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Showing posts from July, 2016

Pourquoi Tales: Answers to 'Why?', By Susan Caroff

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Pourquoi tales have been around since humans began to speak.  A popular genre of folk-literature, they are a staple of many classrooms and storytelling events.
There are pourquoi tales to explain almost all elements of the natural world, e.g., why the possum’s tale is bare and how the Grand Canyon was made. Pourquoi tales are sometimes called creationstories or how and why stories.  The how portion lies in the telling of the tale itself.  How did the tiger come to have his beautiful stripes?The porcupine her quills?
Introductionsto pourquoi tales begin, like many narratives, ” A long, long time ago..." and conclude with a statement about why something is the way it is now.
Animals and other creatures can talk and main characters often get their comeuppance

Midsummer Issue Table of Contents

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Welcome to the Midsummer Issue! It's a bit late, but I believe you'll judge it well worth the wait. We've got sunshine, sadness, nature, joy, fairies, magic, and everything else you'd expect from an issue about the summer and fae. Without further ado, the works:

"A Burning Tale," Lissa Sloan

"The Changelings," Aliza Faber

"Dawn Thread," Judy Darley

"A Body at Rest," Alison McBain

"A Rose Like No Other," Shari L Klase

"Phoenix Rising," Adina Newman

"By the Light of the Kumquat Tree," Melissa Yuan-Innes

"The Scattering and the Gathering," Gerri Leen

"The Summer Fairy," Lorraine Schein

"Lucy in the Sky," Elise Forier Edie

Image by John Anster Fitzgerald.

A Burning Tale, By Lissa Sloan

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They say you should not speak my name. They say if you so much as whisper it, I might appear. But on nights like tonight,some folkcannot quite resist. How beastly she is, they say, with her jagged teeth, gobbling up small children who stray off the path. How terrifying is her hut that turns on chicken legs, with its fencemade of thigh bones and burning-eyed skulls. How fearsomeare the three horsemen she commands, the first black as the night, the next white as the dawn, the last red as the sun.
And just between us, say stepmothers to stepsisters, she would be just the thing to rid us of this tiresome bit of baggage, this motherless, worthless servant girl.
They say I am only a story. Too wild, too ancient, too ravenous to be true. But some nights they do still think of me, if by chance their flames go out. For on this shortest night, when my Dark Midnight is at his weakest, all good folk make their fires the brightest. They make them burn high and hot, all the brief night long,…

The Changelings, By Aliza Faber

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There once was a child with golden hair, Who grew up strange and wild and free, In the hands of the fairy queen's tender care, Where reeds play tunes and secrets be. She drank dew straight from petal's lips, And spun and danced in the moon's bright beam, flowers adorned her hair and hips, Though she was troubled by a single dream. On midsummer's day of her sixteenth year, As the fires rose high in bundles of twine, While the fay reveled with zest and cheer, She turned and said; "mother of mine. How can it be my ears are round, My feet a pointed shape do lack, Instead of green, my eyes are browned, And wings don't lie upon my back." The fairy queen then stroked her hair, And told her; "child, let it bother you not, After all I've done it would only be fair, For you to abandon this train of thought. I saved you from the clutches of, A plain and dull and mundane life, If still you do not believe me, love, Tomorrow I'll show you the cause of this strife." True…

Dawn Thread, By Judy Darley

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Her room is full of feathers, dyed crimson, scarlet, burgundy, blood. Each hollow shaft sliced to a needlepoint. She kneels among their flaming shards at the foot of her naked toile, weaves them in place, fastened with filaments. Eyes closed, she sees eighteen shades of red, one to denote each month in this cell. From solstice moon to solstice sun twice over, she’s stitched, hands raw with the snip, shove, sew. Lungs gasping against barbs inhaled; eyes clogged with fragments of quill. The tower walls are ablush with innocent dust. The midsummer day cracks open, and her plumage is complete. On the furthest edge of the sky, she hears her brothers’ thunderous wings.
Judy Darley is a UK-based fiction writer, poet and journalist. Her words have been published by literary magazines and anthologies, and performed on BBC radio, in cafés, in caves, in artist’s studios and in a disused church. She blogs about art and other things at www.SkyLightRain.com.

Image by Kay Nielsen

The Scattering and the Gathering, By Gerri Leen

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From afar, the castle glows
Nearly as brightly
As the bonfires littering the hillsides
You sit, verdant cloak pulled around you
Chilled despite the warmth
Of this midsummer night
"You are so thin, Sister," I say as I sit
The river rushes by and I dangle
Bony feet in the coolness
I am too warm and you are cold
Even if now we are the same size
Skin hanging loose over brittle bones
But in six months we will be fat and happy
And you will roast while I freeze

I left you swollen at the last Winter Solstice
Filled with joy to see you after
Your long absence in the between time
You had been a shadow
Following me, growing along with me
Until the moment we traded
When the sun returned and you were
Left with what I harvested
Grains and fruits and creatures
But also things not so tangible
Dreams and plans and love, born under the fading sun

What did you think of my treasure?
I have never known, and you send it back out
With so little emotion
Six months is plenty of time to disperse
To …

The Summer Fairy, By Lorraine Schein

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The Summer Fairy wears a sea-green bikini under a diaphanous yellow tunic and shiny flit-flops on her feet. Her wings look like bright, intricately patterned Japanese paper lanterns. She has a small fan at the back of her neck that magically whirs to life when it gets very hot. The Summer Fairy’s eyes are the blue of a chlorinated swimming pool in August; her voice sounds like the boom and rushing spatter of a July thunder storm.
The Summer Fairy can sometimes be glimpsed in the floating dark spots you see after staring at the sun too long. Because she is the best swimmer of all the fairies, you might also catch sight of her through the glaze of sunlit water on your face as you break the surface from diving.
The Summer Fairy enchants adults into taking extra vacation days and makes children forget everything they learned in school that year. In the city, she goes to picnics in parks and parties on apartment rooftops where she clings to swizzle sticks and the little paper umbrellas in drinks an…

A Body at Rest, By Alison McBain

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The man was staring at her again. Riva stood at the sink washing dishes and saw him standing in the shade of the trees outside the kitchen window.
“Mum,” she said.
“What now?” asked her mother, chopping vegetables for stew.
“Nothing,” Riva said after a pause. Her mother came up behind her and peered over her shoulder. The man was standing there and staring at Riva, but her mother’s eyes scanned the scene without pausing. After a moment, her mother went back to her chopping.
“Don’t bother me over nothing,” she said.
“Yes, Mum.”
On laundry day at the end of the week, the two of them were outside scrubbing linens with water hauled up from the stream, heated in a pot over the fire and poured into the wash basins. Her mother had gone inside, and Riva was just hanging up the last wet sheet when she lost her grip and the end whipped past her face. Looking beyond it, she saw the man standing not ten feet from her.
She froze, her hands outstretched still to tangle with the unwieldy sheet. He smiled; …