Archive for Podcasts

PodCastle Miniature 014: The Fable of the Octopus

Show Notes

Rated G. Contains philosophical meanderings.


The Fable of the Octopus

by Peter S. Beagle

Once, deep down under the sea, down with the starfish and the sting rays and the conger eels, there lived an octopus who wanted to see God.

Octopi are among the most intelligent creatures in the sea, and shyly thoughtful as well, and this particular octopus spent a great deal of time in profound pondering and wondering. Often, curled on the deck of the sunken ship where he laired, he would allow perfectly edible prey to swim or scuttle by, while he silently questioned the here and the now, the if and the then, and — most especially — the may and the mightwhy.  Even among his family and friends, such rumination was considered somewhat excessive, but it was his way, and it suited him. He planned eventually to write a book of some sort, employing his own ink for the purpose.  It was to be called Concerns of a Cephalopod, or possibly Mollusc Meditations.

PC027: Red Riding-Hood’s Child


Red Riding-Hood’s Child

by N.K. Jemisin

Once upon a time in a tiny woodland village there lived an orphan boy. As his mother had been less than proper in her ways — she died unwed, known well to several men — the villagers were not kindly-disposed toward the tiny burden she left behind. They were not heartless, however. They reared young Anrin with as much tenderness as a child of low breeding could expect, and they taught him the value of honest labor so that he might repay their kindness before his mother’s ways took root.

By the cusp of manhood — that age when worthier lads began to consider a trade and marriage — Anrin had become a youth of fortitude and peculiar innocence. The villagers kept him at arms’ length from their homes and their hearts, so he chose instead to dwell within an eccentric world of his own making. The horses and pigs snorted greetings when he came to feed them, and he offered solemn, courtly bows in response. When the villagers sent him unarmed into the forest to fetch wood, he went eagerly. Alone amid the dappled shadows he felt less lonely than usual, and the trees’ whispers were never cruel.

Indeed, Anrin’s fascination with the forest was a source of great anxiety to the old woodcutter’s widow who boarded him at nights. She warned him of the dangers: poison mushrooms and hidden pitfalls and choking, stinging ivies. And wolves, of course; always the wolves. “Stay on the path, and stay close to the village,” she cautioned. “The smell of men keeps predators away… most of the time.”

PodCastle Miniature 013: The Fable of the Ostrich

Show Notes

Rated G. Hakuna matata.  (Except for ostriches.)


The Fable of the Ostrich

by Peter S. Beagle

Once upon a time, in a remote corner of Africa, there was a young ostrich who refused to put his head in the sand at the slightest sign of danger.  He strolled around unafraid, even when lions were near, cheerfully mocking his parents, his relations, and all his friends, every one of whom believed absolutely that their only safety lay in blind immobility.  “It makes you invisible, foolish boy!” his father was forever shouting at him in vain.  “You can’t see the lion — the lion can’t see you!  What part of Q.E.D. don’t you understand?”

PC026: Black Ribbon

Show Notes

Rated R. Contains poison and prostitutes. May not be suitable for the young or immature.

Intro Links:

Chasing the Bard by Phillipa Ballentine
Heather Welliver’s band The Shillas

Please visit the thread on this story in our forums.


Black Ribbon

by Dawn Albright

The woman measured three drops of poison into the milk and then poured the milk into the first baby’s bottle. She picked up the first baby, the twin wearing the black ribbon.

“Hush, sweetheart, hush,” she said, as she fed the baby girl the poisoned milk. The baby made a face at first, like she wanted to spit the cloth nipple out, but then she tasted the milk and drank everything in the bowl.

The woman gave the baby one of the last kisses she would ever feel and then she picked up the sister, the baby wearing the red ribbon, and fed her pure milk. The nurse wore no gloves, but in a few weeks she couldn’t touch the black-ribboned baby without protection.