Beauty in The Eye of The Beholder: A Tale of Narcissism

Beauty in The Eye of The Beholder: A Tale of Narcissism

A Story by Joe

A simplistic tale I had written for one of my high school senior English classes (this was an AP course). The names are derived from Latin words. Also, see if you can catch the twist at the end. Enjoy


There once was a mother and her daughter who lived in a cottage in the outskirts of the dark forest. The mother was called Malus, and the girl was called Pulchra. Pulchra was an ugly girl, who was kept from ever coming out of the house, for her looks would shame Malus forever. Pulchra was put to work in the fields every day from sunrise until the moon had cast its glow throughout the windows of the cottage. One week, Malus decided to have her daughter sew her old blouse. Pulchra was afraid of the sewing machine, for every day for one whole week the machine would cut her fingers, causing her to bleed. One day she bled so much that she ran away into her room, not to see the light again for a whole month. Malus was so angered by this that she decided to lock her daughter up in the room, placing a mirror in the corner so that she see how truly ugly she was.

As every day passed, Pulchra would sit and stare at herself on the edge of the bed into the mirror. Every time she stared into this mirror, her wounds would open. One night, she tasted the blood and knocked on her door until Malus answered.

“What do you want?” asked her mother.

“I just want to be let out for a second.”

“I bet you do, you ogre! I'll need a leash if I let you out of that room.”

“Mother, why am I ugly?”

“I don't know how it happened. Such a beautiful woman I am, but you . . . I am ashamed.”

“Mother, am I a woman?”

“No, you'll always be a girl, women get blood on their fingers and aren't ugly.”

“But mother, I do have blood on my fingers. I am awfully terrified.”

With a look at Pulchra's fingers, Malus took her by the hair, dragging her deep out into the forest.

“You may have that part down, but you will never be a women. You are not beautiful enough, and I will not be seen around such a creature!”

Malus slammed down a mirror, and told her to stay in the forest and never return home. Pulchra picked up the mirror and stared at it until she fell asleep. The next day the sun rose and shone into her mirror, waking her up. Suddenly, a golden apple fell from a tree. She became tempted to bite it, and so she did. Her hair grew longer. She looked into her mirror, and wondered when she would not be ugly anymore. Days had passed and Pulchra was eating berries that had fallen off the trees. She continued walking, when at the end of the forest trail she noticed a grand kingdom up ahead. Pulchra ran with all her might, yet tripped on a branch and fell, crushing her mirror into pieces.

“All I have now are the pieces,” she said. “The mirror will tell me when I am a woman.”

She picked up the biggest shattered piece she could find and tucked it away in her pocket, and continued running to the kingdom.

As she came closer, the sounds of trumpets filled the air with a royal tone. Down came the king, just in time for a speech. He announced to the kingdom on this day, he would be looking for a queen. Pulchra came running up to the king, only for him to tell the guards to wrap up the beast and lock her away. In her cell, she wept. The birds heard this weeping from the trees surrounding the kingdom, and flew into where she had stayed. They brought her three cherries from the kingdom's finest tree, which she ate, and became slimmer, taller, and her cheeks became as red as roses. She looked into her glass piece.

“You will tell me when I am a woman.”

The birds called to Pulchra.

“We have given you the three cherries of beauty. Now you must do a favor for us three birds.”

“Why, yes, what shall I do?”

“It is the darkest hours of night. Come out this window, the guards are asleep.”

Pulchra climbed out of the window. The birds took each piece of her top into their beaks and flew her down the four story castle.

“Follow us, there is a task at hand.”

They traveled until they had come up to a nest on the ground. The mother of the birds spoke to Pulchra and told her to climb the tree, for there was a ring caught in the branches. This ring of prosperity and wealth would ensure a good standing with the king. So she started climbing the tree, only to keep sliding back down. A great wind came over the lands at this time, blowing Pulchra into the tree, with the ring's branch within arms length away. The winds continued to blow, as the ring started to fly away.

She quickly grabbed her locks of hair and used it as a lasso to bring in the ring. The winds gave a final thrust of air, knocking her down from the tree.

“The ring! Alas, it is on my finger! A ring fit for a queen! How regal I am now.”

As she adjusted the ring, the sun began to rise. The birds snatched her back into the cell, where she stayed to admire the ring.

“The beast is still there, how lucky our king is to have not let that ogre lay a finger on him,” the guard said to another.

“I don't even want to go into the same room as it. But that ring. It is so beautiful, for such a monster.”

“And that hair and complexion, not suitable for a terror!”

The guards shrugged and dismissed the cell. Night fell upon the kingdom, and the birds came once again.

“We have yet another task at hand, Pulchra. Follow us to the nest once again.”

When they had arrived at the mother bird's nest, a needle and cloth were there.

“Pulchra,” said Mother Bird, “your hair and face, and the ring, truly regal! Yet your clothes . . . they lack poise and confidence. Your cottage clothes will not impress the king. You must sew an outfit fit for a queen! For, that is what you deserve!” Mother Bird lay out the materials.

“I cannot sew, for my hands, the blood will never stop flowing out of them! For a whole week straight one time, the red liquid poured out, leaving me a girl.”

“Pulchra, you deserve the outfit!”

Pulchra picked up the needle and thread, and the piece of cloth. There was not enough for a full outfit.

As the sun began to rise, the announcement of new queen was only three days from then. Pulchra took the shattered glass from the mirror and chopped off her hair, and therefore there was enough for a full outfit. When Pulchra was done, the most beautiful outfit in all of the kingdom was made. Her hands were full of blood and her head bald. The birds took Pulchra by her new outfit and brought her back to the cell.

The guards appeared for the monster's daily feeding. But they ran away when they saw the bald Pulchra in such a dress she had sewn and woven. She looked into the shattered piece from the mirror.

“You will tell me when I am a woman, won't you? I have the face of a queen, yes! The body, dress, jewelry, and my hair shall grow back soon!”

The day had arrived for the announcement of the new queen. Pulchra was released from the cell, having not caused trouble. Yet on that day, after being released, she rushed up to the room in which the king was preparing. The door swung open, and the king called for the guards once again.

“The ogre is back! Look at her, bald, yet beautiful! What I see before me must be a mistake. Genetics have played a cruel joke on thee! And such dress, you must be belonging to a royal family! Or a slave to them! Guards, halt your arrest, the creature shall be my servant!”

“Your majesty, my name is Pulchra. I am fit to be queen, my mirror tells me so!”

“Ha ha! What a fool the creature is, to go by such an object! You have no heart, you are an animal! Therefore will never be fit to be such a position! Seize her! She will be beheaded!”

As the guards snatched Pulchra, she offered one last word. “Take this,” she said to the king. It was the shattered piece of the mirror, in which she had kept for so long.

“It is a gift to you, my lord. For the kindness you have sparred me, not to execute such a creature on the first day I came up to you.”

The king examined the glass piece. He held it close to his eye, and alas, through this perspective did he see the most beautiful girl he had ever lay eyes upon. Pulchra was a beautiful woman, her hair had grown to full length, the ring she had shined throughout the room, and her complexion glowed to perfection.

“My, it was foolish of me to see this woman without glasses! My sight must be going on me! How could it be, you were never ugly! You are fit to be my wife, my queen!”

With that being said, they kissed.

“And your heart is made of gold!”

The kingdom roared with excitement, the birds chirped in happiness, and so Pulchra and the king lived happily ever after.

© 2011 Joe

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Added on April 9, 2011
Last Updated on April 9, 2011
Tags: beauty, in, the, fantasy, fairy tale, eye, love, story



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