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Rodeo #4: Fractured Fairy Tales

A Flash Fiction contest by Norah Colvin
Co Judges: Anne Goodwin and Robbie Cheadle

Do you love fairy tales? Chances are, unless you are a parent or grandparent of young children or an early childhood educator as I am, you may not have encountered a fairy tale for a while. Well, I am about to change that by asking you to fracture a fairy tale for the fourth Carrot Ranch rodeo contest. [READ MORE…]

For insights and tips from the contest creator, read Norah’s Post, “Once Upon a Rodeo Time.” For word count, use Microsoft Word or Be aware that punctuation and word-hyphens can change your word count so run it through one of those two counters.

Norah Colvin is an Australian educator, passionate about learning and early childhood education especially. She has many years’ experience in a variety of educational roles. She currently blogs about education and learning in general at and shares teaching ideas and resources more specific to early education and the first three years of school on her website

Connect with Norah on social media

Twitter: @NorahColvin @readilearn
Facebook: Norah Colvin @readilearnteachingresources
Instagram: readilearnteachingresources

JUDGES (read full bios at SPONSORS)

Norah’s esteemed and talented judges are Anne Goodwin and Robbie Cheadle.

Anne Goodwin’s debut novel, Sugar and Snails, about a woman who has kept her past identity a secret for thirty years, was shortlisted for the 2016 Polari First Book Prize. Her second novel, Underneath, about a man who keeps a woman captive in his cellar, was published in May 2017. Anne is also a book blogger and author of over 80 published short stories. Her short story anthology, Becoming Someone, is due in November 2018. Catch up on her website or on Twitter @Annecdotist.

Robbie Cheadle has published five books so far in her Sir Chocolate series of picture books. Her books are unique with their wonderful fondant illustrations. She also recently co-wrote While the Bombs Fell with her mother Elsie Hancy Eaton, a memoir of her mother’s wartime experiences. Catch up with Robbie on her blogs Bake and Write and Robbie’s inspiration or connect with her on                                          Facebook @SirChocolateBooks and Twitter @bakeandwrite.


This contest exhibits a writer’s ability to entertain by taking a traditional story and adding a twist, a surprise, or a new point of view while maintaining its recognizability.

The prompt word is “food”. Why? Because food features in many traditional fairy tales; including:

  • Little Red Riding Hood — the basket of goodies for Grandma
  • Snow White — the poisoned apple
  • Hansel and Gretel — the breadcrumb trail and the witch’s edible house
  • The Gingerbread Man —I need tell you?
  • Stone Soup — ditto
  • The Three Billy Goats Gruff —greener pasture
  • The Three Bears —porridge for breakfast
  • Jack and the Beanstalk — “Fee Fi Fo Fum. I’ll grind his bones to make my bread.”
  • The Little Red Hen —bread
  • The Three Little Pigs —the wolf’s dinner, of course!

You do not need to start with a story that already features food, but your story must feature food in some way.

Since Anne and Robbie, as judges, are ineligible to enter the contest, I invited them to write a fractured fairy tale for this post and was delighted when they accepted the challenge.

A single bite by Anne Goodwin

“Just a bite,” she croons. “One bite won’t hurt.”

Won’t it? Drenched in chocolate and sugar-icing, there’ll be five hundred calories a forkful, at least.

“Skin and bone, you are.” She cuffs my wrist between her little finger and thumb. “Don’t upset your brother. He spent hours crafting that cake.”

Where is the boy who preferred woods to kitchens? Where is the girl who ate without fear?

“Starving yourself won’t bring back your parents. Please, Gretel, eat!”

The gingerbread house looks lovely, but smells like a trap. “Let’s not cut it, Grandma. There’s a cake competition at the church.”


The Elvin Hill by Robbie Cheadle

Throughout the feast the Goblin King watched the Elf King’s daughters. He and his two sons were to choose a wife from among them.

A delicious meal was served. He noticed that one daughter did not partake of the food. She only ate fruit and drank water. When she danced with her sisters to entertain the visitors, tiny flowers sprang up where she stepped. He could see that her magic was white and not the usual black of elves.

He selected her, and a new generation of good elves resulted from their union. It changed the course of history.


So, the ingredients your story must include (otherwise known as rules):

  1. Your entry must be 99 words, no more, no less. You can have a title outside that limit.
  2. It must involve a recognizable fairy tale, character or setting. Note: the term ‘fairy tale’ is used loosely for any traditional tale. You are wisest to choose a story with which the judges will be familiar.
  3. Your story must feature food.
  4. Your story must entertain or surprise us with a twist or a new point of view. Humour is good, but so is dark. Go where the prompt leads.
  5. You have a week to write, so edit your manuscript to ensure it’s free of typos, spelling, grammatical and punctuation errors.
  6. Use the form provided below to enter (open this post if you are reading it in an email). If you do not receive a confirmation email, notify
  7. Entries must be received by October 31, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. (EST). Contest winner, second and third place entries announced here December 7, 2018.
  8. You may post a “challenge” in the comments if you don’t want to enter the contest, but don’t use the form. Only contest entries will be published.
  9. Enjoy!

