She was going down a magic path, and then at the end there was a spindle, and she’d pricked her thumb. She remembered dad reading about it, when she was very small and sat on his lap.

No. She’d never touched a spindle in her life. She’d been in the car, driving with mom to take things to her college dorm–

This story is now part of a collection for sale here:

88 thoughts on “Awake

  1. Thank you Sarah. What a refreshing breath of air. I am so glad to have a respite from the politics.

  2. This was marvelous, Sarah.

    Each of these fairy tales you’re re-telling is like a precious gem. Thank you.


    I always hated how the Terri Schaivo case turned out. It should have been like this.

    1. That case scared the crap out of me; in my lifetime we had gone from a grudging “We’ll allow you to be taken off of life support is you said so before hand, and filled out all the paperwork VERY carefully.” to “We’ll take you off of life support on the unsupported word of somebody with a financial interest in the decision.”. And people I knew seemed to think that the autopsy that claimed to show she couldn’t;t possible have ever gotten better changed the awfulness of that dynamic.


      1. And then a few years later we find out there’s a guy living a perfectly normal life in France who “can’t possibly function” based on what we know of how the brain works.


        Terri’s case SHOULD have ended with abuse charges and breach of contract against her adulterous husband, at bare minimum.

      2. In the Netherlands, the judge ruled that you could not punish a doctor for killing a drugged patient who was begging for her life and struggling so hard that the doctor had to recruit helpers to hold her down, because the doctor couldn’t be expected to know it was wrong.

    1. When everything seems like darkness, and the gloom gathers about your ankles like fog from the moors crane your neck, stretch, and look to the heavens. The light is there: Day or night. The light! Sun, Moon, Stars: The light of Heaven is Hope kindled in your breast. Embrace its glow. And the darkness? well it is nothing now if not the absence of something, isn’t it?

  4. I had someone to look after.”

    And there was the line where I knew it was going to be good.

    Ok, they all are like that so it wasn’t a huge leap. But it is still a sign that the story is going to be good.

  5. Your Muse probably has you scheduled through the next five years or so, but in case there is an open spot: Hansel and Gretel! (just because)

        1. The lyrics for Intergalactic would make that a good cross with Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.

          Well, now, don’t you tell me to smile
          You stick around, I’ll make it worth your while
          Got numbers beyond what you can dial
          Maybe it’s because I’m so versatile
          Style, profile
          I said it always brings me back when I hear, “ooh child”

  6. Another good story. I enjoyed it.

    The opening reminded me of an incident in the comic book Fables, about fairy tale characters in modern New York. In one of the stories, Sleeping Beauty relates about one time when she pricked her finger again, and fell asleep. But when the police came to investigate, they happened to bring a dog named Prince…

    As for this story, her mother is stupidly short-sighted, and doesn’t deserve her. And her mother will probably shriek about how ungrateful her daughter is when the protagonist doesn’t send regular pallet-fulls of the money that her husband is making. Sadly, we all have at least a passing familiarity with people like that.

    1. “You know what, Mom? You’re a bitch. If you ever decide to stop being a bitch, let me know. Bye!”

        1. Depends on the story.

          Sleeping Beauty generally isn’t an Action Princess (that whole “sleeping” thing kinda puts a damper on the action). So rescuing her future husband from her future mother-in-law isn’t something that you typically see…

          Of course, I suppose you could have part of the story take place in the dream world while she’s sleeping…

          1. You want to check out the British ones. Those are generally the ones where the princess sets out with her army after she wakes up.

  7. Lovely.
    Call the new collection the “____” Fairy Book, with a cover design harkening back to the various Andrew Lang Fairy Book collections.

    1. Gem Fairy Book because each of these is a jewel 🙂 Or sub in a jewel…Ruby, Diamond, Sapphire, Emerald.

    2. Ooh! Cool! But you’d have to differentiate something in the title, to prevent people who run searches from cussing a lot. And to keep Amazon from deciding you were ripping off something public domain.

