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The Ballad of the Tin soldier and the Paper ballerina

By Storycollector

Fantasy / Romance

The Ballad of the Tin soldier and the Paper ballerina


In a swamp an Egyptian looking woman dressed in green and brown was doing laundry in a washtub. There was still something regal about her. Then a flock of wild geese landed on the muddy ground.

"Good day, Marsh king's bride," greeted the leader of the flock and bowed her head. The other geese followed.

The graceful swamp beauty smiled warmly: "Welcome, Akka of Kebnekaise. Rest your wings as long as you need. Where are you flying, wild geese?" "To the south, marsh queen Amunet, to the south," cackled the birds in unison. "Greet my old father. Tell him I'm alright and I will bring him the plant soon," pleaded the young lady of the swamp. Akka nodded: "That we will do."

When the birds rested long enough. Akka urged them to form the right flying formation and they took off into the sky again. A fat toad-like creature crept out of the mud. "It's a beautiful morning," the Marsh King hugged his wife. "It is and it will be even more beautiful when our daughter comes back home." "Don't despair, my love. One day we will be together I'm sure of it." "You're right, I mustn't let the misery take me over. There's so much beauty in the world. Like you, Gunk" The two kissed.

Brooke: (taken aback) "Um, guys, the title says-"

Female Narrator: "Patience, Brooke, everything will be revealed in time."

Brooke: (doubtfully) "If you say so…"

Ingrid was a gorgeous dark brown girl with large chocolate brown eyes and luscious black hair. Her outward appearance was immaculate, instead all her flaws were in her personality. It was a beast in a beauty's body. She was prone to violently attack fellow students and even the school staff for no reason. Actually she could be found insulting or even beating anything that moved or didn't as Ashlynn Ella found the hard way out when she caught her trampling and tearing flowers in the garden. Fortunately for everyone she was unable to cast any magic and when no one let her near any weapon she was almost harmless.

However, like a coin, this girl, too, had two sides to her. Ingrid Chief, the daughter of the Viking chief and his wife from the Coleridge Shore had a secret. Every evening and when not a single ray of sun shine touched her skin she transformed into an ugly creature.

The chocolate shade of her eyes turned to a muddy brown, her skin was green and covered with warts. The luscious locks disappeared, leaving her head with a shapeless patch of oily black hair. This other form looked hideous but she hid a truly golden heart. So she spent her days as a ruthless bloodthirsty monster in a stunning woman's body while her nights were nights of a kind anthropomorphic being resembling something between a toad and a goblin.

Her best friend was Cecilia Origami. This petite dancer was pretty and good through and through. Nonetheless she had a quirk of her own. She was made of paper.

Brooke: "Oh my fairy Godmother, those are my schoolmates from the Freedom year. I could greet them through Maddie."

Male Narrator and Female Narrator in unison: "Don't you dare!"

Brooke: "Why did the scene change? Aren't we supposed to tell the story of Ingrid?"

Female Narrator: (sternly)"Brooke."

Brooke: "What is it this time?"

Male Narrator: "You are supposed to narrate not to question the flow of the story."

Brooke: "Yes, but…"

Female Narrator: "No buts about it."

I could sense someone's presence even though I was alone in the room. Or was I? Maybe one of the Narrators was nearby. They are invisible and comment the characters' behavior and thoughts. Fortunately they can't enter my mind or the mind of any Quill for that matter.

I'm Zelda Tolkien, once a normal young adult who thought to be able to lucid dream now a supernatural being with the ability to cross over to the lands of fictional stories and a new appointment. My new task is to train to one day become a headmistress of a school for fairy tales. Crazy, huh? And that's not all.

As you have guessed, the fairy tales are very much real. The kissing happens but so does the cursing and child eating. Long story short: This world is flipping dangerous. The catch is the fairy tales have to repeat themselves or otherwise the human readers on the other side will forget about them and their kingdoms may vanish into thin air. Sounds great, doesn't it? Yeah, that's why there are folks who are fed up with this system and decided to go against it. They call themselves the Rebels and they are looking for a way to live their life according to their wishes not according to the earthian storybooks. Opposite of them are the Royals, who may or may not be from actual royal descend, but who like (or are relatively okay with) the roles of their ancestors and want to act them out themselves.

That having said, some destinies, roles or how-you-wanna-call-it are really hard and I'm really glad I'm not the one with such a prescribed fate. Though frankly, getting hit by some mess unaware that something was heading your way in the first place is also pretty scripty, you know.

Like the other day for example. The most epic of fails begin so innocently…

Pricessology classroom. A break between two periods. The Freedom year students were gathering their books and quills while the Legacy year ones waited behind the door for their turn. Darling yawning, Ashlynn hexting with Hunter and Rosabella Beauty ranted about the closed windows and the blinds rolled down to not let a single sunshine sneak through.

"I still believe everyone should get the chance to openly express their inner self," she exclaimed loudly and glared at the darkened windows and their teacher Mrs. White Queen.

Apple let out a nervous but delicate laugh: "But, Rosabella dear, please don't forget about Ingrid's special condition." The Fairest One threw a pitiful glance at the cursed Chief's daughter but Ingrid pretended she hasn't seen it.

