The Story Finder

Voices in Fairy Tales

by Michelle Tocher

Story finder - Curly

Click the image above to fetch a new random story.


A witch stole me when I was seven years old. She wanted a servant, and now she is looking for an excuse to get rid of me.

“Take this basket,” she said the other day. “Go to the well, and bring it back to me filled with water. If you don’t I will kill you.”

Of course the water just streamed out of the basket. I leaned against the well and wept. Then I heard a voice at my side.

“Prunella, why are you crying?”

I turned around and saw a handsome youth. I had never seen him before. “Who are you?” I asked. “How do you know my name?”

“I am the son of the witch,” he said. “My name is Bensiabel. I know that my mother wants to kill you, but I promise you that I will not let her carry out that wicked plan. Will you give me a kiss, if I fill your basket?”

“No!” I said.

“Very well. Give me your basket anyway, and I will fill it for you.”

He dipped it into the well, and the water stayed in it.

On my way back to the house, I felt happy for the first time in years. I might have kissed him if he had been willing to help me out of the pure goodness of his heart. But how would he know how to do that? His mother is a witch. She has taught him nothing about love.

Prunella, in Prunella, Grey Fairy Book. Painting by John Singer Sargent.