The Story of Morning
a time, there was a wicked witch who lived in a tall black castle
surrounded by a thick forest of thorn trees with sharp, pointy thorns
as long as your arm. This witch, whose name was Nan-Cirae, was very
ugly. She had snakes for hair, a long crooked nose with warts, pointy
brown teeth and mottled skin. And if you don't know what mottled skin
looks like, you're lucky because it's the kind of thing that can give a
little kid like you nightmares.
ugly as the wicked witch Nan-Cirae was, that's how strong her magic
was. She could conjure up a spell for just about anything--rain, fire,
bugs, serpents, plagues, spam--anything except to make herself
beautiful. Like most evil people, and witches in particular, Nan-Cirae
was wicked mainly because she had a poor self-image. Instead of looking
inside herself to find the problem, she instead decided to take it out
on everyone else in the world.
one day, she found an old book of black witchcraft in a
chamber of the castle, and it had a spell for beauty. All she had to do
was drink the blood of the most beautiful girl in the world, and she
would capture all of that beauty.
Nan-Cirae gazed into her crystal ball and saw that the most beautiful
girl in the world lived in the village of Ives Dairy and her
was Morning Glory. Nan-Cirae’s problem, however, was that she
couldn’t leave her enchanted black castle without breaking a
clause in her occupational contract and turning into dust. So
caught a little lizard, and with a thorn she pierced her skin and let a
few drops of her blood fall on it, chanting:
Blood of my blood,
Pricked with a thorn,
Change this little lizard ,
Into a king’s first-born.
Lo and behold, the lizard turned into a
handsome prince named Chevron.
“Go to the village of Ives Dairy,” the witch
“Find the maiden Morning Glory. Tell her you’re a
come to carry her off to your castle.” She cackled like the
of the West: “Ah-ha-ha-ha. Then you’ll bring her to
“But how shall I get there?” Prince Chevron asked.
“It might not look princely to fly there on a
wicked witch Nan-Cirae picked a wart on her chin, then flicked a
gnarled finger straight into the air. Another drop of blood would do
the trick. She plucked a juicy palmetto bug from its perch on a plate
of gingerbread cookie crumbs and turned it into a beautiful white
stallion named Skipper.
“Now go!” cried the witch. “Ride off and
return, till you have Morning Glory safely secured in your arms.
Prince Chevron, who was really a lizard, rode his white horse Skipper,
who was really a giant roach, to the village of Ives Dairy, where he
found Morning Glory singing a song as she worked in her garden:
bottles of beer on the wall,
a hundred bottles of beer...
Just kidding. The song went more like this:
to this garden of mine,
where the star flower blooms,
and the sun always shines,
Come little squirrels,
to this garden so fine,
where gonzo nuts grow
on the dragon claw vines,
Come little kittens,
“Yaaah!!! A snake,” she shrieked, then hacked it to
pieces with her gardening hoe.
kidding. Morning Glory was so nice and loving that she would have let
even a poisonous snake go on its way. And so Prince Chevron found her
singing merrily in the garden, surrounded by feathered and furry little
creatures. He told her he’d come to sweep her off her feet,
take her back to his kingdom and make her a queen.
Well, Morning Glory was quite impressed by the look of this prince, who
was tall, strong and handsome. But she wasn’t the type of
who was about to run off with the first guy who happened to come along
claiming to be a prince.
“If you’re a prince, then you must prove it to me
by doing something princely,” she said.
“Like what?” Prince Chevron asked.
“Bring me the Gem of Toren,” she said.
a chivalrous salute, Prince Chevron spun Skipper around and galloped
off into the forest. The Gem of Toren was equal parts
ruby, emerald and sapphire and reputed to be the most beautiful jewel
in the world. The problem was that no one knew where it was or even if
it really existed.
none of that mattered to Prince Chevron, who had nabbed a small bag of
emergency magic powder from the wicked witch’s private stash
magic potions and powders. As soon as he was out of sight, he stopped
to sprinkle some on an ordinary rock, which sizzled and popped and
turned into a four-colored gem.
