Thursday, 24 September 2015


            Given the lengthening list of writers desperately wanting to win The 2016 Sunday Times Short Story Prize of £30,000, I’m getting my entry in early to avoid disappointment.
            Once upon a time on a dark and stormy night, a big black crow flew over a wicked witch in the woods stirring her cauldron with curses.  Unbeknownst to anyone but the witch, a beautiful damsel in distress with flaxen hair and a fair turn of ankle was running desperately through the woods in her thorn-torn diaphanous white nightdress.  She became more distressed and ran even faster on hearing the sound of heavy breathing thundering up behind her, whereupon she tripped over a frog waving a magic wand.
            As she picked herself up, but feeling quite faint, she fell straight into the strong arms of a tall dark handsome highwayman, who had been galloping home on his horse after robbing the rich to give to the poor. 
Her prince had come, well almost.  He put his pistol to one side and swiftly lifted her up onto his steaming steed.  She blew a big kiss to the frog and then wanted to reward the highwayman for coming to her rescue.  But she had no money, jewels or valuables except a precious little empty velvet purse which she always kept for comfort. 
            So for saving her from the wicked witch’s curse, she could only pledge her troth to the highwayman, and perhaps her velvet purse, for his princely plunder at the stroke of twelve or as soon as the moon was high, but no later than the cock crows. 
            Meanwhile, the people in the village were as snug as bugs in rugs, sleeping soundly in their warm and cosy beds.  So no-one noticed the dark and stormy night life, not even the gamekeeper out hunting for hairy hobgoblins. 
In the morning, with the dawning of the milkman, the sun shone brightly on frosted gossamer webs and over the fields forests hills rivers and meadows.  The birds were singing their sweet songs, and everyone lived happily ever after.
Well, how short does it have to be?

1 comment:

  1. A heart-warming story, Michael. I'd read it to my granddaughters but I fear they might spot the double-entendres seeded liberally throughout it. You must tell me next week if the crow managed to hook up with the wicked witch.