“Eleanor Rigby, you are hereby charged with four counts of murder, by way of poisoning, of your father and step-family and one fact of attempted murder in front of three dozen witnesses. That being the attempted murder of the crown prince. How do you plead?”
Eleanor stood from the bench where she had been quietly singing to herself. “Guilty of course,” she said with a laugh.
The judge’s gavel sounded like a clap of thunder as it struck his bench. “So be it. Your sentencing will be in one week. You have until that time to ready your case.”
Eleanor kept singing to herself as she was led from the courtroom. Her song seemed to echo in the silent room long after she was gone.
If you should die, dilly dilly, as it may hap,
You shall be buried, dilly dilly, under the tap
One week passed, and Eleanor was sent to live out the remainder of her life in Bethlem Psychiatric Hospital. No one disagreed with the verdict of insanity. She had a tendency to answer questions that nobody had asked or laugh at something that no one said – it was all in her head. The constant singing didn’t help either. It was always the same children’s song, over and over.
Lavender’s blue, dilly dilly, lavender’s green,
When I am king, dilly dilly, you shall be queen
There was also evidence of abuse around Eleanor’s house and person. It suggested that her step-mother and step-sisters would regularly lock her in her room, over work her, and not feed her enough. There were also bruises on her back and shoulders, as if she had been beaten with a broom. The official theory, based on this evidence and that found at Eleanor’s house, was that she was abused by her step family and, when she asked to go to the ball that the queen and king threw for their son, the step-mother and step-sisters began taunting Eleanor and ripping up the dress she made for the ball.
Eleanor fled to the kitchen, but the other women followed her. She pulled a knife from where she had hidden it in the cinders and killed her family. She then stole the younger step-sister’s gown and went to the ball. How she got into the palace was a mystery (the inquest was still underway) but she made it all the way to the ballroom where she proceeded to attempt to stab the prince with the knife she still had while singing the same children’s song.
Lavender’s green, dilly, dilly, Lavender’s blue
You must love me, dilly, dilly, cause I love you,
Occasionally doctors would go to Eleanor with their evidence and theories, to see if they could get a reaction or pull her from her psychosis. Every attempt ended with Eleanor curled up on her bed, gently shaking, and softly singing to herself.
Who told you so, dilly dilly, who told you so?
‘Twas mine own heart, dilly dilly, that told me so.
Author’s Note: This story is loosely based on the story of Cinderella. Here Cinderella goes crazy from the treatment that she gets from her step family and kills them. She also tries to kill the prince because he was all her family talked about for weeks because of the ball. I changed her name to Eleanor because I always thought that Cinderella couldn’t be her real name, and it ended up as Eleanor Rigby because that’s what I was listening to as I wrote this. The song that is repeated here is an English nursery rhyme that dates from the 17th century and was also featured in the 2015 Disney live action Cinderella.
Bibliography: “The Cinder-Maid.” Europa’s Fairy Book, collected by Joseph Jacobs. Web source.
Image source: Eeorme