The second Bushy Tales anthology from Fox Spirit Books has gone live! Well, partially – hard copies are available, with the ebook to follow soon. In any case, the ppb editions can be bought from Amazon here, and I’ll update once the ebook is available.
I’m quite proud of this one. I’m proud of all my stories, but this is the first one to open a collection so I’m reserving a special place for it. It’s short, but intentionally so, and I’ve tried to cram as much as I can into the small space it occupies. And while I’d normally leave it to speak for itself, I thought it would be nice to talk about at least the influences that went into it.
I love Scottish folk tales. I didn’t hear many when I was little, my family weren’t big on the traditions of storytelling, but I made up for lost time the instant I got my library card.
The term “folk tales” covers a lot of ground: everything from a young lord running away and winning the heart of a giantess to the faery flag of Dunvegan: clan McLeod’s greatest gift, and eventual doom. And yet there are always common elements:
Shape-shifters are Jung’s Shadow, a mirror held up to reflect the worst – and best – in our natures. See the kelpie, or water-horse: a creature of brutal desire and violent avarice. Or the selkie, her true skin hidden above the mantel, the call of her blood and home forever drawing her seaward.
The faeries, though, are truly the Other. Ancient and mercurial, what little benevolence they are willing to grant (be it spinning yarn, like Whippety Stourie, or simply cleaning the house, like Ainsel) is often mercenary in nature and swiftly withdrawn at the slightest offence. They hold power beyonds limits, and the draw of it seals many a fate.
When it came to writing a story for the Fox & Fae, I couldn’t resist putting the two together. Like I said, it’s a short tale, but I tried to stick to the spirit of the stories I remember: short, and vibrant, full of imagination and more than a little magic. I hope you enjoy it!