Thank you for entering! The contest is now closed. Winners announced December 7, 2018, at Carrot Ranch


  1. Fear and Loathing in Las Ranchos

    “Yer lookin’ queasy, Kid.”
    “Feelin’ a might Ken Kesey, Pal. Been on a long strange trip over the river and through the woods ta deliver corn ta ol’ Ornery. The river was high but the pack mule swum it an’ I hung onta his tail ta git across.”
    “A ferry tail.”
    “I spread the corn out on the rocks ta dry but it popped. Gathered it up and went on through the woods. Met a strange little man who had the munchies. Traded the popcorn for a bag of magic seeds. Ornery said he’d turn them seeds inta gold.”
    “Then what, Kid?”
    “Then I was headed back when I saw a Colorado River toad in the woods.”
    “Did ya kiss it?”
    “Ruther not say. Jist don’t believe ever’thin’ ya read, Pal, I’ll say that much. After that I was trippin’ along when I saw a wolf.”
    “What was it doin’?”
    “That’s a bad wolf!”
    “Not really Pal. This wolf had set up a smoker from some bricks she had and was smokin’ bacon over a fire made of sticks. Seems she had three little pigs ta cure.”
    “This is unbelievable, Kid.”
    “Least I got bacon after all.”

    • Annecdotist says:

      Ha, brilliant as ever. Look forward to reading your submission.

      • Thanks but if I manage to come up with anything it’ll be here as a challenge. I look forward to seeing all the entries later. You and Robbie set the bar, leading by example. Norah has done it again with a fine fun contest.

      • robbiecheadle says:

        I love this take. So clever! I can’t wait to read your entry.

    • Charli Mills says:

      A happing ending after a strange and twisted tale (ferry tail was my favorite among the many clever twists).

      • Thanks Boss.
        D’ruther not say how much is BOTS (for Kid). Great prompt, again. What a fine Rodeo ya have here.
        Norah had a post recently about libraries. A certain writer once upon a time made the rounds of a rural neighborhood on her steel horse of the time, a ten speed Ross Compact, and exchanged books with an eclectic hill top neighborhood. Went home with The Women’s Room and the Electric Kool-aid Acid Test among other things not found on her parents’ shelves. Yee haw.

      • Norah says:

        I liked the ferry tale too. I smiled all the way through the twists and turns.

      • Annecdotist says:

        Ditto here re ferry tale. My relatives in Lancashire would pronounce it furry.

    • Norah says:

      Pal and Kid are on a roll – and bacon and egg roll. You’ve entwined so many stories. Love them!

      • I can’t count them all, but they include Hunter S. Thompson, Ken Kesey, The Simpsons, The Grateful Dead and a fairy tale or three. Phew.
        (Ever licked a cane toad, Aussie? Don’t now until after the judging)

      • Norah says:

        I have no intention of ever kissing a cane toad, thank you very much! 🙂

        And that should have been ‘a bacon and egg roll’.

  2. Annecdotist says:

    Looking forward to helping judge this with Norah and Robbie. Fascinating that both Robbie and I wrote about food.

  3. Reblogged this on ShiftnShake and commented:
    Norah Colvin is leading an enchanting rodeo event at Carrot Ranch. Try your hand at a fractured fairy tale. No entry fees, a chance at winning and guaranteed fun.

  4. Ritu says:

    All entered!!!

  5. calmkate says:

    lol our judges set the bar high … hmm got to cook, I’m hungry!

  6. Jules says:

    Here’s my ad (title is the link to my blog) for Norah:

    Ranch Dressing with Bacon! CR Rodeo #4 Fractured Fairy Tale ad

    They’re doing it again at Carrot Ranch. This time Norah is
    leaving you carrot crumbs. (OK really just some simple rules
    to follow…) for the Rodeo feature of Fractured Fairy Tales.

    Let ‘em eat Gingerbread. Really any foodstuff bound by the
    loose restraints of a recognizable story in the named theme,
    in ninety nine little words.

    Serve us up some Stone Soup with some magic beans at the
    kitchen of Gingerbread House feeding all manner of Giants
    and knaves. Mix the bears up with the Billy goats or piggies.
    That might lead the lucky winner to some real bacon!


