PodCastle 367: The Washerwoman and the Troll

by Julian Mortimer Smith

read by M.K. Hobson

Originally appeared in Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, May 2013.

Bunchunkle was magnificently ugly. The trollmothers said there hadn’t been such an ugly child since Grimshik’s day, and Bunchunkle wore it with the pride and mirth befitting a troll. He could pull a face to make you void your bowels and howl with terror. He had a genius for mischief that rivaled even that of old Quillibim, the Arch Rascal of Moldy Stumps. There was much speculation about what would happen if a human ever laid eyes on Bunchunkle, but as far as anyone knew it had never happened, for Bunchunkle was as quick and sly as he was ugly.

When the faefolk decided it was time to drive the old washerwoman from the Blinking Woods, they did not come to Bunchunkle immediately. He was reclusive and cantankerous and did not like to be disturbed. Besides, they were loath to seek him out for fear of laying eyes on his revolting face. But nobody doubted that he would succeed if all else failed. They knew he was there as a last resort.

Rated PG.

Julian Mortimer Smith lives in Southwest Nova Scotia in a small lobstering town called Yarmouth. His short fiction has appeared in Terraform, Daily Science Fiction, and AE: The Canadian Science Fiction Review. He has stories upcoming in Pulp Literature and Asimov’s Science Fiction, and you can find him online at julianmortimersmith.com.

M.K. Hobson is hard at work on a few writing projects, all of which are going more slowly than she’d like. Her latest written offering is The Ladies and the Gentlemen, a novella in the Veneficas Americana series. It’s currently in production by Audible, and is also available in e- and paper book format from Amazon.com.