Black Heart, Ivory Bones

Black Heart, Ivory Bones

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781497668577
Publisher: Open Road Media
Publication date: 09/30/2014
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 125,929
File size: 4 MB

About the Author

Ellen Datlow, an acclaimed science fiction and fantasy editor, was born and raised in New York City. She has been a short story and book editor for more than thirty years and has edited or coedited several critically acclaimed anthologies of speculative fiction, including the Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror series and Black Thorn, White Rose (1994) with Terri Windling. Datlow has received numerous honors, including multiple Shirley Jackson, Bram Stoker, Hugo, Locus, and World Fantasy Awards, and Life Achievement Awards from the Horror Writers Association and the World Fantasy Association, to name just a few. She resides in New York.  
Terri Windling is a writer and editor of science fiction and fantasy, an essayist on the mythic arts, and a visual artist. She is the author of the bestselling books The Wood Wife (1996) and The Essential Bordertown (1999). Windling has co-edited many collections with renowned editor Ellen Datlow, including the Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror series. Windling has received multiple awards for fantasy and science fiction literature, including the Science Fiction Writers of America’s Solstice Award for outstanding contributions to the speculative fiction field and the Bram Stoker Award. Windling is also a visual artist whose mythic-themed work has appeared across the United States and Europe. She currently resides in Arizona and Devon, England.

Tanith Lee (1947–2015) was born in the United Kingdom. Although she couldn’t read until she was eight, she began writing at nine and never stopped, producing more than ninety novels and three hundred short stories. She also wrote for the BBC television series Blake’s 7 and various BBC radio plays. After winning the 1980 British Fantasy Award for her novel Death’s Master, endless awards followed. She was named a World Horror Grand Master in 2009 and honored with the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement in 2013. Lee was married to artist and writer John Kaiine.
Ellen Datlow, an acclaimed science fiction and fantasy editor, was born and raised in New York City. She has been a short story and book editor for more than thirty years and has edited or coedited several critically acclaimed anthologies of speculative fiction, including the Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror series and Black Thorn, White Rose (1994) with Terri Windling. Datlow has received numerous honors, including multiple Shirley Jackson, Bram Stoker, Hugo, Locus, and World Fantasy Awards, and Life Achievement Awards from the Horror Writers Association and the World Fantasy Association, to name just a few. She resides in New York.  
Jane Yolen is a novelist, poet, fantasist, journalist, songwriter, storyteller, folklorist, and children’s book author who has written more than three hundred books. Her accolades include the Caldecott Medal, two Nebula Awards, the World Fantasy Award, three Mythopoeic Awards, the Kerlan Award, two Christopher Awards, and six honorary doctorate degrees from colleges and universities in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Born and raised in New York City, the mother of three and the grandmother of six, Yolen lives in Massachusetts and St. Andrews, Scotland.   
Joyce Carol Oates is the author of over seventy books encompassing novels, poetry, criticism, story collections, plays, and essays. Her novel Them won the National Book Award in Fiction in 1970. Oates has been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters for more than three decades and currently holds the Roger S. Berlind Distinguished Professorship at Princeton University. 


Minneapolis, Minnesota

Date of Birth:

November 10, 1960

Place of Birth:

Portchester, England


Attended Ardingly College Junior School, 1970-74, and Whitgift School, 1974-77

Read an Excerpt

Black Heart, Ivory Bones

By Ellen Datlow, Terri Windling


Copyright © 2000 Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4976-6857-7



Not for the first time, a son knew himself to be older than his father.

Urlenn was thinking about this, their disparate maturities, as he rode down through the forests. It was May-Month, and the trees were drenched in fresh young green. If he had been coming from anywhere but a war, he might have felt instinctively alert, and anticipatory; happy, nearly. But killing others was not a favorite pastime. Also, the two slices he had got in return were still raw, probably inflamed. He was mostly disgusted.

It was the prospect of going home. The castle, despite its luxuries, did not appeal. For there would be his father (a king), the two elder sons, and all the noble cronies. They would sit Urlenn up past midnight, less to hear of his exploits than to go over their own or their ancestors': the capture of a fabulous city, a hundred men dispatched by ten, the wonderful prophecy of some ancient crone, even, once, a dragon. There may have been dragons centuries ago, Urlenn judiciously concluded, but if so, they were thin on the ground by now. One more horror, besides, was there in the castle. His betrothed, the inescapable Princess Madzia. The king had chosen Madzia for Urlenn not for her fine blood, but because her grandmother had been (so they said) a fairy. Madzia had thick black hair to her waist, and threw thick black tempers.

After the battle, Urlenn let his men off at the first friendly town. The deserved a junket, and their captains would look out for them. He was going home this way. This long way home. With luck, he might make it last a week.

