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LITERARY STYLE INSPIRATION: THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN

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ROLLING WITH JAMES JOYCE ON AN IRISH HILL

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ODE TO THE BOOKISH GIRLS

The Huntsman

Huntsman forest backless dressShop the dream

“Oh, you’re a huntsman…”

I went for a walk in the forest yesterday, late in the afternoon. It had been a dreary, grey day in the village, as it usually is, and almost all of the villagers had gathered on the benches of the piazza to gossip, so the forest was the only place where I could find some peace and quiet.

It had been a while since I visited the grounds; I roamed around while hearing the eerie sound of the chirping birds in my backless dress and smoking slippers which skimmed the leaves with my every step. As I found myself in the deepest part of the woods I stopped to listen — the birds had hushed and there was an intense quiet around me. I would have thought time had stood still had I not been conscious of time in the first place.

The silence was soon broken however, by heavy footsteps which I knew were coming towards me.

“Stop where you are.”

It was a deep voice, as deep as the woods. I could feel his breath hitting the back of my neck, right under my chignon.

“I wasn’t going anywhere.” I turned to look at him, knowing all the while that he would look as burly of a man as the ones I had dined with on the old ship.

“Oh, you’re a huntsman. You know darling, there are other hobbies you can take up instead of killing birds.”

“I’m hunting you, Snow!”

“Oh! Um, do I look like Snow white?”

“Skin white as snow, lips red as blood, and…”*

“Hair black as ebony, yes, yes, I get it but I’m not Snow darling. Sure, my pale skin would make you think so but my hair darling, it’s red, and I’ll take a light shade of pink over red lips most days. It’s not your fault really, I live in a village where the sun is frowned upon and tans are the devil.”

He stood back, with uncertainty in his eyes and an inability to speak.

“Look, I know you have to hunt Snow, I get it, otherwise the apple would be a mere fruit in our village and cleaning time would be a mundane task with no chirping birds accompanying our singing but be gentle with her alright, she’s not the monster you’ve been told she is. Well I’m off and um, clean up a little will you? The huntsman in the movie looks better than you darling.”

I left him there, with an open mouth, looking at me as if he had never seen a woman before. Well, maybe not a woman who would dare talk to him in that manner.

Story credits: The brothers Grimm’s Snow White; Marie Claire South Africa for the image.

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