First Lines – Once Upon A Time

once-500And as a bonus, here are the story openings from Once Upon A Time: New Fairy Tales:

‘In an empire at the wide sea’s boundaries, where the clouds were the colour of alabaster and mother-of-pearl, and the winds bore the smells of salt and faraway fruits, the young and the old of every caste gathered for their empress’s funeral.’
“The Coin of Heart’s Desire” by Yoon Ha Lee


‘Two strangers are living in a house.’
“The Lenten Rose” by Genevieve Valentine


 ‘I worked all my life. Indeed, I worked for every hand that touched me: spinning a thread, spinning a tale, spinning a life. Yet all I am remembered for in this kingdom is the one death that was spin of a witch’s lies.’
“The Spinning Wheel’s Tale” by Jane Yolen


‘Life drove him into death, so it had seemed. It was the choice between dying—or living and causing death, to be corpse or corpse-maker. Perhaps Death’s own dilemma.’
“Below the Sun Beneath” by Tanith Lee


‘Russell’s new home under the abandoned railroad bridge was defensible, which was always the first priority.’
“Warrior Dreams” by Cinda Williams Chima


‘There was once a baby born so ugly her father packed his bags in fury when he saw her.’
“Born and Bread” by Kaaron Warren


 ‘”In the old world years ago,” said the Cat, “monarchs were plentiful, Mortals and Fairies co-mingled, dragons flew and animals spoke; witches, ogres, dragons, a host of magic creatures roamed the countryside, and a cat could stare at a king.”’
“Tales That Fairies Tell” by Richard Bowes


 ‘And this is how it begins: with a prick of a needle—a sharp point, and the children are too small to understand—infants, they just howl and squirm despite the reassuring hush hush shhhh be quiet of the nurse.’
“Sleeping Beauty of Elista” by Ekaterina Sedia

‘Nix Severn shuts her eyes and takes a very deep breath of the newly minted air filling Isotainer Four, and she cannot help but note the irony at work.’
“The Road of Needles” by Caitlín R. Kiernan

‘Once there was a little girl whose mother hated her. The mother was not a bad woman, but she had not wanted a child, and so she put her daughter into a secret prison and pretended she did not exist.’
“Lupine” by Nisi Shawl


‘The feathers were tiny and Emer hoped they would stay that way.’
“Flight” by Angela Slatter


‘I consider my egg; its speckled pattern, its curves, strange weighting, and remarkable calcium formation that’s both delicate and robust. It hurts but I’m determined. The old hag promised. I put my egg inside me.’
“Egg” by Priya Sharma


‘It wasn’t difficult for Justus to take the place of the yearly sacrifice.’
“Castle of Masks” by Cory Skerry


‘Ivar looked through the ice-starred window of his kitchen and saw the crow perched on the fencepost near the barn like a sharp-angled hole against the white expanse of snow.’
“The Giant In Repose” by Nathan Ballingrud


‘It’s Liselle’s pain that brings me back.’
“The Hush of Feathers, the Clamour of Wings” by A.C. Wise


‘Days, weeks, months, years afterwards, when we were both wives with children of our own, our mother-hearts beset with fears and bound up in tender lives, I would call the little ones to me and tell them of my early prime, those pleasant days long gone of not-returning time.’
“Eat Me, Drink Me, Love Me” by Christopher Barzak


‘Listen. Here’s the story you wouldn’t let me tell.’
“The Mirror Tells All” by Erzebet YellowBoy

‘They called him idiot. He was the miller’s son, and he had never been good for much. At least not since his mother’s death, when he was twelve years old. He had found her floating, facedown, in the millpond, and his cries had brought his father’s men.’ “Blanchefleur” by Theodora Goss



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