The Story Finder

Voices in Fairy Tales

by Michelle Tocher

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Duchess Grumbly

Themes: Ambition | Envy

I have good reason to grumble. I am old, for one thing, and I have aches and pains. But nothing pains me more than having to put up with the little princess that the king and queen have named Graciosa. “Oh, Graciosa, here’s a new frock to go with the new day! Are you hungry? Here eat these sugar plums and pots of jam. Is there anything else we can get for you?”

I’m not envious. Why would I be envious? My hair is red as fire, and I’ve got one good eye left. I’m strong, too. I’d eat you up if I had any teeth left.

The long and the short is, I got fed up. I left the court to go and live in my own castle. Now at least when people mention how pretty the princess is, I can tell them I’ve got more beauty in my little finger than she does in her whole body.

I just heard that the queen died, and the king has shut himself up in his room. Hmm. With her mother out of the way, I might just be able to step into the role I was meant to play.

Duchess Grumbly, Graciosa and Percinet, Red Fairy Book. Illustration by H.J. Ford.