Whether you spurned a fairy lover, insulted a witch disguised as a beggar or had the bad luck to be born to the wrong parents, there’s nothing worse finding yourself the target of a transformation curse. One minute you’re enjoying life in your perfectly formed human body and the next—bam!—you’re a hideous beast, a slimy frog, a white cat, or some other creature. Don’t let your new form get you down. You can break out of that enchantment using the time-proven system outlined below.
Your first step is to set the bait. Residual magic from the enchantment can be shaped into an appropriate setting. This is no time for humility or small ideas. Dream big: grand estates, cavernous jewel-encrusted grottos, underwater palaces, darkened woods shrouded in mist. Choose your location carefully—not somewhere out in the wilderness but definitely off the beaten path. Old trade routes, lands once occupied by legendary kingdoms, and abandoned ruins all are suitable. Don’t forget the attendants. Invisible servants are popular these days, although anthropomorphic animals are traditional.
The second step is to cultivate patience. You can’t expect your prince or princess to show up the day after you’ve been enchanted. It takes time for word to get out, or for a hapless questor to stumble across your estate. While it is frustrating not knowing how long you will be locked into your cursed form, put the time to good use. Learn how to play chess with the servants. Practice dancing, fencing and dining without making a mess. Improve yourself; it will help with step number three.
The big day is here! Your rescuer has arrived either under his own volition or as a deal to save her kingdom from your murderous appetite. Now you must make your guest fall in love with you. This is the easy part. Such rescuers are raised from birth to expect to find true love through magic. All the stories they have heard end with, “And they lived happily ever after.” Every royal brat dandled on a nurse’s knee is taught that underneath all ugliness and uncouthness a just and noble heart lurks, waiting to be released by True Love’s Kiss. And their true love will be found through adventure and adversity. This will, however, prove to be a small obstacle in breaking the curse.
By now your beloved has seen past your external horridness to the sensitive, refined person trapped inside. It is time for step four: the second hardest part. Persuade your prince to cut off your head. Encourage your princess to throw you against the wall. The details vary according to the spell, but it can only ever be lifted through violence. This is tricky. Convincing your rescuer to do violence without revealing why puts his or her faith and love to the test. It also requires a certain character defect on the part of your beloved, so it is a test of your love as well. Do you really want to spend the rest of your life with someone who is willing to hurt you?
Step five: congratulations! The spell has been lifted. You are now free to live Happily Ever After with your prince or princess. Do not look for your servants or estate or library. These all disappear with the breaking of the spell. Now it’s off to the faraway kingdom to live in relative wealth and comfort. You can entertain your children and grandchildren with stories of magic and true love so that in time they will be prepared to go out and find their own. And if you have to settle for a life less magical, well it will be worth it, won’t it?
“So You’ve Been Enchanted, A Guide to Breaking the Curse in Five Easy Steps” copyright 2016, Raechel Henderson
This post originally appeared January 12, 2016.