Hairstyles might be low on the priority list mid-2020, the Year of COVID Hair but her crowning glory is still at the forefront of many minds (and heads). Traditionally, we might think of a regal character with long locks braided, curled, or teased like the heroine on the cover of a romance novel. But it could be unicorn mane. In the hands of creative writers, what might her crowning glory look like?
Those who chased the prompt this week found unique expressions and ideas to describe different possibilities. You’ll read about hair and so much more in this collection.
The following stories are based the July 30, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that uses the phrase “her crowning glory.”
PART I (10-minute read)
Gifts by Reena Saxena
“The Gift of the Magi” by O.Henry was a lesson in gifting. The writer’s intention may have been completely different.
It is difficult for a girl to give up her crowning glory to buy a gift, more so than it is for a man to give up his inheritance. I think about the story more now, when people are losing their steady source of income. Gifting may soon acquire new forms, as modes of celebration change.
Ria spent hours designing an online gift for her beau. Digital art is not easy, but one piece suffices for three boyfriends.
Crowning Glory by FloridaBorne
Queen Catherine loved her silver crown inset with sapphires and diamonds. She sat quietly on a smaller throne, a trait expected of the window dressing sitting next to her husband, and sank into mental soliloquy.
Her only sister had a washerwoman’s build and face. Catherine, graceful and filled with a legendary beauty, was traded into loveless marriage at 15 for a substantial fee. Women envied Catherine, but her sister chose to read, chose to be tutored by scholars, and still lived with her brothers.
Catherine had chosen the design of her crown.
Why did it seem a hollow victory?
Mrs. Brouillette’s Auspicious Adventure by Deborah Dansante
On Ellen Brouillette’s 99th birthday, unable to find anyone to climb Mt. Monodnack with, she decided to go alone.
Later, from her hospital bed, during an interview with Channel 2 News, Mrs. Brouilette insisted that her failed attempt had only to do with those awful black flies, which were particularly troublesome that year.
When Missy Jan, Channel 2 news anchor, suggested to Mrs. Brouilette a less dangerous activity for her 100th, Ellen Brouillette looked into the camera and asked the audience if they thought knitting cozies would’ve been her crowning glory or have gotten her on the evening news.
Stacking Stones by Frank Hubeny
Nature does a grander job. What we made was mindful. Besides that wasn’t why we piled stones on top of one another. We were testing each other’s patience.
I failed the test and let her set the last stone, her crowning glory, on top. They didn’t fall and so per agreement she left.
I would have told you about the arguments, but I’ve forgotten them. I only remember where we set those stones. It was out of the way. A decade later I came back. I looked everywhere.
Nature let us take our turn then washed it all away.
Glory by Pete Fanning
I was raised to think I was special. My mom liked to call me her crowning glory. She’d smile proudly whenever she said it, blind to my blemishes, immune to my mistakes. She’d look at me, eyes glazed, seeing what no mirror could ever produce.
The last time she said it was the day I went clean for good. We held hands, my tears spilling to my arm, washing over the scabs and needle marks.
“My crowning glory,” she rasped, sinking away, leaving me alone with my demons.
I knew there was a will.
But I wanted her glory.
Her Crowning Glory by Anita Dawes
She stands on the edge of decision
Beneath the pale silver crescent
Her earthly form chosen
Dark mane flowing
Magic cannot be contained
Her crowning glory, the spiral horn
Long sought after by man
One such as hers
Said to be held by Merlin
The magician, to raise Camelot
She must risk going back in time
When magic held no mystery, it just was
To find a mate, to keep magic
Between the worlds
As it had been from the beginning
Will she risk losing her magic
At the hands of some eager
Or find her mate?
