Allerleirauh Reveals Her True Self To The Prince

By Jeannine Hall Gailey

I’d rather be mistaken for an animal.

If you knew what I ran from,

how my mother cursed me with golden hair, this face.

She left me a father obsessed with her image.

I fear your eyes, just as I feared his.

This coat offers shelter.

So you put me to work in your kitchen, assumed

I was a magical beast, or a lunatic child,

and I keep dropping hints in your soup:

one night, a tiny spinning wheel,

the next night, a gold ring

trying to tell you who I used to be.

I can dance just as I used to dance,

in dresses shining as the stars,

in dresses pale as the moon,

but I am not the same princess.

In older stories, where I am a saint,

I never even get to the safety of you.

My disguises fail. I am found by my father.

Sometimes, he cuts off my hands;

other times, he cuts out my tongue.

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