Microcosms 9

Today is (supposedly) Tell a Fairy Tale Day. So I thought we could take some fairy tales from around the world, mix them up, and turn things on their heads. Sound like fun? Let’s do it!

As usual, our contest will begin with three things: character, setting, and genre.

We spun, and our three elements are character: cat, setting: under the sea, and genre: romance. (Sorry!)

Feel free to write a story using those or spin a new set of your own. Be sure to include which three elements you’re using.

  • princess
  • frog
  • wolf
  • prince
  • witch
  • king/queen
  • mermaid
  • genie
  • beast
  • homeless child
  • chicken
  • tailor
  • servant girl
  • shepherd
  • dragon
  • emperor
  • fairy
  • fish
  • fox
  • wizard
  • goose
  • simpleton
  • beggar
  • giant
  • devil
  • cat
  • thief
  • dollmaker
  • lion
  • ice queen
  • warrior
  • castle
  • forest
  • lake
  • falling sky
  • magic lamp
  • ancient Persia
  • beanstalk
  • Japan
  • workshop
  • cave
  • jungle
  • the Serengeti
  • under the sea
  • ancient China
  • battlefield
  • “the streets”
  • in the sky/clouds
  • field
  • underworld
  • cottage
  • horror
  • sci-fi
  • steam punk
  • mystery
  • fantasy
  • romance
  • drama
  • comedy
  • poem


Judging this week are yours truly and last week’s epic winner, Dana Faletti. 🙂

All submissions should be 100 words in length, give or take 10 words (90 – 110 words). You have until midnight, New York time to submit.

Winners will receive a copy of the Kindle version of Fairy Tales: By The Grimm Brothers (Illustrated & Unabridged) (currently available in the US, the UK, Australia, and other territories), or a similarly priced book of their choosing; alternatively, winners may elect to have the monetary equivalent donated to World Reader or another literacy-related charity.

If you like, you may incorporate the following photo prompt (not required).

an old book sits on a wooden table outside
old book by Griszka Niewiadomsk

Microcosms 10
Microcosms 8

42 thoughts on “Microcosms 9

  1. @KreskaFiction
    110 purrs
    cat\under the sea\romance

    Title: Vain Hope

    One-eyed Sue sank to the bottom of the fish tank; her faulty swim bladder and hunger unable to keep her afloat. Furious that his aquatic soul mate had been forgotten, and with the precision of a soft mouthed Labrador, Mr. Nibbles picked up his breakfast and leapt onto the sideboard. One-eyed Sue protested in vain at the pilchard that fell like a lead weight – before disappearing underneath it. Attempting to look nonchalant Mr. Nibbles walked away; his heart as broken as the rare £9,000 black Swarovski crystal bull that once stood proudly on the mantelpiece. Spectacles are not becoming for one as a noble as a cat.

  2. @tinoprinzi
    109 words
    cat/under the sea/romance

    ‘Born this Way’

    Tabby always felt different to the other kittens growing up.

    “Mummy, I’m a fish.”

    “No, honey, we eat fish,” Tabby’s mother told her. “Besides, cats don’t like water.”

    “I do because I’m a fish.”

    Tabby’s mother did everything she could to stop Tabby. She even took her to a conversion camp. “You’re not a dirty little fish!” she hissed.

    Tabby knew who she was, and built a device allowing her to breath underwater. That night she broke out of camp and swam out to sea. When her eyes fell on Roland the Tuna she knew it was love, the type she’d dreamed, and realised this was no fairy tale.

    1. “Fish in the sea
      You know how I feel…
      It’s a new dawn
      It’s a new day
      It’s a new life
      For me
      And I’m FELINE good.”

      Great tail… er, I mean TALE, Santino. 🙂

  3. Slightly Green

    ‘How giant was this frog?’
    Mum’s eyes widened in horror, trembling just hearing of it.
    ‘About your size, Mum.’
    She gasped. ‘What?’
    The woman who’d rescued me from spiders – picking them up while I screamed the house down – was petrified of frogs.
    ‘Bright green too.’
    ‘What did you do?’
    ‘Kissed it!’
    ‘You did what?’
    I laughed as Mum visibly shuddered. I’d got over my creepy-crawly fears. To walk in the jungle you need courage. I’d managed to be brave. It’d paid off. Fantastic holiday. Life-changing in many ways.
    ‘Come in Fred. Mum, meet my handsome prince.’
    He was still slightly green but it’d always been my favourite colour.

