Five details readers miss in ‘Eve the First’

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A retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale “The Wicked Prince,” “Eve the First” introduces a princess unlike any other in popular fairy tales: ruthless, power-hungry and ambitious enough to conquer Heaven. After successfully monopolizing the known world, Princess Eve the First lays her eyes on taking down God so she can reign supreme over Heaven and Earth.

If you have read my short story “Eve the First,” first of all, thank you for doing so and for your support!

There are details in the tale that may have stood out to you and others that haven’t. Whether they are in the story or about the story, here are five details readers miss in “Eve the First.”

1. The princess is the villain.

“Eve the First” is interesting because the princess is the villain, not the heroine. Usually in fairy tales, the princess is sweet and dreams of her Prince Charming to come. Even in modern media (especially in Disney Princess films from “The Little Mermaid” to “Frozen” and “Frozen 2”) this is still the case but balanced with traits of independence and strong will. However the princess is portrayed, audiences and readers root for her.

From Eve’s thirst for blood to her depraved methods of dispatching enemies and innocents alike, Eve as the villainous princess isn’t afraid to wear other people’s blood on her sleeve:

As she brandished her sword and ambition, Eve led her army all over the world, from the nearest to the most remote lands. She left behind trails of bloodshed, death, and tears. With every swing of her sword—a stab here, a beheading there—Eve radiated joy as blood splattered all over her armor and corpses piled up. Villagers said their bountiful fields, once ripe with harvest, were cultivated with the blood of the dead. Whole carcasses and body parts littered the meadows, turning them into rolling graveyards, as though the dead had been dug up.

2. Despite her wickedness, Eve is still human.

It can be easy for an author to fall back on tropes, to rely on stereotypes in order to convey a narrative. But to do this would be a total disservice to the character, the story, and the writer as a creative person.

Yes I want to portray Eve as a monster, but I want to give her a dose of humanity too.

In one scene, Eve encounters a peasant woman while pillaging a village. The woman reminds Eve of the trauma she experienced in seeing her mother Catherine meet her own brutal end:

The image of her mother’s dead body formed in Eve’s mind. The corpse sprawled face down in a pool of blood, a twisted, wretched mess of flesh and bones. Her mother’s blonde hair, so long it had reached her knees, spread out around her like a sea monster’s tentacles. Some of the blood from the puddle soaked the shoes Eve wore that day.

Eve stroked her mother’s back and tried her utmost to shake her mother awake. “Mother, wake up! Wake up!” she, demanded, as a little girl would.

Each shake of the body became rougher; her plea for her mother to revive became louder and louder. The little girl lifted away the hair that covered her mother’s face and discovered her mother’s face caked in blood, and her nose broken. The little girl screamed at the sight of her mother’s damaged face and ran into the castle.

“Father, Father!” she cried out. “Something’s wrong with Mother!”

3. The ebook is a response to a writing prompt.

I penned “Eve the First” in response to a writing prompt on the We Drink Because We’re Poets website. I didn’t want to adapt a story like “Cinderella” or “Snow White” because since they’re already too famous, I figured a few people responding to this prompt might use them. So I decided to take a relatively lesser known fairy tale in the form of Hans Christian Andersen’s fable “The Wicked Prince.”

4. One of Eve’s statements is modeled after a celebrity’s quote.

In the beginning of the short story, Eve says this:

“I have unyielding determination that cannot be matched. If that makes me an evil woman, so be it.”

In deciding to write that, I figured it should be based on a quote about determination. So I looked to inspiration from Madonna:

“I’m tough, I’m ambitious, and I know exactly what I want. If that makes me a b****, okay.”

5. Eve’s kingdom of Regnum is Latin for “kingdom.”

A little too on the nose without being on the nose, I wanted to name her kingdom “Kingdom” but in Latin.

In Eve’s kingdom of Regnum, the populace sought for worldly knowledge, wealth, and prestige. Above all, the people pursued the supreme form of existence: immortality. To these ends, they excelled in architecture, arts, music, literature, alchemy and science. With the practices of Pagan worship, drunken orgies, and human sacrificing, they prided themselves on being their absolute best in knowledge and wealth, while their crude and barbaric natures situated them at the bottom of human existence.

If you don’t use writing prompts, I highly recommend using them at least once in a while. They do help in getting creative juices flowing (well, that’s what they’re there for😁). You can buy books or journals like “300 Writing Prompts” and “Write The Story,” both from Piccadilly and both which I use. You can even google for prompts. You may or may not get the foundation of a new story from writing exercises (and don’t worry if the answers don’t become a writing project), but just enjoy the process.

All in all, it was a blast penning “Eve the First.” It’s a revision of an existing fairy tale, but I liked crafting a story with a new character and a new voice in addition to fleshing out the original “Wicked Prince” tale.

“Eve the First” is available as an ebook on Amazon Kindle.

About Teresa Edmond-Sargeant

Teresa Edmond-Sargeant is an award-winning journalist and author. Her articles have been published in northern New Jersey and Orlando-area newspapers as well as pop culture blogs. Her short stories are featured in the dark humor collection of “Demonic Anthologies.

In her spare time she enjoys reading, shopping, traveling, working out, volunteering, and filling her mind with useless factoids worthy of pop culture trivia games.