Jill set us off with The Spider-Like Creature with No Name [not played by Clint Eastwood] - definitely something nasty! Let's hope the King is content with only one lot of spinning in their marriage, or else there's going to be a whole lot of trouble! [Bearing in mind that Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell will be on the box for another six weeks, it's worth pointing out that Susanna Clarke, in her collection of short stories, The Ladies of Grace Adieu, has a very witty and scholarly variant on the Tom-Tit-Tot story, called On Lickerish Hill.]
Laura and Mike told their own invention, based on having been to too many story-clubs and worrying about how all these transformed princes got to be transformed. In retrospect, there should have been a warning about gambling, the drinking of alcohol, and toilet humour [mild sex and menace goes without saying]. But it all ended happily - just not the way you expected.
Paul closed the first half with text into tale, in the form of Sredni Vashtar by Saki - a grim little piece which fitted the theme of "something nasty in the woodshed" like a glove. Paul's complete restraint in this shocker was universally admired.
Amabel's Albanian tale [from her Albanian granny, she said] was grim and bloodthirsty, like most of the history of that country, but showed that mother love triumphs over everything, including death and masonry.
In a lighter vein, Raph proved with his story, The Sword and the Trumpet, that music is mightier than militarism - a good reflection to take home at the end of an evening!