Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Short Story Online: Swans by Kelly Link

A Wolf at the Door and Other Retold Fairy Tales (13 stories)

Fantasy Magazine Online reprinted the short story, Swans by Kelly Link, last month. The story originally appeared in A Wolf at the Door and Other Retold Fairy Tales edited by Ellen Datlow & Terry Windling. It is a Wild Swans/Six Swans retelling.

Here are the first few paragraphs to spark your interest but you'll have to visit the site to read the rest:

My name is Emma Bear, and I am eleven years old. I live on Black Ankle Road beside the Licking River. I live in a palace. My father is a king. I have a fairy godfather. This summer I read The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle and learned how to make blue dye from a flower called woad. I have six brothers. My mother is dead. I’m in the seventh grade. My father remarried this summer. My favorite class is home ec. I love to sew. I make all my own clothes. My mother taught me how to sew. I can also knit, crochet, and quilt.

Yesterday my stepmother pointed her pinkie finger at my brothers and turned them all into swans. They were being too noisy. I’m never too noisy. I don’t talk at all.

This year I was failing choir. I opened my mouth to sing, and nothing came out. I hadn’t been able to say a word since my mother died. In my other classes, it was okay. Homework was okay. Math was okay, and English. Art was okay. I could write down answers on the black board. I carried around a pad of paper and a pen. You’d be surprised how often you don’t actually have to say anything. Mostly if I just nodded, it was okay. But choir doesn’t work that way. You can’t sing by writing on a pad of paper. But nothing came out of my mouth when I opened it.

And if you enjoyed the story, you might also enjoy some of Link's other works, including Stranger Things Happen: Stories and Magic for Beginners and Pretty Monsters: Stories.

Stranger Things Happen: Stories Magic for BeginnersPretty Monsters: Stories


  1. Link is wonderful. Everyone should be reading her.

  2. I would like to leave some nice comments here about that short story but they would be full of spoilers. Just go and read it, everyone! It's so hilarious!