An Aunt Truly’s Tale: The wee woman who lived in a teapot

by | Jul 7, 2020 | Aunt Truly's Tales, Fiction, Storytelling | 0 comments

This is the seventh story I’m posting that might be part of Aunt Truly’s Tales, a book of stories I imagine Aunt Truly, an enigmatic character in The Kiminee Dream, would have told. This is my version of a traditional folk tale, The Little Old Woman Who Lived in a Vinegar Bottle. I will create ebook and paperback versions of the collection, but I’m not sure whether I’ll distribute the book widely for sale online. I might sell the book in person only, or on my website, packaged with The Kiminee Dream. I’m still thinking it over.

The Wee Woman Who Lived in a Teapot

Once on a time not so long ago, a wee woman lived in a teapot. She was most unhappy with her abode. Every day she rocked back and forth upon an old tree stump outside her door and complained. “Oh what a sorrow, a deep abiding sorrow that I should live in a teapot such as this. It doesn’t even have a bathroom and it’s hot as hades inside. Plus, there is no grocery store for miles. I deserve to live in a little apartment with indoor plumbing in a nice neighborhood with all the things I need nearby.”

One day a kindly fairy was winging by and heard the woman’s complaint. Taking pity upon her, she flew over and said, “Right before you go to sleep this eve, turn around three times, get into bed, close your eyes, and don’t open them till morning. Then you’ll be in for a big surprise.”

So that evening, the woman turned around three times, climbed into bed, closed her eyes and fell fast asleep in her teapot. In the morning, she awoke in a fully furnished, one-bedroom, patio apartment with indoor plumbing. The neighborhood was bustling. Only two short blocks away was a thoroughfare with a general store, pub, inn, loan shark, herbalist, church and more.

A few weeks later, the fairy stopped by the wee woman’s apartment. “Surely she’ll be happy now,” the fairy thought. But as she approached, she saw the woman, sitting on a folding chair outside her apartment. And what was the woman doing? Complaining.

“Oh, what a sorrow, a deep, abiding sorrow, that I should live in this cramped apartment. The landlord raised the rent yesterday, the faucets leak, my neighbors stay up all night drinking ale and playing cards. I deserve to own a home, free and clear, in a quiet neighborhood, with a nice yard on all sides separating me from my neighbors. That’s what I deserve.”

The kindly fairy took pity upon her again, and said, “Right before bed this eve, turn around three times, get into bed, close your eyes, and don’t open them till morning. Then you’ll have a big surprise.”

The wee woman followed the fairy’s instructions, and in the morning, she awoke in a lovely cottage. It had two bedrooms, and a beautiful yard that included a rose garden and gazebo. The neighborhood was quiet but still within walking distance of everything she needed.

A few weeks later, the fairy stopped by the wee woman’s home. “Surely she’ll be happy now,” the fairy thought. But as she approached, she saw the woman, sitting in a rocking chair on her porch. And what was the woman doing? Complaining.

“Oh, what a sorrow, a deep, abiding sorrow, that I should live in an old house like this. The roof leaks, the front steps are cracking, the new neighbors are nosy and have finer things than mine, and I can’t possibly maintain the place on my own. I deserve my own, brand new country home with spacious grounds, grand kitchen with all the proper cooking implements, a dining room bigger than this cottage, five bedrooms so I can entertain guests properly, quarters for servants to serve my meals and help me maintain the home, stables with a horse, carriage and driver to take me wherever I need to go.”

The kindly fairy was a little exasperated, but she took pity upon her once again, and said, “Just before bed this eve, turn around three times, get into bed, close your eyes, and don’t open them till morning. Then you’ll have a big surprise.”

The wee woman followed the instructions, and the next morning, she awoke in her dream mansion, with servants on every floor and a chauffeur at the curb waiting to drive her wherever she wished.

A few weeks later, the fairy stopped by the wee woman’s mansion. “Surely she’ll be happy now,” the fairy thought. But as she approached, she saw the woman sitting on a swing on her spacious front porch. And what was the woman doing? Complaining.

“Oh, what a sorrow, a deep, abiding sorrow, that I should live in a mere mansion such as this. I should be a queen living in a castle with everyone bowing down to me and offering patronage of all kinds. I should have sonnets written extolling my beauty, parades on my birthday, and nonstop praise among the peasantry about my many virtues. That’s what I deserve. 

Even more exasperated, the kindly fairy said, “Right before bed this eve, turn around three times, get into bed, close your eyes, and keep them closed till morning. Then you’ll have a big surprise.”

So the little old woman did just what the fairy said. In the morning, she awoke. And where was she? Right back in the teapot.

“And that’s where she’ll remain,” the fairy said, “because if she can’t be happy there, she won’t be happy anywhere.”

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Influenced by folklore and magical realism, The Kiminee Dream is a lyrical story with characters equally charmed and challenged while living where the ordinary and miraculous coexist seamlessly. If you like depth as well as whimsy, arresting twists, and details that rouse your senses, you’ll love what is both an eloquent exploration of acceptance and a tender tribute to the people of Illinois.

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