Of Bones and Silk

(And now for something a little different…A flash fiction retelling of one of my favorite fairy tales… This is in honor of my beloved M.R.)


The soil here is rich and thick. Roots run deep. I used to walk here when I was a young girl. That was before I killed my brother. I killed him for an apple.

My mother married his father when we were both so young. We used to play in the hills, running and jumping and rolling down the slopes in laughter.

Years passed in the happiness of children who cannot comprehend the monsters beyond those that exist in the colors of nightmares. This was until one fall. The apple my brother held was so red and so shiny and so perfect. Mother told me I should ask him for it. I asked to share it. No words from his mouth.  I asked again: brother, brother, brother.

Mother told me to hit him on the ears for not speaking. I hit so soft, I hit so soft. Mother said that I killed him and we must hide it. That it must be kept it a secret between our lips. No words to father. No secrets told to the forest.

I watched her cut and cook, step father ate, he laughed, and ate some more, throwing the bones to the floor. And where is my son? Oh, he is visiting Aunty, so old and she needs some help.

I picked up the bones, white and clean, wrapped them in the blue silk handkerchief, and I buried my brother beneath the Juniper tree.

Step Mother

That boy was always taunting me. His eyes spoke of the woman before me, the one my husband had truly loved. His voice was poison, leaking into my heart and killing me. I didn’t mean to hurt him so, it was rash. He reached into the wooden chest for an apple. And, of course, he chose the loveliest one, red and smooth. I slammed the lid down, an instant without thought.

I shouldn’t have laid that horror upon my daughter, I wasn’t thinking. To see her eyes grow so large and the hate that spewed from my mouth, words crawling up my throat like snakes.

I cut up, oh, and cooked, how…. Sometimes I catch myself sobbing as I stare out the window at the Juniper tree.


Sometimes I think of my first wife, she had a voice like birdsong. When she died, I knew I’d never love another. My son needed a mother. That’s the way that I explain the deceit to my love in my mind. I wish I could go back to when we were so young and stealing kisses beneath the Juniper tree.


When I fly, I am free. My sister gave this life to me. I go to the goldsmith and I burst forth with a song that is the truth.

My mother, she killed me, and my father, he ate me, and my sister, she picked up my bones in silk and she buried me far beneath the Juniper tree. And now what a fine bird I am!

The goldsmith smiled at my song, words he could not hear, and gave me a golden chain.

I sang to the shoemaker for a pair of red shoes.

I sang for the millers to gain a millstone, heavy and heavy.

To the Juniper tree, I bring gifts. Chain to drop around my father’s neck. Shoes to drop at my sister’s feet. And a gift for my step mother, heavy and heavy. So I sing from the Juniper tree.


We married so young and longed for children, but none came and none came.

I would cry beneath a tree, I would beg for a baby, and none came.

One fall, I peeled an apple there, red and sparkling; I cut my finger, blood on snow. A child like that, I would love, and one came. I saw him as I died and he was beautiful.

My husband buried me beneath the Juniper tree.

(as always kittens: everything here is copyright CNC0)


1 Comment

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One response to “Of Bones and Silk

  1. sgrplum

    Simply beautiful! Thank you for the present!

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