf comes back!”

And so, Big Snout strapped his TV to his back; Curly Tail picked up their last bag of corn; Barn Breath folded up their blankets; and the pigs left the meadow.

The pigs walked until they reached the rail tracks, and jumped on board a train. When the train passed through a small town in British Columbia, the pigs jumped off the rail car, and wandered up and down the streets until they found a building supply store.

“We demand service!” Curly Tail squealed as soon as they went inside.

When the manager came to them, Big Snout said, “Please, Sir. We are homeless and have very little money. Can you give us some free bricks and plaster? We want to build a house to protect us from the cold and the rain.”

“And bacon eaters!” Curly Tail blurted.

“You want bricks?” the manager frowned. “You’ll have to pay, just like everyone else. We aren’t a charity.”

“I urge you to reconsider,” Big Snout said. “If you refuse to give us bricks and plaster, we’ll sit on the floor of this store.”

“And we’re dirty stinking pigs,” Barn Breath added. “You’ll lose a lot of customers.”

The manager rolled his eyes. “Yeah, right. Nobody smells that bad.”

But the three pigs meant what they said, and they sat on the floor of the store. Big Snout made nasty noises out of his nostrils; Curly Tail wiggled his tail, let out a lot of air, and Barn Breath belched.

All day long, every customer who came in the door yelled, “Pee-yew! This place stinks!” And they ran away.

The manager was furious. “OK, you filthy stinking pigs, I’ll give you a load of bricks and plaster. But I charge $100 for delivery.”

“That’s a deal!” Curly Tail said. And he gave the manager the money he received from the wolf.

The three pigs oinked in appreciation, and the manager delivered the bricks and plaster to the garbage dump. After the pigs built a house, they wrapped themselves in their blankets, watched Big Snout’s TV, and ate like pigs.

A few days later, the big bad wolf knocked on the pig’s door and said, “Little pigs! Little pigs! I’m freezing. Please open your door, and let me come in.”

Barn Breath snorted, “No! Not by the peach fuzz on our cheeks and butts.”

Big Snout said softly, “Brothers, I think we should let him in.”

But Barn Breath said, “No way, brother.”

And Curl Tail agreed: “Yeah, that would be stupid.”

The wolf threatened them: “If you don’t let me in, I’ll huff and I’ll puff, and I’ll blow your house down.”

“Ha, ha,” Curly Tail giggled. “You make threats, but you don’t follow through.”

“You can huff and puff all you want,” Barn Breath laughed. “We aren’t afraid of you.”

The wolf pounded his paws on their door, and howled, “You fat unfriendly pigs! I’ve had enough.”

“Woo-ooo!” Curly Tail yelled.

“Mr. Wolf sounds mad!” Barn Breath boomed.

The wolf said, “I killed three sheep, and I need a place to hide from the police. You take my money, but you won’t open your door for me. I’m going to destroy this house, and then I’m going to eat you!”

“Ha, ha,” Curly Tail snickered. “You can bluster all you want, but you’re full of—”

The wolf took a deep breath, and then he blew with all his might, and the house of bricks began to shake.

“Oh, no!” Curly Tail squealed.

“We’re dead meat!” Barn Breath cried.

“I told you not to make fun of him,” Big Snout sighed.

The big bad wolf continued to blow, and blow, and blow. And then, all of a sudden, the house of bricks fell down! The three pigs were out of luck.

The wolf chased after the pigs, and he ate them all up.

And do you know what? The big bad wolf wasn’t lying. He really did feel chilly. He put the brick house back together, wrapped himself in the pig’s blankets, sat down, and watched Big Snout’s TV.

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The Sheep Who Refused To Fight: A Fable

sheep-goatA goat herder bought a herd of young goats and raised them in a field that he owned. But he was mean and cruel, and enjoyed yelling at them, and chasing them around the field. Then one evening, he left the gate open, and when he came back the next morning, the goats were gone.

The goats had fled to a grassy plain where they could graze. They enjoyed their freedom and had plenty to eat. However, one night, after the goats went to sleep, they were attacked by a wolf. No matter where the herd went, the wolf followed them, and every night the goats wondered which goat he would eat next.

A nanny goat decided to do something about the wolf. She waited until sunrise (when the wolf went to sleep), then she tip-toed away, and walked all day until she came to a flock of sheep.

“A wolf has eaten nearly half of my herd,” the nanny goat said to the sheep. “Can you send your strongest and bravest rams to help us?”

The sheep, both ewes and rams, all replied, “We are peaceful sheep and don’t believe in fighting. But if any goats want to come and live with us, they are welcome here.”

The nanny goat pleaded with the sheep; however, no matter what she said, they would not change their minds, so she kicked the ground and left them.

When the nanny goat returned home, to her great surprise, the young billy goats had grown horns.

That night, she gathered the billy goats together, and they rammed the wolf in the head until he dropped dead.

Several days later, a ewe lamb came to the goats and said, “A pack of wolves has attacked our flock. Can you send your strongest and bravest billy goats to help us?”

The billy goats shook their heads. “No; it’s not our fight.”

The nanny goat reminded her, “None of your rams came when we needed help.”

The ewe lamb pleaded with the goats, yet no matter what she said, she could not change their minds. So she kicked the ground and left them.

When the ewe lamb returned home, she bleated and cried. The wolves were gone, and all that remained of her flock was bits of wool and scattered bones.

