Who’s Afraid Of Mister Woolfe?

Image by Amy Leigh Barnard on Unsplash

Who’s Afraid Of Miser Woolfe is a children’s novel, which humours the traditional fairy tale, merging them together, as if they’re happening simultaneously. Consider what would have happened if the wolf from Little Red Riding Hood went on trial for his assault, and what if he pleaded not guilty because it was, apparently, an act of self defence? And, what if there was more to Granny than meets the eye?

Chapter One

Once upon a time, in a land called Epique, the people from the villages and kingdoms near and far flocked together to visit the most momentous occasion in written history.

Princesses from across the land sat together in cramped seats, barely wide enough for their puffy ballgowns. Peasants sat with Princesses, for the first time, ever, and all were keen to catch a glimpse. After over fifty years in hiding, romping with the commonfolk, the lost princess had been found!

A princess that had once been called Cinderella.

She had been married once upon a time, to a prince who she promptly abandoned just three months after saying ‘I do’. She left him without his wife, or an heir to succeed him. He never remarried. Instead, the prince went mad and grey, waiting for a wife who left him in the lurch, to come back like the swallows that flew south each winter.

Cinderella, who had disappeared without a trace, was now known by the people of the nearby village as Nana Ella. Now, Nana Ella was no princess, she was a plump woman with wiry white hair and big blue eyes, and more wrinkles than you could count. She always wore a blue dress and a white apron, and was never seen without her clunky brown boots. She was a staple of the community, always willing to help someone in need, could cook enough stew to feed an army, and was known for her bubble and squeak.

She had gone grey among the peasants, helped raise their children, with her daughter in tow, and even taught the people how to read and write. She was a kindly woman, and dozens of mothers and fathers that occupied her village had come together to defend her when the time came, but, even as the butcher, the baker, and the undertaker screamed about her innocence, the princesses hushed them.

Everyone knew the story of the ungrateful princess, Cinderella, stolen from a life of poverty by a devoted husband, who was left heartbroken by her swift departure, and ability to fade into obscurity.

In the centre of the room, separate from the dockets where the princesses sat, was a raised plinth, where a judge would sit, presiding over the events that took place.

Perhaps long ago the King would have simply sentenced her to death. Not for the reasons, she was in court, for, but for the spectacle and embarrassment, she had caused the Kingdom of Epique.

While the Queen Regent, Princess Clarice, Cinderella’s ex-husband’s sister, would have likely allowed an execution, the law of land was innocent until proven guilty. Despite her ruling over Epique.

Princess Clarice, like the other princesses, sat, arms crossed, and waited for the spectacle to begin.

“Now presenting, for the court, the case of Cinderella versus Mister Woolfe, on the grounds of animal cruelty. All rise for the Honourable Judge Jillian Jackson.”

“Judge Jackson!” one of the princesses gasped, her jaw falling slack, “She’s the one who proceeded over the famous Goldilocks trial, right?”

The princess beside her nodded, her gaudy, magenta, conical hat barely staying on her head, “And, don’t forget Rumpelstiltskin’s trial for tax evasion.”

“And Jack’s capital murder trial, on behalf of the giant city!” the first princess nodded firmly, swishing her cascading braided hair, “Old Cindy is finally going to get what’s coming to her.”

Judge Jillian Jackson was a short, frail woman who walked with a cane and a limp. Her spectacles hung from a chain around her neck, and her wispy brows were arched upward. She marched to the stand and shuffled onto her seat.

“Please bring in the prosecution,” Judge Jackson said, her voice loud and authoritative. The bailiff nodded, and gave a thumbs up to a guard, who stood at the double doors, facing the judge’s docket. From the double doors strode a middle aged man with oily dark hair. At his heels, her head down, was a woman with short brown hair. She clutched several ring-binders of paperwork close to her chest. Her high heels clacked on the marble floor as she skittered to her place at the desk.  

Behind them was the lead prosecutor. He wore a grey pinstripe suit and neatly polished black shoes. He marched through the court nodding to the judge as he approached his space at the table. Then, there was the wolf, in a black suit and an ashy grey tie, a similar shade of grey to his fur. He adjusted his tie and flashed a wide, confident smile at the people in the gallery.

Mr Woolfe was a slender, muscular wolf, with big yellow eyes and sharp white teeth. He carried himself with confidence as he strode to the prosecution desk, nodding politely to the courtroom staff. On his lapel was a small pin of a clock face, the hands pointing to three o’clock.

“Please state your name for the record.”

“My name is Mr. Greyson Woolfe.”

“And that’s Woolfe with an ‘E’, correct?” Judge Jackson asked.

“That is correct, Your Honour.”

“Now, please, bring in the defence.”

From an adjacent door to the left-hand side of the courtroom, a short man with a balding head led the way, two young women skittering behind him, their arms weighed down by the paperwork they carried. Then, behind them trudged the accused.

Instead of a crown and jewels, Cinderella entered the room in an orange jumpsuit, and silver cuffs. Her grey hair was kept off her face in a bun, and despite the smile lines on her face, she scowled.

The cameras flashed, capturing the first press images of the elusive runaway princess for tomorrow’s papers…

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