Myths, Legends, and Fairy Tales
Original versions and stories incorporating them,
from all times and parts of the world.
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As Morgan Roswarne moved, shadowy forms flickered in and out of existence around her.
My interview with her parents had not prepared me for this. How powerful must her affinity be, to call these forms out of the aether?
I was engaged to teach her to control her magic. But I didn’t even know how she called these clustering shadows to her. How would I teach her to keep them at bay?
A woman tended her home and garden, and followed the common customs of the time in the common way, yet she found herself gazing more and more at the uncommon walls of thick old stone surrounding the land of the old woman right beside her. Surely, they held something marvelous, but she didn’t dare approach the small, formidable figure swathed in black which sometimes in the early morning came out of the woods, tended to mysterious business within those walls, and then with the setting sun walked back into the woods.
Well. When she was back in those woods, how was she to know who was peering over her wall?
But deep in those wild woods, in a wide glen encircled by a fence of woven branches hung with feathers, bones, knotted roots, and stones, in the center of the glen, in her dwelling, the eaves and windows hung with things swaying and clacking as with a breeze… the old woman knew.
Hima barely noticed the dwarf.
She saw him now and then at dinner, crouched by Mother’s chair. He looked at no one and no one looked at him.
He was a fixture, like old furniture.
Had there been more than one dwarf, once? At first she wasn’t interested enough to ask.
Later she was too frightened.
April 23, 2018, Myths, Legends, and Fairy Tales: “The Witching Hour” by Ekpeki Oghenechovwe Donald
I stood balanced at the top of the oldest palm tree, the one that grew at the south end of the village. I was in my element — pitch black night. This was my dawn. The murmurs of glowing spirits mixed with the chitter of living insects.
The hoot of an owl reminded me there was work to be done, battles to be fought — silent, undeclared, but raging all the same. And old Mama Ishaka was on the other side of them. With a sigh, I leapt from the tree, fell free, and caught one of the power lines that led to a human spirit. The link was strong. The call of this spirit sang the music of its soul to me. It called me back home.
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The old witch climbed into bed, drew her quilt to her chin, and spoke. The hut settled on its haunches, listening.
“I know in my bones my end is near. You have served me well, with more care than I would ever have imagined. But you are a magicked thing. You need a witch’s power to remain alive. I’ve used the last of mine to grant you three days to find a new witch.”
Then softly she mumbled some last advice.
“We are within the hill and beyond the stream that stains like blood,” she said. “I will tell you now one true thing: when you bargain with those who live within the hollow hill, you give us things which it amuses us to take, and we give back things which it amuses us to give.”
In the darkness overhead, Ilianthe saw a point of light flash into being.
Flash and hold steady.
Another way station in the void.
Another star, created of angel light and dragon fire.
Their victory allowed them to create stars, to reshape the Cosmos Hundreds more would be scattered through the darkness of the heavens, and the Holdings would no longer hang cold in the lightless emptiness. Yet victory had not brought peace.
They call me Black Annis, the village folk do. I walk the woods alone, my voice gone dry as old leaves, and I’ve not forgotten how to make me a glamour when I need one, with claws of iron and hair like duckweed.
But what does that do against a bargeust from the lands to the north, fangs like blades, breath a bellows blast, eyes of flame?
At first, I thought I had been sent for her. She was so very small, barely a breath in her tiny body. But no, it was her mother, eyes fixed on me, on the tipping point between life and death. And her mother said, “Will you look after her?”
digital painting “I Waited”, by Kim Myatt
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The small sward of earth and patchwork hut where the crippled tailor and his demon bride once lived was shunned for its evil, or so the villagers would claim; but whether it was for the evil that once dwelt there or the evil that was inflicted upon it none would say.
June 14, 2016, Myths, Legends, and Fairy Tales: “The Wild Hunt of Sliabh Mannan“, by Philip Brian Hall
When a Goddess asks you to stop a God…
March 5, Myths, Legends, & Fairy Tales: “Out of Brambles“, by Leenna Naidoo
A short, spooky Halloween story to make you smile.