As is usual in fairy tales,
The mother and elder were lazy as snails.
They made the youngest cook, clean and sew,
Always quick with a stick or a blow.
One fine day did they tell,
The poor girl to go fetch water from the well.
Now this well was a mile away,
The water jug a ton did weigh.
You would have gathered that mother and eldest did cherish,
In the thought that youngest may perish.
But to their dismay an hour later,
The youngest struggled home, chest heaving with labour.
‘What took you so long?’ screamed the mother.
‘I am sorry,’ said youngest. ‘I met another.’
‘She wanted a drink, I could not refuse,’
‘This is the truth and not a ruse.’
‘What’s that?’ she screeched. ‘From where do they come?’
‘This is the boon of the woman, mum.’
‘You see, the woman was really a fairy,’
‘She gave me this gift, in return for my gentry.’
‘Ah!’ said the mother, ‘But you are useless.’
‘What a waste of a gift when not a talent do you possess.’
‘Tomorrow your elder sister shall go,’
‘And win herself a boon aglow.’
So the next day, the eldest did struggle,
When all she wanted to do was snuggle.
She met the fairy who asked for a drink,
‘I am not your slave,’ cried eldest without a think.
‘You really are a witch,’ said the fairy mother.
‘What wouldn’t I give to have you smothered.
‘But I shall do something far, far worse,’
‘And lay upon you such a curse,’
‘That every time you open your mouth to speak,’
‘A toad or snake shall slither from your beak.’
With this curse, the eldest trundled home,
The mother none too pleased, hit her with a comb.
In anger, she turned the youngest out,
Who ran into the forest with a pout.
Upon hearing her story and seeing the jewels,
He thought the mother and eldest such fools.
He had fallen in love with this pretty, young thing,
And asked her to become Queen of the King.
Youngest accepted and they lived happily ever after,
While the eldest still spewed snakes for years thereafter.