[Edit: Originally posted August 25, 2018]
The Farmer’s Son, the Soldier, and the Mayor of Mice is a charming original fairy tale about a young farmer’s son who travels to the city looking for love. This is made difficult by the fact that life in the city is hard and the mice that live in the walls of his home unsettle the people he brings home. So when he meets a young soldier and brings him home, he tells him the scuttling of the mice is just the house settling. What the farmer’s son doesn’t realize is that the mice work for the evil Mayor of Mice, and the mice kidnap the soldier in the night and the farmer’s son must rescue him.
The story really feels like a classic fairy tale and the feel of the story is only enhanced by the artwork. Timothy Bush has a really wonderful style of drawing critters and all the mice and other creatures in the story were exactly that. My favorite spread of artwork was one of the Mayor of Mice sitting in a cave lording over the other mice and the humans he is tormenting. In the bottom left corner of the left hand page there are are four mice that are just endearingly evil looking in my opinion, (You can see them in the snaps below.)
I’ve always really loved fairy tales and queer fairy tales all the more. Perhaps it’s because, excluding the Grimm’s brother’s darker ending tales, we’ve come to see fairy tales as stories that will always have happy endings no matter the peril within them. The cold open of the story has got to be one of my favorite things about the story, with the farmer basically saying to his son ‘Hey, I know you like boys, but there aren’t a lot of options in our small town, maybe go to the city to seek your fortune there.’ It was a nice turn from what seems to be the fairy tale standards of “I’m dissatisfied at home and will run away from home to see fortune” or “Awful parents must leave.” It’s ultimately a small thing, but for a gay story it’s those small things that matter. So, with a happy beginning and a happy end and just enough peril in the middle, I would say that The Farmer’s Son, is a story suitable for most ages and definitely a must read if you can get your hands on a copy.
Unfortunately, The Farmer’s Son, the Soldier, and the Mayor of Mice is not available for purchase online at the moment as it was made to be sold at FlameCon 2018. You can learn more about Timothy Bush through his online portfolio here.
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