Unexpected Escort by Charli Mills
In the end, a unicorn fetched Sarah from her deathbed. She’d been hearing Cobb’s steed galloping five nights in a row, expecting he’d finally come to take her to hell. She’d lived with the guilt of his death for 76 years. Cobb’s soul would have vengeance soon. But it wasn’t the specter of the man she once loved. It wasn’t his horse pounding past her door. The unicorn’s crowning glory wasn’t flowing mane or golden horn. It was Sarah’s lovely daughter grown past the infanthood she’d never survived. Resplendent on the beast’s back, she said, “Let’s go home, Mama.”
Crowning Glory by R. V. Mitchell
Dora was the plainest maiden in all the kingdom. Some even said that she was ugly. It was precisely that fact that led to her retaining her virtue far beyond the time in which it was relinquished by her peers.
This purity, however, was also her crowning glory, for she could see and converse with unicorns.
“Oh, I wish I was as beautiful as you,” she said to Daisy, one day.
“And I wish I had your lovely voice,” the unicorn replied.
They were suddenly transformed, but Dora could tell no one – for she had become a little horse.
Crowning Glory by Jenn Linning
One evening, the national animals of England, Scotland, and Wales met to settle a friendly argument: who, if it came to it, would overthrow all the others in a fight to the death?
England’s lion went first, flashing his claws, gnashing his teeth, and roaring as menacingly as he could. Wales’ scarlet dragon laughed quietly at his non-magical cousin’s display, orange flames escaping carelessly from his nostrils as he did so. Scotland’s white unicorn simply rolled her eyes and bowed to display her crowning glory: her twisted opal horn, sharp as a dagger and a hundred times as deadly.
15 Years Later by Norah Colvin
A reunion wouldn’t normally appeal but the timing seemed right and, anyway, Miss R. would be there and, hopefully, Jasmine so she wouldn’t be alone.
Marnie inspected her reflection, predicting their scrutiny and subsequent reaction. What was once a nest of tangles was now her crowning glory, sparkling like gold. A final touch of the lightest spray smoothed every strand to perfection. Brucie, who’d once poured an entire pot of glue over her head, declaring it an accident, could — well, it didn’t matter. He couldn’t touch her now.
As she was announced, the room hushed. “Marnie? Really?” Brucie spluttered.
Coda? by JulesPaige
The instrumental of her voice, soft whispers, forced grunts, maybe even a scream or two. When she’d thought of all she’d ever done it was her crowning glory to ‘gift’ a safe arrival to her children. Everything else paled. Departing from graduation ceremonies, even the wedding ceremony – while still high on the list of accomplishments – the light of her life that brought her out of the darkest of thoughts were the successes of her children.
lullabies she’d sung
created solely from love
easing them to sleep
Still, she remained an individual. And perhaps that counted the most.
He’ll Walk for Emma by Sue Spitulnik
Tessa leaned close to Lexi to ask, “How did you get Michael to wear his legs for the baptism?”
“Reality, Mom. I simply told him I was afraid Emma wasn’t safe being perched in his lap while he was using his arms to wheel his chair and I wanted her grandfather to carry her forward when it was time for the ceremony.”
“That will be your crown of glory for years to come my daughter. Next time I think he should walk instead of ride, I’ll get you to convince him.”
“Not my doing, Mom. Give Emma the credit.”
Nandini by Saifun Hassam
Nandini, a graduate in the marine sciences, was a daughter of the Samari Archipelago. Her ebony curls and lithe bronze body reflected her ancient ancestry of Black slaves and Pacific traders.
Nandini loved exploring the abundant lagoons. Coral reefs ringed lagoons and extended into deeper waters. Her studies focused on reef growth and fragility, the impact of human activities and nature’s forces, of weather, of deep ocean volcanos.
When she won the coveted student award, “The Sea Urchin” in marine and oceanographic research, it became both her crowning glory and gave her a sense of direction in her career.
Knees Up by Geoff Le Pard
‘Aunty Madge mailed.’
‘How is the old loon?’
‘Fed up with lockdown, though she’s ridiculously excited she’s got a hair appointment.’
‘What is that all about? A hair cut? Sheesh!’
‘You’ve got none to cut. Mum always said her hair was her crowning glory.’
