“The Faerie Cony-Catcher” by Delia Sherman from So Fey: Fairy Fiction (Lethe Press, 2009). Edited by Steve Berman.
This is me, on my feet, clapping madly and yelling “Bravo!”
This story is written in the language of Shakespeare’s time. I’ve mentioned here that my family used to attend the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Ontario, Canada, every year. We’d see a matinee and an evening performance every day for three days, then journey on to Toronto, except for one year, when we went to Montreal and Quebec instead.
As much as I enjoy stories like this, I can’t imagine trying to write something original this way.
Nick is an ambitious young man, a journeyman jeweler and goldsmith. Determined to leave the big city behind and make a name for himself in the country, he strikes out on his own, with all his worldly possessions. Very quickly he meets a maid, Peasecod, who he’s quite taken with, and shortly after that finds himself unexpectedly having an audience with the faerie queen. He manages to keep his wits about him, but leaves the court tasked with a test of sorts. If he passes the test, his future happiness is all but assured. If he doesn’t, it will be disaster for him as well as for Peasecod.