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ursulav

Swan Brothers

It happened one summer that a curse fell on my family. The details aren’t important. We could be here all night with who married whom and who cursed what. There was a curse, that’s all you need to know.

All seven of my brothers were turned into swans. From loud, hard-handed boys, they became mute birds, with wings as white as cloud and eyes as dark as heaven.

There was a great deal of chaos. There usually is, when someone turns into a bird. They went mad indoors and had to be ushered out into the gardens, to flap and sulk and arch their necks in beautiful reproach.

The wise woman of the woods came to me, with her hair wrapped up in leaf and copper wire. She told me that I was given the task of weaving seven shirts in silence, and only then would they be restored to human form.

A single word spoken, a single stitch unsewn, and they would be swans forever.

As soon as the wisewoman left the room, I pitched my spindle into the fire and sang aloud the raunchiest song I knew.

I never liked my brothers. They made much better swans.

The End

(This is my buddy Otter's fault. She's my editor and the last book has involved a lot of screaming and it...err...well, what with one thing and another, I thought I needed to write something based on the swan brother fairy tale, and then I realized it really didn't need to be novel-length...)


Bravo! You should print this on t-shirts and sell them. *laughs*

Love it! Why does the tale assume that the brothers were decent people in the original, I wonder!

In the original, the brothers were all loud and obnoxious, and that's one of the reasons they got cursed in the first place... their mom wished they'd shut up.

I like this version. :) I guess the original was a sort of cautionary tale about being careful what you wished for...

**laughs** I loved this, and I can think of a number of people who'd make pretty good swans. Swans are total thugs, beautiful as they are; they'll mug you for a piece of bread, can break your arm with one blow of a wing, and have historically drowned at least one man: http://articles.latimes.com/2012/apr/16/health/la-na-nn-killer-swan-attacks-chicago-man-until-he-drowns-20120416

The original story fascinated me because I spin fibers on a drop-spindle as a member of the SCA, and the idea of spinning nettles intrigued me. The thing is, if you process the plants properly, the result is pretty much like linen thread.

Now I want to see a sequel to the ugly duckling where the newly minted swan hunts down and terrorizes the ducks that used to snub her.

So many times this has been my exact thought about what the heroine *should* do in stories.






Edited at 2014-10-13 04:04 am (UTC)

Ahhaha! Love it! Nice that they always assume that they were *nice* kids that got cursed! Heehee!

"Be decent to the young sibling to whom will fall the task of un-cursing you" is not a bad life lesson. :D

You make me want to---

Eat some wings at a cheap restaurant with my family and not invite my brother.

**grins** Swan wings, maybe? I actually asked if swan was available for buying at markets when my dad was working in the UK and I was an ignorant teenager; the Brit I asked was horribly offended and told me that all swans belong to the Queen.

Hahahaha. I love this so very much.

Bravo!

I do love takes on fairytales that question their basic premise.

I openly admit to giggling!
You write some of the best short stories. :)

In Canada . . .

(Anonymous)
. . . I was once feeding some swans and quite a rude, pushy mob had collected around me--and then came this one HUGE swan, a real alpha male type, and shooed them back. He approached me with very slow, dignified steps, delicately took food from the palm of my hand without pinching or biting me, and then gave the rest such a LOOK. It was like, "Have some manners, you yokels!" Couldn't have been the first time he had encountered tourists, and he must have figured out that being civil would get him more food.

OTOH, I was once terrorized by some swans when I didn't have any food to give them, and they really didn't like that. You don't realize what gigantic birds they are until they're displeased with you--I understand Yeats' "Leda and the Swan" a lot better now!

MA

Aw, that's a lovely story. And, given that I just watched Matthew Bourne's version of Swan Lake a couple of days ago, makes me grin =D

Read this aloud in a restaurant to my husband -- he was also amused :D

I had a hard time stopping giggling after reading this.

Ahahahah! Awesome. Thank you for brightening my day.

Considering my older brothers I can empathise with her reaction.

You're one mean little sister...

I like that. >;-D

Bwaha! I needed a good laugh. Great little story.

I have the hugest reader's crush on you, because you write stuff like this!

No, see you keep spinning... even weaving cloth. But then every garment you make you first sew a seam, then rip it out. All the while chattering like a maniac.

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