PodCastle 199: A Suitable Present for a Sorcerous Puppet

by Garth Nix

Read by Paul Tevis

Originally published in Swords and Dark Magic: The New Sword and Sorcery

Sir Hereward sighed as he turned another page. His enthusiasm for reading had diminished in the turning of several hundred pages, with its concomitant several hundred finger lickings, for he had found only two entries worth reading: one on how to cheat at a board game that had changed its name but was still widely played in the known world; and another on the multiplicity of uses of the root spice cabizend, some surprising number of which fell into Hereward’s professional area of expertise as an artillerist and maker of incendiaries.

In fact, Hereward was about to give up and bellow to the housekeeper who kept the tower to bring him some ale, when the title of the next commonplace caught his eye. It was called “On the Propitiation of Sorcerous Puppets.”

As Sir Hereward’s constant companion, comrade-in-arms, and one-time nanny was a sorcerous puppet known as Mister Fitz, this was very much of interest to the injured knight. He eagerly read on, and though the piece was short and referred solely to the more usual kind of sorcerous puppet—one made to sing, dance, and entertain—he did learn something new.

Rated PG: Contains some violence.