  7. dgkaye says:

    Hmm, that’s quite a challenge. I’ll try my best. 🙂

  8. Happily?

    He approached his princess warily despite her peace offering of fresh baked apple pie. He remained confused about their argument.
    He’d reminded her that he’d rescued her from a life of drudgery, keeping house for those dwarves. Then she’d exploded.

    “Those guys respected me! I wasn’t a kept woman, I earned my keep!”

    He knew she hadn’t been happy. But perhaps baking this pie for him fulfilled her needs.
    “What a lovely surprise. Where did you get the apples?” he inquired encouragingly, mouth full.

    “So glad you like the pie. I got the apples from my step mother.”


  9. Norah says:

    Reblogged this on Norah Colvin and commented:
    I’m excited. It’s now time for the fourth Carrot Ranch Rodeo Flash Fiction Contest, and it’s mine! Are you up for writing a fractured fairy tale? Head on over to the Ranch for contest details. I can’t wait to read your stories.

  10. This is such a great idea, Norah. I was thinking of a book of fractured fairly tales a few months ago and then you came up with this. Amazing! I loved Anne’s take too. I have written a post for it here: It includes my pieces for #3 and #4 (ours) and a link to this post.

    • Annecdotist says:

      You’ve introduced me to a new fairytale, Robbie, and it’s good, especially in these times, to think of evolution progressing in a positive manner. I loved your memoir entry too. Such a pity it missed the deadline, but sometimes there are just too many balls to juggle.

    • Norah says:

      Thanks for the link, Robbie. I look forward to reading it.

    • Charli Mills says:

      Fractured fairy tales seem to capture the interest of writers and readers. It indeed feels playful to write and satisfying to read. You are one busy writer at the moment, Robbie! Thank you for taking time to judge. I hope you enjoy the entries you get to read.

  11. Annecdotist says:

    As I’m not on WordPress, I can’t do a direct read blog, but have posted about it with this introduction:

    It’s rutting season out on the moors again. The first time I heard a bolving deer (no, that’s not a mistype), I thought it was a motorbike. On Sunday, it made me think of the troll who hides under the bridge to scare the billy goats gruff. Or maybe not, if it’s the poor misunderstood creature in Norah Colvin’s fractured fairy tale. Now she’s inviting you to write one too. But beware, you have only 99-words to play with and I’ll be helping Norah, along with children’s author Robbie Cheadle, to select the best.

    Can you write a fractured fairy tale?

    • Norah says:

      Thank you for sharing, Anne. What a wonderful introduction. While a few deer have been imported and have become feral here, I’m not familiar with their rutting or bolving (who made up that word?) so had to look it up. I can see (hear) what you mean about motorbike or troll. I think we’re going to have fun judging these stories. A few are in already but I’m saving reading until all are in.

    • Charli Mills says:

      I wonder how many fairy tales were to explain sounds and sights in the natural world as well as warn of social missteps. I found an article that might interest you in comparing red stags to American elk:

      If your red stag sounds like a troll, an elk sounds like the pied piper! Thank you for judging this contest. I hope you get a lot of fun fractured reads.

  12. I’ve just entered mine. there’s a typo in the title, sorry it should read: Goldilocks Hates Chocolate.

  13. Have re-sent it as I’ve spelt her name wrong!

  14. Jules says:


    Methinks, you are going to be bombarded with entries 🙂

    Good luck everyone. I can’t wait to read all the entries.


  15. Food…of course! What a great prompt, Norah, and you’ve educated me on the prevalence of food in fairy tales, I took it for granted and hadn’t realised! I am going to have to go away and have a good think about this one. Love Anne and Robbie’s flashes, great examples. You’ll get a fantastic response to this one, Norah…here goes! 🙂

  16. Reblogged this on A View From My Summerhouse and commented:
    Halloween is almost here, so what better time to rustle up those fun treats and cook up a twisted fairy tale, or two? Hello again, dear friends, it’s week four at the Rodeo and time for Norah Colvin’s contest: Fractured Fairy Tales. Food, naturally, is the prompt. As before all details below, all entries are free with a $25 prize for the winner. The contest runs until 11:59pm EST October 31. So you’ve got plenty of time to don your aprons and mix a fine brew for Norah and her esteemed judges. Just watch out for the big bad wolf, especially if he’s called Fred.

    And a huge thank you, dear readers, for keeping the Summerhouse ticking over while I write up a storm on my memoir. I’ve got a date with an editor in just over two weeks…It’s really happening this time…yikes!

    See you back here next week with the last, but not the least of the Rodeo contests. Good luck all!

  17. Hi Norah,
    My entry is in!

    Thank you, and thanks also to Anne and Robbie for the great examples.

