"In this book, we've asked the writers to journey deep into the Mythic Forest, to bring back tales of those wild lands, and of the creatures who dwell within them. Thus in these pages you'll find witches, wolves, dryads, deer men, a faery or two, and numerous magical spirits of nature..."
- from the editors' preface
Windling's "Introduction" outlines the origins of the archetype of the Green Man and other forest beings.
Bell, M. Shayne: Sickly little Maurice Ravel meets "The Pagodas of Ciboure" - creatures out of French legend - on his grandmother's estate, and asks them to heal him. But what can he do for them?
Bull, Emma: The narrator, a girl with a taste for raves who doesn't fit in with either base kids or townies, is busy growing up in a Marine base town on the border of "Joshua Tree" National Park. (The rave reads like a faery celebration, nice touch.)
Cadman, Michael: "Daphne" narrates the tale of Apollo's attempted seduction.
de Lint, Charles: "Somewhere in My Mind There Is a Painting Box" Twenty years ago, two painters walked into the woods covering the hills outside Newford, but only Frank Spain has returned to a world he no longer belongs to. How can he return when he only tagged along with his mentor in the first place? His mentor, who once said "Many times the only painting box I take is in my head."
Dunn, Carolyn: Braided format, one thread following the ill-fated deer hunt of "Ali Anugne O Chash (The Boy Who Was)", the other narrated by the clubfooted girl who loved him but brought about his downfall.
Emshwiller, Carol: The narrator, matriarch of the hidden forest people who amuse themselves "Overlooking" mountain climbers, alternately talks about her experiences with humans and about one day's company of an old man the youngsters brought to her.
Ford, Jeffrey: "The Green Word" The forest people's revolt draws to a close as Moren Kairn accepts the last gift the witch of the forest has to offer: a mysterious seed that grants him easy dying even as he faces execution. The witch, in turn, creates a champion from the earth watered by Kairn's spilled blood: Vertuminous, a manlike tree with fruit where his heart should be, who regenerates every time he's killed. *That* attracts the king's attention...
Gaiman, Neil: "Going Wodwo" (poem) "I'll leave the way of words to walk the wood..."
Hoffman, Nina Kiriki: The narrator's mother Meg and her prospective stepfather Vernon both work at keeping people "Grounded", Meg in a hospice, Vernon as a psychologist from his home in the woods bordering Silicon Valley. Tale relates Meg and Fiona's first face-to-face meeting with Vernon and his kids, as Fiona keeps looking for the snags of living among these fair folk.
Koja, Kathe: The narrator's forest is made of "Remnants", but the 'Department of People Watching' doesn't like it.
Lee, Tanith: Two half-sisters, Bergette and Ghilane, are the unloved daughters of the village prostitute by two different woodcutters, conceived "Among the Leaves So Green" and often sent back on errands as their mother secretly hopes to be rid of them. Interesting twist, along the lines of Lee's RED AS BLOOD stories, that the hateful older sister needing redemption is the focus rather than the decent younger sister.
Lewis, Bill: "Green Men" (poem) "Foliate faces flower and the/memory of an antique hour/unwinds beneath/a carpenter's craft;/masons, too, saw their shape/sleeping in the stone."
Maguire, Gregory: "Fee, Fie, Foe, et Cetera" Retelling of the Beanstalk story, with the action split between two Jacks - the adventurer and his daft younger brother - and their mother, none of whom are very bright. The king's mismanagement of the treasury leads to trying the family for "agricultural treason", for instance.
McKillip, Patricia A.: "Hunter's Moon" Dawn and her little brother Ewan, lost in the woods during deer-hunting season, are returned to their family in a way the hunters will never forget.
Sherman, Delia: The narrator, a girl living near "Grand Central Park", must play Truth or Dare for her life against one of the fairies living there. "'We ain't in the Old Country no more. We're in New York' - Noo Yawk is what she said - 'New York, US of A. We ain't got no Queens, except across the bridge.'"
Snyder, Midori: "Charlie's Away" to the Greenwood the day after receiving his college acceptance letter, his grief for his lost baby sister and the weight of responsibility for filling two children's places in his parents' lives finally having been too much for him. Something like TAM LIN in reverse.
Vaz, Katherine: "A World Painted by Birds" told in a traditional fairy-tale style. The General ruling Rio Seco condemns those who defy him to a detention camp on the far side of the forest - though not the young lacemaker Lucia, since the General's Wife has a weakness for lace. When Lucia falls in love with a young violinist who has played songs protesting the General's tyranny, the lovers flee into the forest and join the Gardener, who as a man already half a plant found it easy to vanish, but still fights to free the prisoners.
Yolen, Jane: "Song of the Cailleach Bheur" (poem): "She is the winter, the wind, the snow,/Her breath both warm and chilling./A single word from her icy lips,/A single kiss is killing."