Category Archives: Short Story Weekend

Short Story Weekend

out3shortstoryFor the Once Upon A Time III challenge.  A story about a poet from Fantasy: The Best of the Year 2007, edited by Rich Horton, Prime Books, 2007.

The Water Poet and The Four Seasons by David J. Schwartz is a short, sweet, lyrical story about traveling through the  seasons, writing poems, and love.  The poet, commissioned to write poems for each season, lives a  full life during a year before passing on the job to another.  It is like the pagan round of the King, with birth, childhood, marriage, children, the mellowing of old age and death happening in a compressed period of time.  There is an acorn, and an oak tree.

Of course, being a water-poet, the poems are all about weather, spring showers, cold drizzle storms and snow.

Summer has a list inside a waterproof sleeve. “Three dozen thunderstorms, eleven with tornadoes.  Sixteen sun showers sonnets.  Hail the size of robin eggs.”

Schwartz has fun with alliteration, never heavy handed, just enough to bring a chuckle.  I enjoyed this story and, not being familiar with the author, will look up, and read his other work.

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Short Story Weekend – Kupti and Imani

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A story from Tatterhood and other Tales edited by Ethel Johnstone Phelps, published by The Feminist Press, 1978.  This story is a tale from the Punjab region of India, was is adapted by Lenora Alleyne Lang and appeared in Andrew Lang’s Olive Fairy Book.  .

Kupti and Imani tells a tale of two very different sisters, the daughters of a great king.  One day the king asks the princesses  if they are satisfied to leave their lives  and fortunes in his hands and he receives two very different answers.

Kupti, surprised at the question, says “In who’s hands would I leave them, if not yours?”   Imani  says  “No, Indeed.  If I had the chance I would make my own fortune.”  The king, displeased with her answer tells Imani that she  is too young to know the meaning of her words.  In his anger he grants her wish.

The king gives Imani  to an old, crippled beggar as a servant and theygo to live in his tumble-down  hut  “which was bare except for an old bedstead, two old cooking pots and an earthen jug for water, and one can not get much comfort out of such things.” Imani develops a plan and, taking the old man’s last penny, she buys some oil and some flax.  With the oil she massages the beggar’s crippled leg, with the flax, on a borrowed wheel and loom, she spins and weaves a fine cloth.  Her care of the beggar heals his leg and her hard work brings them a small fortune in gold.

As the story develops Imani shows industry, wisdom and even develops healing powers.  Unlike most of the women in the folktales I grew up with she is a strong, kind, caring and wise heroine.

I love to read this book  to 1st and 2nd year elementary students.  We always have great discussions afterwards!

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