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A Modern-day fairy tale

(Author’s note: the following story is entirely fictional. Any resemblance to any persons or events living or dead are purely coincidental.)

A long time ago, in a land far away called Usania, there were four sisters. Their names were Cordelia, Regan, Goneril, and Miranda. They were all very intelligent and ambitious women, and all wanted to gain great power to do great things.

One day they were talking about how they would achieve their goals. Cordelia spoke first. “Usania is a very sexist land. The people are afraid of strong women, and will not let a woman lead them. We will need to work with our husbands to do our great deeds. I will find a rich, powerful man and marry him, and together we shall do great things for the people.”

Next Goneril spoke. “I agree. If we women are to achieve what they need to do, we need to have husbands that will the people will accept. I will find a poor man, but one who is cunning and ambitious and charming. I will marry him, and together we will rise to power and do great things for the people.”

Then it was Miranda’s turn. “Yes, sisters, you are right. We cannot succeed on our own; we will need husbands to get us past the discrimination and bias of the people. I will find a husband of my own, a man who is young and wealthy and handsome, and I will shape him and drive him to greatness and power, and then we can do great things for the people.”

But Regan disagreed. “Yes, sisters, the people of Usania are still prejudiced against women in power. But we don’t need to accept that. I believe that if we work very hard and do all we can, we can be accepted on our own as good, worthy people and leaders on our own merits.”

The other sisters just laughed at Regan, though, and went on toward achieving their goals. Cordelia found a wealthy, powerful man named Hans and married him, and the two moved to the capitol and began working on great deeds. Goneril found a man named Jeff who was poor, but cunning and charming and ambitious, and married him. She moved to the poor province that was his home and they began building support. Miranda found a man named Nicky who was young and wealthy and handsome, and began grooming him to lead and be loved by the people. But Regan went off to the university and began studying and learning all she could.

But Usania was a strange land. It had a king, as is only natural, but each king was only king for four years at a time, and the people chose their king from between two groups. A king could get chosen a second time, but no king could be king three times. And the two groups, who called themselves “The Dudes and Dudettes” and “The Righteous Ones,” argued back and forth who was better suited to rule.

All did not go as well as planned for the sisters. Cordelia’s husband, Hans, did achieve great things and rose to great prominence, but was not slated to ever come close to being king. And then he tragically died in a carriage accident, and Cordelia found herself a wealthy widow who was well-liked by those in power, but out of the spotlight. Goneril’s husband was indeed charming and cunning and ambitious, but he had a problem with his pants falling down and people laughing at him. She tried to make him wear a belt, but Jeff insisted that he had a magic, invisible belt that was better than any ordinary belt and his pants couldn’t hold more than one belt. Further, her attempts to have successes of her own apart from Jeff. She dabbled in land, but lost money and several of the others involved were thrown in the dungeon. She dabbled in livestock, and (with the help of powerful people who curried Jeff’s favor) made a great deal of money, but people said her success was a carefully-arranged bribe for her and her husband. And Miranda’s husband, Nicky, turned out to be a very poor husband indeed. He was constantly spending more and more time with his man friends, and less and less with her and their children. People began to whisper behind Miranda’s back that Nicky liked his friends more than he liked her.

Meanwhile, Regan continued to study and research and learn. She achieved many high honors at the University, and was offered a job with the school. She began teaching, and continued to grow in respect and renown.

The other three sisters struggled to achieve their goals, despite their disappointments with their husbands. Miranda divorced her husband and said, “I am rich and smart and influential. I will give people my opinions and thoughts on matters of grave import, and they will listen to me and respect me for my insights and analysis.” She also ran for Queen of her province, but lost.

Goneril’s husband continued to rise in power and fame, despite the frequent failings of his magic belt. He eventually was chosen King by the people of Usania, and then a second time. But the people grew sick of his falling pants and his unwillingness to tell them the truth, and they very nearly drove him from the throne.

