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Thursday, September 12, 2013

"The Lady and the Merman" by Jane Yolen from Dragonfield: and Other Stories

Since it first appearance in F&SF, September 1976, this has been reprinted in two anthologies edited by Isaac Asimov, Terry Carr, Jack Dann, Gardner Dozois, Martin Greenberg.  

This simple, little tale is doubly and profoundly tragic.  A mariner has a plain child, so he sets sail.  The mother, heart-broken, dies.  The mariner, enraged, refuses to speak of his wife.  His daughter, he refuses to love.

One night the daughter finds a merman, with whom she tries to reach out to the fish of this man.  The obvious, primary tragedy can be considered not to be tragic, the less obvious, perhaps unacknowledged tragedy cuts twice.  Seek this one out.

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