Psychological Self-Help

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Warning: Some words in this story may offend you. Skip it if you are
sensitive about "dirty words."
Sooty Sarah: A fairy tale 
Chapter One
Once upon a time there was a poor little girl who couldn't do
anything right. She lived with a wicked queen, her stepmother, in a
cold, gray castle. Sooty Sarah knew she never did anything right
because no matter what she did, the wicked queen (who had had an
evil spell put on her by an old witch) always found something wrong
with it. (You need to know that the old witch had slipped a pair of shit-
colored glasses on the queen, but she didn't know they were there
because they weighed nothing. Since Sooty Sarah had never seen the
queen without the glasses, she never asked about them. She just
thought the old queen hated her which wasn't necessarily so. But back
to the story.) Things went on this way for some time. The little girl
trying to please the queen and the queen continually finding fault with
her. Then, one day, when the little girl was older, she noticed the
queen looking very pale and sick. "What is the matter?" she asked.
"My, aren't we nosy!" said the tired queen, "Well, if you must know, I
have to stay awake nights thinking of things to criticize you about.
You're a very difficult child to criticize, you know." Sooty felt very
badly and said, "Oh, I'm sorry, I'll try to make it easier." Being a good
girl, she started to do all sorts of stupid little things. Actually, things
went well for a while--the girl misbehaving, getting the queen's
attention, and the queen criticizing the growing girl loudly. Everyone
was miserable but satisfied. But all good things must come to an end.
The queen's health began to fail again. 
Chapter Two
The little girl noticed right away, but she couldn't think of any new
ways to be bad, so she thought and thought. Finally, she had a plan
and ran to tell her stepmother right away. "I have it," she cried, "I
know how you can get all the sleep you need. I'll criticize myself!"
"That may be a good plan," said the queen, "it may be the best idea
you ever had." Sooty Sarah was overjoyed; finally she had done
something right. "You can still criticize me if you like, but I'll take over
the real work," she said and rushed off to study hard at finding fault
with herself. (As she got better and better at it, two things started to
happen. Little glasses started to grow over her eyes too and a wall,
one stone at a time, started to build up around her. The wall was
always there; it went with her. Like a chimney, the wall hid and
protected her from the world, which was scary because by now Sooty
Sarah was not only finding fault with herself but with everything in the
world as well.) Sooty Sarah found lots of faults--bad thoughts and
feelings the queen could never have found--and the queen slept
happily ever after. 
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