Once, a young fisherman found a magic shell from which a
lovely fairy appeared to offer him a wish.
“Not three?” he asked in disappointment.
The fairy’s pretty brow furrowed crossly. “If you don’t want the wish” she began
but of course he did, so he shushed her and fell to wondering what to wish
for. He could have had wealth, he could
have found love, but deep down he knew he wanted none of those things and after
a few minutes of indecision he blurted out.
“I’d like to be a pair of boots.”
“Boots?” the fairy asked in puzzlement. “You could have
wealth unlimited, then you could buy thousands of pairs of boots.”
“No”, he replied. “I
don’t want to have a pair of boots.
I want to be a pair of boots. I want to still be alive and
conscious and I want to be a pair of leather boots.”
“Ladies’ boots that
is”, he added suddenly. “That’s very
“Perhaps you’d better be more specific, then.” the fairy sighed, taking out a notepad. “Wouldn’t
want this to turn out badly for you in an ironic manner, like in the stories,
So the fisherman described the boots of his fantasy. They were tall: thigh length rendered taller
by heels four inches long. They had leather laces, tightly wound through bright
shiny eyelets all the way up the back, culminating in little leather tassels.
They gleamed with a mirror shine. They were, in short, the boots of almost
every male submissive’s fantasy. And he
wanted to be them.
“Got it” said the fairy when he’d finished his long and
rather creepy description. She looked anywhere except the bulge in his trousers
as she took out her magic wand, waved it a little and then the world exploded
in a shower of stars.
The fisherman woke up in some discomfort. He was standing tied against a wooden frame
with arms splayed out above him and his wrists fastened so he could not break
free. His ankles too were restrained, his
The fairy was sitting nearby, watching. When she saw that he was awake, she nodded
and got up clutching a cloth bag.
“But – I wanted to be a pair of boots!” he protested.
The fairy nodded. “And
you will be” she said, pulling a long, curved steel blade.
“Alive!” he shrieked, desperately.
“Yes, that too” she smiled.
“All taken care of.” And she nicked his flesh deeply with the hooked end
of her blade and she began to cut.
Making a pair of leather boots takes time and skill. First, the animal must be skinned, of
course. The resulting hide will have
flesh on it, so this must be removed, first by cutting off the thicker layers,
then by scraping. The resulting skin is
salted, folded and left for 24 hours or longer.
Then, after soaking, the outer side of the hide must be scraped to remove
any hair and the epidermis. The material
is then tanned, soaking in a vat with chemicals, before being tightly stretched
across a frame and left to dry as taut as can be. True to the fairy’s word, the fisherman
remained alive and fully conscious throughout this process. Although most of his nervous system was gradually
cut and scraped away, the diligent fairy ensured that he continued to have all
the sensations that an unskinned human would experience. She even fancied she could hear his silent
screams, throughout, and she smiled a secret fairy smile as she worked.
Finally, the leather was ready. The fairy settled down with
her tools and she cut with strong shears and she sewed with a thick needle and she trimmed and
edged to make the boots of the fisherman’s dreams. The laces she made by
nicking the end of a thinned sheet and steadily pulling back, to make a thin
but strong strip of cured leather. She drove
the metal eyelets through with a punching tool, she vigorously polished the
boots to the required mirror shine, then when she had pulled the laces through, she was
finally able to lean back and contemplate the boots she had made.
They were somewhat tacky, she had to admit, but she was quite pleased with how they had turned out. Not her sort of thing, but
someone might want them. She left them on the doorstep of the town shoemaker at
midnight and disappeared into the night.
The boots were sold eventually, to a young, spoiled daughter
of a local nobleman. She wore them once, but found they pinched, and the
business with lacing up at the back was far too much trouble, so threw them
into her shoe cupboard and never thought of them again. And there they remain to this day.
Moral: don’t ask a powerful supernatural being to skin you
alive. It bloody hurts.
|…and the fisherman.