...is a movie I'm excited to see. That isn't to say I've made up my mind to like the movie before I've seen it (which some fans of various fandoms seem to do, and I'm sure they're happier for it). I hope very much that I will like it, and so far things are looking good, but there's a chance it could turn out that looking at and speculating over the pictures is as good as it gets. Well, they are great pictures, and I'll be looking at them in detail so here's a spoiler warning: I know what happens in this story, and I will be writing about it.
If you haven't already but would like to, you can easily read all about what is known about the movie so far on various websites (cast, release dates, interviews etc.), so I'm not going to repeat all that. You can also see all the pictures that have been released, of course, but what you won't get anywhere else (so far, as far as I'm aware) is a fan of the book (and other adaptations) geeking out and analysing what the images suggest about the upcoming film. I'll mention briefly that writer/director Greta Gerwig has said the new adaptation will focus mainly on Book 2, what we British call Good Wives (though I've read that Louisa M. Alcott never approved that title), as the two volumes are almost always published separately in the UK (while apparently many Americans don't even realise it has two volumes); material from Book 1 is to appear in the form of thematically linked flashbacks (well, that sounds fine to me).
Most of the images I am examining first appeared in this Vanity Fair article; others were released by Emma Watson (Meg) on her Instagram; a few are from other sources. First of all, thanks go to Emma for giving us this, quite early in the proceedings:
Without wishing to sound at all snooty or condescending, the best any article I read could make of this image was that it showed cast members 'in period costume', ignoring the fact that the girls are all dressed as men. But they are dressed up for their Pickwick Society game, of course! Most definitely a Book 1 moment, with the actors (joined by Greta) depicting Laurie's and the sisters' younger years.
Leading on quite nicely from this, we can see Jo, Meg and Amy at another of their children's games i.e. putting on a play of Jo's devising:
I am absolutely positive about those first two images, and I will be extremely surprised if I'm wrong, but I may be wrong about some of these pictures (just by the law of averages, I probably am). This next one though, depicting another Book 1 moment, I'm still fairly confident about:
Here, Emma Watson is receiving instructions for a scene that has to be taking place at the party where Meg drinks and flirts and wears some make-up (though of course she refuses rouge... in the book) and wears an unsuitable borrowed dress and has to be talked round by Laurie. It's not the only party Meg attends in Book 1, but the body language here shows she's not having fun, and assuredly she is wearing That Dress. So that was easy, but now I'm going to go out on a limb and make a suggestion that this scene is thematically linked to the following incident from Book 2:
It's Meg again, and at first glance, she could be thinking about absolutely anything. Maybe she's not doing what I think she's doing at all; maybe she's reading/writing letters instead, because there are a couple there... but that doesn't sound very interesting. Rather, I suggest that the prop directly in front of her is an account book, into which (in the book) she doesn't quite like to enter the expense of $50 worth of silk that Sallie Moffat (née Gardiner) helps her to convince herself to buy (if you see what I mean). When this happens, Meg is newly married and not used to managing a tight budget, and she still wants the beautiful things her well-off friends have - just as she did at that party! She does make up for it, though, and hopefully I'm right about this so we can see that touching moment in the film.
It looks as though Meg is going to get quite a lot of screen time (and I hope that's true). A while before the above pictures of her were released, Emma Watson was filmed (by an opportunistic amateur, if I remember rightly) either filming or rehearsing (depending on what you read) with a carpet bag out on the street:
I don't think that car is going to make the final cut! Naturally, there was a lot of modern stuff in the footage I saw. I would link you to the video, but I can't seem to find it again (sorry). If you haven't seen it for yourself, then, you'll have to take my word for it when I tell you that at one point, Meg gets out of a carriage (perhaps an omnibus?) and enters a building, which is very exciting because I've never seen that in a Little Women adapation before! It looks like a Book 2 moment to me; I could be wrong, but my judgement is that Meg looks like she's doing wife and maybe mum stuff here.
Now here's a video I can link you to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ew3pSnInHk4 - and here's a screen-cap from it:
Judging by the girls' poses and expressions here, Meg is giving Amy money for limes, and Jo is thinking she ought not to do so (I don't suppose Beth has a strong opinion either way). Watching the video, it can only be that scene from Book 1! As to what it may link to from Book 2... I can't think!