    Also found the “How to fracture fairy tales” by Tara Lazar very useful for ideas on how to re-imagine the stories.

    And thanks to the writers who’ve posted their FF here– gave me food for thought, and I’m still grinning after reading the stories & comments!

    Looking forward to reading the entries!

  18. Liz H says:

    All righty, then. Have submitted my response & hope it fits! 🙂
    Happy writing, all—this opportunity has so many rich possibilities for fun and beauty.

  19. Jennie says:

    I’m so excited that you’re doing the judging, Norah. Congratulations!

  20. Jules says:

    Writing just one fracture fairy tale is like trying to eat a single potato chip (crisp) – nearly impossible…

    Good luck to everyone. Cheers, Jules

  21. I had a lot of fun with this one! After submitting, I realized that it’s better if the moral I wrote for it is clearly known, but I’d rather wait and see what happens!

  22. dgkaye says:

    I’m in! Just sent via the form! 🙂

  23. May I submit more than one? For one thing, I just realized my entry didn’t actually mention food -at least, not something most humans consider edible.

    • Jules says:

      I’ve sent in more than one. I’m pretty sure you can submit as many as you like. 🙂

      • Yay! Guess I’ll beg forgiveness if it’s not the case.

      • Jules says:

        Sometimes you get an idea and just have to run with it… There are just so many great directions that can be played out with this Rodeo prompt. I bet that Charli might have enough entries to make a booklet just from the entries and challenge pieces.

        When I was a child my Dad used to tell us his ‘fractured’ versions. I wish he would have written them down. There was a cartoon called ‘Bullwinkle and Rocky – the flying squirrel’ and they had a cartoon segment devoted to fractured fairy tales every week.
        You can Google Bullwinkle and Rocky Fracture Fairy Tale list – the sight isn’t secure or I would post the link.

      • Hey, I remember the Rocky and Bullwinkle tales! 🙂 Good idea; and yes, I think a collection would be fun to read!

      • Norah says:

        Yep! Submit away! I’m looking forward to a feast of fairy tales.

      • Jules says:

        Me thinks you will be on the receiving end of a full cornucopia of copious creatively crafted concoctions 🙂

      • Norah says:

        Brilliant! Methinks ye speaketh truthfully. 🙂

      • Jules says:

        I might… just… be done… maybe…
        There’s still some time left…
        The Muse is a fickle one 😉

    • Norah says:

      You may enter as many times as you like, Chelsea. I’m pleased the prompt has tickled a few stories out of you.

  24. loristory says:

    Done and entered! I think we should publish a book of all the entries!!

    • Norah says:

      Thanks Lori. Received. 🙂

    • Charli Mills says:

      Last year I thought the same thing, Lori, but we had higher word counts and more contests which led to an overwhelming number of words — far more than the average novel! This year we cut back and stuck to 99 words and I’ll post each collection on a page under the Rodeo tab. In the future, maybe we can publish Rodeo collections. The entries are fun to read!

  25. Reblogged this on Chelsea Ann Owens and commented:
    One of the most fun contests I’ve entered! Write a 99-word Fractured Fairy Tale and submit it before Tuesday night.

  26. floatinggold says:

    Just sent in an entry. Four for four. I’m proud of myself.
    I’ve been deprived of reading other people’s entries. Can’t wait.

  27. […] Carrot Ranch Rodeo #4 Fractured Fairy Tales […]

  28. I just submitted, Norah. I made a comment this afternoon and I don’t see it hear. Let me know if you got my submission. Thank you!

  29. That’s strange, this one comment shows. I might have not hit the comment button earlier. I was saying Norah’s instruction was clear. I read your PDF file last week. Anne and Robbie have excellent examples of the fractured fairy tales! Thank you!

  30. […] Inspired by the Carrot Ranch Literary Community – Fractured Fairy Tales […]

  31. Hi Norah! I’m in…just by the hairs on my chinny, chin chin! 😀

  32. […] challenges set by Charli Mills. Anne was also kind enough to support me in judging the recent fractured fairy tale contest held as part of the Carrot Ranch Flash  Fiction Rodeo. (Note: The results of that contest will be […]

  33. […] Thank you, contestants. We judges, Anne Goodwin, Robbie Cheadle and I, had a wonderful time reading your stories and thank you for submitting them to the Fractured Fairy Tale Contest. […]

  34. […] “In 99 words, no more, no less, fracture a fairy tale.” – a prompt for this week’s CW piece. [Source: @CarrotRanch] […]

  35. […] was written for a Carrot Ranch prompt a long time ago, but I still like the story I made for it.  Hope you […]

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