The maid who didn't want to swallow the toad

revised by Douglas S. Graham


drawing by Francesca Bellicini

Once upon a time there was a maid, whose name was Cor, she lived in the town of Pappor. Because she was very poor, she did not have a mirror to see if she was ugly, nice or passable. Before Cor was born her parents had been rich cattle breeders. They bred in a modern farm, with seven hundred cows, but one day, all the cows and her parents were taken ill by bovine shithouse disease. They made tons of shit but did not give any milk. Although they knew perfectly well that they were unproductive, they didn't want them to die. So Cor's parents, busy all the day trying to free themselves from that imposing amount of shit, did not have the time to attend to their daughter. Cor asked them many times: "In your opinion, am I ugly, nice or passable?". The parents answered: "Can’t you see we're working? Shut up and shovel some shit!". Meanwhile, over the town of Pappor, blew the most constant and strong winds, and therefore, the water of the farm pond, where as if in a mirror, Cor could have taken a look at her features, was always rippled. Nearby there was a castle, full of beautiful Princes that an evil wizard had turned into toads. Cor's girl friends had read in very expensive books, of tales that if they kissed the toads, they would become Princes again. Therefore, one by one, girl friends of Cor knocked at the castle's door, and when the toad on duty came out, they kissed him and turned him back into a Prince. So, after some years all the toads but one, were gone and Cor's girl friends lived happy and satisfied. In the castle remained the last toad, and in the town of Pappor, the last maid, our sweet Cor. On a fair spring day, Cor knocked at the castle's door. A tall, twisted up, grey mustached butler came to open the door. Affably he asked, "Good morning Miss. What kind of cock are you seeking?". Surprised by butler's good manners, Cor didn't pay much attention to the gross words he had used to her, so she asked, "By any chance, is there a toad for me?". The butler said: "Truly a toad there would be, but he is opposed to kissing. Because of all the maids who came to try to turn him into Prince, he's fed up with mouths and maids. "Moreover", he added, showing a weary grimace, "day by day I'm becoming convinced that this is a true toad". "However", he tenderly continued, "if you want to try to kiss him, you can take a chance. I am here for that". "Thank you, thank you ", said Cor gracefully. The butler told her to follow him and she entered the castle. She walked along what seemed like a one hundred mile long corridor, then went up a thousand step big staircase, at whose top there was a great brass bound, oak door. The butler struck two knocks and from the room inside they heard, "Cra". Cor and the butler entered and saw an horrific sight. On a Sorrento Walnut throne sat the toad. It was awesome. Putrefying skin, full of tubercles oozing sticky, greenish liquid. Jutting eyes, a large mouth with no teeth and four legs, of which the front ones were like bulldog legs, and the back ones were shaped like frogs legs. It made you sick to look at him, and it was horrible to think of kissing him. Cor, however, accustomed to living in the cows' shit at her parents farm, did not lose heart and said to the butler: "Do I kiss him at once?". The butler, who surely must have been imported from England, answered with an ironic, but educated tone: "No, Miss, go and wash your teeth first!". " But I haven’t a tooth-brush with me!", said Cor troubled, looking in vain in her apron's pockets. "Oh, come now, I was teasing", said the butler. "Kiss the toad, please. Anyhow, I know it will not work. I've seen a lot of maids in here!". He nodded his head. Cor approached the throne with heavy emotion. She thought of all the other maids that had already tried, but was sure that it was only her kiss that would work. When the toad saw Cor stooping over him, he covered his eyes with his front legs. 'How many mouths have kissed me, and almost consumed the tubercles', came in to his mind, and he was terrified. 'But, at least, this one doesn’t use lipstick'. Cor kissed him on the flat forehead, between the very distant sad eyes. Nothing happened. Seeing her disappointment, the butler said: "Don't lose heart, my Dear, try again. If you want to accept my humble advice, you must try something more than a simple kiss. Try perhaps to use the tongue". The butler lavished that suggestion without much enthusiasm, because he knew that it would not work. Beneath his ironic visage, the butler hid a sadistic temperament, that made him snigger under his mustache. Cor put again her lips on the toad's skin and licked a little bit. The toad shuddered and pulled away. Cor too shuddered and pulled away, and made a grimace, because the tubercles' liquid was bitter as bile. The butler, who had never tried, curiously asked: "How was it?". He could not withhold a laugh. Cor did not answer, lowered her eyes and cried. Then, realizing the butler continued to laugh, reproached him: "It is not right