So, while I'm feeling less sure of myself, here's a picture that I cannot place:
Either there's some deviation from the source material here, or I've just forgotten this bit where they all go to the beach with a picnic. Or are there things to do in those baskets? One thing it does remind me of is the 'Castles in the Air' scene (Book 1), in which the girls and Laurie (who has pursued them unnoticed, so this picture could depict this bit) talk about their hopes for the future whilst doing tasks (sewing etc.) in what they call the 'Busy Bee Society' (a very good idea because it makes them get things done!). The sand/beach aspect, though, does not remind me of that; it reminds me of when Jo (and only Jo) takes Beth to the coast in the hope that it will strengthen her (Book 2). Does Beth look a little frail here, and is that supportive arm of Jo's actually holding her up? Or not? I don't know. But the picture looks great anyway - very much like a Little Women adaptation should look!
I do know that some location filming took place at Harvard University's Arnold Arboretum, thanks chiefly to this article from the Harvard Gazette, and it even provides some information on what is being depicted here i.e. Europe, and we all know who goes there. That is, in the book Amy meets up with Laurie abroad whilst accompanying the pretty much invisible Aunt Carrol; in most (but not all) adaptations, she's with Aunt March (and I can see why they did that). For this adaptation, Meryl Streep is confirmed to have been filming at this location. I have seen her character referred to in articles as Aunt March and Aunt Josephine. If her name is Josephine, that's a change from the book (unless it's a very brief and obscure reference that I've missed, but I don't think so!), but whatever they call her, she is certainly depicting the Aunt March character. Here she is being directed by Greta:
She looks ready to be grumpy enough for any scene, I'd say, but I'm afraid I'm not expert enough to tell specifically what she's grumpy about.
Now here are a couple of pictures of people (and horses) in costume filming at the Arnold Arboretum, though unfortunately these images capture neither any of the main cast nor the beauty of the place that I've seen in other pictures of it:
I guess we'll have to wait for the movie for both of those things, unless more pictures are released in the meantime. Until then, there's plenty more to enjoy and speculate over.
Though I make so bold as to claim I'm the first to attach these images to specific parts of the book, the Vanity Fair article does make reference to Book 1 when describing this picture of Saoirse Ronan: 'Jo’s odd, boyish habit of lying on the living room rug to unwind':
While I'm on Jo, I feel positive that the following must be her rejection of Laurie's proposal (just look at their anguished expressions!):
Later on, as all fans know (whether they like it or not - and I'm fine with it, by the way, though I know others are not), Laurie discovers that Jo and Amy have 'switched places in [his] heart'. The following shows Florence Pugh and Timothée Chalamet filming, I should think, party time in Europe. For me the most memorable part of that exchange in Book 2 is Amy explaining to Laurie the cheap 'illusion' fabric making her dress look more expensive. This doesn't seem to be what's happening in the picture, but rather Laurie is helping Amy to button up amidst some unresolved sexual tension:
As with the limes incident, I don't have any suggestions for what this may link to, if anything. The whole story of Amy and Laurie's courtship surely links best, of everything in Book 1, to him talking her round about going to Aunt March's to avoid scarlet fever; indeed, other adaptations have created links there, though not in the form of flashbacks (I'm thinking specifically of the 1994 movie, 'I promise to kiss you before you die', and the 1978 mini-series, 'Laurie, come be good to me!').
Speaking of scarlet fever, we haven't seen many pictures of Eliza Scanlen as Beth yet, but here's one of her and only her looking very happy with some flowers:
This could reasonably be just about any point in the novel when Beth is alive and well, but judging by the floral theme of the image - including the wreath on her head - my guess is that she's preparing for Meg's wedding. As this takes place very near the beginning of Book 2, Meg's 'current' storyline (if you see what I mean) will follow her married life, as I was discussing earlier. This train of thought brings me to another image that Emma Watson posted quite early on, accompanied by a caption that introduced Laura Dern as Marmee. It's actually hard to see that it is Laura Dern (though I did not doubt Emma's word on the matter), but luckily we now have a clearer picture of her in the same scene (quite clearly):
Little Women and Jurassic Park (the movie) are two of my favourite things ever, so I was pretty chuffed to read that Laura Dern would be playing the part of Marmee. Here she's talking to Meg (or about to be when Greta gets out of shot), who is looking pretty housewifely; I believe they are in Meg and John's house, and Marmee is advising Meg on not neglecting John now that they have children, and allowing him to play more of a role in their upbringing (or rather that of their boy Demi, she says in the book, but perhaps not in this 2019 movie). Going back to my guess about Meg and her account book, that's potentially two scenes showing the teething problems in Meg and John's marriage where Meg really is the one in the wrong. If I'm right, I hope she gets plenty of redeeming moments too!
