This week and next we’re reading Jennifer Trafton‘s remarvelant Wingfeather Tale, “The Wooing of Sophelia Stupe.” I was amazed at the way she so perfectly emulated Pembrick’s voice in this story, and yet her own writerly voice rises up through his, obbligato. It is a very Jennifer story, even as it is a very Ollister story. Here are the first two paragraphs. They delighted me thoroughly in at least twelve ways.
A letter from Ollister B. Pembrick, dated the 5th day of Sixmoon, Year 222, Third Epoch
To the illustrious sirs and madams of Annieran University Press, formerly known as Graff Publishing, mysteriously transported from the Green Hollows to the Shining Isle sometime between the writing and the printing of my book The Inexhaustive Creaturepedia: Skreean Edition, and particularly to my editor Thaddeus Glapp, though you did not bother to read the manuscript the first time and can hardly be expected to read this letter (professional mockery! rudeness! but no matter), and most especially to the generous donors who allow the Press to continue printing books at all, though in latter times it has been forced to print primarily dog food labels in order to avoid insolvency in these illiterate days of Dang—
Greetings, and forewarnings! This promised report of my recent travels is fraught with such heartbreak and, yea, toebreak, that even I, partly-maimed, half-gobbled, and ferociously-nibbled as I am, have never known its equal in tragedy. But this tragedy is mixed with an enormous dollop of hope and even unexpected pecuniary blessings (that is, a fat purse of coins) and so I send them to you—coins, hope, and tragedy, sealed in a single envelope—with trust that you will greet my story, and my subsequent plea, with your fullest sympathy and aid.
And so to my tale.
What was your favorite passage from the first half of this story! Share it in the comments!
How would you design a School of Betterment? Did one of Jennifer’s delightful words particularly grab you? Are you a saggy hound or a tahala? What Durgan sneakeries have you found in this tale? Come to the forum!