Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Bedtime Story (18/04/2018)

It's been a while since I wrote a silly story, so...  Let's break that drought, shall we?!

You can also listen to this story as a podcast.

Harriet's Heavenly Hair

Everywhere Harriet went, people admired her hair.  It was golden caramel coloured and fell almost perfectly straight, until it formed pretty waves near the bottom.  It was long, too.  her hair fell way below her shoulders, halfway down her back.  People would tell her how thick and healthy it looked.  How neat and shiny it was.  How heavenly.

The trouble was, Harriet was starting to rather like being told how fabulous her hair was.  In fact, the more people told her how pretty it looked, the more she wanted to hear it.  It made Harriet feel special and she liked feeling special.

Then, one day, Harriet went to a sleepover with her friends.  Before bed, they all watched movies and ate popcorn.  It was great, until someone suggested one last film, all about a girl called Rapunzel.  

Rapunzel had gorgeous, long, blonde hair.  It didn't just fall halfway down her back and then stop.  No, Rapunzel's hair carried on, all the way to the floor and then some.  It was long enough to wrap around herself like a blanket.  It was long enough to dangle out of a top floor window and let a handsome prince climb up it.  It made Harriet's hair almost look short.

Once the movie had ended, all anyone could talk about was Rapunzel's amazing hair.  That didn't please Harriet one little bit.  And so, after the lights went out and everyone had gone to sleep, she lay awake, thinking.  By morning, her mind was made up.

"I'm going to grow my hair really long," Harriet announced to her parents, when they picked her up, later that day.  "I want it to be long enough to sit on.  Long enough to dangle out of windows.  Long enough that everyone says how amazing it is."

Harriet's mother was very confused.  "People already tell you how amazing your hair is," she insisted.  "And I don't think growing it that long sounds very practical..."

"I don't care," Harriet snapped.  "I need to have the best hair ever.  Better than some princess in a film.  So, I'm not having it cut ever again."

Weeks went by and Harriet's friends were still talking about Rapunzel.  They all wanted hair that touched the ground.  Harriet was furious, but she was determined.  When her mother tried to take her for a haircut, Harriet screamed so loudly, you'd have thought the poor hairdresser was trying to shave her head, completely.

And so, slowly, Harriet's hair began to grow longer.

Soon, it reached her waist.  It took longer to brush in the mornings and much longer to wash in the bath, but Harriet didn't care.  

And still, her hair continued to grow.

By the Summer, Harriet's hair was nearly long enough to sit on.  Having so much of it meant that her head - and back - were almost constantly too hot.  She didn't like to wear it tied back, in case people couldn't see how gloriously long it was, so as the weather got ever warmer, Harriet took to swishing her head around, desperately trying to keep herself cool.

And still, her hair continued to grow.

When the new school year started in September, Harriet could finally sit on her hair.  It actually hurt her head, as it tugged on the roots, but she didn't mind.  Her friends had started calling her Rapunzel and that was all Harriet cared about.  Even when the ends got stuck in her chair and yanked several hairs straight out of her head, she still refused to have it cut.

And still, her hair continued to grow.

As the Autumn leaves began falling from the trees, Harriet and her friends went stomping through piles, kicking crisp leaves in every direction.  They built dens to shelter from the rain and they climbed the trees, calling to one another.  Harriet couldn't climb the trees.  She still refused to tie her hair back and it kept getting wound around branches.  One day, she was stuck for a full half an hour, whilst her friends tried to unknot a large clump of hair from a particularly thorny bush.  And when it rained, Harriet's hair got stuck everywhere - on her arms, legs and back.  But she couldn't cut it.  She had to have the longest hair!  The best hair!

And so, her hair continued to grow.

In October, the school sent a letter to Harriet's parents, telling her she had to either have her hair cut, or tied back.  It was causing too many problems!  People kept getting their school bags caught on it as they walked past her in the corridor.  It was splaying out over the tables at lunchtime and ending up in people's dinner.

Harriet was furious.  But when she tied her hair back, it did stop it getting caught on things quite so often.  And having it off her shoulders felt strangely nice.  Still, if she stopped having hair almost as long as Rapunzel, she wouldn't be special, would she?!

And so, her hair continued to grow.

On Bonfire Night, nobody would let Harriet hold a sparkler, or stand anywhere near the bonfire itself.  Her hair was now so long, that the slightest spark might set it alight.  Harriet watched her friends, drawing shapes in the night sky with their sparklers and she felt fed up.  Every time she sat down, her hair landed beneath her bottom and tugged painfully on her head.  And each time she stood back up, she found crunched up leaves and twigs tangled in the ends.  What was worse, nobody stopped her in the street to say how lovely her hair looked, anymore.  Instead, she got a lot of strange glances.  It wasn't surprising, really - her hair was now only a few inches short of her knees.  She had to brush it before bed as well as in the morning and no matter how long she brushed it for, she still woke up with it all in knots, the next day.  She was using three towels every morning, just to dry her hair, after washing it.  Plaiting it took ages.  Even just tying it back was a struggle, because there was so much of it.

The very next day, Harriet asked her mother to take her to the hairdressers.

Her mother was a bit nervous, considering how badly their last trip had gone, but this time, Harriet was as good as gold.  She climbed up into the chair, smiled sweetly at the hairdresser and asked: "Can you please just cut it all off?!"

Snip by snip, Harriet's hair got shorter and shorter.  It took ages, but eventually, Harriet was sitting, looking at herself in the mirror, with her hair back to its old length, halfway down her back.  She took a deep breath.  "More," she said, simply.  "I need more off."

The hairdresser went back to work with her scissors, cutting and trimming until Harriet's hair stopped at her shoulders.

"Still more," Harriet insisted.

Finally, Harriet's hair was cut into a neat, glossy bob, that reached her chin.  It was the shortest Harriet had ever had it.  She shook her head from side to side, feeling the lightness of such a short haircut and grinning, broadly.  

When her mother had paid and they stepped out into the street, a passing lady glanced at Harriet and smiled: "Ooh, what a lovely hairdo!"

Harriet beamed back at her.  "Thank you!"

And so, Harriet and her mother went back home.  Harriet's hair no longer swished around her, like a golden cape.  It wasn't long enough to sit on.  But she did feel pretty special, all the same.  She'd realised that sometimes, you need to be careful what you wish for.  Her dream of having hair that reached the floor had brought all kinds of problems with it, after all. 

Harriet didn't stop smiling for days.  She kept glancing at herself in the mirror and beaming at her reflection.  She might not look like Rapunzel anymore, but she looked like a new version of herself.  And suddenly, that was all she wanted to be!


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