Short Stories


The Wild Hunt

Yule: Tales for the Winter Solstice
Speculation Publications 11/27/2023

During the cold winter months, we mirror the Earth as she lies quiet, waiting for the return of warm days. We gather around yule fires and perform rituals to lure back the sun. Drinking wassail, singing songs and exchanging gifts, some of us tell stories of the longest night.

Stories of new love and old magick.

Stories of the Holly King and his fight for the season.

Of death and lives well lived.

Of succumbing to the most feral parts of ourselves.

Of the Wild Hunt, and the wrath of Perchta.

And of fey magicks and sacrifices made for love.

Light a candle and bundle up. Within these pages you will find what you need for a hale and hearty Yule, a reconciliation with the shadows and a joyful return to the light.


“I see you’re wearing your crone form.”

Peering out of filmed eyes with a lined face that would not be out of place for someone in triple digits, old Perchta looked at the young man.

“You have an issue with that?” she asked in a quavering voice.

“I do not, Frau Perchta,” Garen said, uncoiling from his resting place just outside the door and moving inside.

In the time it took him to step through the door, Perchta shifted to her comelier form, her curves embracing her loose fitting white robes. Her younger eyes took in his masculine beauty with admiration.

Garen gestured to her figure, a smile playing over his lips. “Your crone is well met; however, I confess I like this appearance better.”

She sniffed, using the opportunity to turn away to hide the mirth dancing in her eyes. Perchta began assembling a sack for the night ahead. Silver coins, unfinished weaving, straw and pebbles went into the satchel.

Garen’s eyes widened at the straw and pebbles, his gaze darting from her to the items. Folklore held that she used the latter objects to fill slit bellies after she punished the wicked. Perchta read what he was thinking and gave him a meditative smile.

“It is up to them how I deal with the things in the bag,” she said, widening the grin. “A little fear keeps believers in line.”