I must admit, this blog post has been totally unstructured. I've been putting up pictures in the order of my train of thought, and now I have just one left:
It's a lovely one of the four sisters. Since they're looking curiously out of a window, I think it must be Laurie they're looking at, before they've met him and they're wondering about him. I seem to be a little obsessed with Beth's health, because I now wonder why she's the only one sitting down in this picture, though it can't mean anything. I cannot conceive that there is, or that anyone could create, any moment post-scarlet fever in which all four girls look out of a window together. I tell you, it's just not possible!
Well, that's all the pictures, and so I must finish. I find it hard to finish things, but since I'm blogging about Little Women, I'll leave you with a quote that I have often thought I ought to quote. First I shall introduce it with Marmee's often-quoted line: 'To be loved and chosen by a good man is the best and sweetest thing which can happen to a woman, and I sincerely hope my girls may know this beautiful experience.' There it was, and I think it's a shame and a disservice whenever somebody leaves it there in order to argue that the book is not as ahead of its time as people claim: people like me! In fact, Marmee goes on to say quite a lot more, including:
'Better be happy old maids than unhappy wives, or unmaidenly girls, running about to find husbands.'
- Louisa May Alcott, Little Women, 1868 - Chapter 9: Meg Goes to Vanity Fair
I've been badly neglecting my writing website and blog for about a year now, I suppose because I didn't feel I'd done anything worth mentioning, but this year I felt motivated to have another go at NaNoWriMo.
Well, I just won NaNoWriMo, minutes ago, and I do feel proud! :D
I also feel a bit frustrated not to have finished the story, quite. I have four bullet points at the end of the document telling me the bits I still need to write. Argh! :O I really wish I hadn't written any of the pointless bits I'm going to edit out, but actually used all my 50,000 words to get to the end. I do need a break from this one now, so it's going to be a question of motivating myself to come back and finish the first draft. I can't do it just yet!
At this point, my feeling is that my novel is no worse than a first draft ought to be, and there is some hope for it. I'm very glad about that, because I've had the basic idea for years and years and years, but never been able to write it before. I tried for NaNoWriMo 2009, and that was the one year I attempted the challenge that I failed (in the sense that I didn't reach the word count, anyway). It was just turning into absolutely nothing. But now, I've at least told that story... mostly!
As I say, I really wish I'd finished it, but I will get to it - I think it needs to be no more than another 5,000 words - and then, well, I'll have a bunch of difficult and frustrating editing to do. Yay! :D
Meanwhile, I keep thinking about what I'd like to do with my attempts from 2013 and 2014 that I've hardly dared to look at because they're so messy. But now I've fallen back in love with the ideas. Too many ideas... :/
Thank you, of course, to all my friends over at DeviantArt who encouraged me. I might have done it without you, but I'm very glad I didn't have to. :)
I am delighted to be able to announce my second published work with Jayhenge, this time a more lengthy piece entitled 'Mysterious Circumstances', which takes up a good chunk of the Unearthly Sleuths anthology. I am published alongside a good many of my very talented DeviantArt buddies, and that's just awesome.
Of course, I was very proud when 'Peacebot' was selected by Jessica for publication; in fact, she hand-picked it from my rather large collection of flash fiction over at DeviantArt. It was written in response to a prompt, then polished for submission. Artificial intelligence is a theme that interests me, and the story offers a snapshot of the kind of ideas that I have about it. 'Mysterious Circumstances' is different, in that it was written specifically for submission to Unearthly Sleuths, and a great deal of time and thought went into its composition. I do feel that it's more quintessentially me; my friends and followers on DeviantArt have read numerous stories involving a tenacious teenage girl, an atmospheric British setting of some kind, fuzzy animals and/or my favourite bits of folklore. This story offers all of those things... and, er, hopefully something new and interesting as well! ^^;
I'll keep this spoiler-free and refrain from writing about why I chose the supernatural elements that I did. Suffice it to say, all the inspiration came from the legends of Orkney, which you can read about here. Shall I confess...? Okay, I will. I've never been there! Hopefully one day I'll make that long and complicated journey, but I wrote the story before that day came. It's just that I've been enchanted by the legends, and I've felt a little something of the extraordinary atmosphere of the place through words and pictures, though I'm sure this is nothing compared with actually being there. Even so, my heart and soul are in the story that the place inspired, and I'm so proud to see it in print.