After all, Madzia would not like—or like too much—his open wounds. They ran across his forehead and he had been fortunate to keep his left eye. Doubtless the king would expect the tale of some valiant knightly one-to-one combat to account for this. But it had been a pair of glancing arrows.

Should I make something up to cheer the Dad?

No. And don't call him "the Dad," either. He's king. He'd never forgive you.

Urlenn found he had broken into loud, quite musical song. The ditty was about living in the greenwood, the simple life. Even as he sang, he mocked himself. Being only the third son had advantages, allowing for odd lone journeys like this one. But there were limits.

Something truly odd happened then.

Another voice joined in with his, singing the same song, and in a very decent descant. A girl's voice.

The horse tossed its head and snorted, and Urlenn reined it in.

They sang, he and she (invisible), until the end. Then, nothing. Urlenn thought, She's not scared, or she would never have sung. So he called: "Hey, maiden! Where are you?"

And a laughing voice—you could tell it laughed—called back, "Where do you think?"

"Inside a tree," called Urlenn. "You're a wood-dryad."

"A what? A dryad—oh, Gran told me about those. No I'm not."

Urlenn dismounted. There was, he had come to see, something gray and tall and stone, up the slope, just showing through the ascending trees.

He did not shout again. Nor did she. Urlenn walked up the hill, and came out by a partly ruined tower. Sycamores and aspens had rooted in its sides, giving it a leafy, mellow look. A cottage had rooted there, too, a large one; also made of stones, which had definitely been filched from the tower.

Before the cottage and tower was an orchard of pear and apple trees just losing their white blossom. Chickens and a goat ambled about. The girl was hanging up washing from the trees.

She was straight and slim, with short yellow hair like a boy's. And yes, still laughing.

"Not a dryad, as you see, sir."

"Maybe unwise, though, calling out to strangers in the wood."

"Oh, you sounded all right."

"Did I?"

"All sorts come through here. You get to know."

"Do you?"

"Sometimes I fetch the animals, and we hide in the tower. Last month two men broke into the cottage and stole all the food. I let them get on with it." She added, careless, "I was only raped once. I'd been stupid. But he wished he hadn't, after."

"That's you warning me."

"No. You're not the type, sir. You looked upset when I told you. Then curious."

"I am. What did you do, kill him?"

"No, I told him I loved him and gave him a nice drink. He'd have had the trots for days."

Urlenn himself laughed. "Didn't he come back?"

"Not yet. And it was two years ago."

She looked about seventeen, three years younger than he. She had been raped at fifteen. It did not seem to matter much to her. She had a lovely face. Not beautiful or pretty, but unexpected, interesting, like a landscape never seen before, though perhaps imagined.

"Well, maiden," he said. "I'm thirsty myself. Do you have any drinks without medicine in them? I can pay, of course."

"That's all right. We mainly barter, when I go to town." She turned and walked off to the cottage. Urlenn stood, looking at the goat and chickens and a pale cat that had come to supervise them.

The girl returned with a tankard of beer, clear as a river, and cold from some cool place, as he later learned, under the cottage floor.

He drank gratefully. She said, "You're one of the king's men, aren't you, sent to fight off the other lot?"

The other lot. Yes.

He said, "That's right."

"That cut over your eye looks sore."

"It is. I didn't want it noticed much and wrapped it up in a rag—which was, I now think, dirty."

"I can mix up something for that."

"You're a witch too."

"Gran was. She taught me."

Presently he tethered the horse to a tree and left it to crop the turf.

In the cottage he sat watching her sort and pound her herbs. It was neither a neat nor a trim room, but—pleasing. Flowering plants burst and spilled from pots on the windowsills, herbs and potions, vinegars and honeys stood glowing like jade and red amber in their jars. A patchwork curtain closed off the sleeping place. On the floor there were baskets full of colored yarns and pieces of material. Even some books lay on a chest. There was the sweet smell of growing things, the memory of recent baking—the bread stood by on a shelf—a hint of damp. And her. Young and healthy, fragrant. Feminine.

When she brought the tincture she had made, and applied it to the cuts, her scent came to him more strongly.

Urlenn thought of Madzia, her flesh heavily perfumed, and washed rather less often. He thought of Madzia's sulky, red, biteable-looking mouth.

This girl said, "That will sting." It does, he thought, and I don't mean your ointment. "But it'll clean the wound. Alas, I think there'll be a scar. Two scars. Will that spoil your chances, handsome?"

He looked up and straight in her eyes. She was flirting with him, plainly. Oh yes, she knew what she was at. She had told him, she could tell the good from the bad by now.

I don't look much like a king's son, certainly. Not anymore. Just some minor noble able to afford a horse. So, it may be me she fancies.

Her eyes were more clear than any beer-brown river.

"If you don't want money, let me give you something else in exchange for your care—"

"And what would you give me?"

"Well, what's on the horse I need to keep. But—is there anything you see that you'd like?"

