“Things You Can Buy for a Penny” by Will Kaufman
Card picked: 10♦
From: Lightspeed Magazine, Issue 57, Feb. 2015, (link to story)
I’ve been in the mood for light fantasy lately. Not quite fairy tales or their retellings, but fantastical stories that fairy tale adjacent. “Thing You Can Buy for a Penny” fits that bill.
“Don’t go to the well,” said Theo to his son. So, of course, Tim went to the well. He was thirteen, and his father told him not to. There was no magic in it.
In the well resides the wet gentleman, who is magic, who will grant a wish for a penny, or maybe more, or maybe less. “Things You Can Buy for a Penny” follows several generations of Tim’s family and their bargains with the wet gentleman. As one might expect when wishes are on the line, the negotiations need to be done carefully.
I’ve read quite a few stories from this issue of Lightspeed, but haven’t posted about most of them. This has definitely been my favorite (with two left on the roster).