Sunday, June 18, 2006

Sunday Scribblings #12 - Bed


Fairy tale princesses. Those virtuous girls with flesh tender as lily petals, all unsmudged by manly fingers, were they indeed as pure as that? How grave and dull if they were, and their beds, how clean, how sweatless. Did they never fall back into rumpled sheets, their hair a nest of tangles round flushed faces? Did they never bite their lips in the night to keep from crying out and alerting the witch, or the queen, to their pleasure? Did they never shiver as their gowns were slowly, tantazlizingly unlaced, or better yet just lifted like a rising sea of lace about their waists? Did they never feel the secret heat of breath upon their necks and thighs?

And did Rapunzel lay back upon her narrow tower bed alone each night with only her hair for company and dream of freedom, of wading through waist-high wheat, of flying? Or did she wake in fever a half dozen times with the phantom touch of a dream lover’s hand fading from her flesh? Did she clasp herself in her own arms, imagining them to be another’s arms, imagining she was loved? And when the prince finally came through her window like a dream made real, what then?

And Swan Lake? Those dozens of princesses, swans by day, maidens by night, dancing to keep warm when the twilight twinkled their feathers away into nothing but smooth skin, naked until morning. They must have become feral creatures living so long as birds: flying, walking barefoot in snow, feeding wild. Those long human limbs might have felt like the enchantment; they might have forgotten which was true, maid or bird. Did they sleep as humans, curled naked in a nest, or as swans with their heads tucked beneath their wings? And when the prince came forth on horseback and spied them there, dancing in their human skins, naked and wild the under moon, what then?

And what of the pea? Of all the absurd ideas, flesh so tender as to detect a pea beneath dozens of mattresses! How was such a dainty creature to ever endure childbed, or a husband’s touch? What a fool that old queen was to dream up such a test. I have a theory. When that lovely amnesiac maiden wandered in from the wilds and the queen squinted down her long, imperious nose at her, the old snob was ripe to be fooled. I think the moment she turned her back her son winked at the mysterious young lady and she, with a complicit gleam in her eye, winked back. Surely she did not climb the ladder alone to her high bed that night: the prince was right behind her, caressing her ankles as she climbed. And I think she was telling the truth in the morning when she claimed not to have slept a wink. Such a bed as that wasn’t made for sleeping! I imagine they hid under the covers, whispering, giggling at their own deception, their eyes feverish with longing -- until now, they’d only met in the woods near her family’s modest cottage. It was the prince who’d begun to plot after his mother devised her foolish test for some other prospective bride of dubious nobility. But they’d had to wait months to carry it out so the maid could soak her work-rough hands and pummice away her telltale calluses. Now the time had finally come. The high bed, the absurd pea. And because I am a romantic I imagine this was the first time the prince slipped his hand -- trembling a little -- up his love’s slim calf, over her knee... the first time he took her earlobe between his lips, and the first time she hooked her small foot around his leg and pulled him close. They fell silent then and grew serious, their eyes bright under the covers, so much in love this towering bed was their entire world. So much depended upon it -- they might have waited, just to be safe. But they’d waited so long already, whilst she soaked away her calluses so she could pose as a princess, and pretend to be bruised by a pea.

Read more scribblings here.

25 comments:

Jim Di Bartolo said...

Great (naughty!) post sweety :)

Love ya and your (naughty!) mind.

Jim

deirdre said...

Laini, your writing stuns and gives me goosebumps. I looove this! Now I have to re-read all my fairy tale books with a different eye. ;)

Living Part Deux said...

Ooooooo. Tantalizing, right on the edge of taudry. The makings of a great late-night novel read.

paris parfait said...

Laini, you've done it again! Brilliant! Love the fairy tales all grown-up with adult desires and fantasies. And great image.

Sunday Scribblings said...

ooh, ooh, oooohhhhh. This was very racy and I think that you should write a book of fairy tales for WOMEN - tales that would make us feel better about ourselves - no more vapid, weak, helpless heroines - in your tales they could be bewitching and sexy and strong. I want you to write them so when I have a daughter I can give them to her when she's the right age! We need fiesty fairy tales like you could write!!

xoxo

Laini Taylor said...

Hee hee, yes, "tawdry" and "racy" indeed -- maybe more racy than tawdry. I do love the idea of grown-up faerie tales with a little somethin-somethin thrown in. I have to admit I'm a sucker for a little romance, a little spice!

GreenishLady said...

I'm so glad my son is all-grown-up, and I no longer read those tales to him. I'd be blushing and stuttering if I had to read them to a little one now! Fabulous approach to the old tales. Well done!

Left-handed Trees... said...

I agree with the concept of a fairy tale book of sultry stories for "big girls". They've remade them from a Feminist perspective for kids--which, to me, is very important...but I've missed out on the "adults only" version of the stories I once treasured like old friends. Beautiful post...such lyrical, magical writing here.

Mardougrrl said...

As usual, Laini, you weave a magical spell with your words. And I second (third?) the nomination that you write a series of fantasy/fairy tales for WOMEN...I adore the reimagining here.

Deb R said...

Excuse me while I fan myself a moment... :-)

Great post, Laini! I love your take on the classic tale.

Kim G. said...

Well if a story could ever make me want to go to bed, this is it!

Amber said...

Oh, perfect! I love it! And I was also going to tell you to write these ideas into Big Girl stories. The other side of the tale. Like that guy who wrote Wicked, only with lots-o-sex! Ha!

:)

tinker said...

Whew! I, too, need a moment to cool down and collect my thoughts...
So THAT'S what that bruise was from? That makes a lot more sense than some tiny, little ol' insignificant pea!
Love your take on this - though I have to agree with Imelda, I don't know if I can read these stories aloud, without blushing and stuttering, now (and I have grandchildren!)

Delaleuverses said...

Wow, nice, I'm reading this and didn't want to stop, very captivating, thanks for sharing

HoBess said...

Awesome!

boliyou said...

I agree, you should update the fairytales. This was absorbing, witty and wonderful. I loved it.

Colorsonmymind said...

That illio is freakin (sorry but required it) amazing!!!!

I really am in awe of the detail in your work. Fantastic.

The story of the princess was so fun-I enjoyed it so much.

You are terrific.

Yolanda said...

Such a fanciful beautiful post.

Shesawriter said...

Goldie Lox should have been arrested for breaking and entering. Snow White was a skank. She lived with seven guys. No way do I believe that she wasn't doing the nasty with at least one of them.

Jamie said...

How glorious! What beauty, whimsy and sensuality! I love the way you've interpreted these tales.

And I am quite a fan of the Edmund Dulac pic too!

M said...

I love this! It's so whimsical and so naughty all at the same time!! you are so brilliant with words. I love the picture as well, what a bed!

la vie en rose said...

:) so good, good, good!

Yummyteece said...

oh.. i'm absolutely quivering over your Princess and Pea bit.... i love it!

Anonymous said...

Very nice site! » »

Anonymous said...

Rather cool site you've got here. Thanx for it. I like such topics and everything connected to them. I definitely want to read a bit more soon.

Truly yours