Was he flirting now?

To his intense surprise, Urlenn felt himself blush. And, surprising him even more, at his blush she, this canny, willful woods-witch, she did, too.

So then he drew the ring off his finger. It was small, but gold, with a square cut, rosy stone. He put it in her palm.

"Oh no," she said, "I can't take that for a cup of ale and some salve."

"If you'd give me dinner, too, I think I'd count us quits," he said.

She said, without boldness, gently, "There's the bed, as well."

Later, in the night, he told her he fell in love with her on sight, only did not realize he had until she touched him.

"That's nothing," she said, "I fell in love with you the minute I heard you singing."

"Few have done that, I can tell you."

They were naked by then, and had made love three times. They knew each other well enough to say such things. The idea was he would be leaving after breakfast, and might come back to visit her, when he could. If he could. The talk of being in love was chivalry, and play.

But just as men and women sometimes lie when they say they love and will return, so they sometimes lie also when they believe they will not.

They united twice more in the night, while the cat hunted outside and the goat and chickens muttered from their hut. In the morning Urlenn did not leave. In the morning she never mentioned he had not.

When she told him her name, he had laughed out loud. "What? Like the salad?"

"Just like. My ma had a craving for it all the time she carried me. So then, she called me for it, to pay me out."

The other paying out had been simple, too.

"In God's name—" he said, holding her arm's length, shocked and angry, even though he knew it happened frequently enough.

"I don't mind it," she said. He could see, even by the fire and candlelight, she did not. How forgiving she isno, how understanding of human things.

For the girl's mother had sold her, at the age of twelve, to an old woman in the forests.

"I was lucky. She was a wise-woman. And she wanted an apprentice not a slave."

In a few weeks, it seemed, the girl was calling the old woman "Gran," while Gran called her Goldy. "She was better than any mother to me," said the girl. "I loved her dearly. She left me everything when she died. All this. And her craft, that she'd taught me. But we only had two years together, I'd have liked more. Never mind. As she used to say, 'Some's more than none.' It was like that with my hair."

"She called you Goldy for your hair."

"No. Because she said I was 'good as gold and bad as butter.'"


"She was always saying daft funny things. She'd make you smile or think, even if your heart was broken. She had the healing touch, too. I don't have it."

"You did, for me."

"Ah, but I loved you."

After an interval, during which the bed became, again, unmade, the girl told Urlenn that her fine hair, which would never grow and which, therefore, she cut so short, was better than none, according to Gran.

"It wasn't unkind, you see. But pragmatic."

She often startled him with phrases, words—she could read. (Needless to say, Gran had taught her.)

"Why bad as butter?"

"Because butter makes you want too much of it."

"I can't get too much of you. Shall I call you Goldy—or the other name?"

"Whatever you like. Why don't you find a name for me yourself? Then I'll be that just for you."

"I can't name you—like my dog!"

"That's how parents name their children. Why not lovers?"

He thought about the name, as he went about the male chores of the cottage, splitting logs, hunting the forest, mending a scythe. Finally he said, diffidently, "I'd like to call you Flarva."

"That's elegant. I'd enjoy that."

He thought she would have enjoyed almost anything. Not just because she loved him, but because she was so easy with the world. He therefore called her Flarva, not explaining yet it had been his mother's name. His mother who had died when Urlenn was only six.

Urlenn had sometimes considered if his father's flights of fantasy would have been less if Flarva had lived. The Dad (Yes, I shall call you that in my head) had not been king then. Kingship came with loss, after, and also power and wealth, and all the obligations of these latter things.

Other men would have turned to other women. The Dad had turned to epics, ballads, myths and legends. He filled his new-sprung court with song-makers, actors and storytellers. He began a library, most of the contents of which—unlike this young girl—he could not himself read. He inaugurated a fashion for the marvelous and magical. If someone wanted to impress the Dad, they had only to "prove," by means of an illuminated scroll, that they took their partial descent from one of the great heroes or heroines—dragon-slayers, spinners of gold, tamers of unicorns. Indeed, only four years ago the king had held a unicorn hunt. (It was well attended.) One of the beasts had been seen, reportedly, drinking from a fountain on the lands of the Dad. Astonishingly, they never found it. Rumors of it still circulated from time to time. And those who claimed to have seen it, if they told their tale just in that way, were rewarded.

Was the king mad? Was it his brain—or only some avoiding grief at the reality of the brutal world?

"Or is it his genius?" said the girl—Flarva—when he informed her of his father's nature. "When the dark comes, do we sit in the dark, or light candles?"

How, he thought, I love you.

And strangely, she said then, "There, you love him."

"I suppose I do. But he irks me. I wish I could go off. Look at me here. I should have got home by now."

He had not, despite all this, yet revealed to her that the Dad was also the king. Did she still assume his father was only some run-down baron or knight? Urlenn was not sure. Flarva saw through to things.

