Short Story #347: The Revolt of the Evil Fairies by Ted Poston

Title:  The Revolt of the Evil Fairies

Author:  Ted Poston

Summary

Book cover to The Best Short Stories by Negro Writers - Langston Hughes.
The narrator explains that the annual Prince Charming and Sleeping Beauty at Booker T. Washington Colored Grammar School was the dramatic event of the year in the town.  However, it was clear that regardless of talent, light skinned African Americans were regularly picked to play the lead roles and the good fairies while the evil fairies were always darker-skinned African Americans.  The narrator is frustrated by this because he is skillful on stage and also was hoping to be Prince Charming because he has a massive crush on the girl playing Sleeping Beauty.  Designated as the lead Evil Fairy, he must confront and lose to Prince Charming in the story.  However, this year during the performance, Prince Charming gets a bit more aggressive in his stage direction, being physically aggressive when he doesn't have to be.  In the final act, when the Evil Fairy is supposed to lose, the narrator launches an all-out assault on Prince Charming and other evil fairies join in the fight.  The teacher brings down the curtain and settles things right before properly ending the play.  The narrator is banned from future performances.

Reflection

This was both a cute and a compelling telling of classic childhood rivalry.  On one level, we see the narrative at odds with Prince Charming to get the girl.  It's a pretty common plot.  However, Poston infuses it with the various injustices of race with a community show at a school for African Americans which must forfeit the first two rows to white attendees and internalized racism preventing equality within the race, never mind across races.
Short Story #347 out of 365
Rating:  3 (out of 5 stars)
Date Read:  12/1/2014
Source:  The Best Short Stories by Negro Writers, ed. by Langston Hughes.  Little, Brown, and Company, 1967.  This story can also be found for free at this website.  

For a full listing of all the short stories in this series, check out the category 365 Short Stories a year.



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