    110 words
    Frog – Jungle – Horror

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    1. Still slightly green… Was his full name “Fred O. D. Neil”?
      Well done, Sal.
      [ ‘Come in, Fred.’ surely, Sal? (comma before the vocative) – ‘Come in Fred.’ means… well, let’s not go into what that means… 🙁 ]


    * * *

    Brian S Creek
    109 words
    Cat/Under The Sea/Romance

    * * *

    “What is wrong, my love?”

    Mr Zazzles turned from the port hole. “Nothing,” he purred.

    Goldie swam over. “You look so sad.” She kissed the side of the glass helmet enclosing his head. “Do you no longer wish to be with me?”

    “Oh Goldie,” meowed Mr Zazzles. “I long to feel your lips upon mine. I can’t bear being trapped behind this.”

    “But that helmet is the only thing allowing us to be together.”

    “And yet, we are apart.”

    “What are you saying?”

    Mr Zazzles placed a paw on each side of the helmet. “I’m saying I’ll always love you.” And with that he removed it. “Now you’re free.”

    1. O
      “No!” bubbled Goldie in horror.

      Still stuck in the past, Brian? (I mean the PAST photo prompt from the latest FlashDogs anthology, TIME – available NOW at all good Amazon stores!)

      Lovely piece of whimsy. (“Mr Zazzles” – aw-w!!) 😉

  5. Puss in Fins
    D. E. Park, @ParkInkSpot
    100 words, cat/under the sea/romance

    “King Tigershark,” said Carabas, “I thank you for your most generous offer, which is far more reward than a simple cat of my humble origins could ever expect.”

    “As for the lovely Princess Catshark, I’m so sorry, but I cannot accept. For my heart belongs to another, your majesty.”

    “To whom?” the king inquired.

    “Your majesty, my heart belongs to cleverest cat in the seven seas.” Carabas swam a sophisticated adiago and tour en l’eau, striking a pose. “It belongs to me, of course.”

    Thereafter, Puss in Fins retired to his previous life, swimming only after whatever fish he desired.

  6. @GeoffHolme
    Word Count: 110
    Simpleton / Forest / Comedy

    (Still trying to get a podium place for this tale…)

    Coming From the Fair

    Simon squatted, dangling his fishing pole in a puddle.

    A wagon pulled up, the driver wearing a white baker’s hat. ‘Fishin’, son?’

    ‘Yup. Gonna catch me a whale,’ the boy replied.

    ‘Ha! Any luck?’

    ‘It be a waitin’ game. You The Pieman?’

    The stranger, sighing, pointed to his sign. ‘Caint ya read?’


    ‘Now why don’t that surprise me none? You hungry?’

    ‘Ain’t hardly never without hunger, Momma says.’

    ‘Ma bakery’s over on yonder side of the forest. Give me a hand unloadin’, you kin he’p yerself to a pie.’

    ‘Jeepers! Them whales kin wait. With a pie inside me, I’ll be as happy as a puppy with two peckers!’

  7. Island of Cats
    106 words
    cat / under the sea / romance

    “There is an island under the sea” the old sailor said, “curled up like a tabby cat or a striped shell. Every 100 years or so, it rises from the Sea of Japan, a tiny island of narrow streets where the cats gather at dusk by the docks waiting for the fishermen to return. You can see it flashing on the horizon–that’s the sea maids sitting on the rocks, drying their hair in the sun. I read about it years ago in a book I found in an old shop in Lisbon. Of course, it could all be a story. But I would take you there.”

    1. Ah, clever stuff, Voima – playing on the different meanings of ‘Romance’: (1) a term for languages developed out of popular Latin, such as PORTUGUESE, (2) A tale of chivalry, (3) a fictitious narrative that passes beyond the limits of ordinary life, (4) maybe a love affair too.

