Curses by Jim Butcher

I’m slowly making my way through Jim Butcher’s collection of short stories, Brief Cases. This is the fifth story in that collection.

Published: first in Naked City: Tales of Urban Fantasy in 2011

Genre: urban fantasy

Length: 28 pages

Setting: Chicago, between Small Favor and Turn Coat

Summary: Short version: Dresden is hired to look into the Cubs’ Billy Goat Curse

Long version: Harry Dresden is hired by a corporate flunky to look into breaking the Cubs’ Billy Goat Curse. Dresden quickly realizes that someone is refreshing the curse regularly, or it would have worn off by now. He thinks the goat was a shapeshifter who took offense at the slur against him and that shapeshifter has been renewing the spell ever since out of spite. Dresden goes to the Llyn y Fan Fach Tavern to talk to someone of the Tylwyth Teg, an independent kingdom of the Fair Folk, who might be able to help. It seems the King was insulted and has been keeping up the curse ever since. Dresden decides not to ask for the curse to be broken in order to keep the fans of the Cubs more interested in baseball than in winning.

Final thoughts: A fun interpretation of a real world situation. It’s as good a reason as any for why the Cubs kept losing. Since the story was written, the Cubs won the World Series. Even though Dresden didn’t get the curse broken, the Tylwyth Teg King did say people’s hope would eventually overcome the curse. It was an interesting thought that Cubs fans were purer fans because they rooted for their team, even though they knew the Cubs would never win. That’s probably just a story they tell themselves to make themselves feel better since their team never wins. They’ve got to get something out of the relationship, and a feeling of superiority fits right in to fandom.

Title comes from: Dresden was investigating the Billy Goat Curse on the Cubs

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