The icing on the cake is the illustration that accompanies my piece. An illustration is included with author bios to complement their story, all of them beautiful, and I could not be happier with mine. It's gorgeous, and perfectly evokes the atmosphere I was trying to create. When I submitted the story, Jessica told me in her response that she 'love[d] the feel' of it. This was very much what I had hoped to achieve.
I started being interested in the Brontë sisters when I found my mother watching an adaptation of Jane Eyre at a very interesting part - I think the introduction of Bertha, but I don't remember much about it. I did think we were in the house we lived in until I was eleven, but looking up the adaptation I think it was, it was made in 1997 which dates it a year after we moved out. Anyway, the upshot is that I must have been about twelve when my mother told me all about the literary sisters Charlotte, Emily and Anne, and their ill-fated brother Branwell. Their older sisters, Maria and Elizabeth, and other lesser-known facts I found out by my own reading of an easy book about the family in the school library. I read Jane Eyre when I was thirteen, and certainly I found it difficult, but I also loved at least bits of it. I then tried Wuthering Heights, decided I'd better wait a few years to try again, and went on with Anne's two novels: The Tenant of Wildfell Hall first, which I found very interesting, then her first novel Agnes Grey, which I liked but not so much.
Without going into too much more detail, I've read most of their works at least one since then, including some poetry and childhood efforts by Branwell as well as his siters. I've only recently started on Charlotte's three less famous novels; I read The Professor last year, am now on Shirley and have yet to read Villette (another that I tried to read when I was younger but couldn't manage it). I decided it was time I read these books when my brother Jake and a friend of ours decided to go to North Yorkshire on holiday. The Brontës lived in West Yorkshire, so a little way away from where we were going; but I live in Hertfordshire, and if I was ever going to get on a train and visit their home in a day then this was my chance. So, on Wednesday 24th August 2016, I fulfilled my wish to visit the Brontë Parsonage Museum.
The friend didn't come on this trip, but Jake did, and all photographs featuring me were taken by him. I took all the photographs I'm not in (not always particularly well but never mind)! We took two normal trains to Keighley Station, where Branwell used to work as a rail clerk (and got into some trouble); from there, we took a steam train to Haworth, just like Branwell used to do!
From the station, it is necessary to climb a couple of very steep hills to reach the parsonage. Haworth Main Street is a just one big hill, and it's longer and steeper than one might hope! Anyway, we did it, and had a little sit-down outside the very church where Partick Brontë was the parson. Below is a picture of me by the church, and beside that a family of chickens (see if you can spot which is which - ha ha joke!). The hen and her chicks were pecking around in the churchyard and were too cute not to be photographed. Could they be actual Brontë chicken descendants...?
Here is the outside of the schoolroom (I think you're sometimes allowed in, but not that day), and a close-up of the notice that explains it.
Inside the museum, I was allowed to take photographs without a flash - a rule which didn't stop one woman from attempting to destroy the handwritten text on one of the children's famous 'little books'! The exhibits below include the picture I took of one of those books, along with some artwork, letters and regular books that give you an idea of its size. The children's early creative endeavours are very famous, and I was particularly keen to see them. It's true that the handwriting is pretty much impossible to read - translating the works for print must have been a huge undertaking. Also, here's me standing on the steps on my way into the museum.
Below are some more exhibits. I was particularly interested in the dog collars belonging to Flossy (the small ones), and to Keeper (the big one), who apparently had a reputation for being fierce. You can also see Anne's writing box and Emily's christening mug. The dining room table is very important! The family used to write here and, according to the museum guidebook, at least some of Agnes Grey, Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre were composed at this very table (it also says that Charlotte started Jane Eyre in Manchester, when looking after her father following his famous cataracts operation).
The grandfather clock is remembered as being very important in Patrick Brontë's nightly routine, as he would wind it on the way up to bed and tell the children not to stay up too late (even when they were no longer children).
It's not obvious from the picture that the clock is about halfway up the stairs, where they turn a corner. A few steps above this, there is another corner, which provides a good place to stand and photograph clock so long as there aren't too many visitors on the stairs with you. I had an opportunity and I took it!
Just one more thing I really need to show you: the famous Black Bull pub, which we photographed on the way back down to the station.
My fellow Brontë enthusiasts will know that Branwell more or less drank himself to death - although there were other factors, including opium abuse and, perhaps most significantly, tuberculosis.
