Once upon a time, after dragons and monsters had been turned to stone, there was a young girl who wanted to please her nasty godmother. Her parents had died long ago, before she could even capture their faces into her memory. Now when she remembered them, she only remembered the color yellow, which filled her up with both sadness and warmth.
Since her parents had passed away, the little girl was sent to live with her godmother, a sour woman who did not care for little girls. How was she her godmother, you might ask? Truthfully, the whole thing was a bit of a mistake. The woman’s name was Fran Harold. The real godmother’s name was Franny Harold. And so the girl’s life was forever changed by a terrible mix-up.
More than anything else, the girl wanted to be loved by her godmother, even if the old lady was bitter. She kept the house clean for her godmother and did chores for her godmother and even scrubbed the calluses off of her godmother’s stinky feet. But never once did the godmother change her dislike of little girls.
Then, one early morning while the other children in the neighborhood were playing before school, the young girl overheard something about The Kissing Fish.
“The Kissing Fish will grant your wish will grant your wish he will!” The children sang and danced and played with their jumping rope and hop scotch stones.
“What is The Kissing Fish?” the girl asked.
The children stopped.
“He is a statue,” a boy said. “Out in the square. If you kiss him, you will get anything you ask for.”
The children were lying to the young girl. Who would actually kiss a fish? But the girl would try anything to be loved by her godmother.
That day, she wandered into the bustling square, and tip toed slowly to the center fountain, until she was nose to nose with The Kissing Fish. The butcher watched her from inside of his shop.
“Please, Kissing Fish,” the girl said. “Please make my godmother like me.”
She kissed the fish right on his mouth and scurried away.
That evening, the girl and her false godmother received a heavy knock at the door. Fran sent the girl to see whoever it was. When the girl opened the door, there was only a silver tray with a large feast upon it. She carried the tray back into the house and set it down in front of her godmother.
“What’s all this?” the godmother asked.
“A gift for you,” the girl said. “Because I love you.”
The godmother grunted, but the little girl did catch the hint of a smile before her godmother tore a large bite off of a chicken leg. Now the girl knew that The Kissing Fish was real.
The next day she went back to the square, and this time it was the baker who spotted her next to the large statue.
“Oh, Kissing Fish,” the girl said. “Please help my godmother like me more. The dinner you brought was wonderful, but still my godmother does not seem pleased with me. Thank you for your help,” she added, and planted another big kiss on the fish’s mouth.
That evening, there was another heavy knock at the door.
“Who in the world is bothering so late?” the godmother asked.
“I have a surprise for you,” the girl said. She went out to the front door to find whatever it was that The Kissing Fish had left for her. Outside, there was a beautiful cake. On the top, cursive letters spelled out:
For my Godmother.
The young girl brought the cake inside and watched her godmother eat the cake bite by bite. This time the godmother smiled and even patted the girl on the shoulder before bed!
But late into the night, Fran the godmother had a horrible stomachache from all of the cake, and she punished the girl severely.
On the third day, the young girl dragged her feet slowly to The Kissing Fish. The apothecary watched from his store window.
“Dear Kissing Fish,” she said quietly. “You have done so much to help my godmother try to like me. You brought a feast to our home. You brought a cake just for her. Yet still, she scorns and hits me. I wish I could have her love me as I am sure my parents once did. Please help me one last time.”
She hobbled away from the square.
That afternoon, the girl stayed away from her godmother’s house. She walked around the town and watched the happy children playing jump rope and hopscotch after their school day was over. She did not return until late that evening.
When she did knock on the door, no one answered.
“How strange,” the girl said to herself. Her godmother never left the house.
She tried knocking again and again, until she found that the door was open. Inside, there was no sign of her godmother. Instead she found a note on the kitchen table. Here’s what it said:
Dear little girl, your godmother is dead. She mistook some poison for her medicine in a dreadful mix-up. But my wife has always wanted a sweet little girl to love and call her own. Sincerely, the apothecary. PS, We live just outside the square and are having stew tonight, in case you are interested.
And so, thanks to the wonders of The Kissing Fish, and a terrible mix-up, the girl’s life was forever changed.