"Fractured Tales of the Rose Bride"

How I learned to stop worrying and love the Revolution.

Series Finale: The Beautiful Duckling (or) "I suffered through twenty-three chapters of horrible fairy-tale spoofs and all I have to show for it is this lousy T-shirt"

In the beginning, bewitched was she,

Delicate princess transformed by evil.

Birthed from a mother who doted much love,

And from honored father, civil and fair,

The fame of the princess brought unjust wrath,

And made those who loved her wail in misery.

The evil spell fell as she was nursed by her mother,

Suckling babe, swathed in magic most foul.

From her original beauty she was unjustly transformed,

Into unsightly monster unfit for fair eyes.

T'was only by the grace of her matronly savior,

And the kindness and love of patronly forces,

Did this cursed sovereign find light twixt the dark,

And emerge gradually to a world most disenchanted.

Growth for a monster, unsightly by all,

Brings toil incomparable and nightmares galore.

Twice a day did she uncontrollably bawl,

Yet parental love kept her tears at bay.

But as the years drawled on, familial chains lengthened,

Until at last the princess had been cut adrift,

Floating forever in the ocean of dread,

Where fog clouds all direction, and God unsympathetic.

No driftwood could she clutch, no passing boat to save her,

No anchor for storms, no lighthouse for shelter,

Yet the bewitched princess kept her own light within,

Unnatural love and enthusiasm in scores,

She thrust her limbs forth and challenged the ocean alone,

Swimming through dread with insatiable pride.

One soul did save her; t'was love at first sight,

Admiration for heroes suffocated her life,

Until one day came when she espied a prince,

Though her path was impassable, the venture in vain,

The prince but a shadow, the love just a dream,

And so to the hero, heart heavy, she returned,

A candle whose fire had been buffeted cruelly,

A duckling still ugly, still ordinary, still tepid,

A princess, sans prince, adrift with her hero.

Calm followed storm, sense followed passion,

Relief brought forth meditation, and then careful action.

Another soul was lost in the fast-sweeping river,

A soul nearing death, victim of gallows,

Her anchor weighed heavy, dragging her down,

Cutting into the nape, gnawing patiently,

But the noose was her own; she wore it freely,

No other hand forced this grave fate upon her,

It was a penance, she claimed, for insufferable weakness.

She could not be honest, she could not be true,

The noose destroyed her, yet she wept when it broke,

A shattering circle, broken chain, freed prisoner.

And so, sans necklace, did the lost soul wander,

But the rivers of the world played a curious part,

For two souls adrift do hardly encounter:

Wide is the river, and fast, and broad.

Yet these souls found safety in desperate arms,

Drowning girls saved by each other's resolve,

Grotesque princess and burdened sufferer,

Sparks anew leapt, the fire at full force,

A warmth from the cold, a respite from the journey,

A sanctuary for the lost, a fortress from fear,

Entwined now, by body and soul,

Two lovers met in spite of the trials.

Though the world may despise them, and empty its fields,

Whisking away friends and comforts and hopes,

These two lost ones can still have each other,

Unlikely as it is that their love still exists.

But who could deny them their saccharine joy?

Who could bear to separate two blessed individuals?

For the princess is now as she always has been,

A girl rendered beautiful, a duckling turned swan,

And the wanderer secure, her weakness absolved,

Others now benefit from their remarkable example:

The cruel girl now calmed by a selfless young love,

The brainless found merit in his partner's strong sword,

The jealous and the anchor bound eternally together,

The prodigy in love with hero and heroine.

This epic spectacle has reached its conclusion,

Yet weep not, dear readers, save for love of joy,

For in these times, a clean heart is precious;

To have love be the winner is an ending most grand.

And let it be said now, ere the curtain falls,

May the same love I spoke of benefit you all.

And they all lived happily ever after.

Even Juri.