Story Telling Saturday: Ember

Image result for cinderellaBecause I have very little impulse control, I forwent working on another segment of Fate of the Faerie Court and wound up putting another story in fairytalez.com’s Gender-Bent Fairy Tales competition.

This one, like Summer Blue, features a trans boy lead, this time in the classic tale of Cinderella. Enjoy!

***

Once, during the same time as another beloved fairy tale, lived a young boy named Ember. His parents had mistakenly named him Emily, thinking he was a girl, but once he was old enough to set the record straight, it proved an easy enough change to make. Ember spent so much time outside getting dirty, bringing home frogs, and sword fighting with the servants’ sons and borrowing their clothes that they had thought something was different about him for a while.

But then an epidemic swept across the land, taking Ember’s mother from him. In time, his father met a woman who had lost her husband as well and, taking pity on her and her two daughters, he married her.

His wife disapproved of Ember and his insistence he was a boy, especially since he had taken to wearing one of his mother’s favorite earrings after her death. The family had lost the other one when they packed up his mother’s things, you see. The step-mother thought Ember was making a mockery of her daughters, for he was quite beautiful while her daughters were quite plain. Their bitter, entitled attitudes did them no favors.

Still, the family lived in tense peace until Ember’s father died at the hand of a highway man while traveling for work. He had always handled the family’s money, but now that the responsibility fell to the step-mother, she realized that their fortunes had been dwindling for years. Her daughters were too old to give away as apprentices and they had few talents to speak of. Their only hope would be to marry well.

The step-mother cut costs where she would and doing with out when they could. One of her attempts to stretch her late husband’s fortune included firing all of the hired help and leaving the house hold duties to Ember. She insisted it was because he was the oldest, but truthfully, the step-mother didn’t want him getting in the way of her daughters’ future. Surely, she thought, no one would want to marry into a family with a child as strange as Ember.

For years Ember worked away scrubbing, mending, and cooking in his own home trying to hold a bit of joy in his heart. He was still fed, he knew he could find work in another household when his father’s money eventually did run out—for he knew it would—and he didn’t have to spend nearly as much time with his step-sisters now that their mother was constantly teaching them to be proper ladies as often as she could.

Then, one summer day just shy of Ember’s nineteenth birthday, it was announced though out the kingdom that the prince was looking to marry. A week from the day of the announcement there would be a ball and every young lady of marital age was welcome to attended.

No sooner did the step-mother read the announcement out loud to her daughters—and Ember, who happened to be pouring them tea—did the fly into a tizzy, rummaging though dresses, sorting though jewels, and hunting for their favorite pairs of shoes.

The step-mother was so tied up with calming and organizing her own daughters that she didn’t notice Ember slip away to the attic to look though his father’s old things. A few of his best suits had just barely avoided the step-mother’s purge of selling anything they didn’t need. She had spared a pair of his best shoes and his favorite cuff links as well.

But Ember was shorter than his father had been, with his mother’s slender shoulders, narrow wrists, and small feet. His heart sank at the sight of how his father’s clothes dwarfed him.

His step-mother’s laughter when she went looking for him didn’t help matters either.

Read the entire story now on FairyTalez.com!

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