Did you use to read fairy tales when you were younger? Here's a modern fairy tale with a difference!

picture of a genie


by Louise Cooper

‘If you want to marry my daughter,' said the king, 'you must prove yourself worthy of her hand.’ 'Anything!' cried the poor young man. 'I love the princess, and I will brave any peril for her!' The princess stood behind the throne, crying. 'Right then,' said the king. 'You must climb to the top of the Ice Mountain, and fetch the magic lamp that a wicked rival stole from me.' ‘I’ll do it!' the young man declared, and rushed from the throne room. The king chuckled. 'That's fixed him! The cheek of it - poor as a church mouse, and weedy too, and he thinks he's good enough to marry my daughter!

Well, he won't be back!’ The princess was still crying. The young man might have been poor and weedy, but his love for the princess gave him courage. He struggled up the freezing, slippery slopes of the Ice Mountain. And he found the wicked rival's hideaway, where the magic lamp was hidden. (Luckily, the rival was away at the time.) Holding the lamp, he wondered what sort of magic it could do. You were supposed to rub magic lamps, weren't you?

Well, then . . . He rubbed the lamp. And—WHOOSH! A cloud of purple smoke burst out, and a genie appeared. The genie was tall and handsome and proud. He said, 'Who are you?' 'I'm a poor young man who loves the princess. And when I take the magic lamp, with you in it, back to the king, he'll let me marry her,' said the young man happily. 'In your dreams!' snorted the genie. He reached out and grabbed the young man. 'I've been in that lamp for a hundred years, and I'm fed up with it! So you can take my place—in you go!' And with another puff of smoke, the young man vanished into the lamp.

The genie picked up the lamp, grabbed a magic carpet that was rolled up in a corner, and told it to take him to the palace. 'I've brought your lamp,' he announced as he strode into the throne room. 'It isn't magic any more. But I am. And I claim your daughter's hand in marriage!'

The king looked at the genie. Tall and handsome, and magic, too! ‘That's more like it!' he said, and turned to the princess, 'Daughter, this is your future husband!' The princess stopped crying. 'Oh, goody!' she said. 'I was so afraid I'd have to marry that poor, weedy creep instead!'

© Louise Cooper 2002
From ‘Short and Scary’ published by Oxford University Press.
ISBN 0 19 278190 1

This story was selected as part of the BritLit project. To find out more about BritLit visit our TeachingEnglish site.

Total votes: 258


How is this story similar to other fairy tales you know? How is it different?

Write and tell us about your favourite fairy tale.


catastrophe's picture
catastrophe 25 February, 2017 - 13:37

Eww... I don't like it... it's not like those other fairytales that I used to read. Are there songs by famous musicians avalible in here?

42 users have voted.
Mariamffa11's picture
Mariamffa11 21 September, 2016 - 21:05

I didn't like this story because it contains a lot of wickedness and meanness for example the Genie and the princess how mean they are the poor man risked his life for the princess but the princess didn't care about him :( I prefer old fairytales as they are less mean and the good always wins, with people who deserve to be happy are always happy at the end.

69 users have voted.
Dr_fishstick's picture
Dr_fishstick 21 February, 2017 - 09:17

Hi Mariamffa11 you do understand that the little mermaids story actually ended in her turning into dust right and that the "old fairytales" were made to make the children not do things by scaring them. Another classic called the red riding hood ends with the hunter cutting up the wolfs body and then fills it with stones so when the wolf runs he collapses and dies

43 users have voted.
Mariamffa11's picture
Mariamffa11 21 September, 2016 - 20:58

My favourite fairytale is The Princess and the Frog. It is about a girl who wishes to open a restaurant as her father always wished to do, and she works hard to get money for opening the restaurant, meeting a conceited guy on the way. It was very inspirational and thrilling; this is why it is my favourite.

63 users have voted.
aiwalama's picture
aiwalama 24 July, 2015 - 11:50

Discipline is very good habit in our life. This is the only thing in our nature that makes good.so we always makes discipline every where.

72 users have voted.
hadia's picture
hadia 12 April, 2015 - 10:44

It's a nice story but the stories I have listened during bedtimes from my mother were very interesting sometimes a bit realistic or sometimes they would be fairytales

75 users have voted.
TripleSwag's picture
TripleSwag 7 April, 2015 - 20:07

great story I loved the twist at the end i thought she was crying about the poor guy not marring her.

Great job 6 rate stars

:) :P xD

74 users have voted.
JoEditor's picture
JoEditor 26 May, 2014 - 12:32

Hi sweety123,
It's great that you like writing poems. I am afraid at the moment you can't publish your poems here on LearnEnglish Teens. In the future we would like to have more sections for users to write poems, stories and longer texts but for now it's not possible. 
Best wishes, Jo (LearnEnglish Teens Team) 

75 users have voted.
teawithlemon's picture
teawithlemon 3 July, 2013 - 04:31

The way heroes talking to each other is the same as in every fairytale. But the characters of genie and princess are quite unusual, which completely changes the original plot.

77 users have voted.
Junevy26's picture
Junevy26 28 June, 2013 - 16:36

Finally, it was the genie who really had the happy ending. The princess was not like many princesses in usual fairy tales: They often found their true love and got married to a handsome young prince. She is something too "modern" now. Nice man didn't get what he wanted.

73 users have voted.
RehinaParker's picture
RehinaParker 3 March, 2013 - 13:11

Hi??? i have a project for Charles dickens but i dont now where to take the information about him??

76 users have voted.
JoEditor's picture
JoEditor 4 March, 2013 - 08:20

Hi again RehinaParker,
You've asked us this question before! Now you have lots of links to good websites to find information for your project. We won't be able to help you any more with this - but good luck!
Jo (LearnEnglish Teens Team)

69 users have voted.