Once, on a day when winter rain fell from the sky and the air pierced the skin with a bone-seeping chill, an old ragged woman sat on a log alongside a crossroads in the middle of a forest. She was haggard and shivering, the patches in her ancient woolen cloak soaking her through, and just when she didn’t think she’d be able to bear it any longer, a girl in a red-hooded cloak came traipsing up to her. ‘Grandmother, you are so very cold,’ she said. ‘Won’t you come with me to my mother’s house and warm yourself?’ ‘Ah, child, I would that I could, but I have made a promise to keep the rain company as long as it falls, for once when I was young, I made a vow that I would do so.’ The old woman’s voice rasped and the use of it set her throat to coughing. The girl cocked her head, and then turned and ran away along down the path. But not more than half an hour passed before she returned, a steaming bowl of stew in her hands. ‘Eat this, gr
Showing posts from January, 2021
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It was the day the bluebells rang that the world fell silent. Sounds rang all about, harsh and unruly, and filled with infinite sadness, the sound of a world ending. The end of a world collapsing. Other bells tolled, dim and dark. There was running, even crying out, and then laying down, as if to sleep. The trees, they too, tolled and lolled and let their branches shrink toward the ground. And the flowers all shook their heads and withered. Then the bluebells rang, and the world fell silent. It went dark. And then it dawned. For that is what worlds do.
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Once upon a time there was a golden apple purported to have a wealth of magical properties. The apple itself was situated inside a locked vault surrounded by a guarded castle by order of the king of the realm. He had had the apple for some time, since just after the death of his wife, whose life would have been saved had the apple been found soon enough. But those who were sent in pursuit of what was, at the time, little more than a fable, came back too late to save the queen. After the queen’s death, and, more to the point, because of it, the king locked up the apple so that no other person could have access to its powers, claiming that this was the will of God. And so, a good many people who would otherwise have been saved, were lost. Now, it so happened that several years after the queen’s death a thief was passing through this particular king’s realm, and in the midst of her time in inns and lodging houses, she heard tell of the fabled apple set behind l