Microfiction challenge #25: The red tree

The image for this week’s challenge is by illustrator Virginia Frances Sterret and comes from a book of French fairy tales. I don’t know which one, and I haven’t tried to find out so as not to get cultural interference in the prompt. Whatever the story, it looks to be a strange one. But then, aren’t all fairy tales on the odd side? What is the leafless red tree with the different kinds of fruit, and who is the girl peering at it? Where are theyโ€”garden, castle tower, observatory? And is the girl just peering in idle curiosity or yelling invective? The outspread hand implies some kind of excitement.

I’ll leave you to decide. Please post the link to your story in the comments section before next Thursday. Enjoy yourselves!



Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

76 thoughts on “Microfiction challenge #25: The red tree”

      1. Well I am thrilled you think so. Succinctness is definitely an area of opportunity for me, and this was written spontaneously.

      1. Yes. I need it winter/ Christmas themed though as that’s the stories currently going up on my blog. And due to me being ahead of things, it won’t be up till Thursday now. But I’m still going to do it. I’ll post up the link too.

  1. Ooh, lovely illustration. I do love book illustrations like this, like some of Arthur Rackham’s picture – beautiful but odd too. A great combination.
    I’ll get back to you ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. I have a few illustrations on my walls – odd things I found in a charity shop and had framed, marked and spotted with age. A couple are from an old edition of Peter Pan and one of the lost boys dressed as wolves, heads between their knees – sometimes I stare at them, wonder what they’re up to, at the oddness of the scene.

      2. My dad was a great one for scouring junk shops for old children’s books and when I was a kid we had big fat illustrated story books from the 1930s with coloured plates. One of them was called Pipkin the Elf and it had the most glorious illustrations of fairies, flying mice, owls, etc and a banquet that I could look at for hours!

      3. Sounds magical! My mum had several books I pawed over for hours and hours – one was the Tutankhamun exhibition catalogue from the early 70s. The other was a book about bog bodies with some very detailed photographs. Totally her fault I am the way I am ๐Ÿ™‚

      4. I had that catalogue too! And was also fascinated by bog bodies, and the casts made at Pompei. It’s a shame that now when there is instant access to all these esoteric subjects, most of the kids I know never bother to use the internet for that purpose. Too glued to what fatuous celebs and their fatuous peers are up to.

      5. Lovely book, that catalogue. My mum still has it and apparently I was taken along to the exhibition in my pushchair, though I only have one memory of it and that might be an implant from later conversations.
        Lack of boredom is a problem – I remember spending hours on long coach journeys across country just staring out of the window making up stories. No kids do that now. My son wants to be a computer programmer – at least he’ll never be out of work ๐Ÿ™‚

      6. My children are floating in a happy place where they work as little as possible, study as little as possible, spend a half a day drawing or painting or taking photographs or whatever, just for the fun of it, and when we reproach them for not having any ambition, they say we taught them that happiness isn’t found in material success. Our fault, once again…

      7. Haha! That sounds familiar … My son has no ambition to do anything much which I’m sure must be my fault (being a hopeless drifter myself!) but all of his friends are the same, though they are all onyl 12 and 13. Smart kids – no drive. I think maybe it’s a symptom of the ‘snowflake generation.’ ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Why not? Until recently I also ran a poetry challenge and would have said this challenge is really for prose, but since I don’t do the poetry challenge any more, let’s see your story in poetry ๐Ÿ™‚

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