Ingrid heard every single word though. It wasn't the first time someone mentioned 'her condition' nor the first time Rosabella tried to persuade her to get in touch with her beastly side. As if she had one.

And there was Raven. Another well-known student, another person Ingrid felt awkward around. Not because of her mother and her story destiny but because she was the one who ignited the Rebel movement and she encouraged everyone to write their own story.

A part of her would very much like to follow her lead but it was the part of her that was, thank Grimm, hidden away currently. But it wasn't her real self, it was just a mistake the destiny will correct in time.

Ingrid was undoubtedly a strange Royal. In fact she was a royal Royal. Double 'R' because she was the daughter of a Viking chief, not a posh Charming princess, but still a royalty. But whereas all princesses looked incredibly stunning or at least lovely, Ingrid was plain ugly. She didn't like it, but she knew it and she got used to it. Of course, there was always the occasional moron who would mock her for her looks but she actually preferred to be ugly and good, instead of being good looking but rotten and evil on the inside. Which was her other side. Being a toadish creature at night, a beastly beauty at day.

Darkness was good, light was bad that was her case in a world where anyone believed otherwise. One day, however, all this will end because her story meant that her good looks and nice personality will unite and all the bad traits will disappear. OK, so some people didn't like their stories but why the hex don't the same people care about themselves and don't leave her and her story in peace?!

Ingrid turned to her best friend forever after who had a quirk of her own. Cecilia Origami was made of paper. It brought some problems of its own because some people couldn't think of such folk as real humans. They weren't alive enough for them, some called them slurs like chunks of metal or things. The polite term was person of material, POM. There were always some persons of material at Ever After High because the human authors were fond of coming up with talking toys and trees and the like. So whenever the more meatier students and teachers got annoying she could talk with Cedar Wood, Nathan Nutcracker or with Brandon, her boyfriend.

In the first year the students get to choose what subjects they want to study. Cecilia chose to study princessology. For one, Ingrid was glad they had a lesson together and secondly even though Cecilia wasn't meant to be a princess, she was supposed to be a lovely, gorgeous and graceful dancer, some qualities that are shared by princesses. As a love-at-first-sight interest for the main character and hero of their tale she was pretty close to be considered one.

a week later at the library

Rosabella Beauty, the next Beauty for a Beast, she certainly had the beauty part down even though she declared that she doesn't care only for one single beast that actually turns into a hottie later. Rosabella was an all around nature lover a trait she shared with Ashlynn Ella. But where Ashlynn was timid and shy, Rosabella was outspoken and unafraid to oppose all injustice. Unfortunately for her, sometimes she was the only one to see the blatant injustice around her. At least that's what she believed in.

Right now she was studying the beast policy of Cair Paravel. Next to her tried her cousin to learn but her staring into her textbook ended as always with a Beauty nap. It was lunch time so many students were either in the Castleteria eating or in the schoolyard practicing sports. But the door still creaked to reveal the large face of Ingrid. The library was one of the darker places in school so it was safe for Ingrid to be here as she had no homicidal urges.

Rosabella leaned to Briar that has just opened one of her eyes drowsily. "I see the grey-brown of denial around her," she pretended to whisper but the words came out loud enough for Ingrid to hear them. Her green complexion darkened as her cheeks flushed with blood. "Oh no there she goes again," she muttered.

Rosabella stood up and adjusted her glasses: "There's nothing wrong with being a beast. If you, a princess, will accept it, others will see the errors of their ways and be kinder to beasts everywhere as well." Ingrid turned to the activist princess and shouted: "I'm not a beast, I'm a human being like you. I just look like a toad. But not for long," she whispered. This outburst of emotion has earned her a hiss from the wicked step sisters who now served as the librarians and a glare from Rosabella. The toad-like looking chief's daughter has tried to reciprocate the stare but she broke it too soon. She gathered up her bag and things and left without a word.

She couldn't stomach another embrace-your-inner-rebel or worse inner-beast speech. What's worse she was leaving one of her safe havens as there weren't many dark rooms in Ever After High and if now she has to avoid going to the library because of Rosabella the time spent at school will get even harder than before. However there was one thing that she could still look forward to. Everything will be alright as soon as she signs the Storybook of legends and graduates then she will leave all obnoxious self-righteous pretty princesses behind.

Brooke: "Oh, I've never realized that someone's good intentions could hurt someone so much."

Author's note: Do you know Anderson's tales? Like, really know them? The EAH fans usually talk about the Little Mermaid and how terrible her destiny is or are influenced by Disney's adaptation of the Snow Quen but Anderson has written many tales. One is sadder than the other. Do you remember Cecilia from Freedomers and new semester? She comes back. Her and Brandon's fate will really challenge the destiny system the fairy tale society is built upon. And there is Ingrid Chief, who lives with a curse and was adopted by a Viking couple while her real parents can only helplessly watch and wait when her tale ends and she will return to them. They can't tell her who she really is, because they are afraid of the old Marsh Queen, Gunk's mother who is an evil old hag and a witch.

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1. The Ballad of the Tin soldier and the Paper ballerina
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