Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Child of Faerie, Child of the Earth

Every year around this time, when the nights become cooler and the mornings crisp, I look for the book Child of Faerie, Child of Earth, by Jane Yolen. Long one of my favorites, as well as my children's, it tells the story of a group of faeries coming together to celebrate All Hallow's Eve. On this particular night, a young girl is in the woods with her family and neighbors when she comes across a faerie boy, something she had previously believed impossible.

The story is told in beautiful, lilting poetry, with gorgeous illustrations to match. How he takes her by the hand to join the elves, faeries, brownies and sprites in their magical revels beneath the earth, and he begs her to stay. It's tempting, to be sure, but her reply is as it must be: she cannot.

In exchange, she shows him her world - the gardens, meadows and animals that make up her life. He helps her with her chores. She encourages him to stay with her, to work and rest together. He is surely impressed by the daytime world she inhabits, a world of sunlight and color, but determines that he cannot leave his faerie world behind.

Knowing she is about to lose her new friend, she searches for a gift to give him, something to remember her by in the years to come. She returns with a fresh egg from one of her hens. He is moved by her gift, and touches the egg shell, from which he magically pulls a feather to give her in return. In the end, they return to their homes and live their lives, but much to everyone's surprise, they occasionally visit each other in that faerie ring in the woods, until they are old and gray.

This is a friendship tale of the first degree, a beautiful example of simplicity in storytelling and excellence in illustration. Those of you who still believe in faeries won't be disappointed.

Guest post by Bridget W. 

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