Flash Fiction: The Beanstalk

This story was written for Microcosms last week. My prompts were gardener, castle, fairy tale.

The Beanstalk

The gardener watched the princess walking to and fro in front of the window of her tower. It was night and he knew that some of the glinting light that shone from the room was from light reflecting off of the fine gold the dwarf was spinning on her behalf.
He looked down at the couple of beans in his hand. He had given away everything he owned for them. Now he planted them at the base of the tower and chanted a prayed. The beans began to sprout and grow and his gaze followed them up and up, seeing how the stems intertwined and stretched before his eyes, reaching even past the window of the tower when the early dawn light replaced the darkness of the night.

The spinning stopped and the dwarf disappeared once more, to come again that night.

“Princess! He called. “Climb down!”

He did not have long to wait before he saw the maiden climb slowly down the beanstalk. When she reached the bottom, she looked around her, ignoring the gardener.

“Where is my prince?” she asked and the gardener stood silent and shocked at her words. “Where, knave?” she said, glaring at him.
With his heart in a million pieces he pointed towards the secret entrance he and some of the other servants used to sneak into the castle.
She dropped a coin in his hand, told him it’s “for his silence”, and ran towards the gate.

The gardener stared after her and dropped the coin in the mud. He started climbing the beanstalk with a heavy heart and, when he reached the top, saw the princess run away, her freedom secured. He turned around, spread out his arms, and let the void and emptiness in his heart swallow him as he fell.


By Carin Marais

Bibliophile, writer of speculative fiction, non-fiction, and maybe-fiction, language practitioner, doer of stuff.

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