Morning Glory was very impressed with the stone and saw that this
prince would be a good provider. But equally important was that he have
a good heart.
“For your second test,” she said, “you
must tame a wild beast for me.”
again he rode, into the forest. He found a mean old wolverine who
snarled and snapped at him until he threw a pinch of the magic powder
in the air. The wolverine sniffed it and snorted, then turned as sweet
as high fructose corn syrup.
Morning Glory was delighted and hugged the wolverine. Good provider,
good of heart, she thought of the prince, flicking a wolverine flea
from her forearm. What else was there? She knew there had to be
something, because in fairy tales, things always run in three.
“Oh yes,” she remembered with a start.
“Kiss me, you fool.”
Being rich and a good guy isn’t enough if there is no true
the mix. It would have to be a very special heart-fluttering,
toe-curling kiss, Morning Glory thought. Prince Chevron swept her into
his arms, and as she closed her eyes and puckered up, he paused to wipe
the last few grains of emergency magic powder on his lips. Then he
planted a kiss like no other before, the magic powder entrancing
Morning Glory for once and for all. This prince is for real, she
thought with her heart.
she let Prince Chevron take her back to his castle, which was really
the wicked witch Nan-Cirae’s lair.
“Close your eyes, dear,” the prince said as they
“I want this to be a big surprise.”
Morning Glory did as she was told, and when she opened them again, she
was looking at the ugliest witch that had ever been, and
saying a lot. She turned to her prince, but he just stared back with
“I’ve got you now,” said the witch with a
“And I’ll have your beauty as soon as I drink your
Then she turned to the prince and
cried, “Now off with her head.”
Prince Chevron grabbed Morning Glory by her shimmering blond hair and
drew his sword. She gazed into his eyes. They were like zombie eyes:
dark, cold, empty. This dream guy had sure turned into a project, she
thought. Then she focused her thoughts on true love and no more, and
she fixed her gaze. The prince’s eyes blinked once, twinkled
twice and his lifeless stare suddenly filled with human warmth.
“Off with her head,” screamed the wicked witch
Nan-Cirae. “Cut it off. Now!!!”
And so Prince Chevron swung his mighty broadsword and lopped off poor
Morning Glory’s head...
kidding. At the last second, he spun around and lopped off the head of
the wicked witch Nan-Cirae. The head bounced a couple of times and came
to rest against a wall.
“What did you do that for?” the witch’s
screamed. “Remember, without my magic, you’re
than a yellow-bellied skink.”
“I think not,” the prince said, strolling up to the
witch’s head. “Or don’t you remember?
turned me into a lizard, I was a handsome prince.”
witch thought back. It was true. To get her witch’s license,
she’d had to perform various feats of black magic, and one
requirement was to turn a handsome prince into something slimy and/or
scaly. This was the one, she remembered, just as Prince Chevron gave
her head a kick that sent it bouncing down the 3,152 stone steps of the
black castle’s tower.
“Ouch! Ach! Oomp! Uhhh!” The witch’s head
on each and every step. “Achch! Ooomph! Oooff! Yow! Ugh!
Uhh!” By the time it reached the bottom, there was no life
and the wicked witch Nan-Cirae’s body upstairs turned into
and blew away.
thus her evil spell lifted from the black castle. It turned a
glistening ivory white and the thorns on the thorn trees surrounding it
blossomed into a most beautiful flower that the people of the land came
to call Morning Glory, after their beloved queen.
they all lived happily ever after, except maybe Skipper the white
horse, who had never been a horse before the wicked witch Nan-Cirae
turned him into one. So when the witch died and all of her spells were
automatically canceled, Skipper turned back into a palmetto bug. But at
least he was a palmetto bug who enjoyed giving horsy rides to all of
the fleas in the kingdom.
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