The Ode of Odette

The Ode of Odette

A Story by E R Dauris

A short story exploring the fictional aftermath of the tale of Swan Lake and its lead character Odette.


Dear Siegfried,

I hope you have had a good day at work darling.

You’re probably wondering where I am. Usually I would have echoed your ‘Hello’ back to you when you came through the door. You’d have poked your head into the kitchen mumbled that dinner smells good and then gone upstairs to change out of your suit and I would stir whatever I was cooking and try to recall if you ever used any other word but ‘good’ about my cooking. You haven't by the way; it's always ‘good’: Never ‘exceptional’ or ‘bland’; not once ‘delicious’ or ‘dreadful’; never referred to as either ‘succulent’ or ‘bitter’. Of course there’s nothing you don’t like and you always eat everything on your plate, no less, and yet never a request for seconds.

This, my dear, is one of the many reasons why I have left you. Our life... Our life. A fairytale - that’s what they call it. That’s the genre on the back page and that’s the synopsis of Tchaikovsky’s ballet. God I hate that bloody production - every single reimagined bloody version I’ve had to sit through! Every single time I’ve had to plaster a serene smile upon my aging face and gaze in feigned intrigue as a drippy sorrowful ballerina twirled through ‘Swan Lake’, pretending to be me. I’d see myself getting up and screaming so loud the orchestra would fall silent and I’d point and declare ‘that’s not me! That wispy dreary dreamy sap - that was NEVER me!’ But I never did it because who wants to hear that? What is it they say - why spoil and good story with the truth?

Anyway, back to the immediate issue darling, because I have a confession, or maybe a few. Last Wednesday, for instance, I put two tablespoons of salt in your mashed potato. You said nothing except ‘dinner is good’ but I thought that maybe you were just being kind.

So on Friday I collected the duck a l’orange and dauphinois from the new Michelin Star place in town, heated it up, binned the packaging and presented it as my own. Again, not a remark (except for ‘dinner’s good’ once again), and let's be clear - it was heaven on a plate! The duck especially - and you know how eating duck usually (understandably) makes me feel a bit queasy.

Sunday I went back to initial tactics and made a travesty of the roast; burning the beef to a crisp, serving the roast potatoes almost raw and boiling the gravy to a gloopy mixture of stodgy brown lumps dolloped all over the plate. I was strangely proud of how well I had succeeded at creating such a spectacular disaster! I uploaded a photograph of it to Instagram (#yuck), but I couldn't eat it. You did though; smiled when you had finished, thanked me for a ‘good dinner’ and off you strolled to watch the Strictly Come Dancing Results Show.

It was a few minutes ago when I plated up the pink-in-the-middle chicken that had spent just five minutes in the oven, that I realised I needed to leave you before I killed you. Women who poison have a terrible reputation in our world don't they?

So I have put the chicken back in the oven and I am writing you this ‘Dear John’ letter now, except it’s ‘Dear Siegfried’ - honestly darling what was your mother thinking giving you that name? Well she always was rather impulsive I suppose. I mean, encouraging you to marry a girl you had only known for a few hours. Ridiculous! More than once though I have questioned whether she was, in fact, fearful that any woman who spent more than a few days with you would realise how dull you actually are. Handsome yes, but if I'm being honest with you - and it's strange how honest you can be in a letter - then frankly Sieg our house plants have more personality than you, and they’re artificial!

Oh it's not your fault really. Back when I was a swan I had a lot of time to think about it, too much time really, and it's ill advised for young girls to dream too much. That's why we are kept so busy these days - keeps us from fanciful notions. Being a swan, gliding across that mirrored lake, gave me much time for reflection (no pun intended). I imagined a strong, dashing young man with cheekbones of steel and a sword to match would break the curse, kiss me and set me free, give me a nice big house and make me a bride and then, later, a mother.

You did all of it too. Almost exactly as I had envisioned somebody would. Except, well, you did try to shoot me out of the sky but then no first date is ever perfect and this is a fairytale after all, not a rom-com. That's another problem right there, I was saying to Cinderella just last week that this whole fairytale thing just sets impossible standards! She's not kidding anyone either, with her tic-tacs and Vera Wang perfume; that poor-girl-turned-princess drinks half a bottle of gin before midday and goodness knows how much more before midnight strikes.

Anyway, I suppose I was just so swept up in the romance of it all that I never really thought much about whether I actually loved you, and I don't think you did either. I mean, you asked me to marry you before you even knew my last name and within a couple of months you were filing joint tax returns with somebody who, for all you knew, might have done something to deserve being magically transformed into a swan! Some part of you, I suspect, may even be a bit relieved reading this. You’ve felt bad for me I guess; all those wasted years when I was under that spell.

