Tales of Old
Summary: Audio magazine for historical fiction and alternate history. Each week we feature a historical fiction short story. Historians and literature fans will enjoy these great stories that span history from Ancient Greece to World War II.
Hello everyone and Merry Christmas to all the Tales of Old listeners out there. There will be no episode this week because I just can't get my stuff together visiting with multiple families, but we will be back next week. I'm getting some great submissions that I think you will really like. Since I started the podcast in June 2011 I've had to learn a lot, but I've also gotten a lot of encouragement. It is hard to believe that we already have 28 episodes out. The written stories are a new thing I'm playing with. A few people have said they would like to have the option of reading the stories. That's kind of counter-intuitive to me, but the stories are good, so if you are not an audio person it is another option. I've tried to make the latest stories available for Kindle, Nook, and just online reading. I have no way to check if the Nook option works. I've checked the Kindle with my son's Ipod Kindle app. No, I still don't have one, but I haven't opened my Christmas presents yet! You may have also noticed that I am trying to add a little more historical background before the stories. If anybody would like to contribute any historical bits, either audio or written (which I would then read) please let me know. We have gotten a some donations, for which I am exceedingly grateful. Thank you very much. The way the podcast works, most of the stories are new. Authors submit stories to me via email and I buy the stories that appeal to me. Early on I got advice from other magazine editors to use a form letter when I rejected a story. I did that, but I started to feel really bad about not making some personal contact with the people that were slaving away to create something for all of us. So now I respond to each entry personally, whether I accept it or not. If you are interested in submitting a story, the guidelines are on our website www.talesofold.org. I have solicited a few stories and I've also used some good out of print stories. Thank you to all of you who have commented on Facebook or on the website. So far we have not gotten enough to put up a forum, but I would be happy to do that if there is interest in the future. I will sign off now with a final big thank you to everyone who has submitted a story and for all of you who listen! I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season and a happy New Year. We don't have an enormous listenership, but it is becoming a little bit of a community. there will be no story for December 25th. I just got too far behind and pulled into Christmas activities to pull the show together.
Period: 1940's Setting: China by Teel. James Glenn read by Shawn Robertson Read Online E-Reader Kindle "Come in, sit down, smile and talk of pleasant things," The Chinese Bandit Ping said, a wide grin on his pock marked face, "Or I will shoot you through the head."
by P.D.R. Lindsay read by P.D.R. Lindsay Read Online E-Reader Kindle Cultures clash in the Land of the Rising Sun. England is leading Japan into the 20th Century, opening the country to new ideas and ways of thinking. Captain Langley thinks he understands the Japanese, and his lady of the moment, but he has no idea.
Period: 1200's Setting: Central Europe by Leslie Lupien read by Shawn Robertson Read Online E-Reader Kindle What can a Templar knight, a widowed baroness and a tattered army do against the relentless onslaught of the Mongol hordes? The fearsome reputation of the creatures had preceded them from Poland, where they had swept all before them. The Poles called them Tatars. Some said they were Satan’s minions that Alexander the Great had driven beyond the Eastern mountains. Others said that they won by Satanic enchantments. That must be right, Jocelyn thought, because they were scrawny, wore what looked like fish scales instead of armor, and rode short-legged horses. Mongol Conquest
Tales of Old 24 – No Man’s Land
Tales of Old 23 – Coming Home
Little Brother of War By Harper Hull Read by Shawn Robertson The fate of the Choctaw nation and the future United States may depend on a single ball game. Hands and Knees By Erik Svehaug Read by Shawn Robertson Father Corazo has a vision for the Mission of San Francisco in California. All he has to do is convince the natives, the priests, the soldiers, and God that he is right.
By J.J. Steinfeld Read by Shawn Robertson He was in his own league, without equal, incomparable, so what if his so-called peers never once voted him “Magician of the Year." As much as he has personally liked Harry Houdini and as greatly as he had admired his magic and escape artistry, being referred to as “The Second Houdini” or worse yet, “One of the greatest magicians of all time,” never ceased to upset Elias Crosskeep. He was the greatest magician, the only real magician. Art by Gabriel Hardman Closing music: Married a Magician by Dust Poets J.J. Steinfeld's book A Glass Shard and Memory
By Washington Irving Read by Shawn Robertson Period: 1750's Setting: Malta The once gallant Knights of Malta, the Order of St. John, have grown wealthy and degenerate, but swords are still drawn when honor is at stake. But what good is cold steel against a ghost? Interlude music: Church Yard by David Beard Closing music: Halloween by Fishing for Comets
Ghosts of the Golden House By Andrew MacRae Read by Shawn Robertson Period: Roman times The Golden House of Nero. Mere words coined by mortals cannot possibly begin to describe that monument to one man's ego. Nightingales By David Pilling (David's blog) Read by Jane Osborn Period: World War I Now his eyes filled with horror, and he looked around him in confusion. “No!” he shouted, “I am dead already! Why am I here? I cannot die twice!” Closing music: Ghost by Robyn Dell'Unto
By P.D.R. Lindsay Read by Shawn Robertson Period: Mid Roman Empire Music after the story by Marc Gunn The tune is an old one, a soldiers’ song springing into my head to match the pace of my steps. I’m not far from home and my feet know it. I’ve heard soldiers sing this song often enough yet the words come slowly. I sing them under my breath. It’s a love song, but my voice is thin, rattles like a reed on high notes, not shaped to sing of love. Still, the ponies don’t startle, although Brannan, in the lead, flicks his ears, as if to a fly. “When I come again, I’ll bring you gifts my sweet. Gold for your neck and silver for your feet, Oils for your soft skin, perfume for your hair. Watch for me, my darling. I will soon be there.” By the time the falling sun stops lighting the western skies with flames and the air turns goose grey I will be there, crossing the causeway to the village where I was born. Laila will be down by the water, watching the geese fly over, pulling my message-feather through her fingers over and over again. She knows I’m near. The countryside is changing. The forest trees have gone, oak and beech gave way to slim birch and straggles of aspen some miles back. Scrubby hazel and alder line the track in sparse groups. There’s a sheen in the air, light from the sky shining on patches of water. But it’s the smell of water that tells me I’m home. Nowhere else does water have that sharp, heart catching tang, a smell as brown and peaty as the water’s colour. I’ve seen the green-grey water of the Baltic, bone chilling and thick with salt even on a summer’s day. I’ve smelt the sun-warmed, herb scented blue waters of the warm Roman sea, the one their home-sick soldiers talk of as sweet as honey and warming as wine. Cold Germanicus those soldiers call my home, but I love it and nothing is like seeing and scenting the waters of home. I know I’m back in my land of small dark lakes, peat swamps, low horizons and rolling hills.
