Grandma’s Muddled Magic—a Fairy Tale Retelling Bedtime Story for Children

~From the Children's Short Story Book: Cinderella Sarah (for 5-9 year olds) by Karen Cossey. Get your copy for free here, plus another free book for 9-12 year olds.~

It was a muddling sort of day. Goldilocks could tell it was the minute she came downstairs for breakfast. Her grandmother, whose job was being a fairy godmother to poor helpless girls, was staying for a while. She had been working awfully hard lately and was a little befuddled. Her magic had mixed with her mind, Mom had said, and she needed a bit of normal to get things straightened out.

It wasn’t normal that morning. The cornflakes were floating in mid-air, and the milk was zipping round the walls, round and round, getting faster and faster, while the sugar was dancing into various sugar statues. As Goldilocks stood watching the sugar turned from a horse to a dragon to a puppy to a lion to her father making funny faces. Goldilocks laughed out loud. Everything fell to the ground in a sloppy mess.

“Oops, sorry Grandma, did I startle you?”

“A little dear, I thought it might be your mother.” Grandma smiled guiltily. “She asked me to get breakfast on the table, but I was bored. She doesn’t like my magic tricks, your mother.”

“I love them, Grandma,” Goldilocks said and hugged her. “You know, when I’m bored, I go for a walk. Maybe you should come with me after breakfast and we could do normal together. Normal’s not so boring if you have someone with you.”

Grandma sighed. “I guess so. But I have to take my wand in case we meet any poor helpless girls who need a party dress.”

“Not in the forest, Grandma, there haven’t been any poor helpless girls there for ages.”

“Hmm, just the same, I’ll still bring it. Do you want another party dress?”

“Not today, Grandma, I’ll wear my shorts and my spy belt. It’s got all these cool compartments where you can keep everything you might need in a forest, even binoculars. How about I carry your wand for you in the hidden pocket of my jacket, so Mom doesn’t think you are taking it? Otherwise she won’t let you go.”

“I like your thinking, Goldilocks, though sometimes I wish you could be a bit more helpless.” Grandma sighed again.

“Never mind, we might meet a poor helpless forestry worker in need of a new pair of boots,” Goldilocks said, remembering her friend, Charlie.

At this, Grandma perked up and got through breakfast acting so normal that Mom agreed straight away to the walk idea.

Goldilocks knew that strange things happen when Grandma was about, so she packed her spy belt carefully. They weren’t far into the forest when a wolf ran out from a side road dressed in a long pink nightgown.

“Funny, I’ve never seen that path before,” Goldilocks said. “He looks suspicious; don’t you think, Grandma?” Grabbing her lasso rope from her belt, Goldilocks threw it expertly towards the disappearing wolf. Got him!

They struggled to pull him back, but then Charlie turned up from the side road, and together the three of them yanked him towards them. Grandma tut-tutted, grabbed her wand, and transformed the nightgown into a party dress. “That’s better,” she said. The wolf whimpered and hugged himself, trying to hide the dress.

Goldilocks heard footsteps. A young woman with snow-white skin, jet-black hair and ruby-red lips came running down the path. When she saw the wolf she stopped and said, “It’s okay, it’s okay. Please let that wolf go. He’s swallowed the poison apple and my wicked stepmother. Soon he’ll fall asleep forever and I can live happily ever after. But would you mind changing him out of that party dress, it’s too lovely! You know how silly handsome princes are—one of them might kiss the wolf by mistake and then he’d wake up again!”

Grandma’s shoulders sagged. She gave a deep sigh and waved her wand over the wolf. His party dress changed back into his long pink nightgown. Goldilocks untied the lasso and the wolf slunk off to find a place to sleep. The girl declared, “Finally, I can return to my castle! I’ll go see if the dwarfs want to come too.” She skipped away along the path.

“That was a muddle, don’t you think?” Charlie asked. “Better get back to work,” and he strode off in the other direction.

Goldilocks frowned at Grandma. “That’s not normal, Grandma.”

