Gudgekin the Thistle Girl and Other Tales by John Gardner
Gudgekin the Thistle Girl and Other Tales (1976) is John Gardner's second collection of modern-styled fairy tales. Like his first collection, Dragon, Dragon and Other Tales, it contains only four tales. The title story is about a girl named Gudgeklin who collects thistles for her never-to-be-satisfied step-mother. She is aided by the queen of the fairies. Other stories concern a kingdom threatened by a griffin, and an emperor threatened by shape-shifters. The final story, "The Sea Gulls," is about a king who makes unfortunate bargains. Like Gardner's first collection of fairy tales, this one is also illustrated, this time by Michael Sporn. Save for the colored cover, they are all ink drawings, and while interesting in their own right, they don't seem to me to artistically compatible with the stories. But the stories are well worth reading.