This week’s Story Time is “The Trickster’s Wife,” originally published in Realms of Fantasy Magazine back in 2001 and later included in The Ogre’s Wife: Fairy Tales for Grownups, my first ever story collection and finalist for the World Fantasy Award. In a way this piece is a meditation on the nature and limits of fate. Mostly, however, it is a simple revenge story, using inevitable fate as the weapon.
Almost everyone knows the Norse myth of Sigyn, Loki’s wife. For his many crimes Loki is bound to a rock in a cave where a venomous serpent drips poison on him, causing him to writhe in agony. His faithful and devoted wife catches the venom in a bowl to spare him the pain, but every now and then the bowl has to be emptied, and in that time the venom hits him and his thrashing causes earthquakes. But Sigyn is always there to catch the poison again, even though, one day, she will spill the bowl and Loki will thrash until he is free of his chains, signalling Ragnarok, the end of the world.
I always thought fate handed Sigyn a very raw deal. It occurred to me that perhaps Sigyn thought so too. Which puts her activities in an entirely different light, and so the story.
Standard Reminder: Next Wednesday, October 11th, the Story Time will change. Until then, I hope you enjoy “The Trickster’s Wife.”