My mother told me a story once about a foolish princess. We were hiking up the path to Banana Rock. Sunlight slanted through the branches. She made up the story, and I held her hand and matched my steps to hers. The princess was vain and not very pretty. When an old baron asked to marry her, her mother celebrated. The baron called the princess beautiful. She believed him and fell in love. The night before the wedding, the baron invited her to his house. Her mother insisted she wear a veil until she’d sealed the union. But the princess wanted her fiancé to admire her. When the princess walked into a hall of mirrors inside the castle, she threw off the veil and found herself in a dungeon packed with demon brides. A sorcerer turned her into a toothless old woman with a smelly, aching body. Because the princess was vain, the sorcerer made her sit in the hall of mirrors, where her ugly image stretched out in every direction. She warned each of the baron’s new brides-to-be not to look at herself, but none would listen. Even her mother said she’d be better off dead. “It’s not my fault,” cried my mother in the foolish princess’s voice. Her own voice rang with a smug glee that meant she thought it really was.
Read the full excerpt on CBC Canada Writes here.