Pigsong is the third in a series of short stories, collectively titled Storytellers, by Frank Delaney, who also brought us The Last Storyteller. There will be a new one each month for the year 2012.
It starts with a short lead-in, Author’s Notes, that explains the idea behind the story, delving into the concept of using fables as instruction, and the shared myths of diverse cultures the world over. I never knew India had a flood myth that predated (and is closely paralleled by) the story of Noah’s ark.
The story is told in a style that echoes Aesop’s Fables, using anthropomorphic animals to relate a truth, and focused around the central character, the seanchai, an itinerant storyteller who was traditionally welcomed into someone’s home for the night, and given food and a warm bed in exchange for entertaining the family (and as many neighbors as the host’s home could accommodate) to set the stage.
Mr. Delaney is a gifted writer who works magic with his prose, in the style of the old Irish myths:
Once upon a time and long ago, when snow tasted like cream, and timber tasted like sweet cake, and every tenth egg laid by a duck had a diamond in it, there lived up in the North of Ireland a very bad man.
It’s a quick read, and left me with new respect for pigs. I could hear the old storyteller in my head, and practically smell the fire burning as he told his tale.
The series is available as ebooks through Amazon.