Microfiction: The white stag

For Sonya’s three line tales writing prompt

Photo ©Rebecca Johnston


The white stag turned to face the hunters and they held their breath.

A wish it would give an they let it go, as they would, for who would kill the white stag?

A hound barked, the stag bounded away and, carried on the breeze, a sound that only Oisín could hear, the lusty roar of a newborn baby and its mother’s cry of happiness. He had his wish.

Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

26 thoughts on “Microfiction: The white stag”

      1. Anything out of the ordinary was a sign of the supernatural for ancient peoples. You’re right, a white stag seen through the branches at nightfall must be a very eerie sight.

      2. It’s easy to see why people saw them as supernatural creatures.
        Did you ever read ‘The Precious Bane’ by Mary Webb? A book set in 19th century Shropshire, but could easily be from an earlier time – full of ‘sin eaters’ and witch ducking and soul cakes. The main character is born with a hare lip, supposedly because a hare crossed her mothers path when she was pregnant. Some of these beliefs persisted a surprisingly long time

      3. You are the second person in a week to remind me that I have never read Precious Bane! It stared at me from the bookshelves in my parent’s house all through my childhood and I never opened it! I really must read it now.

      4. That’s quite a coincidence – I’ve never encountered anyone else who’s even heard of it! It was one of my favourite books as a teenager – I still have the same (very yellow) copy as I like to revisit every now and again. And the character names are worthy of Dickens – Kester Woodseaves, Prue Sarn, Jancis Beguildy. It cast a proper spell on me, though I did read it at the age when if you love a book you love it for life.

      5. The spine of that book was so familiar. I read many of my parent’s books as a teenager, Katherine Mansfield, Elizabeth Bowen, Richard Hughes…but never Mary Webb. No idea why not.

      6. Not everything appeals to the teen mind. My mum’s shelves heaved with Catherine Cookson, Susan Howatch and Jean Plaidy novels but I didn’t touch a single one. The main books I do remember pawing through were a ‘costume through the ages’ book, a catalogue from the 1972 Tutankhamun exhibition at the British Museum (to which I was taken in my push chair) and a book about bog bodies. I later went on to do a History degree – Mum’s fault entirely 🙂

      7. You were obviously a child who knew her own mind. I remember being terribly snobby about Jean Plaidy at school. For some reason she was an author everybody read…except me.

      8. I’ve no idea what her writing’s supposed to be like – I think like Catherine Cookson she may have suffered for being so popular and read largely by women. Female authors in this bracket do sometimes struggle to be taken seriously

      9. Since women were not taken terribly seriously in the 1970s, if women enjoyed reading her, that was probably the kiss of death. Popularity used to be synonymous with rubbish, but nowadays it just means wow! that must be great!

      10. All true. There are so many women in publishing roles it’s easier for us to be taken seriously. And the divisions between lit fic and genre are eroding all the time.

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