by Edward P. McDermott read by Malcolm Grieve Period: Elizabethan England Some of the best theater takes place after the curtains have fallen and the last patron leaves. This weeks historical fiction dares to peak behind the curtain at Blackfriars where young William Shakespeare and company are about to be tossed out on their ears. Closing music: Shakespeare Pie, by Robert Lund of The FuMP In the icy cold of January of 1597, the acting company of Lord Chamberlain’s Men accompanied the grieving widow and her sons to bury James Burbage. My tears were genuine. Many a time he and his wife had invited all the lads to their home for a feeding, and filled us with meat pies until we nearly burst. In a hard world, I had found few kinder people than the Burbage family. I was only a lad, one of the boys that played women’s parts for four pence a day, but I was there. My parents had paid eight pounds to apprentice me to the company, for I wanted nothing more than to be an actor. As I placed my clod of dirt upon the coffin, I remembered my father, still healthy, and wondered how I would feel if it were him in the grave. Then I looked at his sons, Cuthbert and Richard. Where did they find the strength to stand? Tomorrow night, Richard would strut upon the stage, spouting fine words and mimicking all the emotions a man can show, while inside, he must feel as empty as a discarded bottle.
by Igor Teper read by Shawn Robertson Period: 1930's Setting: Soviet Union What if the great Igor Sikorsky, inventor of the American helicopter, had not left Russia when the great civil war began? In the dark, suspicious days after the revolution, no one is safe, not even the great ones. The awareness that he was being followed grew in Nikolai Bukharin’s mind over a period of weeks, through the accretion of small details, incidents, and suspicions, until he awoke one bright summer morning with the knowledge firmly rooted in his mind. Cheka, the secret police, was having him followed, which, given Bukharin's stature, meant Trotsky wanted him followed. His driver's customary "Good morning, comrade Bukharin!" seemed blackly ironic and only agitated him further. It occurred to him that his driver was the logical man to use to keep an eye on him, and even reminding himself that he had known and trusted the man for years did not put Bukharin at ease.
Period: 1800's Setting: South America By Roselyn Silverman - her latest story is in Midwest Literary Magazine Read by Kevin Harty Check out the History Chicks podcast Closing music: Evolution Rocks by Overman, courtesy of Music Alley from Mevio. Origin of the Orign Unpublished manuscript found among the papers of Charles Darwin after his death in 1882. Also found, two pieces of pottery of uncertain origin, craftsmanship, and provenance. The Beagle anchored at Bahia Blanca during the early part of September 1832. In order to survey the southern and eastern coasts of South America during the succeeding year, the Beagle was to leave and return to this port periodically. This left me with the freedom to roam and collect at will while the Beagle was not in port. After being incarcerated for several months in a ship, I felt buoyed by the freedom of walking over unfenced grasslands, unrestricted by the narrow confines of the ship. I intended to stay some weeks in the area, during which time I would collect and preserve some of the local animals, birds, and reptiles. I would also chip out fossils if any were found in the geological strata on the beach. When I returned to port, I would eventually send back my cleaned and preserved findings on returning ships to family, friends and mentors in England. This was accomplished during the first few weeks of my stay in a manner that bettered my expectations. My description of this collection and the local fauna and flora was carefully made, to the best of my ability, in my original notes concerning this trip.
By Steve Sagarra Read by Shawn Robertson This week's historical fiction is a story about espionage and the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee by Steve Sagarra. To put us in the moment, I've included a poem by Jack Spicer called "Response to the Loyalty Oath." Those were dark times. There was both the real fear of communism and fear of the committees themselves. Affairs of the Union The year is 1952. Katarina Madin and her lawyer, Bill Ward, hurriedly walk into the United States Senate building. Entering a chamber through a set of wooden doors at the end of the hallway, the two take seats at the center table. Siting across from a governmental committee investigating domestic communism, the admousphere inside the room matches the winter chill of the Washington morning beyond the frosted windows. As the two confer over a few points, Senator Patrick McCarrran calls the proceedings to order. "Please take your seats. This committee will now come to order." After some shuffling of papers, calm spreads over the room. "Would you please state your name for the record," Senator McCarrran requests in a haggard, bureaucratic monotone. "My name is Katarina Madin." "And where were you born, Mrs. Madin?" "The Soviet Union, Moscow." Download this Episode to your computer! Right click (ctrl click for Mac) the link above the story title and select "save link as."