From the Author
Readers in the US may, or may not, have heard of a carved chalk giant who stands proudly on a hillside overlooking a valley in the English county of Dorset. In one hand he wields a club, but the most notable aspect of the figure is not what he waves in his hand, but a rather more prominent feature that rises proudly to a great height, hence one of his popular names being 'the Rude Man of Cerne'. Theories vary as to when he was carved, and what he was supposed to represent, with claims being made that he was a Celtic fertility deity, a Roman depiction of Hercules, or a seventeenth-century satire on 'the English Hercules' Oliver Cromwell. Whatever his origins and his meaning, he lacks a consort: there is no 'Rude Woman of Cerne', or there wasn't until I wrote this story. That said, I do not create a giantess of an equally lewd appearance, but rather introduce the reader to a character who is rude in quite a different way, which is to say that she is overbearing in her opinions, and intent on forcing them onto anyone she comes across, including her fee-paying guests.
Whereas the Rude Man represents a bond with the deep past of this part of England, the Rude Woman serves as a symbol of the encroachment of a form of modernity that is at variance with the spirit of the place, and violates the natural order. It is this rupturing of what 'should be', and her attempt to impose what she thinks it 'ought to be', that unleashes a primal force that may not be humanly controlled. On one level, therefore, this is a tale of psychic retribution, but on another plane it serves, as you will see if you are familiar with the type, as a satire of a certain kind of hypocritical English 'progressive'. There is a good deal of comedy in this tale, but those whom it satirises may not find it to their taste.