The Worrier's Fable
by Cori Crooks
|Illustration by Bea Batz|
Our lovely Unicorn stood pensively by the glimmering gold berry bush. “Will these berries ever ripen? What if I never have anything to eat again? Is the tree getting enough sun? Oh, I know it! I’m going starve and my horn will become dull and grey!”
She gnawed on the worry wart that grew like a blister pearl above the curve of her left knee. “How long has this been here? What if it’s mortalizing? I hope it doesn’t become infected!”
Worry, worry, worry. Our Unicorn worried all along that day. She worried about purity. She worried about grace. And when she was done worrying her virtues- she began to be concerned that she may have miscounted the number of virgins left in the world.
As night began, she took to the stars and just as her constellation appeared, (she had worried it wouldn't), a faint sound from far away grew louder and closer.
Trip, trap, trip, trap… along wobbled a troll wearing stilts made of goats bones and a smug cape of moss and black bryony vines. He opened his pitch mouth appearing to yawn, “What's the worry furry?”
Our Unicorn was startled. She had lived by her river of kindness for 100 years and had never seen a troll pass. Sure she had seen pixies and fairies, and even hid from the occasional maiden or two, but never a troll. She found him repulsively interesting.
“I see a little sparkle….” He cooed.
Our Unicorn looked at the troll with her left eye then her right, “Why troll, what brings you here to my enchanted forest?” She hoped he didn't hear her lisp.
“Why but I am a troll and trolls troll don’t we?” he said casually plucking a dangling hair that grew from the mole on his nose.
Our Unicorn gave a great snort. The troll took it as suspicion, and she worried if he thought her sneeze rude.
“Poor, poor Unicorn, with the sad silver horn! Why so forlorn?” he murmured.
“Oh don’t be concerned about me green troll. You just keep right on with your trolling and trip trapping.” She neighed.
“Why I suspect you are hungry- otherwise a marvelous creature such as yourself wouldn’t be so inhospitable to a lowly traveler such as I.” Then the toll took a bow so deep that his hatless head touched the laces of his polished Buster Browns.
“Oh, my… was I being rude?” she hemmed.
“Why yes, why yes your were!” He jumped.
“Oh, I’m so very sorry! Please have a seat by my river dear troll. I’d hate you to think me unkind!”
And with that gracious invitation the troll settled in for the time being, sharing his wart healing potions and lending his green thumb to those problematic bushes that concerned our Unicorn so. And it turned out that the trolling troll had in the past taken to settling and while settled he had become quite the adventurous chef, as our Unicorn found out, making her delicious pies made from her now ripe gold berry bush. Soon her belly was full and her constitution was happy, and her horn never once faded to a dull grey.
One morning our Unicorn awoke with a skip in her gallop! She began gathering all her colors from the enchanted forest- blue from the eucalyptus leaves, red from the finches crest, yellow from the mushroom caps, orange from the coral bark maple, and green… green from the sleeping troll! Just as she leaned down to nibble a hair from his olive pit head he awoke and spoke as if he’d never been sleeping. “Why fair Unicorn friend, where are you off too?”
“Oh, I didn’t mean to wake, I ah mean, bother you. I’m off to the waterfall at the end of the river. I need to replenish the rainbow.”
“Ha ha! Why my lovely beauty, don’t bother yourself with such frivolity, for I have done it for you!”
"I have solved all your worries my hooved dear! All you need to do is relax by your magical river, look for your stars, and eat! Eat! Eat!" He raised a pine needle eyebrow and asked, "Care for another slice of the golden berry pie I have made for you?"
And so she did. And it was not long before our Unicorn became plump and content- for all of her worries were gone and her only care in the world was to eat piece after piece of the troll's buttery, flaky, golden berry pies.
No one in our village sees the Unicorn by the river anymore. Many a maiden have looked for her only to be disappointed. But yet still, many a girl has shared a tale that while laying on the forest floor and peeking up through the bush, they have spied a fat bellied fancy shoed troll- who walks on stilts made of goats bones, wearing a cape of vines and moss, and a shimmering silver unicorn hat.
-for Nancy, with sincere thanks.