‘What’s yours, Logan?’
‘I’ve not given it any thought.’
‘Mine’s my knees. I’ve always thought they were rather finely sculptured.’
‘Seriously? Knees have to be man’s ugliest feature.’
‘No, that has to be elbows. Awful things. Come on, what’s yours?’
‘If I have to pick, then my intellect.’
‘More like your crowing glory, then.’
Her Crowning Glory by Irene Waters
“I need a bathroom quick. “Ahhhhhhh.” Cramp.”
He guided his wife to the toilet block worrying about food poisoning. As he looked beads of perspiration dotted her brow and her crowning glory became wet and lank.
“Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!” His strong grip prevented her collapsing. He guided her into the first stall.
“Gosh it’s big. There’s a loo for everyone………..”
His wife moaned. “Feels like a ring of fire.”
“You’re Not pregnant?”
He pushed her back and looked. “You’ve crowned. ” He caught the baby. “Who knew the family loos would be where we became a family. Let’s call her Glory.”
Leaving by Joanne Fisher
Though her work for the company was quite pivotal, Lily found herself largely ignored there. She had worked for a number of years in accounting, but often felt she was passed over, forgotten, even taken for granted.
One day Lily decided to leave, as she wanted to work somewhere where she would be more valued and appreciated. She baked a cake for her last day of work there, to let everyone know what she thought of them. Lily believed it was her crowning glory: the cake was the shape of a large hand, with the middle finger fully extended.
Part II (10-minute read)
Tip of the Hat by Ann Edall-Robson
The quiet rumble reminds her of far off thunder as the truck tires roll over the cattle guard. She knows her way out of the blackened ranch yard by heart, not turning on the headlights until she reaches the end of the lane. Her hand drops automatically to flick on the turn signal. She laughs at herself knowing the courtesy is only necessary when headlights or dust tails are coming toward you. In twenty minutes she’ll be in the hills waiting for the sun to rise. The morning’s tip of the hat, her crowning glory, to start the day.
Clover Crowns and Dancing Rings by Kerry E.B. Black
The cousins braided daisies into crowns and rested them atop each other’s heads. “What a perfect May Day!” The girls spun, hands clasped, until they fell laughing to the ground. The world spun on without them, and their stomachs fluttered.
“Let’s find 4-leafed-clovers!” Heather found one. Then another, and another. She discovered so many she braided them into her daisy crown.
Kay scowled at the field, determined to find at least one. Instead, she discovered a circle of white mushrooms.
Heather gasped. “Fairies dance inside those.”
They left their daisy chains within.
Heather sighed, “Fairy rings are cooler than 4-leafed-clovers.”
Never Mind by D. Avery
Never mind what exactly the boys said, the gestures they made. It was rude. It was disrespectful. And how they waited for her response, grinning, still taunting. Who would treat an elder this way?
She calmly unpinned her gray bun, shook loose her long hair. She stood tall, her hair now a high wind whipping and lashing the cowering boys. She watched, impassive, her hair now a frenzied torrential rain that pelted the whimpering boys.
Then she brushed her hair, now a golden sun, a dazzling halo. And she wound it back into a gray bun, her crowning glory.
The Queen of Winter by Colleen M. Chesebro
The wind howled like a banshee as the first storm of the season battered the cottage. Niall settled into his chair for the night.
Wild dreams tortured his thoughts. The image of the Cailleach Béara bloomed in his mind. Each year the old crone brought winter’s fury. When she appeared, stones flew from her apron and landed upon the ground. These stones, her crowning glory, grew into rock formations or mountains.
The next morning Niall’s home perched on the cliffs above the sea. Nearby, a large rock resembled the ancient Cailleach’s face. There she remains to the present day.
The Wheel Turns by Liz Husebye Hartmann
Chad scrunched his brow, tapping the turntable with a desultory forefinger. The sculpture rotated slowly, displaying all its sides, seeming to delight in its own ineffable shimmer and elegance. It almost winked at him, whispering “You don’t get me, do you?”
