Issue No. 3, Winter 2012

The Princess and the Gorilla
Laura Beasley

The princess had eaten all of the bricks in the fireplace, so she was forced to wash dishes as if she were a common kitchen scullion. Even the magical gorilla could not save her from this chore. As she was dipping the dishes in the hot water, the beast nodded his furry head and shook his paws. She wondered if the gorilla was trying to tell her something. The princess found the witch’s purple gloves under the sink counter. The gloves would prevent her hands from being scalded. But the princess realized these were not ordinary gloves. The magical gloves allowed the princess to feel more capable and competent than ever before. She would use these gloves to help her escape with her brother. After she put away the dishes, she folded the gloves and put them in her apron pocket. She shook hands with the gorilla to thank him before checking on her brother who was captive in a birdcage.

“Can I have some of the chocolate bricks, sister?” said her brother.

“No, I have picked some apples for you to eat. You need to get thinner so that you can squeeze between the bars of the birdcage unless I can find the key. The witch is trying to fatten you up so that she can eat you. No candy for you!” said the princess.

“But we’re living in a candy house, it’s impossible to not eat candy when we’re surrounded by the sight of candy and the smell of candy,” said the prince.

“You don’t have to worry about the chocolate brick fireplace any more because I have eaten all of that! Think thin thoughts! I am planning our escape,” said the princess.

`“I can’t think thin thoughts when I have to look at this mosaic tile made of jelly beans. It’s making me crazy!” said her brother.

“I will eat that as well, but I better eat quickly because if she catches me I will be punished again,” said the princess.

She fell to the floor and started scraping up the tiles and eating the jelly beans. She had finished the last of them when the witch returned home.

“How dare you eat my floor, princess!” said the witch “Now you will have to wash all of my laundry by hand including my sheets, my nightclothes and my bloody underwear!”

It was a windy day and the princess was working outside. Her hair was blowing in her face and she couldn’t see what she was doing. The gorilla stood near as she bent over the tub scrubbing the witch’s nightcap. The gorilla brushed his paw over his forehead. The repetitive gesture convinced the princess that he was trying to help her. She found a brass hair comb in the nightcap. The princess used this comb to keep her hair up so that she could work more efficiently. She recognized it was a second magical object because wearing the comb allowed her to feel more brilliant and creative than ever before. She would use this hair comb to plan her escape. After hanging the laundry on the line, she secured it her apron pocket and gave the gorilla a friendly hug before checking on her brother once more.

“You don’t seem any thinner, what have you been eating?” she said.

“I think it’s the smell of the candy that’s making me fatter,” he said.

“I think the witch is giving you candy to eat because she wants to eat you. Don’t you want to escape?”

“It’s hard to refuse candy. Especially when she has those cotton candy pillows on the sofa,” he said.

“Well I suppose I could eat those. It’s not as if I’m gaining any weight eating this candy. The stress of the situation is burning so many calories, and during each task the magical gorilla helps me find magical objects. I am going to use them to get us out of here,” said the princess.

The princess sat cross-legged on the couch and tore the pillows into bite-sized chunks she shoved quickly into her mouth. She almost finished before the witch came home.

“Again with the skinny bitch eating my candy! You are making me sick! You will have to make me chicken soup, go kill the chickens now!” said the witch.

The princess wrung the necks of the chickens, plucked their feathers and tried to use her bare hands to pull the meat off their bones. The gorilla made slashing gestures at his neck and the princess realized she should search for a sharp knife. The witch’s knife made the work easier. The magical knife allowed the princess to understand what needed to be kept as well as what should be eliminated. After setting the pot of soup to simmer on the stove, she wiped the blade clean and tucked the brass knife with the amethyst handle into her apron pocket.

She needed to thank the gorilla. She hoped this third act of gratitude would create a magical transformation. After all she was a princess who had heard dozens of tales told by the Old Weaver. Their passionate kiss was animalistic but he remained a gorilla and she remained a princess.

Her brother was unchanged. He was too fat to squeeze through the bars of the birdcage. The princess begged the gorilla to help her find the key. The princess used her three magical objects in her search: the hair comb, the purple gloves and the sharp knife. As she searched the gorilla pointed to his chest. The princess realized what she needed to do next.

Feeling capable and competent, brilliant and creative and knowing what should be kept as well as eliminated, she stabbed the gorilla with her knife. Opening the chest, she found a tiny brass key resting on his beating heart. She removed the key and hung it around her neck and carefully sutured her friend. After she finished the final stitch, he spoke,

“You didn’t need to stab me so that I could speak. I was always able to speak. You needed to do these things so that you would be willing to listen. But first you must try to use this key. The key you think you need,” said the gorilla.

“Let me rescue my brother and we’ll escape together,” said the princess.

The key opened the birdcage but she could not rescue her brother.

“I’ve decided to stay with the witch because there is more candy to eat,” said the fat prince.

“She’s going to fatten you up and consume you, can’t you see that? I can take you with me.” said the princess

“I don’t want to go with you. Everyone dies whether from cancer or suicide or from being eaten or manipulated by a witch or a wife. You will die as well my Sister Princess. You are not any better than me,” said the boy.

“I will die after a long and healthy life with my gorilla,” said the princess. “We will live happily ever after.”

And that’s just what they did.


Laura Beasley, the Mother who Tells Stories, has lost 190 pounds and lives beyond cancer. After raising three children in California, she and her husband live with their whippet in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.