Did you notice the view behind me? Yorkshire is very beautiful, and we had some other interesting adventures there. I paid my second ever visit to Whitby, which is a wonderful place (though it has its setbacks in the peak season), and which also has literary associations. We got lost a few times, in the car and on foot, and we had extremes of wet and hot weather. Our Haworth day was one of the least stressful for Jake and me, once we'd found Malton Station and got past the fear of missing our first train, but meanwhile back in North Yorkshire our friend - who is only in his early twenties (bless him) - got the back of his car dented by a hit-and-run driver. It's almost like some kind of weird cosmic balancing act, because while he was having a bit of a nightmare with that, I had a wonderful time at the Brontë family home.
For more information about the museum, you can check out the website: https://www.bronte.org.uk/
I'm behind with this, because it happened over a month ago, but still I am very excited to have been approached by Jessica of JayHenge Publishing and had my first acceptance from them! 'Peacebot' is a very, very short story I wrote for Flash Fiction Month way back in 2012. Jessica specifically requested that I send her this story, modified a little to fit the theme of the anthology, so it was an interesting and unexpected little adventure to blow the dust off it and give it some tweaks. In fact, I think it's the first real edit an FFM piece by me has ever had!
Of course, full details of the book are on my Published page, and there are plenty of reasons to click the links besides throwing me a bone. JayHenge has other anthologies out, and more in the pipeline; the two older anthologies are now free for Kindle, and there are plenty of great authors to discover. I was particularly excited to read this detailed review of Intrepid Horizons (that's the name of the book, by the way), which picks out a few stories by name. Including mine. Squee! XD
It was this publication that inspired me to come and pay this website some real attention after only a few minimal updates, and a stupidly long time with just one reading in the audio section (now called 'Hear' to fit on the navigation bar :P ). I'd known all along that the old design was a little old and tired, but it was seeing the websites of my fellow writers that made me finally decide to change it. I don't really know anything about design, but fortunately Weebly takes care of all that for me; it's just a question of choosing which design best suits my purposes. Finding an image for the top of each page is the hardest part, and I flatter myself that I've done rather well, but of course I could be wrong.
I recently recorded to stories for the audio section. One thing I learned as a student is that we must pretend all our work is perfect, and hope people don't notice the specific flaws, even if they realise that the whole is in fact far from perfect. I will say, though, I can't help being critical of my recordings. ^^; Still, I can read out loud (which, believe me, is more than some people can do), and I happen to think the second attempt is an improvement on the first. But they both carry the same date - how will you know which is my first attempt? Aha! See if you can work it out! ;)
Looking forward, a couple of mildly exciting events are coming up. There's FFM in July, obviously. Last year was such a great success, I mustn't get my hopes up too high for this one, but I do at least hope I'll produce some worthy pieces for the site (perhaps even one or two I'll feel like reading out loud). Then in August I'm off on holiday, and one of the things I'll be doing is visiting the Brontë Parsonage Museum. I am very excited about this, and must certainly write a blog post all about it. But until then - or possibly some time before - adieu. :)
I have spent much of today putting together the Flash Fiction section on this website. If you don't happen to know what it's all about and would like to, take a look at Flash-Fic-Month on DeviantArt. I've had a lot of fun with it in the past, and today I had fun looking through my old pieces and selecting the best ones for here. I think my best year was the first one I did, 2010, and I'd gone seriously downhill by 2012! In 2013 I significantly reduced my flash fiction output, and last year I didn't contribute at all.
Well, now I'm getting back to it, because FFM 2015 has a purpose for me going all the way back to NaNoWriMo 2014. Editing that stuff is hard work, and everyone knows that historical fiction is seriously tough. I've been balking at the thought of all the parts that need totally rewriting, and all the parts that I ought to have written but haven't and, I confess, putting it off just a little bit. Well, now I'm going to force myself to draft all of the new material that I know needs doing. Doubtless I'll find more and more and more to do after July, but this plan is going to make a big dent in my workload. Maybe it'll even get a bit easier after that... :-/
Seriously, I'm excited about this novel, and the hard work will pay off if I make it happen. I'm already proud of quite a lot of what I've done, and I was inspired in April when I visited the Norwich Castle Museum, specifically to see the Iceni exhibit (but I enjoyed other parts too). There is nothing in existence that Boudica definitely handled or even saw, but there is stuff that definitely belonged to her people, including an impressive coin hoard that was surely buried because the owner was about to embark on her rebellion. Since they were never reclaimed, we can guess what happened to that person. I want to make those events seem real and close, and that coin hoard behind a pane of glass, in Norfolk, is about as physically close as you can get.
