How would some fairy tales turn out if we placed them in a slightly more modern and less fantastical setting? And how would you like them?
—Translation of my stories written in 2012
Puss in Boots
A poor miller had three sons. Sensing his approaching death, he decided to divide his estate. He bequeathed the mill to his eldest son, his pickup to the middle son, and the youngest received a cat. The eldest son thrived with the mill, and the middle son found his livelihood in transportation. But the youngest son… what was he to do with a cat?
He struggled in poverty until one day, in a delirium of hunger, he saw the cat wearing boots, a snug coat, and a hat. He seized upon this idea and started designing and producing clothing for cats and dogs. It became a huge hit, and the youngest son quickly became wealthy. He was always accompanied by some beautiful model. On the other hand, there was no longer any demand for quality flour, and the government raised consumption taxes, causing both of his brothers to go bankrupt. Moreover, their remaining assets were taken by their ex-wives in the divorce settlements.
Long ago, there was a merchant who, after his wife’s death, was left alone with his kind and hardworking daughter, Cinderella [some people give their children truly peculiar names]. After some time, he remarried. His new wife brought her two vain daughters into the house, and difficult times began for Cinderella. Her stepsisters took everything from her, and she was left to clean, cook, and take care of the household from morning till night.
One day, a grand ball was held in the town, and the whole neighbourhood was invited. Cinderella prepared the entire family for the ball. When they left, she secretly set off for the ball as well. At the ball, she caught the eye of the son of the wealthiest man around, and they danced together all evening. However, Cinderella had to be home earlier than the rest of the family. At an opportune moment, she vanished from the hall and ran as fast as she could. Unfortunately, she lost her slipper on the stairs. That slipper was the only thing left of her.
The next day, the young man woke up with a severe hangover [as expected after a ball]. Since they had been drinking heavily, he didn’t remember anything from the evening and threw away the slipper. Cinderella was in a similar situation. They found out about her, and in addition to losing her slipper, she was grounded for a month. Unable to bear the conditions at home any longer, she moved out, found work as a cleaner, and lived happily on her own until the end of her life.
The Devil and Kate
Once upon a time, in a small village, there lived Kate. She was single and already in her forties, but no man wanted her. It was because she wasn’t very pleasant so everyone preferred to keep their distance. She looked for potential suitors at a dance where an unknown hunter arrived. Nobody knew him. He ordered a drink and headed straight for Kate. They had a few drinks together, and then the mysterious hunter asked Kate to dance. Kate was thrilled! She danced with the hunter all night, and then he walked her home. Kate was glad that someone was finally interested in her. She would even go to hell with someone like him.
She started supporting the hunter, paid for everything, and even gave him a power of attorney. But one day, she realized that he had taken everything from her and disappeared. It turned out he was a notorious marriage swindler known as the Devil, and poor Kate had fallen for it. Of course, they never caught him, and Kate never ever saw a single penny nor dated any man again.
Alice in Wonderland
Alice was strolling through a beautiful meadow, where colours danced in harmony, picking flowers along the way. Suddenly, she spotted a white rabbit dressed in a waistcoat who could also speak. He looked at his watch and started running. Alice chased after him and jumped into his rabbit hole. But instead of a wonderland, she unexpectedly found herself in her apartment, where the police burst in (as part of a large operation to expose drug dealers). They confiscated all her drugs, and Alice ended up in rehab and later in prison.
She could have had a fascinating adventure filled with talking animals and extraordinary characters and events. However, we will never know that story. When she was released, she fell back into the same trap and overdosed.
Hansel and Gretel
There was a little cottage by the woods where a woodcutter lived with his children, Hansel and Gretel, and their wicked stepmother. The family was poor and soon had almost nothing to eat. The stepmother wasn’t pleased with that situation at all. In order to save more money, one day she convinced her husband to take the children to the woods and leave them there. The man didn’t want to, but the stepmother eventually persuaded him. Little did they know, Hansel and Gretel heard everything. Gretel cried desperately, but Hansel had an idea. He called the police and reported their parents. They ended up in prison, and Hansel and Gretel were placed in a new foster family that made a living by baking gingerbread. And they all (except their imprisoned parents) lived happily ever after.
Little Red Riding Hood
Once upon a time, there was a sweet girl who was loved by everyone who laid eyes on her. Her grandmother loved her the most and would give her the moon if she could. One day, she gifted the girl a red velvet hood. Her friends started teasingly calling her Little Red Riding Hood.
One day, Little Red Riding Hood’s mother said, “Look, Red Riding Hood [it caught on at home as well], here’s a piece of cake and a bottle of wine. Take them to your grandmother; she’s sick and weak, and this will raise her spirit. And don’t go wandering around!”
Red Riding Hood took the basket and set off on her journey. Yet, she didn’t feel like visiting her grandmother. Why bother? So instead she took the basket to her friend Wolf. They ate the cake, drank the wine, and had a pleasant afternoon. So the grandmother, in the retirement home, waited (not very happily) ever after.
The Enormous Turnip
Many years ago, there lived an old man and an old woman. One day, the old man planted a seed of an enormous turnip. He didn’t do much work in the garden so the lady wanted to make him try harder and to take good care, but it didn’t help. Eventually, she called their son, then grandson, some neighbours, and even some dog was present. They all tried to pull something out of the bag, but it was all in vain.
He didn’t change anything so, obviously, nothing grew and eventually, he gave up on growing turnips.