"Sit down, kids!" said Yvonne, plopping down onto the sofa with a dusty old book. "I've got a story for you!"
"But I'm doing Algebra!" said the self-righteous, conscientious little brat Angelica.
"You are not, not today," replied Yvonne, casually taking Angelica's laptop out of her lap and flinging it out an open window. "Now," said Yvonne, "where's Savio? Never mind, I'll start without him."
"But I can't listen to stories," said the obstinately conscientious Angelica. "I have to do real work."
"Anything you do is real work, because you are a real piece of work," said Yvonne. Angelica's conscientious feelings were hurt, and shocked. She gaped at Yvonne. "You be quiet now," said Yvonne. "Listen to this real fairy-tale! Not one of my own cheap knockoffs or things that popped out of my brain. Although, I will tell it in my own words."
"Once upon a time, a long time ago, there lived a lady with three daughters. The oldest of her daughters went away to an old washer whose hobby was being a witch (or maybe she was a witch whose hobby was being a washer; I don't know). The daughter went to her to discover her future. So the washer witch told her to stay there that day, and look out the door to see whatever she could see. But she didn't see anything. The next day she stayed and looked again, but again she didn't see anything. On the third day, she saw a coach drawn by six horses coming down the road. When she told the washer what she saw, the washer told her, 'It's for you.' So the daughter went into the coach and went away.
Now, the second daughter did what her sister had done and went to the old witch washer to seek her future. She, too, looked out the door and saw nothing until the third day, when she saw a coach drawn by four horses coming down the road. 'It's for you,' said the old washer. So the second daughter got in, and went away.
And the youngest daughter went to the washer to seek her future, as her sisters had done. She looked out and saw nothing on the first and second days, but on the third, she saw a great big black bull coming down the road. 'It's for you,' said the washer. This saddened and scared the youngest daughter, but she was lifted up onto the bull and they went away.
They travelled, and travelled, and travelled, and travelled... and the daughter became hungry. So the gentlemanly bull said, 'Eat out of my right ear and drink out of my left ear.' So she did so, and she was refreshed. They rode on until they came to a big beautiful castle. 'We must stay here tonight,' says the bull, 'because my elder brother lives here.' And when they came to the castle, the daughter was lifted off the bull's back, and the bull was let loose in a field for the night. In the morning the lady was taken to a parlor, and they gave her an apple, and told her not to break it until she was more desperate than any mortal ever had been.
So they lifted her back onto the bull, and they rode away again, far, far away, until they came to an even better castle. 'We must stay here tonight,' said the bull, 'because my second brother lives here.' So when they got there, they took her off the bull, and let the bull into the field. And in the morning, they brought her to a room and gave her a pear, which they told her not to break until she was more desperate than any mortal ever had been.
And after that, they rode again, far, far away, until they came to what was by the far the best castle they had seen. 'We must stay here tonight,' said the bull, 'because my young brother lives here.' And when they got there, she was brought down off the bull, and the bull was sent out into the field for the night. In the morning they took her into a room, the best she had been in, and gave her a plum, and told her not to break it until she was more desperate than any mortal ever had been."
Yvonne paused and sat back on the sofa. "I've talked too much already," she said, "and you have to be responsible and do your Algebra after all, right?"
"None of that makes any sense, but since you haven't finished you might as well continue," said Angelica.
"I like it," said Savio. The sight of him sitting there in front of her, panting, startled Yvonne so much that she nearly leapt into the ceiling. She hadn't seen him come in. He was sitting with chewed up computer parts laying at his feet. She decided to ignore this little detail and pretend that she neither knew about it nor had anything to do with it.
Of course that meant Angelica couldn't do her Algebra anymore.
"You know what, why don't you just go rake leaves?" said Yvonne, thrusting a rake, which she produced seemingly out of nowhere, at Angelica.
"But..." said Angelica unintelligently.
"Yes, well, as for me, I have a huge pile of books that I really need to read. And write," said Yvonne. "And I probably shouldn't forget to breathe..."
"As for me, I have to go dig up that dinosaur skeleton I found in the backyard!" exclaimed Savio, darting out the open window (not the door) before anyone could say anything.