Once upon a time,
There was a woman.
She was considered by most people in her town as,
The beautiful ones would come in droves,
To mock her.
Mock her face,
Her long and pointed nose,
Her round and frumpy body,
“Witchy witch, witchy witch!!” could be heard as they went by.
The woman wore a scowl on her face,
She gave the beautiful ones mean stares.
She wore a black hood with a long brown dress,
Which attempted to mask her full, round body with little success.
The woman would try to find different beauty treatments,
Anything to improve her skin,
Contacts to change her eye colour,
She even wore a grey dress one day instead of her traditional brown,
But they would mock her even more.
“Look at her, trying so hard to be something that she just isn’t!” they laughed,
“How pathetic!” laughed one,
“Go home, stop trying!” laughed another.
The woman flipped them the bird which made them laugh even more.
The woman lived alone,
In a simple looking house.
She would often stare into her mirror in the bathroom,
Telling herself things like,
‘They are right, I am ugly, I’ll never know what it’s like to be beautiful.’
She tore up all of the pictures of herself,
And destroyed all of the mirrors in her house.
‘No use looking at something that will never change anyway,’ she thought.
She ventured onto a path that led into a beautiful forest.
Seeing that no one was around she continued on,
‘At least the trees won’t make fun of me,’ she thought.
As she walked, she past a little cottage,
There was an old woman sitting in a rocking chair on her porch.
“Excuse me dear, would you mind coming here to help me with something?” she asked.
The woman, wary of being made fun of, decided to ignore her, but the old woman pressed on.
“I really need your help, please, I implore you!” she said.
The woman let out a sigh and turned around, “Uh, sorry I didn’t hear you the first time,” she lied, “I’ll be right there!”
When she came to the door, the old woman spoke, “my, aren’t you a beauty!” she said.
“Uh, thanks.” the woman responded as she followed her into the house,
Thinking to herself, ‘she must be going blind.’
“Would you mind terribly to get my mirror off of that top shelf? I live alone and not many people venture through here, so when I saw you I thought I would ask. My legs don’t work very well and I’m too short to reach for it.” the old woman said.
“Of course.” the woman responded.
She managed to reach up and pulled down a wood carved hand mirror.
“Wow, this is beautiful, no wonder you wanted it.” she said.
“Yes, but this is no ordinary mirror,” the old woman said, “it can turn those who look into it, into the reflection that they see. Try it.”
The woman scoffed, but seeing how sincere the old woman was being, she decided to give it a try.
When she looked into the mirror, she saw a miraculous sight,
Her skin was smooth, creamy and radiant,
Her hair, a gorgeous shade of brown, voluminous and wavy,
Her eyes shined like the sun,
Her lips a beautiful shade of pinky-red.
“Oh my God,” said the woman, “I’m………I’m beautiful!” she cried.
The old woman smiled, “I told you, it’s a powerful mirror.”
“Indeed it is!” she cried.
“Why don’t you take it?” The old woman said, “as a reward for helping me to get it down.”
“Oh, no I couldn’t,” she said out of politeness, not being able to take her eyes off of the mirror’s reflection.
“No, no I insist,” the old woman said, “but, just one thing………there…….. is……… a bit of a catch.”
“Of course there is.” said the woman.
“You will need to make sure you see your reflection in this mirror only. You must do this for 7 days, once at dawn and once at dusk. And each time you look into the mirror, you must tell yourself the following: I am beautiful. Then and only then will you become the reflection that you see. You mustn’t see your reflection elsewhere during the 7 days, not even in water. Understood?” said the old woman.
“Understood.” she said, she had already destroyed all of the mirrors in her house,
‘This will be easy,’ she thought.
She thanked the old woman for her generosity and left.
The woman stared into the mirror,
And admired her reflection.
She remembered to say the words, I am beautiful.
She decided to fix her hair in a different style,
And wore a bit of makeup.
When she stepped out the door, she removed her hood.
She had never felt more beautiful.
She held her head high and went about her day.
Suddenly, people started smiling at her.
She found herself smiling back.
A handsome man came over and introduced himself,
“Sam is my name.” he said.
They began walking and talking together.
Sam introduced her to some of his friends,
The woman, floored at the magic of the mirror, was pleased to finally have company.
She continued doing what the old woman told her, avoiding her reflection and only looking into the mirror.
When the 8th day arrived,
The woman bounded out of bed.
She looked into the mirror and her reflection was glowing.
“Oh my gosh it worked!!!” She giggled with glee, “I’m finally beautiful!!!! I’m beautiful!!!”
She cried tears of joy, staring into the mirror, rejoicing at her new found beauty.
She put on her finest, tousled her hair, put on some lipstick and went to meet Sam and her new friends.
When she arrived, they all complimented her,
“Wow, you look absolutely radiant!” Sam said.
The woman blushed, “thank you Sam,” she said.
The beautiful ones appeared.
