Monday, November 8, 2010

The Midnight Folk

John Masefield 2008

"Then don't repeat it," she said.  "Moonlight is a thing of the night, all these things beginning with M are:  there's Moonlight, and Murder, and Mystery, and Missing the Midnight Train, and Mourning a Much-loved Pa; all dark, sorrowful things."

This is a meandering story full of the very best things- English country manors, smugglers, pirates and shipwrecks, highwaymen, witches and talking animals and mystery.  The plot is like a dream, convoluted and full of fun.

"Welcome on board, Mr. Kay," the Captain said.  "I thought we might stand over to the westward to see what we can find of the old Plunderer.  We've got a cabin prepared for you, with a hammock slung in it; and here are some nice long seaboots to pull over your pyjamas, and a double-breasted peajacket to keep out the seas and keep in the plum duff.  And now, my hearties, cast loose forward, let go aft.  The tug has got her.  Hurray, lads, for the westward."

Kay, a brave young orphan boy is on the trail of the treasure that his great, great grandfather lost.  The story weaves around from past to present told by the "midnight folk" - owls and cats, ghosts, witches and all sorts of magical creatures.  One night he is flying high through the air with a mysterious lady talking to weathervanes and the next he is aboard the model of his grandfather's ship the "Plunderer" with a crew of mice and river rats.  This is classic children's literature that has evil creatures, acts of bravery, the very best magic and terrific characters.

You may remember Masefield from his poem Sea Fever .

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