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PodCastle 692: When the White Bird Sings

Show Notes

Rated R


When the White Bird Sings

by KT Bryski

Bones show best in cold weather.

Sharp lines cut under skin; bare branches crack against the sky; snow drives on snow. In a land wiped clean, only the essential remains.

The village freezes, and hungers. (Continue Reading…)

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PodCastle 691: The Healer of Branford

Show Notes

Rated PG-13


The Healer of Branford

by C. A. Barrett

After twenty years, Maud decided that it was safe to return to her hometown. She had never personally known a cat to live to the age of twenty, and even if someone had taken one inside and cosseted it into old age it would be too feeble to recognize her now. So Maud tied a scarf over her aching face and found a straight walking-stick. She went up to Branford by the old cobbled road. Her path rose alongside ample hills of heath spangled with flowers, bright purple and yellow reminders of the magic flowing underneath the soil. She saw a distant flock of birds wheeling in the air, and felt just as light. Branford, City of Magic-on-the-Moor, would be home again. Branford would take away her pain.

She was almost at the city gate when a small orange tabby-cat sprang up from his napping. He leaped to the top of a hitching-post and stared at her, blinked twice, then cried out “Maud Coffand! Maud Coffand, the cats know what you did!” (Continue Reading…)

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PodCastle 690: The Gannet Girl

Show Notes

Rated PG


The Gannet Girl

by Frances Rowat

They said Castermay’s mother had held sea-glass in her mouth when she’d lain with the girl’s father, and that was why Castermay was standoffish and still, tongue weighted by salt and sand, and eyes the colour of the leeside lichen found on the chalk rocks in the saw-bladed grass. Castermay was not warmly welcome in the village longhouse where she lived with the other children who had no brothers or sisters, but her mother’s work was too valuable for her to be turned away.

Her mother lived down on the beach in a small hard house built on a flat rock between high tide and low, the roof of which was a favored perch for gannets. Four times a year, clear sky or storm, she walked into the waves and cut herself to bleed for the sea with a heavy bone knife, and so the sea within a day’s sailing was thick with life. The village sustained itself, and had more to cure with smoke or salt and trade uproad and inland, and losses to the sea were lighter than they might otherwise have been.

Castermay worked like any other child of an age to do so; she pulled in her own weight and more on the days she worked the nets, and her fingers were sure and her knots were firm, if ungainly. When she did not work, she walked the strip of rough beach between high tide and low with her mother, or spoke with the gannets that rested on the roof. (Continue Reading…)

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PodCastle 689: Gitl Schneiderman Learns to Live With Her In-Laws

Show Notes

Rated PG-13


Gitl Schneiderman Learns to Live With Her In-Laws

by Rebecca Fraimow

Shprintze, you nudnik,

Before you ask again, I’ve gotten all your letters scolding me for not writing—and Esther and Sarah’s too. Well, I’m sorry about it, but with one thing and another, my cousin’s kid crying all the time on the one side of me and Gitl crying all the time on the other, I haven’t had two wits to rub together, let alone two words to put onto a page for you. Anyway, what’s the point of going on a visit only to spend all your time talking to the same people you’d talk to at home? But everything’s calm to the point of boredom now, so I can spare a little time to catch you up, and then you can share this letter around and catch up everybody else. (Continue Reading…)