Published in Hutchinson's Magazine, February 1929
(First read 12/12/2012)
|Interestingly-named Cornish pub|
Anyway, the long and the short is that an inhabitant of the village of St Gervase, a 40-year old gentlewoman² spinster by the name of Judith Eusters³, falls in love with a strapping young local lad, and makes a bit of an ass of herself. When she finds out he only has eyes for a buxom wench his own age she [yawn] puts a curse on him using the tried-and-tested wishing-well method ... the curse backfires ... or she ends up counter-cursed ... or something ... I forget the rest.
Despite my dismissive tone I really quite liked The Wishing-Well ~ yes, it's as daft as it sounds, but it's fun.
You can read it online here.
¹ See The Inheritor (1930), amongst others.
² Well, as much of a gentlewoman as it's possible to be in the backwoods of Cornwall. Her father, the vicar, appears to be the only other person 'of breeding' around. Oh that reminds me: Benson pulls what I can only call a dazzlingly brazen cheap literary trick by having her father a devotee of folklorey stuff, with a particular interest in wishing-wells, enabling him (EFB) to explain the 'theory' behind the story by getting the Rev. Eusters to dictate a big chunk of it to Judith for the book he's writing on the subject ...
³ A name apparently unique to EFB ~ where he got it from I've no idea.