      Classic, Voima Oy – love it!

      1. Thank you for reading, Geoff! You are so kind–an amazing scholar and writer. But really, I am not so clever. I was thinking of a sailor’s story, perhaps. Lisbon is a sea port…and an island rising out of the sea is a very romantic notion….there really is an island of Japanese cats—just ask AJ…

      2. Yes, I’ve seen the island of cats on a David Attenborough nature programme: there are far more cats than people, if I remember correctly. In London, there is an Isle of Dogs… but that’s just the name of an area that isn’t even an island!

  8. Anywhere Else
    Word Count = 106
    Servant Girl/Castle/Steampunk

    Heat and noise, the castle’s heating system was never anything else. Ilene’s leather mitts were as hot as the brass chimney she’d climbed. The broken steam valve screamed like a day old child. This was Cindy’s job before she disappeared but the prince was getting married. Ilene wished she was anywhere else.
    “I’m sure we could arrange that dear.” The Fairy Godmother stepped onto the chimney’s platform, a friendly looking woman with gentle grey hair.
    Ilene shook her head. “Not with you. I’ve heard the rumors. I don’t want to be one of our girls.”
    “Why dear?” The Fairy Godmother smiled. “All their dreams came true.”

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  9. Timeless

    “Once upon a time…”

    “Didn’t you hear about time?”

    “No. What?”

    “Time is missing.”

    “That’s terrible. What happened?”

    “No one knows for sure. You know how time was always dawdling…taking its time.”

    “Oh, do I! Walking in the woods, wasting precious moments…”

    “Time sure did have, how shall I put this, lots of time on its hands. And then…there were the rumours.”


    “About how time supported itself…”

    “I didn’t believe that for a minute.”

    “No, me neither. Still, time has travelled a lot. Travel isn’t cheap.”

    “Well, I’ll never believe that time is a thief. Time is just…so precious.”

    “I agree. Well, goodbye. Time will tell, I suppose.”

    “Always does.”

    Thief; Forest; Drama
    110 time zones

  10. @firdausp
    (109 words)
    Happily (n)ever after

    Very quietly the Princess crept out of the old, dusty book on the shelf, dropping to the wooden floor with a thud.No one was around in the small wooden cottage.
    She twirled around with glee.
    This was the real thing!
    Finally, she was free from her happily ever after. A monotonous blissful existence, full of sweet smiles and sugary words.
    She’d visited Snowhite and Cinderella, both, like her were unhappily happy.
    Now, here she stood at the window and breathed in the smells of the forest. She spotted a young man, carrying an axe, heading towards the cottage. She waited excitedly.
    Time to meet a real man.


  11. @WarwickDaisy
    Words – 110
    Cat, In the sky/clouds, Fantasy
    ‘From Above’

    Once-upon-a-time, Felines lived high above the ground. Until…

    Lightning noisily shot from Emperor Whiskers’ tail into a field of dog-walkers.
    “Go and see if I hit it,” he said, enthusiastically using his tail as a pointer from his perch on a cloud.
    “But Dad, it’s two kilometres to get down there!” protested his offspring, Junior.
    “Don’t have inherited ‘the lazy gene’. Confirm whether I hit that beastly Chihuahua or not. No dog growls at me. Off you go.”
    “It wasn’t growling at you. It can’t see you,” said Junior.
    “I wouldn’t bet on it. It’s too cold to keep living up here, but now I’ve got a plan. Go!”

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  12. Gone Fishing

    110 words
    elements: fish, lake, horror


    Dead-eyed silver glittered the surface of Lake Godless, reflected back by the sly grin of the moon. Laughing voices echoed on the distant bank. A spark of gold added to the tableau, a small beacon around which laughter now mixed with song.

    The grin widened.

    Voices moved from land to water, drunken oars stabbed its silent surface. Flushed faces peered over the side.

    A worm stirred in the deeps as an unseen fisherman cast his line, snaring skin, hooking flesh. Songs turned to screams. Thrashing bodies overturned the boat in their frenzy.

    The sightless worm rose from the deeps, ready to feed and Lake Godless sank once more into silence.

