Microcosms 80

Alrighty, welcome to Microcosms 80! Today’s prompt comes to your courtesy of Ell Meadow. Enjoy!

A fairy tale is a type of short story that typically features folkloric fantasy characters, such as dwarves, dragons, elves, fairies, giants, gnomes, goblins, griffins, mermaids, talking animals, trolls, unicorns, or witches, and usually magic or enchantments. While it has become associated with moralistic children’s stories, the original tales were an oral story-telling tradition which were set in an earlier time when the world was ‘magical’, and it is the inclusion of magical elements more than the inclusion of fantastical creatures that is the mark of a fairy tale (or a tale set in the faerie world).

The word ‘fairy tale’ comes from a (mis)translation of “Contes de Fées” by Countess d’Aulnoy were ‘fee’ was a woman skilled in magic, and who knew the power and virtue of words, of stones, and of herbs. These tales originated in the salons of Europe where a vogue for magical tales took hold. These stories involved the retelling of old tales, that not only showcased verbal agility and imagination, but also slyly commented on the conditions of aristocratic life. The decorative language of the fairy tales disguised the rebellious subtext of the stories. Critiques of court life (and even of the king) were embedded in extravagant tales and in dark, sharply dystopian ones. The tales by women often featured young (but clever) aristocratic girls whose lives were controlled by the arbitrary whims of fathers, kings, and elderly wicked fairies, as well as tales in which groups of wise fairies (i.e., intelligent, independent women) stepped in and put all to rights.


To clarify, there is an extra hour tacked on to the back! Due time is 1 a.m.,
EDT. Thanks!


(If YOU have an idea for a future contest and would like to be guest host, please contact us.)


Our contest this week begins with THREE things: character, setting and genre.

We spun, and our three elements are – character: Griffin, setting: Forest, and genre: Fantasy.

Write a story using those OR feel free to click on the “Spin!” button, and the slot machine will come up with a new set – you can keep clicking until you have a set of elements that inspires you.

*** HEY! Remember to include which THREE elements you’re using AND a title for your entry ***


  • Fairy
  • Dwarf
  • Dragon
  • Elf
  • Giant
  • Gnome
  • Goblin
  • Griffin
  • Mermaid
  • Talking Animal
  • Troll
  • Unicorn
  • Witch
  • Forest
  • Cave
  • Castle
  • Ocean
  • Underground
  • In the Clouds
  • Lawn
  • Bridge
  • Your Choice!
  • Rainbow
  • Cottage
  • Crime
  • Horror
  • Fantasy
  • Memoir
  • Thriller
  • Comedy
  • Steam Punk
  • Drama
  • Poem


Judging this week is Kelly Griffiths.

All submissions should be a maximum of 300 words in length. You have until midnight, New York time (EDT) to submit.

*** If you are new to Microcosms, remember to check out the full submission guidelines. ***

All being well, results will be posted on Monday.

Microcosms 81
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