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The white spell

Short Story (1,720 words)

Three brother, John, Idris and Morgan Evans share a rivalry over sheepdog trials and also over a girl. She is called Helen, and they inadvertently see her swimming naked in a river pool. She declares that one of them must marry her since they have seen her "as only a husband should", and says it will be the one who wins the sheepdog trials that year. John has the best dog, Jason, and expects to win. Idris, after failing to poison the dog, tries with another expensive dog. Morgan goes to a local witch and buys a spell.

In the trials Morgan does fairly well, but Idris and John's dogs do badly. Morgan wins, marries the girl and emigrates to Australia. How did the spell work?

Like "The Aberdyll Onion", this is a piece of Welsh whimsy, although it starts in Harry's Bar in Venice. The unnamed narrator hears from his companion about a special sheepdog called Jason.

Owing to an oversight when the story was first printed in Lilliput, no author credit was given, but the story was properly attributed in the June 1956 issue. Lilliput was classified as an adult publication, and this story, really very innocent although accompanied by a line drawing of Helen bathing, is still only issued under restricted rules by the British Library.


Lilliput, May 1956.
Reprinted in The Blue Book (McCall Corporation), USA, May 1956.
Included in the now discontinued collection Comedies and Whimsies, edited by John Higgins,, 2007.
Included in the collection The Aberdyll Onion and other mysteries, Farrago Books, 2020.