Churchyard Yew

~ A Short Story by Andre Norton

churchyard yew 1999


Synopsis ~

Ilse – born with certain gifts, has been invited to lunch by Marj Lawrence the proprietor of the local Bed & Breakfast. Over the years this establishment has gained the nickname “Hex House” due to events which become clear during the lunch.

Write-up from a fan ~

Ilse Harveling, while visiting a friend, receiving an urgent plea for help from Marj Lawrence; she and her husband had purchased the old Hartle place, restored it to its former condition as an inn, and turned it into a bed-and-breakfast, calling it by its old name, "Hex House.". All was well, until Marj decided to research the inn's history and discovered it had been the scene of tragedy in the old days. Hanna Straus and her brother rueben were members of a strict religious order, but Hanna took a position as cook to Gyles Walden, innkeeper. He was reputed to have a "roving eye" and Hanna was persuaded by him, believing his implied promise of marriage. Rueben was a skilled woodworker and reputed to be a hexenmeister; he made Hanna a dower chest, a marriage bed, and for the innkeeper a carved walking stick. But Gyles betrayed Hanna, going off East and returning with a rich widow as his bride. Hanna drowned herself, and Reuben buried her in the dower chest. He was later found dead in the woods, and Gyles died of a heart attack in the same bed Rueben had made for Hanna. Now, in the present, a Walden descendant staying at Hex House has died in the same manner, and the Lawrences are being haunted. Ilse discovers that the carved headboard of the marriage bed is made of churchyard yew and carries a subtle curse, originally placed on Gyles, but strong enough to strike down any of his male descendants.  Ilse manages to break the curse and recommends that the Lawrences destroy the bed and the walking stick, which had served as a channel for Rueben's curse. ~ SL


Bibliography of English Editions ~

  • A Dangerous Magic (1999) Edited by Denise Little, Published by DAW, PB, 0-886-77825-5, No.1112, $6.99, 312pg (pgs. 135-151) ~ cover by Luis Royo ~ Original tales of magic-crossed lovers, and the complications that occur when ghosts, vampires, elves, and their kin become involved in mortal "affairs". ~ 15 stories.

Write-up from the back of paperback ~

Though fantasy and romance have their own devoted followings, the two have often been intertwined in tales that are richly satisfying to both readerships. Now writer and editor Denise Little had brought together the talents of such masterful fantasy and romance writers as Andre Norton, John DeChancie, Michelle West, Peter Crowther, Roberta Gellis, and their equally skilled compatriots to create this volume of original and evocative stories that are certain to bespell both hearts and imaginations.

From a seemingly hopeless romance between a mortal and a vampire... to a modern retelling of an ancient Gaelic myth in which a man falls in love with a bespelled woman who is ugly but brilliant, charming, and good-tempered during the day and beautiful and shrewish during the night... to an intricate tale of ghost-crossed love... to a guardian angel who becomes far too involved in a mortals' romance... here is all the otherworldly enchantment to fulfill your heart's desire with - A Dangerous Magic

    1 • Introduction (A Dangerous Magic) • (1999) • essay by Denise Little
    3 • A Little Death • (1999) • novelette by Susan Sizemore
    28 • Old Delicious Burdens • (1999) • short story by Peter Crowther
    45 • Woman of Character • (1999) • novelette by Von Jocks [as by Yvonne A. Jocks]
    68 • Slow Dance for a Dead Princess • (1999) • short story by John DeChancie
    80 • Nine-Tenths • (1999) • short story by Laura Hayden
    96 • The Man of Her Dreams • (1999) • short story by Tim Waggoner
    109 • Legacy • (1999) • short story by Roberta Gellis
    125 • Teel Rules • (1999) • short story by Mark Kreighbaum
    135 • Churchyard Yew • (1999) • short story by Andre Norton
    152 • Mushroom Tea • (1999) • novelette by David Bischoff
    176 • The Enchanted Garden • (1999) • novelette by Deb Stover
    199 • At Eternity's Gate • (1999) • novelette by Gary A. Braunbeck
    223 • Dreamstitching • (1999) • short story by Kristin Schwengel
    240 • The Face in the Leaves • (1999) • novelette by Diane A. S. Stuckart
    261 • Sunrise • (1999) • novella by Michelle West 





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