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Lud-in-the-Mist by Hope Mirrlees
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Dec 08, 11

Read in November, 2006

"Poor Chanticleer! Poor John o' Dreams!" he said gently. "I have often wished my honey were not so bitter to the taste. Believe me, Chanticleer, I fain would find an antidote to the bitter herb of life, but none grows this side of the hills - or the other."
"And yet . . . I have never tasted fairy fruit," said Master Nathaniel in a low broken voice.
"There are many fruits in my orchard, and many and various are the fruit they bear - music and dreams and grief and sometimes, joy. All your life, Chanticleer, you have eaten fairy fruit, and some day, it may be, you will hear the Note again - but that I cannot promise."


A Fantasy classic from the 1920s, "Lud-in-the-Mist" was Hope Mirrlees' only foray into the genre. The Luddites have had no truck with magic since a revolution several hundred years ago in which they threw out the dissolute Lord Aubrey and replaced magic with the rule of law. But the river Dapple, whose source is in Fairyland, flows through the town, and fairy fruits are still smuggled into Lud, causing 'madness, suicide, orgiastic dances, and wild doings under the moon' in those who eat them.

And when his son shows signs of having eaten fairy fruit and the pupils of Miss Crabapple's Academy for young ladies, his daughter among them, vanish into Fairyland, Mayor Nathaniel Chanticleer has to face the danger head on, instead of hiding behind the legal fictions that deny the existence of Faerie.
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