Deceptive is the life of a swan. Watch them sail across calm waters with seeming ease and poise. Truth is, if you can get a glimpse beneath the surface you will see their feet paddling away with fury - so much beating of my grey webbed feet just to keep myself propelled forward. Not unlike the frenzied action you put into a good wank Seig - I know you think I’m naive, having been a bird for five years, but I’m not deaf dear and it is an en-suite bathroom.

Regardless, you came along, as princes do, and though you never did actually kill that wicked Von Rothbart who cursed me in the first place, you did ‘set me free’. Swiftly life became picking out wedding invitations, drinks down the pub with your Eton buddies pretending to laugh at their outdated and near offensive so-called ‘wit’, and having your mother show me how to ‘keep house’. Turned out that life as your wife wasn’t that different from being a swan; having to make it all look easy with elegance and regal appearance when really there’s a s**t load of fluster happening underneath.

Being royalty was a b***h too. All that smiling and nodding and gritting my teeth and restraining myself from making my wave a one fingered salute. Still, I had the babies to look forward to and when they came it really was glorious. Motherhood suited me, and not just because after the second child I no longer felt obligated to have sex with you, but because I really did melt every time they smiled and I could have spent the rest of my life tickling them on the palace floor or hearing about their day as I walked them home from school.

It's a shame how they turned out. They say children with famous parents always go a bit weird. And Sieg, I know she's your pride and joy, ‘your little princess’, but Glenda has a bit of a wicked side. This morning she told me to ‘f**k off’ after I suggested her mini skirt might be attracting the wrong kind of attention. Then she told me I ‘didn't know what it was like to be a teenager and so lonely.’ Self- absorbed spoiled brat! I was a swan at her age for goodness sake; all on my own in the middle of a forest with only that psychopath Von Rothbart for company. Loneliness - she’s hasn’t got a clue!

Charming as Jack is, he also had about as much loyalty as an alley cat and got into more scraps than one too. Knocking that girl up was he best thing that ever happened to him: Stepped up he did. We got zero credit of course and now he is so devoted to that baby and his new wife that he clearly doesn't need his mother anymore. I’m pleased for him, of course I am.

What I am trying to say is it that I don't feel bad about going now.

You see, I'm going to find that sorcerer Rothbart. Scotland Yard couldn't but I’ve always known the bar that that sleazy old sadist hides out in. It's was a good thing you didn't totally defeat him in the end after all because I'm going to ask him a favour. He’ll accept of course, so that I don't turn him in. I'm going to get him to transform me again. Not a swan this time: Being a swan, as I said, is much harder work than it might appear. This time I'm pondering living the rest of my life out as sloth - nicer pace don't you think? Or perhaps I will enjoy being a dolphin - they seem to know how to have a good time!

Anyway, I wish you all the best and dinner’s in the microwave. I'm sure that it's ‘good’.

Bye bye darling,


© 2019 E R Dauris

Author's Note

E R Dauris
Welcoming feedback on everything. I'm tough and can take all the negatives but if you can tell me what you like too (if anything) then that would be equally useful as I stuggle more with recognising my strengths that weaknesses,

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I'm only vaguely familiar with swan Lake, but I think it goes something like a suicide drama, right? If not, my mistake. As far as your writing goes, however, it goes really well. I think you did an excellent job. I myself love epistolary writing, and you have a great letter-writing conversational smoothness to it.
keep this up, and let us see just what else you can do, E.

Posted 4 Years Ago

E R Dauris

4 Years Ago

Thank you Wesley! Swan Lake is a fairytale - princess turned into swan, prince comes along and break.. read more
I'm not familiar with the story this is related to but I still enjoy reading it. Sure, there needs to be some edits done but that is as normal for a writer as weeding a garden or pruning a rose bush for a groundskeeper. Hope to see other works. Would be nice to see what else you like to do outside fanfic. I always thought a story with an open end always encourages the reader's imagination to travel past the confinement of the story.

Posted 4 Years Ago

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2 Reviews
Added on January 2, 2019
Last Updated on January 2, 2019
Tags: short shorty, fiction, comical


E R Dauris
E R Dauris

Brighton, England, United Kingdom

A Brighton based writer working on a novel and writing short stories to develop my voice and techniques. Very keen to share work with other writes and read work by other writers to enhance my passion .. more..