"Well, when you leave, then you must," was all she said in the end.

He had been up by now to the town, a wandering little village with a church and a tavern and not much else. Here he found a man with a mule who could take a letter to the next post of civilization. From there it would travel to the king. The letter explained Urlenn had been detained in the forests. He had only one piece of paper, and could not use it up on details—he begged his lordly sire to pardon him, and await his excuses when he could come home to give them.

Afterward, Urlenn had realized, this had all the aura of some Dad-delighting sacred quest, even a spell.

Would he have to go to the king eventually and say, "A witch enchanted me?"

He did not think he could say that. It would be a betrayal of her. Although he knew she would not mind.

There was no clock in the cottage, or in the village-town. Day and night followed each other. The green thickened in clusters on the trees, and the stars were thinner and more bright on the boughs of darkness. Then a golden border stitched itself into the trees. The stars waxed thicker again, and the moon more red.

Urlenn liked going to the village market with Flarva, bartering the herbs and apples and vegetables from her garden plot, and strange patchwork and knitted coats she made, one of which he now gallantly wore.

He liked the coat. He liked the food she cooked. He liked milking the adventurous goat, which sometimes went calling on a neighbor's he-goat two miles off and had to be brought back. He liked the pale cat, which came to sleep with them in the hour before dawn. He liked woodcutting. The song of birds and their summer stillness. The stream that sparkled down the slope. The gaunt old tower. Morning and evening.

Most of all, he liked her, the maiden named first for a salad. Not only lust and love, then. For liking surely was the most dangerous. Lust might burn out and love grow accustomed. But to like her was to find in her always the best—of herself, himself, and all the world.

One evening, when the lamp had just been lit, she straightened up from the pot over the fire, and he saw her as if he never had.

He sat there, dumbfounded, as if not once, in the history of any land, had such a thing ever before happened.

Sensing this, she turned and looked at him with her amused, kindly, feral eyes.

"Why didn't you tell me, Flarva?"

"I was waiting to see how long you'd take to notice."

"How far gone is it?"

"Oh, four months or so. Not so far. You haven't been too slow."

"Slow? I've been blind. But you—you're never ill."

"The herbs are good for this, too."

"But—it must weigh on you."


"He, then—or she, then."

"They, then."


"Twins I am carrying, love of my heart."

"How do you know? Your herbs again?"

"A dowsing craft Gran taught me. Boy and girl, Urlenn, my dear."

He got up and held her close. Now he felt the swell of her body pressing to him. They were there.

She was not fretful. Neither was he. It was as if he knew no harm could come to her. She was so clear and wholesome and yet so—yes, so sorcerous. No one could know her and think her only a peasant girl in a woods cottage. Perhaps it was for this reason, too, he had had no misgivings that he abused, when first he lay down with her. He a prince. She a princess. Equals, although they were of different social countries.

However, what to do now?

"I've grasped from the beginning I'd never leave you, Flarva. But—I have to confess to you about myself."

She looked up into his eyes. She had learned she had two children in her womb. Perhaps she had fathomed him, too.

"Have you? I mean, do you know I am—a king's son?

She smiled. "What does it matter?"


"If you must leave me, Urlenn, I've always left open the door. I'd be sorry. Oh, so very sorry. But perhaps you might come back, now and then. Whatever, love isn't a cage, or if it is, a pretty one, with the door undone, and the birds out and sitting on the roof. I can manage here."


Excerpted from Black Heart, Ivory Bones by Ellen Datlow, Terri Windling. Copyright © 2000 Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling. Excerpted by permission of OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


Introduction Terri Windling and Ellen Datlow,
Rapunzel Tanith Lee,
The Crone Delia Sherman,
Big Hair Esther Friesner,
The King with Three Daughters Russell Blackford,
Boys and Girls Together Neil Gaiman,
And Still She Sleeps Greg Costikyan,
Snow in Summer Jane Yolen,
Briar Rose and Witch Debra Cash,
Chanterelle Brian Stableford,
Bear It Away Michael Cadnum,
Goldilocks Tells All Scott Bradfield,
My Life as a Bird Charles de Lint,
The Red Boots Leah Cutter,
Rosie's Dance Emma Hardesty,
You, Little Match-girl Joyce Carol Oates,
Dreaming among Men Bryn Kanar,
The Cats of San Martino Ellen Steiber,
The Golem Severna Park,
Our Mortal Span Howard Waldrop,
Mr. Simonelli or the Fairy Widower Susanna Clarke,
A Biography of Ellen Datlow,
A Biography of Terri Windling,

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Black Heart, Ivory Bones 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As a lover of fairy tales and the infinite ways in which they can be told, I love this whole series. The stories are often darker, grittier than what we see marketed but they're all excellent and I highly recommend the whole series.