This short, fablelike story is one of my few ventures into the fantasy genre, and in some ways is probably my most successful story yet, if we're talking solely about external success and not how successfully I think it was written. It was actually written quite a long time ago, but was submitted in 2005. A little zine called Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet, which I hadn't yet heard of, picked it up and connected me briefly to some pretty cool characters of the contemporary fantasy world, such as Gavin J. Grant and Kelly Link, who run the show there, and Karen Joy Fowler, who may be known best for The Jane Austen Book Club, but also writes great fantasy tales. Kelly Link is also a big name short story writer, with for an acclaimed short story collection called Magic for Beginners.
Anyway, they took the story, and it showed up in their very quirky, very charming and very good zine. I got a lot of mileage out of showing it to my friends, and even got a small amount of cash for it, which, let me tell you, is unusual.
But the fun didn't end there. Some months later, I got a letter saying it had been chosen for a year's best fantasy anthology, edited by Jonathan Strahan and Karen Haber. This was kind of a big deal. Unfortunately, the publisher of the series, Byron Preiss, was killed in a car accident and though his wife tried to keep the company going, it was too much to keep together. At the time, this felt like very bad luck, but of course it was a very small thing in comparison to Preiss's untimely death.
Eventually, Locus Magazine, out of respect for Preiss and feeling badly for the Strahan venture, published the book independently. It came out as Fantasy: the Very Best of 2005 and actually, I like the look of the book a little better than the original format.
And then LCRW brought out their own anthology and it was collected there as well.
Until quite recently, I thought that this story wasn't available online anywhere. But it turns out that the original LCRW #17 was scanned and appears right here. (Though you'll have to scroll up a page to get to the beginning...)