you behave in this way". The butler, who understood very well the metamorphosis from toad to Prince, suddenly retorted, "If he has not been transformed by now, by all the top models who came from Indochina to kiss him, he will never be transformed. Believe me Miss, I couldn't stand any more to attend to the Prince. And now I'm attached to this toad: he has no great pretence, I must only catch some flies and hold off the crows that want to eat him". The butler with a nostalgic look on his face said, "When this castle was inhabited by Princes in the flesh, before the evil wizard came, there was chaos. Wedding lunches, suppers, dances, madrigals, coronations, depositions, Queen-mothers, dolphins, infants, birthdays, a confusion you cannot image. I am old and just I don't like living with my toad here". "Why don't you think of retiring? ", asked Cor. The butler answered: "Exactly! That is the problem. Of all toads that have become Princes, not one has thought of me. Not one has ever thought to take me with him and his Princess. I'd like to watch them to rub and fuck beneath the canopy, because the books of tales never tell about this theme. Bad they've been", he said. It was his turn to cry, this time, the tears rolling down his cheeks. Cor was very sorry for him, and gave him a gentle slap on the shoulder. Affected by Cor’s affectionate gesture, the butler said: "Hear me, Miss, I like you, because you are not like the other maids, you are the only one who has thought a little bit of me. Therefore I will give you the exact solution. Don't kiss the toad, swallow him, then we say no more ". But the maid did not want to swallow the toad said. "It fills me with disgust!". "If you succeeded in kissing him with the tongue it will not be difficult to swallow him", urged the butler. Then Cor, almost convinced, took the toad by two fingers, and put the frog into her mouth. The animal croaked: "Cra, cra, cra!". For Cor it was impossible to contain that bitter mouthful, so she spat the toad out. "What if we put a little sugar on him?", asked the butler. "Ok, let's try! ", said Cor. The butler went to get a sugar bowl from the pantry and poured two large spoons full of sugar on the toad's back. It was black whole sugar, because the butler kept himself aware of healthy diets. With the black whole sugar all over him, the toad had an almost beautiful aspect. If one may use the expression. He remained however ugly, but at least well garnished, with sugar grains on his back it seemed like gold powder on a crude emerald. Then Cor took him again in the mouth, held her nose and succeeded to swallow. "Finally", the butler exclaimed, and he was transformed into the most beautiful Prince. The mustache disappeared, leather boots appeared on his feet and a jerkin on his chest, and a fine-stone handled dagger suddenly appeared in his belt. He explained to Cor how the spell had happened. "The evil wizard, who read trash magazines, had transformed the last Prince into a butler and his butler into a toad, deciding that the spell would be broken only when a poor maid who smelled of shit would swallow the toad, alias the butler ". "So the toad I've eaten was the butler? Don't tell me that." said Cor, while nausea filled her stomach. "Exactly, just so!", confirmed the newly become butler Prince or vice versa. "What for a disgusting tale", said Cor. And began to retch. "No, no, woe!", said the prince. "If you throw up the toad, I will again become a butler and you will never marry. Have you seen a maid in any tale that would marry a butler?". "What have I to do, now?", asked Cor while holding her hands to her mouth and stomach. "Wait a moment, please, my Dear, I think have a remedy. The butler went away and returned with an ampoule of Plasil. He pricked Cor, and the retching and vomiting stopped. Cor began to feel happy, because finally she had her Prince too. She asked why and how he had an ampoule of Plasil, and he answered that such event was expected in the script, and he had always hated maid’s who vomited toads." Moreover", he added " I am not a simple Prince, but a veterinary Prince". "Fine!", said Cor in amazement. Then, remembering her parents, had a great idea. "By chance, have you also a drug against bovine shithouse disease?". "Sure, of course!", answered the Prince "I will go and get it". He went into the pantry and he returned with a bucket, full to the brim with a whitish mixture. The two rapidly ran to Cor's parents, and from dawn to sunset they gave to the seven hundred cows seven hundred clysters with the drug against bovine shithouse disease. In few days the diarrhoea disappeared, the cows were cured, and began to give perfect milk and were sold for an acceptable price. With the profit, Cor's parents bought a small house in Canada. Cor and the Prince left for the honeymoon, then came back to Pappor town, where they lived happy and satisfied in their castle without mother-in-law problems. Oh, I forgot... Finally Cor had a mirror, in which she could take a look at herself. So she realized not to be ugly, not to be beautiful, not to be passable. Only idiot.