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fic post #2

Title: Rose-red
Fandom: Reign
Pairings: Mary/Francis
Rating: PG-13
Genre: Fairytale
Words: 1690
Summary: For the 2/21 challenge on the Mary & Francis thread at fanforum, prompt is "fairytales." This is based on the Grimm's story Snowy-white and Rose-red, a favorite of mine.
AN: I usually write in first or second person, but Grimms are written in third, so I wanted to stay true to that. This is unbetaed, so the mistakes are mine.
Disclaimer: I own nothing, pretty things just distract and amuse me.



Rose-red

There was a poor old widow who lived in a lonely cottage on the edge of forest. In the front of the cottage was an old rose tree that covered the tiny house which bore the reddest of roses. She only had one child, a maid whose true name was Mary, but everyone knew her as Rose-red. For her lips were as red as the roses in her mother's garden.

She was good, cheerful and industrious, loving to run in the meadow, chasing butterflies and picking flowers rather than helping her mother. Though because she was a good daughter she would help her mother with the housework or read to her at night - but she always preferred to be outdoors. She loved and cared for all the woodland creatures, and because of this none ever did her any harm. Instead the hares ate carrots and lettuce leaves from her hand, the birds still cared for the fallen eggs she carefully placed back in their nests and sang her song, the stags had no fear. If she stayed too late, night having fallen, she lay down in the meadow and rested there. The creatures of the forest watching over the beautiful girl to make sure nothing happened to her.

On just such a night Rose-red had a dream of a golden young man. He had brilliant eyes of blue and wore a white mantle. He was the most handsome man she had ever seen. He stood between her and the forest's edge. When she woke she realized he had stood between her and a precipice, saving her from harm. When she told her mother the old widow declared him to be her guardian angel.

In the summer Rose-red picked flowers from the meadow every morning for her mother, to brighten the cottage, laying them on her bed before she woke. In the winter she stoked the fire and tended the kettle.

One night in the cold winter the old widow told Rose-red to bolt the door for the night. As she was latching it a sharp knock rapped at the door, Rose-red opened the door thinking it was some poor traveler lost in the snow. Instead it was a great black bear! Rose-red screamed and jumped back, hand to her throat. The lamb bleated, the birds fluttered, but the old widow was not afraid, and the bear began to speak - "Do not be afraid, I mean you no harm. I just wish to warm myself by your fire for a bit."

The old widow, seeing he meant no harm welcomed him in and called to her daughter that the bear should not frighten her. Rose-red helped him to knock the snow out of his coat before he settled himself next to the fire.

All winter the bear would leave each morning when they would unlatch the door and return each evening to warm himself at their fire. He allowed Rose-red to play with him, tugging at his hair, tying bows to his fur, riding him as if a horse, rolling about with him on the floor. He took it all in good stead.

When it was bedtime the old widow would always tell him he could lie by the hearth and keep warm at the fire. Every morning Rose-red let him out, and never fastened the door at night till their black haired friend was safely inside.

When spring came and the forest came to life again and all was green the bear thanked the old widow and her daughter, Rose-red for their generosity and kindness. Before he left he gave them the most beautiful snowy white lilies. They each kissed his cheek in appreciation.

"Where will you go now?" Rose-red asked, for she worried for her friend.

"I must guard my treasure from the wicked dwarfs who seek to steal it from me," the bear explained. "In the winter they go into their tunnels underground and are closed in by the ice. But once the spring comes they come above ground to pry where they shouldn't and steal. Once they have something they take it back to their caves where it is never seen again."

Rose-red nodded, knowing the bear had to leave, but she worried for her friend, and thought of him often, and hoped he was safe.

One day when Rose-red was out in the meadow she came across a little dwarf his long beard stuck in a tree. She had never actually seen a dwarf, and the warnings of her friend the bear came to mind. As she stood there trying to decide what to do the little dwarf saw her and called out.

"Why do you just stand there? Can you not see I am in distress? Will you not help me?"

