“The Story of Kao Yu” is a new fantasy short story by the legendary Peter S. Beagle which tells of an aging judge traveling through rural China and of a criminal he encounters. Of the story, Beagle says it “comes out of a lifelong fascination with Asian legendry — Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Indian, Indonesian — all drawn from cultures where storytelling, in one form of another, remains a living art. As a young writer I loved everything from Robert van Gulik’s Judge Dee mysteries to Lafcadio Hearn’s translations of Japanese fairytales and many lesser-known fantasies. Like my story ‘The Tale of Junko and Sayuri,’ ‘The Story of Kao Yu’ is a respectful imitation of an ancient style, and never pretends to be anything else. But I wrote it with great care and love, and I’m still proud of it.”
A Locus Awards Finalist, this short story was originally published on Tor.com in December 2016.