Juniper

My mother, she killed me

My father destroyed me

My darling Elise,

She made sure to see

That my bones were all gathered together

and bound up in silk, as neat as can be

and she laid them beneath the juniper tree

What a lovely bird I am.

First he fetched the millstone and it weighed naught but a feather. The granite was lighter than revenge. Then he took the golden chain, held in one claw, and a pair of boots as red as blood. These he held in another claw, held by the strings. First he flew to Elise. He sang outside her door until she opened it, and left for her the boots, blood red, red as sin. Then to his own home, where he rapped at the window until his father ran outside yelling. The golden chain fell over his head. I hope it's cursed, he thought to himself, hissing at the thought of the man's ignorance. Inside, his father's wife stopped.

"Perhaps there is something out there for me," she said quietly, and stepped out. At last, he thought, and dropped the millstone. As the stone hit and her bones were crushed to dust, he flew back to Elise, where he regained his human form and soon thereafter was married. The two lived happily ever after.

"Cannibalism, huh?" Elise grinned, throwing her arms around John's neck. They sat together in the branches of a hundred-year-old juniper tree that stood outside her Victorian-era house. "What a story."

"That's Grimm for you," John replied, smiling. "Did you notice how I added the part about the boots being red as sin, darling?" He winked at her. She rolled her eyes.

"No sinning for you, sir. You neglect to mention that in the story I would be your sister." John frowned.

"I said 'my darling Elise', not 'my sister Irene' or whatever it's supposed to be. It doesn't count." Then, smirking, he added, "If Sharon ever kills me and feeds me to my dad, you'd bury me here, right?" Elise gave him a serious look.

"Sure," she said softly. "Bound up in silk, as sweet as can be, and I'd lay you to rest 'neath the juniper tree." John kissed her softly, and the full moon shimmered above them. Neither of them heard the solemn voice that echoed through the darkness of the tree's roots.

What a lovely bird I be.