Excerpt of Enchanted by Alethea Kontis
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Fool's Gold and Fairy Stones
MY NAME IS SUNDAY WOODCUTTER, and I
am doomed to a happy life.
I am the seventh daughter of Jack and Seven Woodcutter, Jack a
seventh son and Seven a seventh daughter herself. Papa's dream was to
give birth to the charmed, all- powerful Seventh Son of a Seventh Son.
Mama told him seven girls or seven boys, whichever came first. Jack
Junior was first. Papa was elated. His dream died the morning I popped
out, blithe and bonny and good and gay, seven daughters later.
Fortunately, coming first did not stop Jack Junior from being a
wunderkind. I never knew my eldest sibling, but I know his legend. All
of Arilland's children grew up in Jack's shadow, his younger siblings
more than most. I have never known a time when I wasn't surrounded
by the overdramatic songs and stories of Jack Junior's exploits. A good
number of new ones continue to spring up about the countryside to this
very day. I have heard them all. (Well, all but the Forbidden Tale. I'm
not old enough for that one yet.)
But I know the most important tale: the tale of his demise, while
he served in the King's Royal Guard. One day, in a fit of pique or passion
(depending on the bard), he killed Prince Rumbold's prized pup.
As punishment, the prince's evil fairy godmother witched Jack Junior
into a mutt and forced him to take the pup's place. He was never heard
They say my family was never the same after that. I wish I could
know my father as tales portray him then: loud, confident, and opinionated.
Now he is simply a strong, quiet man, content with his place in
life. It is no secret that Papa harbors no loyalty to the royal family of
Arilland, but he would not say a word against them.
My second- eldest brother's name is Peter. My third brother is Trix.
Trix was a foundling child whom Papa discovered in the limbs of a tree
at the edge of the Wood one winter's workday before I was born. The way
Mama tells it, Trix was a son she didn't have to give birth to, and he
made Papa happy. She already had too many children to feed, what was
My sisters and I -
"What are you doing?"
Sunday's head snapped up from her journal. She had chosen
this spot for its solitude, followed the half-hidden path
through the underbrush to the decaying rocks of the abandoned
well, sure that she had escaped her family. And yet, the voice
that had interrupted her thoughts was not familiar to her. Her
eyes took a moment to adjust, slowly focusing on the mottled
shadows the afternoon sun cast through dancing leaves.
"I'm sorry?" She posed the polite query to her unknown
visitor in an effort to make him reveal himself, be he real or
imagined, dead or alive, fairy or -
"I said, 'What are you doing?' "
Sunday forced her gaping mouth closed. Caught off-guard,
she sputtered the truth: "I'm telling myself stories."
The frog considered her answer. He balanced himself on
his spotted hind legs and blinked at her with his bulbous eyes.
"Why? Do you have no one to whom you can tell them?"
Apart from his interruption, he maintained an air of polite
decorum. He's smart, too, Sunday thought. He must have been a
human before being cursed. Animals of the Wood only ever spoke
in wise riddles and almost- truths.
"I have quite a large family, actually, with lots of stories.
"Only no one wants to hear them."
"I do," said the frog. "Read me your story, the story you
have just written there, and I will listen."
She liked this frog. Sunday smiled, but slowly closed her
book. "You don't want to hear this story."
"It's not very interesting."
"What's it about?"
"It's about me. That's why none of my family wants to hear
it. They already know all about me."
Excerpted from Enchanted
by Alethea Kontis. Copyright © 2012 by Alethea Kontis.
Excerpted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights
reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted
without permission in writing from the publisher.