I wanted to do something a little different for this week’s Friday Fright & #FridayFlash, so I incorporate “There Was an Old Woman Who Lived In a Shoe” with the Evil Birthday Present prompt. This was so much fun, I plan to do this with other nursery rhymes the rest of the month. Hope you enjoy!
There was an old woman who lived in a shoe. Not exactly her dream home, but her husband was a cobbler and quite passionate about his trade. He had insisted they move in after their honeymoon then set up shop in the heel.
Shortly into their marriage, the old woman discovered there was fire in her husband for more than shoes. He was rather skilled in the art of lovemaking. He gave his wife not a moments rest to the point she soon gave up wearing undergarments beneath her dress. And, during the early years of their marriage, either her husband was inside her or a child was birthing from her loins.
Twenty years later, the tattered and worn woman had aged far beyond her years. She had so many children she didn’t know what to do. Worst of all, her husband had abandoned the family for a much younger woman who lived down the street in a sexy suede stiletto, three stories high.
On the old woman’s birthday, the occasion escaped her memory as it did most years. Her attention rarely distracted from wiping noses, bottoms, and every other mess the children made. “You all work me to the bone,” she scorned as she did every day, followed by a swat to the nearest child’s rear-end using whatever she happened carry at the time.
Usually, they all scattered like flies, but hoped to better her foul mood with a birthday gift. The children gathered around their mother, the eldest son holding out a brown, unwrapped box no larger than ten inches on each side. “Happy birthday,” they said in unison and the youngest of the siblings even danced a jig.
The old woman frowned and gritted her teeth, at the same time shaking a metal soup ladle. “You waste your money on gifts while your father spends all his money on his new wife.”
“But look, Mother.” The eldest son removed the lid to reveal a beautiful music box with daisies painted on the lid, their mother’s favorite flower. “The shopkeeper said to play the music, make a wish and all your dreams will come true. See.” He then opened the small box and a lovely tune played.
The other children held their breath and took a few steps backward.
“Fools!” The old woman snatched the box from her son and threw it to a corner of the room where it disturbed the sleeping cat. “The only wish I have is that I could truly work my skin to the bone so you might understand how hard I work for you brats.”
Then she gave them some broth without any bread and she whipped them all soundly and sent them to bed.
The next morning the children awoke to a spotless house that sparkled in the morning sunlight. Their noses twitched to the aroma of bacon and blueberry pancakes as they rounded the corner to the kitchen table and frightening sight.
Their mother sat hunched over, not a hunk of flesh left on her body, the music box beneath her boney arms.
The skeletal matriarch straightened in her seat then jumped to her feet. “Breakfast!”
For the first time ever, the old woman served all twenty of her children without one swat or even a complaint.
© Copyright 2012 W. J. Howard