From an elegant stylist who has written ""over 60"" books for young people--including A Swarm in May and the Carnegie-winning A Grass Rope--a trio of vivid, unusual stories. The king's men in the title story are dwarfs at the Spanish court, where the widowed monarch hosts and then marries a Burgundian queen. Although privileged royal favorites, the dwarfs are also slaves--beaten, ill-housed and ill-fed by the king's servants in his absence, victims of the capricious six-year-old Infanta. Yet one of them finds a mate in the new Queen's entourage; and when the King asks, ""Do dwarfs then love?,"" the Archbishop replies, ""Sire, do Kings?"" ""Boy to Island"" is a dreamlike evocation of a sojourn with the fairies in the misty west of Scotland. In contrast, ""Stony Ray"" is firmly based in a sharply drawn farm family: when Kirsty's experience in a fierce winter storm parallels one her grandfather had as a boy, the suggestion of the supernatural is less important than the insight it yields into the everyday world. These slow-paced, impeccably written stories will find their audience among adults and children with the discrimination to appreciate their imaginative images--and the patience to unravel the meaning of the tightly-knit, poetic style.