In celebration of the release of Jane Yolen’s THE EMERALD CIRCUS, Tachyon presents glimpses from some of the volume’s magnificent tales.
by Jane Yolen
pig fell down the rabbit-hole, turning snout over tail and squealing
as it went. By the third level it had begun to change. Wonderland was
like that, one minute pig, the next pork loin.
passed Alice on the fourth level, for contrary to the law of physics,
she was falling much more slowly than the pig. Being quite hungry,
she reached out for it. But no sooner had she set her teeth into its
well-done flesh than it changed back into a live pig. Its squeals
startled her and she dropped it, which made her use a word her mother
had never even heard, much less understood. Wonderland’s denizens
had done much for Alice’s education, not all of it good.
promise I’ll be a vegetarian if only I land safely,” Alice said,
crossing her fingers as she fell. At that very moment she hit bottom,
landing awkwardly on top of the pig.
off-ay!” the pig swore, swatting at her with his hard trotter.
Luckily he missed and ran right off toward a copse of trees, calling
for his mum.
same to you,” Alice shouted after him. She didn’t know what he’d
said but guessed it was in Pig Latin. “You shouldn’t complain,
you know. After all, you’re still whole!” Then she added softly,
“And I can’t complain, either. If you’d been a pork loin, I
wouldn’t have had such a soft landing.” She had found over the
years of regular visits that it was always best to praise Wonderland
aloud for its bounty, however bizarre that bounty might be. You
didn’t want to have Wonderland mad at you. There were things like .
. . the Jabberwock, for instance.
very moment she thought the word, she heard the beast roar behind
her. That was another problem with Wonderland. Think about something,
and it appeared. Or
don’t think about something, Alice reminded
it still might appear. The Jabberwock was her own
personal Wonderland demon. It always arrived sometime during her
visit, and someone—her chosen champion—had to fight it, which
often signaled an end to her time there.
so soon,” Alice wailed in the general direction of the roar. “I
haven’t had much of a visit yet!” The Jabberwock sounded close,
so Alice sighed and raced after the pig into the woods.
woods had a filter of green and yellow leaves overhead, as lacy as
one of her mother’s parasols. It really would have been quite
lovely if Alice hadn’t been in such a hurry. But it was best not to
linger anywhere in Wonderland before the Jabberwock was dispatched.
Tarrying simply invited disaster.
passed the Caterpillar’s toadstool. It was as big as her uncle
Martin, and as tall and pasty white, but it was empty. A sign by the
stalk said gone
fishing. Alice wondered idly if the Caterpillar
fished with worms, then shook her head. Worms would be too much like
using his own family for bait. Though she had some relatives for whom
that might not be a bad idea. Her cousin Albert, for example, who
liked to stick frogs down the back of her dress.
her the Jabberwock roared again.
said Alice, and began to zigzag through the trees.
For more info on THE EMERALD CIRCUS, visit the Tachyon page.
Cover design by Elizabeth Story