3

© 2004 Kay Iscah

The Magically Thinning Mirror

By Kay Iscah

There was once a woman with three chins. Her legs were thick as trunks and her arms could scarcely meet around her middle. She walked from town one day and, quite out of breath, found a magic mirror. She looked upon her own round form and sighed.

"I wish I was thinner," said she.

Now she had two chins instead of three, but she was still very round. Disappointed, the woman returned to town. Normally the walk tired her, but when she got home, she had breath left to wash the dishes, sweep the floors, and dusted all the furniture before bed.

In the morning, her husband complimented her on how nice the house looked and kissed her round cheek, which he had not done in years. The woman returned to the mirror that afternoon and tried again.

"I wish I was thinner," said she.

Now she had one chin instead of two, but she was still very round. Disappointed, the woman returned to town. That evening she caught up on all her mending and sewed a new dress out of some blue fabric she had bought but never used.

"What a pretty blue dress," her husband said when she put it on the next morning. She blushed at his compliment, which she had not done in years. The woman returned to the mirror that afternoon.

"I wish I was thinner," said she.

Now her one chin allowed her to see her throat, and her waist was no larger around than her hips. She smiled at her reflection and ran back to town. She modified all her dresses and still filled with energy scrubbed the house from top to bottom before she went to bed. Her husband doted upon her, which he had not done in years.

For several days she was quite happy and productive. Until one morning she noticed her husband looking at another woman whose waist was much smaller than her hips. That afternoon she returned to the mirror.

"I wish I was thinner," said she.

Now her waist was much smaller than her hips, and she danced her way back to town.

"How lovely you look," her husband said as she entered their clean home, which he had never said before. The woman danced through her evening chores that day.

"How lovely you are," everyone said in the morning, when she went out to the market. As she went home other women's husbands looked at her. For the next week or so, old friends came to call and brought new friends to meet her. At first her husband was quite proud of her and ready to receive company. Then he became annoyed by the men who came to steel glances and chased the visitors away. His jealously flattered her, so she was quite happy as the visitors left.

After a few more weeks, even the lady visitors became infrequent, and though she had not changed, people stopped saying how lovely. Her husband stayed attentive though, so she was happy.

After a few months though, she began to miss the attention. So, in the afternoon she returned to the mirror.

"I wish I was thinner," said she.

Now her hourglass figure became twig like. She admired her ethereal reflection. Her face revealed the fine bone of her cheeks and nothing upon her wispy form was loose or out of place. She glided back to town with her head held high and basked in the whispers and gasps. Her husband did everything for her that day and as much as he could the next.

She went to market that afternoon, even though they were in need of nothing, so that she could revel in the awed glances of the townspeople. She was quite happy until she over heard some women whispering about her.

"Oh, how unattractive she looks," they said, which no one had said since she was very round. Hurt, she ran back to the mirror and spoke the words which had always improved things before.

"I wish I was thinner," said she.

And then the woman disappeared.