...upon a time, I read and liked all the princess-fairy tale books -those thin, hard bound Lady Bird and Disney's Little Golden Book (oops my age is showing) with the gold swirls and wedding cake gowns. A curse generally turns princesses into hapless,cleaning-ladies-in waiting: for rescue, the prince and happy ever after. Despite sudden domesticity (hmmm...there must have been a nanny or maid who made the child princess do their work...how else would they learn to do laundry and cook for seven), these girls stay enviably milky-skinned, red-lipped, bright-eyed and eternally cheerful - a requirement to stand out from the woodland crowd, ugly stepsisters, evil queens and drab outfits. Then a make over in the end so they could be palace wives dealing with butlers and place settings.

Then I latched on to more realistically drawn characters where good cheer and love is bound to bring luck, riches and Samaritans despite hardships at the start. I especially loved Five Little Peppers & How They Grew (also Black Beauty, Oliver Swift, and Robinson Crusoe). Imagine hungry, poor children picking up coal on the streets for a meager fire to warm everyone in winter. Living in the tropics where the coldest weather (before global warming turns it around in the extreme future) only meant bringing out thick flannel blankets, I feared for the children who fall into freezing-cold induced sleep, dreaming of warmth, food, and better days until lulled into quiet, peaceful death. It would be a welcome end to the destitute soul, I thought, but such a lonely way to go - considering he or she is just another statistic – un-mourned except by me, the reader.

And it is almost always at Christmas when who or what was lost was painfully magnified, until rescue comes in the form of a hero/Samaritan/rich relative/ the returning prodigal or lost love.
Point is, these stories got our own hopes up that whatever misery will pass. It offers escape from what’s real and now. Like not having a tea-and- cookies grandma, just one whose every sentence dripped with cuss words; no summer or country home; a flood-prone house in the city falling into disrepair; people I know who love each other but find they’re not the right fit in the end. But hope of ever after still flicker for most, worse off or not. I just wonder at anyone’s capacity to still dream, when as the song goes“ a dream is a wish your heart makes, when you’re fast asleep”…and you know you’ll wake up to something else entirely!

Dreams do come true for some more than others. They surely have my vote. They may as well be bringers of hope to the rest of us. And maybe, hope is there because we all read the fairy tale when our baby minds can still believe in tall tales and magic! To tide us over the grown up years until our ship comes in. Don’t you wonder how kids today dream with their baby chic, brand name lit? Maybe with a C for capital funds or in italics, logos, multi-hyphenate, and HDTV . I won’t even dare touch the subject of the Prince of Darkness as modern day …uhhh…prince! Heehee just being funny!

P.s.! Don't think I'm a sad sort: I maybe handed some lemons but I know how to turn them into cheesecake! Yum! (although this one a gorgeously heavy-with-fruit Pomelo tree )! I may not have the idyllic life but I have friends who do and asks me to visit - I once caught a fish thiiisssss bigggg, but that's a story for another post. Here's a preview of my bamboo fishing pole, though!

Incidentally, too, Polly Pepper's woe is centered on an old stove with a hole she needed to stuff with precious paper scraps that would tumble out just as quick and make the fire die out and make her cry. She accepts her fate with cheer anytime else and happiness is a perfect brown flour cake with a few raisins - the only special treat she could afford to make for her widowed mother and four brothers and sister. Maybe the cover art is so ingrained in me that I would be Polly-like (in some ways) in the end. With every baking challenge, maybe Polly Pepper is egging me on (nice pun, that, if I do say so myself hehehe) to do better with my foil-ed oven! She got a benefactor later on, who gave her a new one! So maybe it'll happen to me too hehehe


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