Once upon a time, a levelheaded type A princess went momentarily barking mad and thought she was in love with a bogsnart. If you’re wondering what a bogsnart is and questioning why, oh why why why do princesses routinely fall in love with them, I’m afraid I must tell you that virtually every woman in the world has been bitten by one of these pernicious ticks. At the very least, she’s been hit on by one at a party. The bogsnart wanders the streets disguised as a perfectly companionable prince, his facial hair impeccably manscaped, his metro-sexual manners as charming as Paddington Bear. But beneath the gym-built shirt-stuffing and pseudo-intellectual patter, an unsalvageable bogsnart lurks, and at nightfall he is driven by instinct to skulk like a bedbug toward the nearest warm-blooded host. The type A princess was fooled by the bogsnart’s clever disguise and invited him to tea one day. But as day turned to evening, the bogsnart’s witty banter turned mean. “It’s a pity,” snorted the bogsnart. “Such a beautiful evening and I’m stuck here with this ugly girl.” “I beg your pardon!” cried the princess. “I looked at myself in the mirror just yesterday, and the result, while not perfect, was overall quite acceptable." “Please. You’re the homeliest thing I’ve ever seen.” From his dastardly bag of tricks, the bogsnart drew a mirror that was cracked and de-silvered, spidered with flaws, and smeared with bog offal. When he held it up to the princess’s face, she saw herself smirched and malformed. “You’re right,” she said sadly. “I’m terribly ugly. How could I have thought otherwise?” “I suppose I could tolerate your shortcomings,” hissed the bogsnart, “if you give me your treasures. Your golden voice, your ruby lips, the diamond sparkles in your eyes.”The princess fell into a deep sleep, and in her feverish dreams she danced with a handsome prince. When she awoke, she was alone, and the fever had left her. Looking down from the castle window, she saw the bogsnart scuttling off into the woods. He’d taken her treasures and left the distorting mirror under her bed. Late at night, she would sadly gaze at her smirched and spidered reflection and be reminded how poor and ugly she was. The princess cried, and she couldn’t stop crying. Fortunately, the levelheaded queen knew immediately what she was dealing with. “Bogsnart. Up to the usual tricks,” she correctly surmised, pushing the broken mirror aside. “Look into my eyes, Daughter. What do you see?” “I see…me,” said the astonished princess. “All my treasures – they’re still here.” “Because the treasure is you, my girl, and you are still as you as you ever were. The most perfect you there is. The best and only you that God ever made.” Without making the princess feel young or dumb or judged, the wise queen applied love and chocolate and pharmaceuticals and held the princess’s hand through dark forests and long cab rides until the princess recovered her natural vivacity. Never again was the princess fooled by a bogsnart, and when she saw that particular bogsnart on the street one afternoon, his warty nose pushed against a shop window, she saw how small and toddy he was, and she actually felt a bit sorry for him. Not sorry enough to resist flipping him the finger. But a little sorry. She continued down the street and lived happily (which is of course a relative term, but usually applicable) ever after. So remember, all my glittery princesses, we must never allow a bogsnart (or a prince, in fact) to tell us who we are, no matter how handsome his disguise, no matter how needy our own hearts. Our best and truest reflection is found in the eyes of those who love us. Now, good night. Sleep tight. Don’t let the bogsnarts bite.