Friday, August 29, 2014

Testing the Power of This Blog, the Internet, My Recollection of Weird Books I Read as a Kid

Sometimes Google fails me. I’ll try every possible variation on a set of search terms and turn up nothing, leading me to assume that either I’m dumb or I’m just looking for something that isn’t on the internet. And isn’t that a weird thought: that there are some things the internet just hasn’t heard about yet?

However, sometimes the internet can work in reverse, and if I post these tiny shreds of info on my blog, some other person will find me. And then we can combine our hazily remembered brain bits into enough that I can search less dumbly and actually find this elusive thing. That’s what I’m hoping happens with this post.

My grade school library was stocked almost entirely by donated books, and as a result, I had access to a lot of material that most people would consider inappropriate for the parochial school environment. For example, we had a copy of this book Monsters Who’s Who, an encyclopedic listing of creatures from mythology and pop culture. Its entry for unicorn featured a fully nude woman, and I actually remember one of my teachers getting wise to this fact and then scribbling out the woman’s pubic hair, which probably only further confused anatomical matters for boys at my school. But hey — we all graduated knowing how to avoid a boanhan sith.

stuff like this, basically (via)
Today, I’m trying to find a short story I read from a collection of genre fiction. Based on the bits I have floating around in my head, I’m certain I must be remembering it wrong. Or combining a few different stories into one impossibly weird one. Or remembering a dream that I had about reading a book, because no book could actually be this weird. But here I go anyway, just on the chance that someone will stumble across this and know what the hell I’m talking about.

The story was a vaguely medieval one about a prince and princess, or at least a noble brother and sister. He was a homebody, and she was the heroic adventurer type, and they both acknowledged that their lives would have been better if he had been born a woman and she had been born a man. Nonetheless, they head out on some quest together, the details of which I cannot remember. At some point, they encounter a dungeon-like place that’s ruled by an evil witch. When they confront her, they’re standing in a strange room where they’re both waist-deep in spiderwebs. And the witch makes a “rule,” which is something that she can apparently do with her magic powers, that no one can ask any questions. As a result, the brother and sister have to phrase everything they say extremely carefully so they don’t ask a question, because the punishment is being transformed into a creature so hideous that if they saw themselves in a mirror, their brain would die. I remember the witch saying that — “so ugly you’d die,” or something to that effect.

I know. Weird, right?

This is just what I remember. This story has been bouncing around my head ever since I was a kid, and now I’d kind of like to re-read the story and figure out how accurate my memories are, how the characters resolved the situation and what the fuck kind of story this was.

If you read this and you have even a glimmer about what I’m talking about, leave me a comment.

Come on, internet. Together we can do this. I hope this will yield greater success than when I tried to find Toad’s Piranha Plant-controlling cousin, which I also probably was remembering wrong.

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