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Old 01-10-2022, 01:17 AM   #1
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Blackwood, Algernon: The Wolves of God and Other Fey Stories. v1. 10 Jan 2022

Strange stories of retribution and mystical intervention, of horror and hope, of the magic and mystery of life.

Many of these tales are wilderness stories, but also featured are some fine supernatural romances. Many of the unwary protagonists are soldiers, shell-shocked or otherwise wounded, returning from World War One to a changed world with which they must somehow re-engage.


Brief summaries of the stories:
Spoiler:
The Wolves of God
Around Garden Lake there was a tribe of Redskins, of unusual type. Malefactors among them — thieves, criminals, murderers — were not punished. They were merely turned out by the Tribe to die. But how? The Wolves of God took care of them. What were the Wolves of God? A pack of wolves held in awe, a sacred pack, a spirit pack … A pack of wolves that punished malefactors, killing but never eating them. “Torn but not eaten … white men as well as red. They could even cross the sea….”

Chinese Magic
Dr. Owen Francis, who is haunted by the memory of an exquisitely beautiful woman, pays a visit to a friend recently returned from China. The friend has immersed himself in Chinese culture, including its magic…

Running Wolf
A man on a solitary fishing holiday is haunted by the presence of a large timber wolf who lurks and prowls around the vicinity of his camp. After realising that this animal means him no harm and in fact has strange human-like mannerisms, he follows it deep into the forest…

First Hate
“Even after being domesticated for generations, animals recognize their natural enemy at once by instinct, an enemy they can never even have seen before. It’s infallible. They know instantly.” Ericssen responds “Undoubtedly, and so do we. There’s first love. There’s first hate, too.” He then proceeds to tell the tale of his encounter with a rival for a woman’s love.

The Tarn of Sacrifice
An ex-soldier, back from the Front, is intent on a walking tour of the Lake District. He all too willingly falls in with a windswept young woman and her father, disturbed by their own past, who welcome him in to their obsessive world of ritual.

The Valley of the Beasts
Grimwood, a cruel and brutal hunter, is tracking moose in the Canadian wilderness aided by his native guide. He shows contempt for his guide, and is left alone after an altercation. Pursuing his quarry into The Valley of the Beasts, he encounters the full majesty of the forest: the beasts surround him in a terrifying organic force which reveals to him his powerlessness in the face of nature.

The Call
Dick Headley is at a house party where the match-making hostess has plans for the lovely Iris and his friend Arthur Deane (who still mourns his lost Mary, and vows to never marry another). Headley begins to experience strange dreams and visions.

Egyptian Sorcery
Thought transference becomes the means to pull a man’s beloved sister through a life-saving operation that might otherwise have killed her. Some intriguing gender bending ensues.

The Decoy
John Burley inherits an ugly mansion in the Kentish Weald, locally notorious on account of the suicides of its three previous owners. To put an end to the superstitious mutterings, Burley announces that he will spend a night there alone before he lets it. “Only cowards or lunatics kill themselves” he assures his young wife, Nancy. “I’m neither one nor t’other…”

The Man Who Found Out
A seeker of mystical wisdom uncovers tablets which will answer all his biggest questions. But he may have been better off if they had been left unanswered. The world may have been better off. Certainly, the life of his assistant would have.

The Empty Sleeve
A musician’s desire for the Guarnerius violin, owned by the collectors John and William Gilmer, leads to diabolical pacts when he declares he would give his soul to own it.

Wireless Confusion
A painter suddenly begins to have strange effects in his vision, seeing objects suddenly appear hugely magnified or extremely diminished in size, and scenes that appear utterly foreign to him.

Confession
A Canadian soldier, suffering agoraphobia, has to face the fog of London for the first time, en route to Brighton. Losing his way, he is also on the point of losing control, when a strange woman — only half-conscious of him — draws him into following her. What follows is the kind of blind circuitous route no one would wish to take.

The Lane That Ran East and West
A woman living in a cottage beside a long country road spends her life watching various arrivals and departures come and go. One day she meets a mysterious passer-by who stops to hand her the gift of a fern leaf to use as a payment she will one day pay to herself. What comes to pass many years later, in a time and place she could never have predicted, reminds her tellingly of this day.

“Vengeance Is Mine”
A former clergyman finds himself thrust into a horrifying situation when the soul of a terribly wronged young woman demands the sacrifice of an enemy POW.

============
One of the foremost British writers of supernatural tales in the twentieth century, Algernon Blackwood (1869–1951) wrote stories in which the slow accumulation of telling details produced a foreboding atmosphere of almost unendurable tension. Though he wrote a number of horror stories, his most typical work seeks less to frighten than to induce a sense of awe. The literary critic S. T. Joshi stated, “His work is more consistently meritorious than any weird writer’s except Dunsany’s.”

Blackwood’s literary renown began in 1908 with the publication of a highly successful collection of stories, John Silence — Physician Extraordinary, featuring a “psychic doctor.” His two best known stories are probably “The Willows” and “The Wendigo”.

============
The Wolves of God and Other Fey Stories, by Algernon Blackwood (1869–1951), was first published in 1921. This ebook is in the public domain where copyright is “Life+70” or less, and in the USA.
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