marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,

The Charwoman's Shadow

The Charwoman's Shadow by Lord Dunsany

A classic of the fantasy genre.

A lord of Spain summons his son Ramon and explains that while gold is indeed dross, it is nevertheless useful, especially since his daughter, Ramon's sister, Mirandola needs to be married and so have a dowry.  Since they can not have Ramon work at a trade, he sends him off instead to learn from a magician how to make gold. (Fortunately, Ramon's grandfather had explained to a magician some of how to hunt boars, and he was grateful for it.)

There, Ramon finds the magician's charwoman casts no shadow. She earnestly warns him about giving up his own.

The tale winds on in Dunsany's enchanted lyrical prose. Involves a neighboring lord who raises pigs, lying about coming from the forest, the dangers of giving up your shadow, the best love potion I have seen in fiction, and somewhat more. Though the magic that lies in what he uses. . . .
Tags: fiction reviews: historical fantasy

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