Come Lady Death by Peter S. Beagle

Why I Read It: Because I have enjoyed Beagle’s The Last Unicorn since I was a kid.

Where I Got It: Own it.

Who I Recommend This To: If you have a fascination for quirky + morbid, this story is for you.

Publisher: Del Rey (1979)

Length: 12 pages

Come Lady Death was a surprisingly delightful short story by Peter S. Beagle, the author of The Last Unicorn, which I loved as a kid. In this entertaining tale, Lady Neville is an ancient, very rich, and extremely bored aristocrat. She has been obeyed all her life and now she must search out, nay, DEMAND a new entertainment. Her miniscule spark of originality comes up with a ball, one to which she will invite Death. Of course there ensues the questions of how to locate Death, how to address the invitation, when to hold the ball, etc. Imagine how Death’s acceptance letter is pawed over and discussed ad nauseum.

On the night of the ball, it looks like Death will not show; all the guests are disappointed and Lady Neville is embarrassed. Then Lady Death walks through the door. She is young and fair; soon the ladies are jealous and all the men wish to dance with her. But throughout the night only Lady Neville and one man have the courage to dance and talk with her. I won’t spoil the ending for you, which was an intriguing surprise for me, and there are many little tidbits I’ve left out. Enjoy.

Come Lady Death was one story in the collection The Fantasy Worlds of Peter S. Beagle (430 pages).

What I Liked: The ending; the endless debate of how to address the envelope inviting Death; the discussion of what Death would look like.

What I Disliked: The story was a little short, but I guess that just shows I would have enjoyed more.

Note: This review was originally published on on 07/29/2011 and republished, and reformatted, here with permission of Lady Darkcargo.

2 thoughts on “Come Lady Death by Peter S. Beagle”

  1. I had the honor of meeting Peter S. Beagle earlier this year at Phoenix Comicon. It was truly a delight. Like you, I’ve been a fan of “The Last Unicorn” for years. I’ll definitely have to look up this story.

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