So recently I came across a long short story (or very short novella) called “The Girl Who Ruled Fairyland – For a Little While“, by Catherynne M. Valente. This is officially numbered as “Fairyland 0.5” and could be considered a prequel to her “Fairyland” series, inasmuch as it takes place prior to the events of The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, and concerns itself with how the missing monarch of that book, Queen Mallow, became Queen Mallow in the first place.
You can tell Mallow is going to be a good Queen because of the philosophy she expresses when the “two hundred Fairies, one hundred Ouphes, fifty Tanuki, several Gnomes, and at least one Jack-in-the-Green” who live nearby figure out she is a wizard and start showing up at her house hoping to buy magical favors, or maybe to marry her:
“I have all the books I could need, and what more could I need than books? I shall only engage in commerce if books are the coin. Come to my door if you have a book―and a good one, not just your great-aunt’s book of doily patterns―and I will give you an egg or a cake or a pair of woolen socks. I am a practical girl, and a life is only so long. It should be spent in as much peace and good eating and good reading as possible and no undue excitement. That is all I am after.”
Fortunately for Mallow, nothing unduly exciting happens, and she gets to spend her life eating good food and reading good books and knitting woolen socks. Or not. You can find out yourself by reading the short story online, for free, at Tor’s website.
Meanwhile, speaking of books, editing continues on Father’s Books!
“What do you see?”
Her wide, blank eyes stared at it.
“Do you see anything written on the page?”
The eyes moved up to look at him, back to the book, back to him. She shook her head slightly, a fraction to the left, a fraction to the right. He let out a relieved breath. Very occasionally, they saw words scrawled across the paper, messages carried back from the water, instructions, requests. Threats. It was always a relief to him when they saw nothing.
Hmm. Definitely not a book of your great-aunt’s doily patterns, that one.