  13. @stellakateT
    109 words
    Shepherd/ Battlefield/ Romance

    Battle of Loyalty

    A beautiful field, he could tell by the quality mud he was laying in, good soil, great drainage, this would have suited his sheep. No chance of foot rot. Once upon a time he was a shepherd, had a fine sheep dog and a loving wife. Then conflict came.
    His wife left him when he became a foot soldier said his loyalty should be with her not some government that couldn’t live peacefully with neighbours. He would die in this field amongst the already dead. Glazed eyes showing their souls had gone to a better place. He hoped his wife would know he loved her more than the dog.

    1. Great story, Stella. Love the description of the soil of the field, the already dead…the beautiful last line!

  14. Emily Clayton
    109 words
    elements: dragon/battlefield/fantasy

    Dragons: A Documentary

    “What rubbish!” Winnifred Firebreather said as she plopped down upon the beige settee. “They aren’t moving.” She gazed in annoyance at the troops on the field. “Terrible programming. Do change channels.”

    “I tried, dearest.” Wilfred’s nails tapped on the armrest, quartz-like threads raining in all directions. One large shard ricocheted, slicing across the chest of the nearest soldier.

    Winnifred flicked a shard from her iridescent décolletage. “What’s for supper tonight?”

    Mr. Firebreather suppressed a sigh. “Skewered game with roasted vegetables … minus the game. Don’t suppose—”

    Winnifred had already launched herself away, swooping at top speed for the freshest, juiciest foot soldier.

    The episode had just become interesting.

  15. Date Night
    A.J. Walker

    Our parents said; ‘Play together, stay together’. Absofuckinlutely!

    We turned our passion into a hobby. Forms the basis of date night. Gets us out the house. Keeps us fit; you tried herding cats? Jayne’s a natural. Gives ‘em the eye. They almost walk into the sacks without even a meow.

    Then we gets down the dock, into our lovely boat, then pops ‘em over the side. You heard the death meow of a cat? Fair lush!

    Later it’s beef chow mien down Yang Sing. Feel obliged as they get the blame for the disappearing cats. Don’t even like Chinese, but we loves date night and the silence of absent cats.

    WC 110
    Cat/Under the sea/Romance

  16. Ro-Meow & Ju-Gill-et

    I broke the unbreakable rule. what’s the point in having 9 lives if you don’t take a few chances? Turns out it was unbreakable for a reason.

    It was only a moments hesitation. I don’t know why I didn’t gobble her up like all the others. In that pause I fell head over heels, the one time I didn’t land on my feet!

    How am I going to meet her parents? I’m terrified of water and they aren’t exactly great on dry land. Besides, I think I may have already eaten one of them.

    Let this be a lesson to you all. Love your food, just don’t LOVE your food!

    110 words

    1. The puns in your title are even more groan-worthy than the ones I’ve been making… Love the last line though!

  17. @meg_mediocre

    109 words

    Cat; Under the Sea; Romance


    Cat yearned after the waning moon. His name was lost to the ocean centuries before but he could still remember the crescent reflected in his lover’s eyes the night they were discovered.

    The gods were vindictive in their response; now he was simply “stowaway,” ship’s ratter.

    A kill lay at his feet as he gazed into the murky depths. “Kraken, my love” he purred, “from my heart.”

    As the mess of fur tumbled overboard a tentacle breached the surface to place a sardine at his feet and caress his fur with impossible tenderness.

    And from mine” the wind sighed as the rat was drawn into the icy darkness below.

  18. Draconic Dreams

    Far below the ocean waves is the demense of Phương Ngọc the water dragon. Deep in slumber she lies, on a bed of sunken pirate gold.

    Long may she rest! For it is foretold that when Phương Ngọc awakens she will fly up to Heaven, taking her handmaidens the stormclouds with her. Rain will become a thing of the past. Parched, the very Earth itself will crack in twain, for our tears shall not be enough to slake its thirst.

    And that is why my darling we burn sweet smelling incense on the second Tuesday each month, to placate her so her dreams are untroubled.

    104 words
    dragon/under the sea/fantasy

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