The Rabbit That Wasn’t Right In The Head: A Red Riding Hood Story

grey rabbitLong ago, a young girl went for a walk through a dark forest. She wore a red coat with a red hood, and because she wore it all the time, everyone called her Red Riding Hood.

As she turned a corner on the path, she came face to face with a rabbit. The rabbit looked at her; she looked at the rabbit, and the rabbit started to run.

“Don’t be afraid!” Red Riding Hood called out. “I won’t hurt you!”

She ran after the rabbit, weaving around trees and bushes, and they both jumped over a stream.

The rabbit ran as fast as he could; however, Red Riding Hood was the fastest girl alive. (The previous summer, she ran away from a wolf.) She caught up with the rabbit, reached to grab him, but he leaped into a bush—and bam! He smacked head-first into a boulder, fell on the ground, and did not move.

Red Riding Hood dropped to her knees and sighed, “Oh, my! I’m so sorry. I only wanted to be your friend.”

Picking up the rabbit in her arms, she hurried home to her Grandma. They lived in a house a mile from the forest’s edge.

When Red Riding Hood reached the house, she opened the door, and found her Grandma sitting at the kitchen table, drinking tea.

“My goodness!” Grandma said with wide eyes. “Did you kill a rabbit for dinner?”

“No,” Red Riding Hood said sadly. “I ran after him, and he hit his head.”

Then Red Riding Hood started to cry.

“Don’t worry,” Grandma reassured her. “We’ll help him get better.” She folded a blanket, placed it in a wooden box, and Red Riding Hood laid the rabbit down.

A week went by, and they nursed the rabbit back to health. Day by day, the rabbit slowly lost his fear of humans, and he and Red Riding Hood became good friends. She named him Thump. They played tag, had running races, and when they were both tired, they sat by the garden and ate carrots and celery.

Then one day Thump said, “I miss my two friends.”

Red Riding Hood took a deep breath and tried to smile. “I’ll take you back to the forest tomorrow.”

The next morning, Red Riding Hood walked with Thump to the forest. When they reached the forest’s edge, she got down on her knees and hugged her friend.

“I’ll miss you,” Red Riding Hood said sadly.

“I’ll visit you again,” Thump promised.

Red Riding Hood waved as the rabbit hopped away and disappeared into the trees.

When Thump found his friends, they were happy to see him.

“We thought you were dead!” his best friend said.

“I hit my head on a boulder,” Thump explained. “And then I was rescued by a girl, and she and her Grandma took care of me.”

“What?” his second friend said, “I don’t believe it. People are bad.”

His best friend said, “Yeah, they want to eat us.”

But Thump said, “No, that’s not true. People are good. The only reason they don’t like us is we run away from them. That makes them feel rejected.”

Thump’s best friend said, “That’s crazy talk! People love killing animals. They think it’s a good thing.”

No matter what Thump said, he couldn’t convince his friends that people were good, so he said, “I’m going to prove it to you.”

The next day, Thump and his friends hid in a bush beside the forest path until a boy walked by. Thump jumped out of the bush and said, “Hello.”

And the boy said, “Hello there.”

“Would you like to pet me?” Thump asked.

“Okay,” the boy replied. And Thump sat still while the boy petted him on the head.

After the boy was gone, Thump said to his friends, “I told you! People are good if you are good to them.”

But his best friend said, “That was just a child. Big people are bad.”

So Thump said, “Alright. Let’s wait for a big person.”

The rabbits hid in the bush again, and waited until a young woman walked by.

Thump jumped out of the bush and said, “Hello.”

And the woman said, “Hello to you,” and smiled at him.

Thump smiled back and asked, “Can I have a carrot?”

The woman reached in her bag and gave him a carrot. Then she said, “Have a nice day.” And she walked away.

After the woman was gone, Thump said to his friends, “Do you believe me now? People are good.”

But his second friend said, “Okay. Maybe women are good. But not men.”

His best friend agreed: “Yes; men are evil.”

Thump sighed and said, “You don’t know people like I do. Let’s wait for a man.”

Thump’s friends didn’t want to, but they agreed to hide in the bush one more time.

The rabbits waited until an old man walked by. Then Thump jumped up out of the bush and said, “Hello.”

“Hello, rabbit,” the old man replied.

“My friends are afraid of you,” Thump said. “But I’m not.”

The old man, who was a hunter, held a rifle in his hand, but he had forgotten to load it. “Don’t run away, rabbit. Just sit still.”

“Why would I run?” Thump said with a smile. “If I’m nice to you, you’ll be nice to me. I believe animals and people should be friends, not enemies.”

“That’s beautiful,” the hunter replied. “I couldn’t agree more.” He hadn’t eaten all day, and his hands trembled, which made it difficult for him to load his rifle. He dropped one of his bullets on the ground.

Thump said, “I love people, and I love you!”

The hunter finished loading his rifle. “And I love rabbits!” He raised his rifle, took aim, and shot Thump in the head.

The two rabbits in the bush were horrified. Their friend was dead, but they didn’t have time to cry. They both ran for their lives.

The hunter took aim at the running rabbits, fired several shots, but he missed, and the rabbits escaped.

“Oh well,” the hunter sighed. “At least I got one.” Then he rubbed his belly. “I’m starving!”

He picked up the dead rabbit, put him in his knapsack, and when he got home, he made a big pot of rabbit stew.