“Hey look! Ugly here took off her hood! Ugh, please do us a favour and put it back on!” one of them cried.
“Hey! Leave her alone!” Sam said.
“Awww, look, Ugly has a boyfriend!” Said another.
“It’s okay Sam.” said the woman.
“Just ignore them,” her friends said.
“Witchy witch, witchy witch!!” the beautiful ones chanted.
“Not this time,” the woman said,
She marched right up to them.
“WTF is your problem?? I look like you now, in fact, I look even better than you, so stop harassing me!” she shouted.
“Look better?? Have you looked in a mirror lately??? You’re deluded if you think a little lipstick and a new dress would change you Ugly!” said the beautiful one who took out her compact and shoved it in the woman’s face.
“See just how ugly you are Ugly!” she laughed.
The woman caught her reflection in the compact’s mirror and was utterly shocked.
She looked the same as she always did.
“That old woman lied to me.” she said.
“You took beauty advice from an old woman?? Oh that’s rich!!!” the beautiful one said.
“Why don’t you just get lost huh??? Get away from here!” Sam yelled.
“You’re right, we are wasting our time with you lot,” they said.
The beautiful one snatched the compact out of her hand and they left, laughing.
The woman stood there, feeling utterly shocked and betrayed by what the old woman had done to her.
“Don’t take what they say seriously,” said Sam, who put his hand gently on the woman’s shoulder, “they’re just a bunch of fake plastic dolls with nothing to offer.”
The woman turned to Sam, “I’m sorry, but I have…….I have to go.”
“Wait!!!” cried Sam,
But it was too late,
The woman ran off, and headed into the forest, towards the little cottage,
Where the old woman lived.
She ran up to the front door of the cottage,
With the mirror in her hand,
She started banging on the door,
“Hello, is anyone home??? I’m the woman you gave the mirror to! I need to speak with you NOW!!!” she shouted.
The old woman answered the door,
“Oh dear, you look so distraught, what happened?” she asked.
“YOU LIED TO ME!” the woman yelled, “You told me that this mirror would change me into the reflection that I see, but it didn’t!!! I’m still as ugly as I ever was!!!”
“You’re wrong dear,” the old woman said, “you have become the reflection, you’re radiant!”
“You must be blind,” said the woman, “I look NOTHING like the reflection that I see, NOTHING! Here, take your mirror back, and please don’t ever deceive anyone else like you did to me!”
She started to cry.
The old woman came forward and put her hand on her shoulder.
“Don’t, please.” said the woman.
“You know dear, there was a time in my youth when I was what most use to consider beautiful,” the old woman said, “I had long, golden blonde hair, blue shining eyes and a thin body. I was beloved by everyone that was around me; men wanted to court me and women wanted to be friends with me. Because of the accolades I received, I grew arrogant and began to think that I was better than everyone.”
“One day, an elderly man came to me. Seeing how vain I was, he gave this mirror to me and said, if you aren’t careful, you’ll become like the reflection that you see. I, like you, didn’t believe him at first, but when I looked into the mirror, I saw myself as you see me now, old, wrinkled, and grey. That’s when I discovered the truth about beauty.”
The woman, with a bewildered look on her face, asked, “what is the truth?”
The old woman smiled, “Beauty is a reflection of the soul; it is eternal. It never fades and there are no imperfections. When I got you to look into the mirror, the mirror reflected that truth back to you. I wanted you to see what I see in you, that you are beautiful. You believed those who, like me, failed to realize what true beauty is. You allowed them to define who you are and thus you became their version of ‘ugly’.”
As the old woman was talking, she looked up to see Sam, and the others, standing near the path to her cottage.
“You see dear, when you started appreciating that reflection, you indeed became that reflection. Your face didn’t need to change, only your perception of it. You embraced the beauty that you saw and therefore, others began to embrace it too.” said the old woman as she pointed to Sam.
She turned her head to see where the old woman was pointing,
Her heart swelled with happiness to see Sam and her friends standing there.
She looked back at the old woman, with tears in her eyes,
“I understand……I understand.” she said, falling to her knees.
She grabbed the old woman’s hands and buried her face in them.
“How do I ever thank you for this?” she asked.
“You just did dear,” the old woman said.
The old woman helped her to her feet just as Sam and her friends came up to greet them.
“Are you okay?” Sam asked.
“More than okay,” she answered, with a bright smile on her face.
“You take good care of this one, you hear son?” the old woman said.
Sam, blushing a little, said, “you don’t have to worry, I will.”
They all said goodbye and turned to leave,
The woman said to Sam “I’ll join you guys in a minute.”
She once again pulled out the mirror and handed it to the old woman.
“You keep it dear,” the old woman said, “perhaps you can teach someone else about their true beauty.”
“I will,” she said.
She thanked the old woman again and proceeded down the path,
Hand in hand with Sam,
They walked out of the forest.