Less seriously, I intend to have plenty of fun with Flash Fiction Month as well, and write a few pieces of less significance. I enjoyed reading some of what I've produced in past Julys, though I say it myself. :)
''Twas the Night Before Christmas' or 'A Visit From St Nicholas' by Clement C. Moore
Father Christmas is seen, reindeer and all, as he comes to a family's house and goes about his work.
This poem is very famous, and a classic that ought to be included in every Christmas collection (well, quite possibly it is). There is no need for me to explain anything about it. I've no objection to having something a bit predictable to finish my Christmas treasury. This is a Christmas Eve poem, and that's all there is to it!
'Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night.'
Clement C. Moore, ''Twas the Night Before Christmas', Rosemary Gray (ed.), 'Twas the Night Before Christmas and Other Christmas Stories (Wordsworth, 2010), p.23.
'The Spell Begins to Break' from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
Illustration by Paul Baynes
Novel Excerpt (1950)
The White Witch's spell, that makes it always winter and never Christmas in Narnia, is breaking. Father Christmas has come to Narnia with gifts for the Pevensie children.
This book is another great classic, and another favourite of mine, and - like Little Women much earlier in the collection - it deserves to be butter in this Christmas sandwich. The Father Christmas chapter is very striking, and unlike anything else I have chosen, with Father Christmas being a more noble and serious figure than tradition dictates. The gifts he brings are weapons for Peter, Susan and Lucy to fight (or more accurately in the girls' case, to defend themselves) against the evil queen and her army (we can also suppose he brought something for the absent Edmund, but we never learn what it was). Of course Lewis meant us to understand that Narnia is deprived of more than presents and feasts with the disappearance of Christmas. Aslan's presence breaks Jadis's spell in many ways, though the religious connotations are not overstated here, which perhaps the harsher critics will approve of - but never mind them. The story is for children, as is my Christmas collection. This piece is exciting, striking and empowering for them, and shows Christmas in a unique way, while still it is a beacon of hope and signifies something very special.
' "These are your presents," was the answer, "and they are tools, not toys. The time to use them is perhaps near at hand. Bear them well." '
C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (HarperCollins Children's Books, 2001), p.118.
'The Song of the Holly Fairy' and 'The Song of the Christmas Tree Fairy' by Cicely Mary Barker
Illustration by the poet
The Holly Fairy welcomes the festive season, and then the magic of Christmas brings to life the fairy on the top of the tree, when the children are asleep.
It was only after a lot of thinking, with one spot left to fill, that I remembered Flower Fairies of the Winter. Then once I'd thought of it, I didn't know if it contained any Christmassy poems, or even if I'd find my copy - but I did, and sure enough there was 'The Song of the Christmas Tree Fairy' at the very end. It's short and sweet at three six-line stanzas, not very long for this collection, so I turned to 'The Song of the Holly Fairy' to see if it would do to go with it. The answer is yes, it will. The Holly Fairy hails the coming of December, and boastingly references a certain Christmas carol. Like Beatrix Potter and Joyce Lankester Brisley, Barker began as an artist, and even a total Scrooge could surely see why children were so delighted by her Flower Fairy illustrations.
'And carol-boys go singing clear
'Of all the trees (O hush and hear!)
'The holly bears the crown!'
Cicely Mary Barker, Flower Fairies of the Winter (Blackie and Son Ltd., 1987), no pagination.
'O magic sight, this joyous night!
'O laden, sparkling tree!'
Barker's illustration of the Christmas Tree Fairy, courtesy of flowerfairyprints.com.
Barker's illustration of the Holly Fairy, courtesy of flowerfairyprints.com.
'Father Christmas' by Catherine Storr
Illustrations by Marjorie-Ann Watts
Short Story (1957)
The Wolf thinks that Polly cannot possibly resist Father Christmas, but instead of catching her with his disguise, he ends up playing the part in a shop full of children.
The Polly and the Wolf stories are some of the first I used to read myself, and they are brilliant. The Wolf in particular is one of the greatest and funniest fictional characters I have ever come across. In this story, he has some truly hilarious moments, such as trying to come to terms with Polly and himself not being able to see each other when he puts on his disguise to phone her.
' "...One of them did ask for a baby sister," he said thoughtfully, "but did she really want her to eat, I ask myself?" '
Catherine Storr, Polly and the Wolf Again (Puffin Books, 1970), p.29.