He shook his head and turned away to pour another dram of Scotch into the ceramic mug, one of the first pieces Susan’d submitted to apprentice with him. He threw back the Scotch and grimaced at its bite.
This was her crowning glory?
Yet there was something…artistic genius he couldn’t grasp.
The student had bypassed the teacher.
Crown of Snakes by Kerry E.B. Black
Medi scrubbed marble columns, hands raw but heart swollen with adoration for her goddess, Athena.
Poseidon, smelling of brine and lust, pushed Medi to the floor and stole what she’d sworn as sacred.
Athena found Medi clutching her torn chiton to her ravaged body.
Fury seized this goddess of wisdom. Dare Poseidon violate her temple with carnal acts? Debase Her by soiling Her maiden?
Athena couldn’t punish Poseidon, but by Zeus, she’d be avenged. She seized Medi’s silken locks and cursed. “Let none desire you.”
Hair transformed into hissing snakes. Eyes steeled into weapons. From then, all feared Medusa.
Mis-steps by Eliza Mimski
Genovese’s goal had always been to snatch away a married man. She was competitive by nature. The married man offered a certain kind of drama other relationships lacked. The clandestine atmosphere, the sneaking around, the mis-steps. So far she hadn’t reached her goal, but that in no way meant she wouldn’t, and that it wouldn’t happen soon.
She had her sights on the CEO, married for forty years to the same woman, and with three grown children. Just think of the accomplishment, hearts broken, tears falling, anger raging, and all because of her.
It would be her crowning glory.
Stand on Your Feet by Sanjuna.SR
A curly haired girl with honey-eyes well-groomed in blue gown is serving the most delightful delicious desserts in a small shop which was famous for its taste and People were praising her cooking skills stating “health to her hands”
To find the curiosity of why this pretty doll is working here? We asked her name.
For my surprise, her surname belongs to a respectful posh society yet she acts like a normal person and does not tout her background.
She is trying hard to stand on her own feet in spite of all the inheritance is her crowning glory.
Elevated Upcycle by kathy70
As we stepped off the elevator I felt a bit anxious. I was visiting my friends family lake front condo on the 32nd floor of this building and I had heard stories about the fabulous decor. The huge entrance hallway was a deep dark brown with floor to ceiling world renown famous artists works on display.
To me her crowning glory in this unit was the 3rd bathroom we saw. Bath mat, seat cover, tissue box and wastepaper basket all covered with mink. Upcycled old coats rescued and remade by her mom. So unexpected it took my breath away.
He Was Right by Paula Puolakka
The shift of the north magnetic pole has increased the leakage of space radiation. People are worried about its effect on The Global Positioning System, but nobody’s interested in health issues. The radiation is, for example, corrupting our brains and memory and increasing eye and heart problems.
In her crowning glory, as she’s trying to figure out things by using intuition and keeping her crystal skull (Sahasrara) clean, she understands even more clearly how Mr. Kaczynski was right all the time. The violent acts of today have been caused by radiation, together with the falsity spread through technological devices.
It Grows Back by Annette Rochelle Aben
They went to visit her mother. Both were in need of a haircut. Her mother was enrolled in beauty school and needed to practice on real heads as opposed to mannequins.
He went first. Drape in place, the scissors could be heard merrily snipping away. Renegade hairs were whisked off his shoulders and they pronounced him perfect.
When it came to her crowning glory, her mother was not so attentive. As her husband walked by to get a drink of water, he shrieked in horror. Her mother had replicated HIS cut on the left side of his wife’s head!
Shaggy Inktop by Anne Goodwin
Feathered frame for her face, her surprise lockdown hair was a triumph, visually. That couldn’t be said of the inglorious thicket that sprang from her crown. Sweat lathered her nape as the sun reported for duty. Fatigue in her arms as the queue formed outside the shower. Should she chop it to the bone, don a hat with her mask for the supermarket? No-one saw the back of her head on Zoom. Should she make it a feature, a topknot, a śikhā, a Hindu thread to heaven? Inspiration dawned with a fungus: inky black dye topping her shopping list!