      So I agree in principle, but something like The Blue Modern Fairy Book. Except something that sounds better. Hometown Fairy Book? (I stink at titles, yeah.)

      The Goldport Fairy Book?

  8. She must have genetically short hair. Or they cut it while she was asleep. Ten years is about three years more than it needs to reach terminal length.


    1. Or it breaks off a lot when she’s lying down all the time, maybe…. I’m guessing they cut it every now and then, just less often than she’d been doing. Maintaining multiple feet of hair for someone who didn’t even want it that way seems unlikely as a spontaneous undertaking.

      1. I’ve known people who can’t grow it past their shoulders even if they never cut it, and others who can grow it down to their butt in a mere year’s time. If my sister stops cutting her hair, she turns into Medusa.

        Also, the ending has too durn many onions.

        1. Takes me three years, but my hair will get halfway down to my knees.
          The last time I did that, I found out by having it down my back after a shower and accidentally sitting on it 😀

          1. My sister has had it down to mid-calf. Impressive, but a nuisance, and a damn wonder it never strangled her in her sleep. Mine would do the same if I let it (grows like switchblades, about 18-20″ per year), but it gets chopped off in a basic Spock cut.

            So, where’s the Rapunzel story? 🙂

            1. I think Sarah already did that one.

              Can’t remember the title but “Golden Hair” comes to mind.

            2. a damn wonder it never strangled her in her sleep.

              That’s why people invented plaits and mobcaps. (Well, probably not really. But braiding your hair does make it less likely to strangle you in your sleep.)

            3. >> “My sister has had it down to mid-calf. Impressive, but a nuisance, and a damn wonder it never strangled her in her sleep.”

              It could be worse:

              And yes, she does wear the bear trap as a hair clip. Also, nothing short of a magical weapon can cut her hair and make it stick. Being a literal half-demon child isn’t all upside.

            1. Mine took about five years to get to its current length, not QUITE long enough to sit on.

              It’s been that length for a quarter century.

        2. I’ve known people who can’t grow it past their shoulders even if they never cut it,

          *waves hand*


          It’s the middle of my shoulder blades and stops.

          Trimmed, untrimmed, conditioned, treat it like spun glass, dye it, sun, no sun– nothing changes that terminal length. It will reach that in less than two years, though.

          My mom was quite disappointed, her hair use to reach to her behind.

          1. I’ve known people who can’t grow it past their shoulders even if they never cut it,
            *waves hand*
            It’s the middle of my shoulder blades and stops.

            *waves hand*

            Mine is currently just below my shoulder blades. Just long enough to be in the way if I’m not careful when I sit down & it gets caught & pulls. I need to get it trimmed.

    2. When I got out of the Marines, I decided I had had enough haircuts to last a lifetime so I didn’t cut my hair for 10 years. It got pretty long for a while, but settled on about the bottom of my shoulder blades.

      Oddly enough, living in Florida, I now have gone back to the Marine haircut lately, oddly enough even sorter than I kept it when I was in.

    3. I did the beard thing, and the long hair thing, many years ago. SO OVER both fads.

      Besides, I get Einstein hair if I let it go. Which happened during the lock-ups because I waited a week too long and every place was closed.

  9. Do you plan a compilation of these modernized fairy stories? I sometime read to my wife — who likes to listen to fairy tales — and your tales are better suited to that than Grimm’s.

      1. My kids wrote awful versions of traditional tales. Robert wrote one of the three little pigs where Practical ate his brothers.
        HE WAS FIVE.
        And then people wonder why I’m weird.

  10. A larf for Mrs. Hoyt: I have been sharing the Blue Smokescreen post with friends and family and just discovered that I have been using the header:

    “A good one from the Dude Dare author”

    So… New series, Mrs Hoyt?

  11. Very nice, in both senses of the word. Almost a miniature Door Into Summer, in a season of increasing (figurative) slush and sleet.

  12. Really lovely. In return here is some copy editing:
    “won coffin.” -> “own coffin.”
    “dropped her her books in the hallway”

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