"Beautiful", she called me, "Precious beyond compare".
I am Mother's treasure, perfect in every way. I only deserve the best, she said, nothing else will do-that's why I must be hidden in this tower, away from unworthy eyes. I bask in her praise, feel myself blossom under her worshipful gaze. I feel pleasure at her words, though no surprise nor wonder tainted my joy. How can she not love me, as glorious as I am. She said so herself.
I hate her. Hate her down to the marrows of my bones. How dare she deny the world of my glory? How dare she leave me to wither in this heap! I know she's not really my mother, I've known it all along. How else could that ugly hag ever hope to have birthed something as magnificent as me? What else could I be but a princess, the daughter of a king? All the old tales- in books I've read through time and time again, speak of princesses, the most beautiful in the land, who always, in the end, overcome all odds, for their happily ever after. The jealous witch snatched me from my gilded crib for she wanted my beauty for her own! But no fear! For my prince will come, and whisk me to his castle to worship and adore, all the days of my life.
The witch thinks she can fool me with lies, that she can pull the wool over my eyes. Me! A peasant's child? Exchanged for three heads of cabbage? Common as dirt, she says, precious only to her. Nononononono..NO! I am the daughter of Kings, born with a golden crown upon my head, a silver spoon within my mouth. I am worth my weight in gold. No, I will not pay any heed to her vicious lies. I will sit by my windows and wait. Someday, my prince will come. And I will have my happily ever after.
When the first one arrived at the foot of my tower, I thought that my wait was over at last. Eagerly, I let down my golden tresses and eagerly he climbed. His princess awaits.
I revelled in his hunger, his adulation was like a drug. I was made to be worshipped, and worship he did. When the sun rose like a spreading bruise, he began to rouse. "I have to leave by daybreak", he muttered, tongue still thick with sleep, "I have to milk the cows". I laughed and held him closer, since when did princes milk cows? He started, then laughed- my blood ran cold at the sound-"A prince?" he chortled, "you might as well have called me a pigeon or a duck!" Shaking his head in mirth he turned away, missing my dawning horror. He went to a window and held out a hand, "Come on, we haven't got all day".
Me? A farmer's wife? For a second, I let my imagination wander. A warm little cottage, next to a stream. His warm hands. Those soft eyes lit with wonder. Little ones with my golden hair and his kind smile. A home filled with laughter...
My hand reached for his and just then, for the first time, I felt warmer than I have ever felt before.Then I looked down at our entwined hands and the sight of my soft, unblemished skin against his sun-worn skin and it was like waking up from a dream. I imagined my hands calloused and rough like his, wrinkled by years of doing his laundry and milking his cows. His adoration would fate with my beauty over the years and I would be like her, an old bitter hag, looking on as the beautiful youths from my womb recieve the admiration I was due.
Numbly, I followed him as he led me to the open window. Then, I saw his worn, filthy hands reaching for my tresses and I snapped. In horror and utter desperation, I closed my eyes and pushed. I braced myself for the sickening crunch of carcass meeting the cold, hard ground but it never came. Slowly, I opened my eyes and saw a single trembling hand, holding on to the window's edge with a vice-like grip. Hestitating, I moved closer and peered down at his face, but the pleading look in his eyes only filled me with disgust. Pathetic whines fell from his lips in a low murmur. I felt my lips curl in an ugly sneer(as ugly as I can be), a prince would never show such cowardice. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a pair of scissors just within my reach. As I held the scissors in my hand, I felt a sense of power, heady as a drug. At that moment, I was his everything. I held his life in my hands. I am God. Slowly, almost tenderly, I caressed his grimy hand gently with the blade. "Hushh..", I cooed soothingly at him like I would the babes we would never have, "Fly, my pigeon, fly". Then I stabbed, hard. And he flew.
Later that night, I went to bed with a bloodstained cloth in my arms, the bloom of red vivid and striking against the pure white silk. "Soon", I vowed, pressing the fabric to my lips, "I would have my happily ever after". But for that, I would need a prince.