Because Rose-red was a kind and generous person she overcame her fear and helped the little dwarf. But try as she might she could not get his long beard loose from the tree. After trying again and again, she told him to wait for her while she went to the cottage to fetch something that would help.

The dwarf called out to her as she left that she should make haste and also bring him some food for her was very hungry. Rose-red ignored his rudeness, but hurried anyway and fetched some bread and cheese for the dwarf to eat.

When she got back the dwarf was sputtering, cursing and kicking the tree. She handed him the bread and cheese, then pulled her scissors from her pocket. When he was free he began to curse her again, completely unappreciative of her efforts.

"You uncouth girl, taking a piece of my fine beard, may you have bad luck!" he picked up a bag hidden in the brush, she could see it was filled with gold, with one last rude remark he slung the bag over his shoulder and disappeared.

Some weeks later the old widow told Rose-red to go catch some fish for their pot. Rose-red went to the brook to do as her mother asked. When she got there the mean little dwarf was there with a fine fish caught in his line, however, his beard was also stuck in the line.

Rose-red hesitated to help him, he had been mean spirited and rude the last time she sought to bring him aid. But because she was a good person she felt guilt for even thinking of leaving him as she found him. Nevertheless, once the dwarf saw her he again called out rude remarks. Calling her a fool and demanding she come to his aid again. Rose-red ignored these and tried to help him.

The fishing line was knotted and tangled in his beard, try as she might Rose-red could do nothing to help. Everything made it worse. She hesitated, then grabbed her scissors out of her pocket and quickly snipped his beard.

The dwarf screamed in rage - "This is uncivil, that you would disfigure a face. First you took off the end, now you chop off the better part of it, leaving me like half-shorn sheep! I cannot go home now. I wish I had never seen you!" With that he took his sack filled with gold and pearls and ran away.

Not long after the old widow sent Rose-red to the village for thread and needles. As she walked along the path she saw a large eagle swoop down and take the mean little dwarf. The dwarf dropped his bag which spilled out jewels of every color, sparkling in the sunlight. She ran to aid him even though he had never appreciated her efforts to help him in the past. Grabbing hold of his foot she pulled against the force of the eagle. After some moments the eagle gave in thinking the little dwarf not worth the effort.

As was his usual response the little dwarf showed no appreciation for Rose-red's kindness. Instead cursing her for not taking more care with his clothes. "You could have been more careful. Now my coat is torn, dirty and full of holes. You are a clumsy creature."

He then picked up his sack of jewels and began to walk away, muttering to himself.

Just then Rose-red heard a great roar. Turning in fright she saw a huge black bear - one that looked very familiar to her. He charged toward her and the mean little dwarf. The dwarf screamed to no avail, the bear tore him limb-from-limb.

Rose-red was frightened of the bear for the first time since they had initially met. He had slain the strange and unappreciative little dwarf. She turned to run off when the bear's voice called to her - "Rose-red, do not be afraid." She turned around and saw the golden guardian angel who had saved her from the precipice shrugging off the bear's skin.

"The dwarf stole my treasure, banished me from my home, and cursed me to live my life as a bear. I am Francis, the king's son, and the only way I could get back my treasure and birthright was to slay the dwarf who lay the curse."

He opend the dwarf's bag and out tumbled gold and jewels and riches the likes of which Rose-red had never seen. She knew then what he told was true.

"The generosity you showed me while I was still the bear told of your true kind and worthy nature. If you would have me, I would take you as my wife, Rose-red?"

She quickly assented, for she knew he was very good and noble from when he had been trapped inside the bear.

The people rejoiced at the return of their prince, and even more that he had found so beautiful and kind a princess for himself. On the day they wed she wore a crown of the reddest roses from her own mother's garden in her hair.

The old widow lived happily with her daughter for many years, but took with her the beautiful rose tree and planted it outside her window, where every year it bore the most beautiful of red roses.

FIN

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