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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: End (02/13/06)

TITLE: Vanity's Fair
By Anita Neuman


Once upon a time, there was a young princess named Carmelita. Her beauty was unparalleled by any other in the whole kingdom. Her flawless skin and flowing, caramel-coloured hair were her greatest trophies, and she wore them with pride. A demure smile accepted praise from one and all. The faint blush and lowered eyelashes offered a perfected façade of humble gratitude. Carmelita was indeed beautiful, but the looking glass that consumed most of her time did not reflect her true character.

One day an announcement rang through the palace. There was to be a grand festival in the village square. Everyone was invited to attend – young and old, rich and poor. There would be food, dancing, costumes and games. Carmelita was thrilled at the idea. A whole day of people admiring her beauty! She was sure there were some townsfolk who had never had the pleasure of gazing upon her. And of course there were those who were wonderfully in awe every time they saw her.

“It will be a spectacular day for all,” she proclaimed.

There was one great concern for Carmelita as the day of the festival approached. What would she wear? She’d heard talk of great costumes, but there was no creature more beautiful than herself to dress as. And it was absolutely out of the question to dress as something that was less than ultimate perfection. With that thought, her decision was made. Princess Carmelita would dress as Princess Carmelita. Her admirers would easily spot her, and strangers would instantly know who she was. Let the commoners dress in silly costumes and parade about. Carmelita would bask in the glory that was due her.

The day of the festival arrived and Carmelita rose before the sun. Servants scurried about, obeying her every instruction. Her hair was washed and carefully brushed dry, then pinned into an extravagant style. Her facial features were accentuated so exquisitely that her admirers would weep, yet so subtly that her father wouldn’t notice. Her dress was pressed and perfumed and draped around her in billows of silk and satin. Carmelita had even ensured that her carriage was decorated and her attending servants were dressed in fine, new uniforms.

Her moment of departure stretched into a fantastic ceremony as the whole household convened to do Carmelita’s bidding. The flurry of activity served to accentuate her serenity as she anticipated her arrival in the village. The footman’s low bow made Carmelita feel even more elegant. The horses’ dancing gait made her feel more graceful. The warm, fragrant breeze filled the air with romance.

At long last, Carmelita arrived. The swell of the crowd was even greater than she’d anticipated. The mass of people filling the streets parted like a curtain as her carriage entered their midst. Murmurs and gasps of wonder rippled through the throng as she executed her choreographed descent from the carriage.

Suddenly a voice rang out above the din of the crowd. Carmelita’s attention was drawn to a newly constructed stage in the centre of the square. A fat man in a comical turkey costume stood addressing the crowd.

“Ladies and gentlemen! Please join me in welcoming Her Royal Highness, Princess Carmelita!”

Carmelita offered her practiced smile to the applauding crowd.

The turkey-man raised a wing to still the noise. “We have a great day of festivities ahead of us, and we congratulate each of you who have put together your own costumes already. We anticipated that some of you may arrive without costumes, so we have a selection of fine disguises to choose from."

Carmelita watched in disgust as the plainly-dressed people in the crowd surged towards the stage. Several large trunks were opened and costumes of every size, shape and colour were handed out freely. After only a few minutes, she found that she was the only person left without a costume and every eye was turning her way in expectation. With trepidation, she stepped towards the stage, trying to keep her perfect smile in place. A hand reached to help her mount the stairs, just as a foul odour threatened to knock her back. The source of the stench filled her vision as the realization dawned on her. Before her stood a filthy, old man holding the head of a horse costume in one hand, and extending to her the horse’s back half.

The moral of the story is
That vanity’s not a friend.
It feels good for a time
But it will get you in…

The End

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This article has been read 1153 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Garnet Miller 02/20/06
How lovely! I love fairytales. Carmelita was getting that reality check she so badly needed:) A well told story.
Pat Guy 02/20/06
Great build up to a great ... ending. A well told story with the most perfect and satisfying ending! :) Loved it!
Amy Michelle Wiley 02/20/06
I love it! You surprised me with the way she got her due, hehe. Good job!
Brandi Roberts02/20/06
Hahahahah sucks to be her! This one made me laugh! I enjoyed it!
Lynda Schultz 02/21/06
Absolutely hilarious. Great writing.
Dara Sorensen02/21/06
Hehehe. I loved how this ended and I loved the whole fairy tale aspect! Creative way to use the week's theme!
Jan Ackerson 02/22/06
Wonderful! I loved it all, but I especially loved...the end. Just super.
Shari Armstrong 02/22/06
LOL - I was waiting and waiting for it - and wasn't dissapointed -Well done!
Cassie Memmer02/22/06
Superbly written with a satisfying ending! You're right up there with Aesop! I loved it!
Cheryl Harrison02/22/06
Perfect! I'm still laughing. Thanks.
Crista Darr02/23/06
The story read like a dream. I was expecting a hard lesson on pride, but you did so much better. Too funny!
Marie Gabbard02/23/06
Too cute and so very well written. I just had to smile at the END. Love it.

Linda Watson Owen02/23/06
What a cute entry! You grabbed this reluctant fairy tale reader and kept me glued to the very funny END! Great job!
Sandra Petersen 02/23/06
I'm a sucker for a princess-type fairy tale! This was wonderful, and the spoiled vain Princess Carmelita did not disappoint! Really enjoyed her comeuppance! Loved the rhyme you attached to the 'end' to make the point!
Jessica Schmit02/23/06
Anita, this was great. Your descriptions were amazing. (Your such a talented writer) I loved it. Great job. Nothing bad to say.
Jeffrey Snell02/23/06
Okay, ROFL! Gorgeous, flowing, crisply descriptive writing, intriguing perplexity on the part of the princess, and then...the horse's behind! Oh man...way to write the unexpected. :)
Debbie Sickler02/24/06
This was the first entry I've read tonight and it couldn't have been more perfect -- we just finished watching "The Brothers Grimm"! lol(A story about a vain queen wanting to be beautiful forever)

This was funny and cute and very well written. I really enjoyed your writing style. Great work and hope you place well!
Julianne Jones02/24/06
LOL - I AM NOT a lover of fairytales but I definitely enjoyed this. Very much so. And the ending was well perfect. Well done!
James Clem 02/24/06
Well Done Anita! Looks like you're the clear-cut winner of the People's Choice!
Maxx .02/24/06
Well written, Anita. Ya done good. Was it worth the reading to get to that punchline? Weellll, yes, I think so! Good job!
Caitlynn Lowe02/25/06
Heh. That was awesome! I loved the idea behind the story and the moral at the "end". Heeheehee.........
Lynda Lee Schab 02/25/06
Ha! What more is there to say? Wonderfully written, very clever. Your humor hit its mark. Well done!
Marilyn Schnepp 02/26/06
Such a long, drawn out beginning, that was so fantastic that it kept me on the edge of my Computer chair...but such an awful let-down at the end; I expected so much more! However, the writing was exquisite and a masterpiece of perfection!
Suzanne R02/27/06
Talk about creative - wow! Well done!
Beth Muehlhausen02/27/06
Cute! Too cute! Loved the fairy-tale cuteness, the descriptive cuteness, the cute ending....just cute all over. :-)