The Tragedy of the Wooden Girl
by Lauren Pass
Dear Audience, do please gather around—the show is soon to begin,
Please take your seats—come one, come all! Ladies, children, men!
The show you are about to see has never been seen before,
You’re soon to see such smoke and fire—deceitfulness galore!
You’ll meet an evil puppeteer—glowing eyes beneath his hood.
And you shall meet the girl he beat and turned her into wood.
And you’ll meet the awful witch—full of misery so tragic,
And in a blink, you’ll know the drink composed with deadly magic.
Now I urge you kindly while you sit back and relax,
To heed these words as warnings as I present the facts.
Sweet muse, please bless this audience to have wisdom within
To stray away from magic. Now I must straight begin:
There once lived a puppeteer—He was a younger fellow,
With skin as pale as snow and hair the color yellow.
And he had his many treasures and magic potions, too.
His life was a circus show in hopes of fooling you.
His language was quite pleasing, flowing smoothly with his lies,
Stories of his hero days blind unexpected eyes.
But his show is quite appealing; he’ll dazzle with delight,
Stories of conquered enemies and ghostly unseen frights.
Yes! He saved a damsel—battled goblins in a hall.
And though untrue, his stories grew—the lies he told to all!
And though his stories were so laced with lies and much deceit,
There was one character in his show the audience must now meet.
He conjured up his powers to make her act and sing,
But first, I’ll tell the tale of her life before the strings:
Before she turned to solid wood and life fled from her soul,
She was as real as you and me—a human being whole.
As loving as a girl could be—she had the best of friends,
All of them marked their unity in ink until the end.
And she lived a colorful life—her head turned from fear,
But soon she met her demise when she met the puppeteer.
She did not heed their warnings when her friends gave the notion
To never trust a puppeteer when he offered her his potion.
But, my his words were honey as he decided to fix her
As his little puppet-girl with his magical elixir.
And as she took that fatal sip, he fastened her strings on,
And her friends were cast away for she was too far gone.
And now the puppeteer harnessed all of his black power
Over his little puppet right through the darkest hour.
And, my, the awfully funny things he would make his puppet do!
Dear audience, heed this warning as I present these things to you:
To make sure she was powerless and he maintained control,
He wound her strings just right so she would play a role.
And as he tugged her long strings left and to the right,
She weebled and she wobbled—such a pitiful sight.
For he could dress his puppet up, and he could dress her down,
He fixed a mask upon her face so she never wore a frown.
But when the puppeteer grew tired, he’d cast her far aside,
And tie the blindfold ‘round her eyes so his misdeeds he could hide.
And though the little puppet knew her master was a trickster,
She had begun to love him and his powerful elixir.
And though the puppeteer had other puppets on his shelf,
The wooden girl was wrong-convinced he loved only herself.
But the puppeteer was not alone in his wicked games,
To do his wicked deeds, he called a lowly witchy dame.
For like the puppeteer, she had a book of evil spells,
Dear Audience, keep open ears as I woefully do tell:
Though she came from riches, a charlatan was she,
And pompously decided that a tyrant she would be.
Quite a roomy woman—a body many could enjoy.
That’s why another woman and man at once she did employ.
And my! She had a cackle and hair as black as night,
And as she prissed, her lips did hiss—a horrid awful sight.
And much like the puppeteer, she played the stealing game,
She could take away a life, a soul, a person, a name.
And when the puppeteer showed her his little wooden girl,
The witch began a brewing, and her wicked spell unfurled.
A true ventriloquist—she took away the puppet’s voice,
And the puppet served another master against her choice.
They kept the puppet filled to the brim with liquid fire,
And kept a watchful eye—their slave they did admire.
And now we see the once real girl with woodenly affliction,
And to this magic poison brewed?—a horrible addiction.
And how much brew did she consume? One, two, three, four, five.
Though made of wood, the magic brew could make her feel alive.
And she could think no longer for the magic kept her drowned,
And to this world of show and lies was she securely bound.
But when the curtains pulled way back, the master took his strings,
The witch would grip her muted lips, and the puppet-girl would sing.
And the show, it would begin—her audience was the world,
She bent the facts with her low act—convinced she was a girl.
But when she tried to freely walk, her limbs went clickity-clack.
And with those strings, she had no wings. No bone within her back.
And falseness soon began to ooze where lips used to make a sound,
She found that things were different in a world turned upside down:
And in this world, things were always different than they seemed.
The sunshine was so shady and the moonlight ever beamed.
And in this world, it was your newfound friends that brought you down.
You trade your truth in for a lie—Lost and nothing found.
And you could take two whole steps back and feel as though you’ve gained,
And you could live through magic—consequence without the pain.
And you could change right for left and enemy for friend.
You could sell your soul and have no currency to spend.
But the most bizarre of tricks the puppet girl knew well—
For it was she who held the key to the greatest trickster spell.
But the spell she knew so well concerns not you or me.
Because she cannot fool us all-the spell fools only she.
She fixes and she mixes the poison she must drink,
And she can make it disappear and make her saneness shrink.
And my! The awfully strangely things that follows where she goes.
The spell can make her feel no shame when dignity disrobes.
Dear Audience, she is the best magician I can conceive!
For what other puppet can lie to one’s self and still believe?
Dear Audience, the time has come for this tale to take its close,
For the story of the puppet girl took place some time ago.
And solemnly, I must reveal that she was never cured,
And besides what I have told, there’s little left I’ve heard.
All that’s left are brittle clippings in a forgotten file.
And we know her puppet show lasted only a short while.
For though she lived her puppet life only to so please.
And though she lost most everything and through blind eyes did see,
The fans, they did grow weary of the same show every night.
And though the puppet drank her potion with all of her might,
The fans began to fade away and look in finer things,
And soon the puppet was dead wood dangling from strings.
And when the puppeteer and witch could use her nevermore,
They closed their little theatre and promptly shut the doors.
And though the puppeteer kept the wooden girl to himself,
He soon found pleasure with other girls kept upon his shelf.
And the witch kept her ways and consumed too much of brew,
And as she faltered and she swayed, her roominess—it grew!
And soon she realized her fate, and the world—she so despised,
But, soon she choked on her own smoke; keeled over and then died.
The puppet girl lies dormant—the wood became so rotten,
And what we knew of her real life was very soon forgotten.
For all we’ll ever know of her is how the show now ends,
Without a fan throughout the world; without a true found friend.
For the puppeteer stored the wooden girl away,
Inside a tight-bound box where the dust has took its stay.
So, you see, dear Audience, I shall sum up if I can,
The wooden girl was better off before the show began.
And though the fool’s gold shines, it also does deceive,
And all we know of magic is only make-believe.
And so we learn that all that glitters is not truthful gold,
And that is all I know of the story that I’ve told.
And now this show is over, please exit single file,
As I hope this story stays with for a while.
So cling to you true self and cling to truthful friends,
And so concludes the story of the puppet girl—The End.
This poem was reprinted from The Stonepile Writers’ Anthology with the Author’s permission. For information on how to order The Stonepile Writers’ Anthologies, click here.