Beans and Lies
by Mari Ness
Later she changes the tale, calling her husband a giant who liked to crunch on human bones, the intruder a fool willing to trade a cow for beans. She builds up everything: their manor becomes a castle, the hill a cloud, the earthen walls thick bulwarks of marble and granite, the copper coins bags of gold, the battered instrument with its broken strings an enchanted harp that can sing. The beanstalks in their garden reach the sky. She adds in jokes, references to proverbs, nursery rhymes, other legends. Her hands creep out from their pinched position at her side, gesturing, flaring, as she laughs.
She does not mention just how heavy the earth had been beneath her shovel.
She does not ask herself why she does this, why she has turned her life into a fairy tale of beans and giants, castles and clouds. She knows. She knows that some tales are easier than the truth.