Cordelia mourned the loss of her husband, but after a couple years she decided to move on. Hans had been on the High Council when he died, and there was another man who was on the High Council who was divorced from another wealthy woman. Forrest had grown fond of the life of luxury, and had been struggling to live on his Council pay. The only problem was political: Cordelia’s first husband, Hans, had been a leader of the Righteous Ones, and Forrest was a member of the Dudes and Dudettes. Cordelia held her head high, though, and she and Forrest were wed.

Meanwhile, Regan continued to study and learn and teach. Many successful merchants and government ministers sought her counsel, and listened carefully to her words. She grew more and more in respect – one merchant even named one of his mightiest ships in her honor.

Time passed. Jeff’s reign ended, and instead of the throne passing to his heir, Algernon, instead the people turned to Walter. Walter was of the Righteous One’s party, like Miranda and Regan, while Jeff and Goneril were from the Dudes and Dudettes.

Walter took the throne, and reached out for advisors and counselors to aid him in his rule. One of his main advisors was Regan, whose wisdom and knowledge of the affairs of state was respected throughout the land.

Goneril, however, had refused to take the end of Jeff’s reign be the end of her own ambitions. She found a place that was soon to lose one of it’s High Councilors. She moved there and persuaded the people that she, based on her experience as Jeff’s wife and that she was a strong and intelligent woman, could best serve them on the High Council, and they agreed.

Four years passed. Walter was seeking to be re-chosen as King, but the Dudes and Dudettes sought to deny him. Many Dudes and Dudettes struggled against each other, but finally Forrest (with his wife, Cordelia, at his side) defeated his rivals and stood to challenge Walter for the throne.

This sat poorly with Goneril. She herself intended to win the throne herself one day, and be the first chosen Queen, but she also valued the respect and admiration she and Jeff enjoyed from the Dudes and Dudettes. If Forrest was chosen King, he would be expected to seek another term in four years, meaning she would appear disloyal if she were to challenge him then. And if she waited eight years to make her own bid for the throne, she would be too old in most people’s eyes. Her only chance, it seemed, would be if Forrest lost to Walter. However, she detested Walter and the Righteous Ones, and was loath to assist him in remaining in power. Further, if she or Jeff was seen in actively working to defeat Forrest, they would incur the wrath of the Dudes and Dudettes, who expected them to fully support Forrest.

Meanwhile, Regan continued to advise and counsel Walter, and her name became more and more known to the people of Usania. People even began to speak of her as one day becoming Heir to the Throne, or Queen herself. Regan would have none of this; she refused to even discuss anything in the future beyond continuing to serve Walter.

The rest of this story remains to be told. Will Forrest defeat Walter and take the throne for the Dudes and Dudettes? Will Goneril end out her ambitions on the High Council, doomed to never return to the palace she shared with Jeff? Will Jeff finally get his magic belt to work and keep his pants up? Will Cordelia finally achieve that which she was denied with Hans, and share the throne with Forrest? And will Miranda ever be heard from again?

The end of this story has yet to be written.

J.


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Comments (4)

And will Miranda ever be... (Below threshold)

And will Miranda ever be heard from again?

Well, by all rights she will be. Miranda rights, that is. It's a joke, son. Hey, is anybody out there? Is this thing on?

Okay, I figured out who eve... (Below threshold)

Okay, I figured out who everyone else isn't, but who isn't Miranda? ...if you know what I mean.

Sorry, Nathan, as I said, "... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

Sorry, Nathan, as I said, "any resemblence..."

I will not understant requests for more elaboration -- such things are Greek to me. AR I making myself clear here? Do I need to make ANNA more comments? You can HUFF and puff and blow my house down, but I won't say anythING more TO Neutralize the veil of anonymity around the above complete work of fiction.

J.

So ... you're saying Mirand... (Below threshold)

So ... you're saying Miranda isn't Jeanne Shaheen?

<ducks and runs>




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