October’s Guest Storyteller, Andrea Stephenson

Andrea StephensonAndrea Stephenson writes fiction, including short stories and The skin of a selkie, her first (as yet unpublished) novel. She finds inspiration in nature, the coastline and the turn of the seasons. During the day, Andrea is a libraries manager, but by night she is a writer, artist and witch. 

Her story below is inspired by the activities of the Order of the White Feather, an organisation active in World War One, with the purpose of shaming men into enlisting by encouraging women to present them with a white feather.



Her friends giggled as they nudged her forward so that she could present him with the feather.  He accepted it as if it were a gift, blushing and looking at the ground.  Her friends couldn’t know about the balmy days that they’d shared as children.  They couldn’t know that as a young woman she’d cherished his gentle soul.  The girls moved on and she stayed for a moment, watching the feather outlined starkly against his overcoat.  Neither of them said a word.

She received just one letter, a crumpled missive from the Front.  His words were relentlessly cheerful and still seeking her approval.  Her reply was swift and steeped in the things she couldn’t say.  She wanted to seek forgiveness in person, to tell him that it was she who was shamed by her action, not him.  It was returned unopened with his effects.  She kept it in her bottom drawer with all the things she’d collected but would never use.


Sarah says: Thank you so much, Andrea, for your most poignant contribution this month that says so much in so few words. I had no idea about this appalling practice of shaming men into enlisting until you told me about it, and sincerely hope nothing like it will happen again, although I suspect its equivalent might still occur in some parts of the world: probably with the shaming done by “tweet” rather than by white feather.

Everyone, do visit Andrea’s awesome blog Harvesting Hecate, which is about life, writing, creativity, and magic.

You might also like to check out previous guest storyteller posts via sarahpotterwrites.com/guest-storytellers-2/