A Not-So-Nice "Tail"


There was once a girl named Meg
that everyone in town thought was great.
She smiled and laughed
and put on a show
so the people would never guess.
How could they have known?
That underneath her grin
lay a monster within.

One summer all the people in town
were planning their annual celebration.
A yearly party about love and kindness.
A singing, dancing jubilation.
Meg volunteered to help.
She showed up early and left late
but when the town wasn’t looking
she was up to no good, 
plotting and scheming,
hiding behind her sweet face.

The day before the party
the town woke up to a shock.
The tents were crushed, the animals were loose,
the kids were crying, the woman were spooked.
There was trash blowing back and forth, up and down.
Everything they’d built had been burnt to the ground.

Well, as you can imagine the town was upset.
They had no idea what had happened. What a mess!
They started to argue about who had done it and what to do
when an old traveler came quietly wandering through,
“Pardon,” He said, “I heard your plight. 
I assure you, you can trust it will be alright.
I've traveled many places.
And, one thing I know for sure
is people that do wrong without a care are marked. 
You’ll know when you see it. It’s easy to spot.”

That made the people nervous. Who would it be?
The butcher? The farmer, the lady with the wooden knee?
The traveler spoke once more, “Just wait. You will see.”
The town’s people stood watching the traveler’s long baggy cloak
as he walked down the path till he was gone. 
What a strange day. How did things go so wrong?

As predicted, the very next morning, the traveler was proven right.
They learned the truth when Meg came happily strolling by –
 BUT she wasn’t the same as she’d been the previous night.
Meg had grown a long spiny monkey tail.
It had ripped through her pants and wrapped around her toenails. 
Though she tried to pretend it wasn’t there
everyone knew what she’d done and they stared.
She couldn’t hide this from them.
She was a faker, a betrayer, not a friend.

That night Meg grew fur all over her limbs
and her hands and feet became claws with nubby talons.
The town’s people pulled together to set the party back up.
but Meg wasn’t invited. She sat alone in a huff.

A few days more and Meg’s face went flat. 
Her nose slid right off. 
She grew warts all over her back.
She began walking on all four paws.
On top of her head grew three bumpy horns.
Big, lumpy horns that showed every flaw.

Now her outsides matched her insides.
There was no pretending anymore. 
At last, she shrank to the size of a bug.
And, all the people just forgot where she was.


Text and Illustration copyright © 2018 Jennifer Hart.