A Visit with Morgan le Fay
Come around this way, she said, around those bales. I’m sorry. I don’t usually use the front door. Her parlor was dark, the windows choked with wisteria vine. She sat in the bone chair, a small woman in a lace dress, and oh my dear she said it’s long so long since I was the White Queen looking out over the wall. And long it is since I rode to hounds and the fairy horns rang in the green green wood, so light you would have thought them the calling of owls. I went to the wedding, of course I did, and made love to a sloe-eyed knight behind the arras. I was disguised, but he knew me. His flesh sang under my hand. No, she said smiling, she wouldn’t tell his name, and what did it matter, for he was cold clay, the whinnies had picked him to the bone. How well she remembered their screeking when she was milking sows of a St. John’s Eve. She said she’d be happy to stay in retirement until the end of the world.
Well, she said, it was women’s work, perpetual and hard. I skimmed the grave-dew every morning, even in winter, when it was ice. My feet still bloody from dancing and smeared with fat against the cold. Then I’d go knot the horses’ tails. I was always tired.
Sofia Samatar is the author of the novel A Stranger in Olondria, the Hugo-nominated short story “Selkie Stories Are for Losers,” and other works. She is the winner of the John W. Campbell Award, the Crawford Award, and the British Fantasy Award for Best Novel. Sofia is a co-editor for Interfictions: A Journal of Interstitial Arts, and teaches literature and writing at California State University Channel Islands.