the medusa

The Medusa‘The Medusa’ appeared in the Canadian In Places Between 2013 collection of short stories from the finalists in the Robyn Herrington Memorial Speculative Fiction Contest. The story took first place in the competition. The contest is run by the Imaginative Fiction Writers Association, who very generously help new writers by providing brief critiques of the submitted stories.

One source for ‘The Medusa’ was the curious myth of the headless mule. In a common Brazilian version of the story, a woman who seduced a priest was cursed to spend her weekends galloping around as a headless mule with fire coming from its neck, and the moral message, evidently, was not to flaunt anything that might be flauntible in front of the celibate priests.

In the headless mule tale, the woman was held responsible for the priest’s lust, and in one version of the Medusa myth, Medusa’s ‘crime’ was being raped.  The two stories have a common feature:  the women were punished for the men’s actions. Of course that would never happen today … would it?

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