Scat by Bill Engleson
She’d sneak into the rooms of others, paw their possessions, hold the ones that appealed, and then, rather than scurry away, hide in a closet, and listen for the sounds of other people living their lives.
We suspected she’d use whatever hairbrushes she could find and stroke her hair, leave some of the hairball bramble that always seemed to tangle her up.
More often than not, she would be discovered.
Occasionally though, her crowning glory was a sly entry, a sensuous caress of some personal items of another, secreting away, being pleasured by their sounds, and a clever exit.
Hiding Her Crown by Charli Mills
When Thomas fell down the main shaft and died, the mining company told his widow to send one of the boys or leave the company house. Jack was ten and frail from illness. Robbie was eight, and Brad six. Lizzie was fourteen and fit. She sheared her crowning glory of long red curls. No one likes a ginger, Mrs. Lewis next door would say, her mouth pinched perpetually. Wearing her father’s clothes tied and tucked into her brother’s boots Lizzie settled the miner’s helmet on her bald head. No one ever paid the poor Irish kids much mind, anyhow.
Colorful Souls by Donna Matthews
I hurried up the steps of the little clapboard house. Entering, I couldn’t help but notice the signs of neglect. But no time. I made my way down the hall and gently pushed open my mother’s bedroom door. Seeing her tiny frame under the covers, I swallowed my grief whole and picked up her white hand with my brown one.
Tears falling, I consider the painting above her bed, from her college days. Colorful Souls, she called it. It was her crowning glory as an artist and how she met my dad. Two beautiful artists together again.
Acceptance As Kid’s Crowning Achievement (Part I) by D. Avery
“Kid, whyn’t ya ever take thet hat off yer head?”
“Whyn’t you? Ain’t we s’posed ta wear these hats, bein’ ranch han’s an’ all?”
“Ya mean fer UV ray pertection out here on the range?”
“No, I mean fer our iconic stock character status. Ya know, brandin’, like… a look.”
“Yeah, well, now I’m curious. Let’s have a look unnerneath thet hat a yers.”
“Oh fer shifts sake, Kid, jist take it off!”
“All right. There, ya happy, Pal. Pal?”
“Oh I never ‘magined thet!”
“Lemme guess, a dirty sweaty hat ring?”
“Ya’ve got a uni-corn horn!”
(Part II) by D. Avery
“Why? Jist ‘cause I an’ you ain’t never ‘magined it? Someone must’ve ‘magined it, ‘cause there it is, a nubby little horn jist unner yer forelock.”
“Someone! Indeed! D. Avery! Dang her! Why in heck’s she doin’ this? Thought she di’n’t even like uni-corns.”
“Heard she’s got a couple neighbors up in them woods a hers is workin’ on her uni-corn issue. Mebbe she’s jist ‘sperimentin’.”
“Hey, stop puttin’ a hole in ma hat!”
“Jist givin’ ya room ta grow Kid.”
“Mebbe, Kid, it’s like Pinnochio, mebbe ever time ya whine an’ complain thet nub grows longer.”
(Part III) by D. Avery
“Hey Pal. Thanks fer doin’ ma chores. Don’t feel like goin’ anywhere’s like this. Uni-corn horn’s gittin’ bigger.”
“Huh. ‘Cause I know ya been workin’ real hard at not whining an’ complainin’. Mebbe thet ain’t the cause a it.”
“I been real calm, Pal, been mindful an’ grateful, an’ even practicin’ self-compassion. But when I git all like that, the uni-corn horn grows! This is some situation. Wunner what Shorty’s gonna say?”
“Shorty’ll be fine with it. Reckon she might even snort laugh.”
“That’d make this all worthwhile. Ya know, I’ve come ta accept this thing!”
“Kid! It’s gone!”