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Kirke Tale

Men are swine.

They bang on my door and at the point of a sword demand the sacred trust of hospitality. They trespass in my home, greedily devour my food and spill my honeyed wine, covet my silver kantharoi and my golden jewelry, and with leering eye consider how I might best be violated.

As they are beasts already, it really is but a little matter—and with a tap of a wand I remove that which occults their true nature, as simply as cleaning a pane of glass. On to four feet they fall, now pigs and dogs, wolves and gluttons, rooting and sniffing and pissing on themselves. Out into the wild I banish them, to wander lost among the oaks of my island.

The red-haired traveler came to my door, then. He was not handsome, no, nor young, but in his eyes I saw a descended spark of divinity, golden as Hermes—this one more a fox than a pig, perhaps. Still, I gave him the witched drink, mingling dire herbs into honey-wine and clear water, all the while his canny smiling eyes following me. He took it from me with thanks, and drank gratefully.

As with the others I tapped him then with the alder-rod; but nothing happened! Nothing! He sat there smiling at my surprise, though not without sympathy, and told me how he had countered my spell, some made-up thing about a magic herb given him by Hermes himself. But I knew how it had happened, really, because unlike all the other men, this one did not hide his true human self.

I let him talk himself into my bed that night and many nights thereafter. He was strong and kind and in need of healing from his hard journey. I listened to his tales, and gave him what he needed, food and drink and rest and advice, and I let him believe he wiled them all from me, for I am not unkind. He even got his men back!

We lived in joy then. But in time the laughter in his eyes gave way to sadness, and I sent him back home to his Penelope, though I feared for him, knowing the dark journey before him.

When he returned to me after what seemed such a short season, he was frail and white-haired, bereaved from his beloved family. I tried to bewitch his pain away, and though I am truly skilled in the magic arts I know I never could put anything over on him. But in his kindness he let me believe he was comforted. Too soon I buried him, and sang my own songs of loss over his grave.

Tales

Aida-Wedo
Amaterasu
Aphrodite
Ariadne
Arianrhod
Athene
Blodeuwedd
Bride
Cerridwen
Ch'ang O
Coyolxauhqui
Freyja
Ishtar
Kali
Kirke
Kore
Laverna
Lilith
Medusa
Pomona
Rhiannon
Sibyl