The Story Finder

Voices in Fairy Tales

by Michelle Tocher

Story finder - Curly

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Mother Holle

She’s becoming homesick, sweet girl, though the conditions of earth are not better than the ones down here.

Everything in time. She has served me well, and I have enjoyed having her company.

I take her hand and I lead her to a large, open door. She stands on the threshold, and a shower of gold falls on her. It clings to every part of her. Then the door closes between us.

She will find herself on earth again, with her shuttle in her hand, not far from her mother’s house.

Mother Holle in Mother Holle, Grimms. Illustration by H.J. Ford.

Mother Holle

* * *

I could write thousands of words
about fairy tales
but I have this inner spinner
who won’t be dismissed
and insists
that I bring the stories in,
one at a time
shear them from the page
comb them and spin
the lines around my bones

Wear them as clothes
telling the scenes
and letting the telling
show us what they mean

She won’t give me a soapbox
no matter how fired up I get
about the mud that
people sling at fairy tales
and the ways that they are
twisted well before they
are known
and sent out
to factories to be mass-manufactured
as cheap clothes

‘Opinions mean nothing to me,’
says my inner Mother Holle

She goes about her work below
with little concern for time and fads
and trends that come and go

‘You either take a fairy tale in
or you dismiss it,’ she says,
But it can be useful to know one,

‘Even a simple one,’
she says, winking at me
as if I were that one
that she is getting to know

As if I were that one
who would leave her house
covered in gold.”


Michelle Tocher, 2014