The Story Finder

Voices in Fairy Tales

by Michelle Tocher

Story finder - Curly

Click the image above to fetch a new random story.


I met John after he had returned from the war. I was mending my net in my hut when I heard him come up to the house and sit on the steps.

I invited him in, poured him some wine, and cooked him some fried fish. He told me how he’d nearly been beaten to death in a battle to free a princess who’d been put under a spell.

He said she appeared to him in the fire as a serpent with a woman’s face, and she promised to marry him if he delivered her. So he went through all kinds of beatings and battles that were worse than anything he’d suffered in the war.

Once she was free, she left him with the promise that she’d come back for him in her carriage. But he missed her every time she came around, because she put him to sleep.

This princess, I thought, will be forever out of his reach, and my poor John will never see that his own true love, his seagull, is sitting right here in front of him in the candlelight, listening with her whole heart to every word he has to say.

Seagull in The Little Soldier, Green Fairy Book. Painting by Daniel Ridgeway Knight.


What words would you use to describe the state that Seagull is in while she sits and listens to John? What associations with other situations or stories come to mind? What is Seagull’s response and how do you imagine her expressing it in this scene?