“Three Questions” by Amy Aderman
Card picked: J♦ ~ Fantasy genre suit
Found at: Daily Science Fiction
The bean nighe is never wrong. She sits by a stream, washing the clothes of those soon to die. The water runs red with blood but the stains never fade. If you are bold, she will answer three questions but she will ask three in return; only true words must fall from your lips.
I’m pretty sure I was attracted to this story due to the title: who doesn’t love a fantasy about three questions (or three wishes)? This is a flash story and all the context and background comes from the questions asked and answers given by the narrator and the bean nighe. It’s a nice piece of work.
In “Three Questions,” the narrator asks about her impending wedding; the bean nighe asks about her first husband. Oddly, half of my Deal Me In stories this year have had to do with marriages or married couples.* Have there been lessons in fiction for my 18th year of marriage? I haven’t decided yet.
* (I didn’t post about Mark Twain’s “Eve’s Diary” a couple weeks back because, man, Twain’s satire requires some mental overhead.)
Amy Aderman is a librarian and a folklore enthusiast. Her novel The Way to Winter is a retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen.”