“I know, but it was fun, wasn’t it dear? Did you like the party dress? Such a pretty colour!”

Goldilocks sighed, packed away her lasso, and started walking again, Grandma humming along beside her.

They strolled around a bend in the path and there sat a girl, about the same age as Goldilocks, crying. She was wearing an old worn red cape.

“What’s wrong?” Goldilocks asked.

“It’s obvious. She needs a new cape and dress,” Grandma said, but Goldilocks snatched the wand out of her hand. Grandma huffed and crossed her arms.

The girl wiped the tears from her eyes. “I was taking cookies to my grandmother when I saw some pretty flowers. I stopped to pick them and left my basket on the ground. When I came back there were three bears having a picnic from it.”

“Three bears?” Goldilocks asked with one eyebrow raised.

“Yes, a daddy bear, a mommy bear and a baby bear. The daddy bear said his cookie was too plain, and he threw it to the birds, the mommy bear said her cookie was too sweet and she threw it to the worms, but the baby bear said his cookie was yummy and he ate them and ate them until there was nothing left!”

At this, the girl broke into huge sobs.

Goldilocks scanned the area. “Where did they go?”

“They were scared when they saw me and they ran down the path behind me, taking my special basket with them,” she gulped.

Goldilocks gave her grandmother a grumpy look. “I’ve never seen that path before!”

Grandma looked up to the sky and started whistling.

Goldilocks shook her head. “I’ll climb that tree and see if I can find them with my binoculars.”

From a branch near the top of the tree, she spotted Charlie prodding the bears from behind, bringing them back down the path. When they reached the girl, they stood shuffling their feet. Baby Bear hid his face behind his paws.

“We are so sorry,” Mommy Bear said, staring at the ground. “We got locked out of our house this morning when we went for a walk, and we were hungry, but we shouldn’t have let Baby Bear eat all your cookies. Here’s your basket.”

Baby Bear burped.

The girl pleaded, “What will I give my poor sick grandmother?”

“Don’t worry dear,” said Goldilocks’ grandma, putting her hand out for her wand. Goldilocks sighed, then gave it to her. Soon the girl’s basket was full of goodies, and the bears found the key to their house tied to a necklace around Baby Bear’s neck.

“Now, how about a new cape?” Grandma asked the girl.

“Oh, yes please. Can you do one that’s green with sequins, I’m so sick of red.”

Mamma Bear spoke up. “Uh-hmm, you couldn’t do a pretty dress for me and a tuxedo for Daddy Bear, could you? We’ve got a grand ball to go to tonight. I do so want to see who the princess will pick for her husband.  We might even meet the dwarves.”

Baby Bear clapped his paws.

“Lovely,” Grandma beamed, waving her wand, giving each of them the most splendiferous, sparkly, sequined clothes.

They said goodbye, and Grandma and Goldilocks continued walking with Charlie beside them.

They hadn’t gone very far when who should come towards them but an emperor leading a procession of important looking people.

Grandma gasped. “He’s only wearing his underwear!”

“Make way for the emperor and his new clothes,” shouted a man at the beginning of the procession.

“Where are you going?” Goldilocks asked him, trying hard not to look at the emperor’s fluffy rainbow coloured underpants.

“The emperor is on his way to the ball to meet the princess,” the man replied in a grand voice.

Goldilocks nudged her grandma. “You better help with this one.”

Grandma waved her wand and straight away, the emperor was dressed in the most wonderful shiny clothes.

Everyone in the procession gasped, breathed a sigh of relief and carried on their way smiling.

“That really was a muddle,” Charlie muttered, shaking his head. “And everybody was wearing silly shoes too. Not one pair of them was sensible for walking in a forest.”

Goldilocks turned to Grandma and asked, “How about some new boots for Charlie, Grandma?”

Charlie looked surprised, then anxious. “Brown please, with no sequins,” he said. 

*****

Story by Karen Cossey
Copyright © Karen Cossey, 2014

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