10

I remember a few short stories from an anthology, checked out from a library in the early 90's but probably much older, with stories about

  1. A stranger who saves a small child from drowning in a stream, only to reveal at the end that he was an angel, saving a young Adolf Hitler.

  2. A small child who discovers a "friend" in a secluded area, and when confronting him with a cross made of popsicle sticks, he begins to melt.

  3. A young child who discovers a piece of unicorn horn, which grants him wishes for 24 hours only.

Memory is murky, so no telling how accurate these descriptions are, but it's driving me crazy that I can't find them. Any ideas?

9

The angel short story is probably "Angelica" by the well-known children's author Jane Yolen.

The story, set in Linz, Austria, 1898, begins with a young boy named Addie, unable to sleep so he takes a walk and slips down a hill and into a river. He is pulled to safety by an Angel-like figure named Angelica, although she explains that is not her real name. She says he can not pronounce her real name: Pistias Sophia, or the angel of wisdom and faith. They converse and then she leads him back to his house- the Hitler home...

I haven't found matching entries for the other two, but "The Wonderful Day" by Robert Day does have a child making wishes on a unicorn horn. Neither share the same anthology on ISFDB, but they were in Young Monsters and Young Witches & Warlocks respectively, both Isaac Asimov anthologies. As noted by Daphne B. below, Young Witches & Warlocks also contains a story named "Stevie and the Dark" by Zenna Henderson which matches with your second story, including a line describing the popsicle stick cross:

He looked down at it--his precious pocket piece--two pieces of popsicle stick tied together so they looked a little bit like an airplane, and on the top, lopsided and scraggly, the magic letters INRI.

I checked out Young Witches & Warlocks from the library and it is a definite match. To add to your details, "The Wonderful Day" has the 24 hours of wishes affect the people in the town based on a feverish child misunderstanding figures of speech so that, e.g., a woman in town becomes literally two-faced, another has a tongue that wags both ways (with the inside half chiding her for her gossiping), and another man in town prone to wishing gets a horse in his yard every time her utters a wish (c.f. "If wishes were horses"). I read through 100 Great Fantasy Short Short Stories and it includes "Angelica", but none of the other stories match what you're looking for.

I think that you really are looking for two books, Young Monsters and Young Witches & Warlocks.

  • I was thinking the "popsicle stick cross" was "Stevie and the Dark" by Zenna Henderson, which also is in Young Witches and Warlocks, so maybe? – Daphne B Dec 3 '15 at 0:11
3

I have The Anything Box here, so I checked, and now I am sure that the popsicle stick story is indeed "Stevie and the Dark" by Zenna Henderson.

He looked down at it--his precious pocket piece--two pieces of popsicle stick tied together so they looked a little bit like an airplane, and on the top, lopsided and scraggly, the magic letters INRI.

He uses the "pocket piece" on a friend/acquaintance and later on a donkey, both of which have been taken over by an evil force.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.