We open the third week of our Short Story Month Showcase with a beautiful story by Theodora Ziolkowski, titled, “Goose.” This week we’re discussing ideas and stories related to magical realism and this story, with its enchanting fairy tale quality, embraces magical realism in a wonderful way. In this piece about stories and writing, geese make an appearance that cannot be explained by the conventions of our own reality.
by Theodora Ziolkowski
The morning you meet them, you nick the back of your hand with your spade. You freeze, catch your breath.
You are in your garden, on your knees, your skirt caked in soil, when the idea passes through you like shadows in a river. From now on, you will change the way you tell your stories because, from experience, you know that no story is ever the same each time.
You think you feel something soft flit over your hand as you return to your morning’s work, all the colors of your vegetable garden dug up around you. You’ve pulled: cabbages, peas, turnips, squash, carrots, white asparagus, fennel.
Earlier that morning, at the kitchen table, you prepared vials of black vinegar, jars of mint jelly. You poured a dish of milk for the cats, took your four children to the meadow. Watching them chase the geese while you stood in the middle of the field, you again felt something move over you. Like a woman’s long hair, you thought then. Maybe just wind.
As you walk into town, your vegetable baskets growing heavy on your arms, you notice the palace in the distance, rising from the fog. You can smell the coats of the farmer’s horses, hear the small stream that reminds you, somehow, of mirrors, and soon you forget about the cut on your hand.
At the market selling the vegetables from your basket, you meet the first one. You try to smile when he tells you he has heard of you, heard that you tell stories and that all of them are good. You feel your face flush because you are a no-nonsense woman who needs no flattery. As you shake your head, several hairs fall from your bonnet and into your eyes.
After he buys all of the vegetables you carry, he invites you to his brother’s house and you agree to go, of course, you say ja. You are an old woman, after all, and you can tell this man does not take kindly to being turned down.
To read the rest of “Goose” click, here.