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Unknown / Anon.

The Twelve Young Men

It is the storms of March that prepare us for the flowers of April and May. The Italians would be so naive. Regardless, the Italians, they know their fairy tales; this from an out-of-print collection, which only means that ultimately they will all need to be read, for the sake of the verisimilitude of indelibility. Just you remember who has it in print! Remember, and be thankful for March.

The introduction to this book elucidates the differences between Italian fairy tales and those from the rest of the world. Most interestingly, it offers the following:

The story-teller is also quite likely to end up by saying “Now you must tell me your story, for mine is told.” Takers welcome. Happy March; keep an eye out for flowers.

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Maugham, William Somerset

In a Strange Land

It’s so wet here and even upon peeling off my socks I can barely make out where the water ends and the feet begin. And then my olfactories open as the dog greets me with lick-to-nose and it’s the same thing: where does the wet-dog smell stop and the dog herself start? I dare not eat under these conditions, which remind me of Maugham. And this story. And hot water bottles. What a perfect night for a hot water bottle.

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Gissing, George

The Little Woman From Lancashire

In my ongoing efforts to impress upon you my unparalleled prowess at podCASTrophilia, I’ve spent the evening downloading all these applications that allow one to do things like “Normalise” and “Reduce Peak” and “Remove Hiss” and “Shift Frequency,” all of which I, with my many skills, understand perfectly well and can do with ease, while sipping tea with one hand and scratching my head in the other. Not that I suffer from lice or confusion or anything else that might make me want to scratch my head. Sometimes it just feels good, is all.

So I downloaded all these applications, and normalised and reduced peak and removed hiss, but didn’t shift frequency by much because the the pitch was just right (do I SOUND like I know what I’m talking about?), and it sounded really lovely and clean and you could -barely- hear the bus go by, but then went to save and realised it was all just a save-disabled demo dream. Elas. Another time perhaps; no sense delaying bedtime or a story for it. Sweet dreams.

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Lagerkvist, Per

Saviour John

Nothing says Eve of The Second Coming of Christ like a longish existential short story by a forgotten Swedish Nobel winner (repeat: not nepotism) about a delusional old urchin who lives and preaches as the saviour of man.

I don’t know where you can find this in print– Jesus knows, I’ll bet. I have it in a tattered dimestore paperback anthology called The Existential Mind, Documents and Fictions, which has no ISBN so far as I can see, though the fact of its existence as a dimestore paperback fills makes me long to have lived yesterday. No matter, I’m sure you can find it somewhere if you want. Or just listen, allthewhile Praising the Lord for PodCASTs.

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Essop, Ahmed

The Betrayal

Is it a revelatory outpour of inner monologue detailing one man’s confusion on racial, political, and sociological identity, leading to violence and resignation? Or could it be just another day at the office? We should all listen, briefly, then settle up and cose together for a nice long nap.

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Chopin, Kate

The Story of an Hour

It was only a matter of time before we get here, deep unsettling irony, psychosexual abandonment, romantic antipathy and just a soupcon of background traffic. A passing bus, a ghetto lowrider, a few dollups of plaster falling from the ceiling, and if you listen very intently, introspection. Nice and short, this, so much so that I’m tempted to carry on writing this podCASTpost while you listen, so that your eyes might finish reading while your ears are done listening, so that I can spoil the ending here without regret. But I wouldn’t do that. Not to you.

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Boccaccio, Giovanni

The Story of Federigo’s Falcon (Fifth Day, Ninth Tale)

Much as I would love to read the entire Decameron, and one day maybe I will (when the sound quality is improved to the point where I no longer sound like a podcastrati… and yes I am working on it!), for now, here’s enough of an excerpt to give you pleasantest of dreams of romance in the time of plague. Besides, it doesn’t get much more hypercritically metatextual, reading a bedtime story that is a bedtime story being read.

Until the day comes when I’m able to read the entire book, when you and I are all up all night tossing with the need for more words (and what a day that’ll be), you can read The Decameron yourselves if you want to pay for it.

Now, please go to bed. You need your rest. Sweet dreams. Don’t eat fowl.

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Bowles, Paul

By The Water

If I were a more professional podCASTresse, I might have added a subliminal background track to this story, and if that were to have happened, you might have finished listening to tonight’s bedtime story thinking one thought: Paul Bowles Can Be Touching and Humanistic. But, I’m not a professional (at podCASTressing), so maybe if, while you’re listening, you think this over and over, you’ll get that from it. Or maybe the story alone will prove it.

This and about a thousand others can be found in The Collected Stories of Paul Bowles.

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Murdoch, Iris

Something Special

It’s true, it is, that Miette has bought something special to aid in her PodCASTing, though in the true ghetto style she so cherishes, she (or rather, I, Miette), didn’t do much to prevent the background sounds of discs spinning up, or dogs turning to dervish, or other random technospatter. Still, a special night deserves a special reading, and what could be more special than the only piece of short fiction we have from the haunting Ms. Murdoch, a piece which, as many have pointed out, could well be a lost chapter from Dubliners?

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Lawrence, D.H.

Second Best

It’s a lovely springtime afternoon, and you should be outdoors, at the park lazing about, not cramped inside looking for the cheap thrill of an afternoon bedtime story. Go on, go to the park now, and come back and listen later.

But I can only hope you’ve taken my advice, and I’ll assume that it’s later. So here’s a little Lawrence, replete with lovely Lawrencian descriptions of lovely springtime Yorkshire afternoons (as well as customary twisted-knife metaphors on sexual awakening and violence and death and romantic demystification). Excuse the post-nasal drippery; how’s that for commitment?

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