Monday, October 12, 2015

The Squirrel Wife

The Squirrel Wife
Philippa Pearce
design and illustration by Derek Collard 1972

Adorned with beautiful lino-cuts by Derek Collard, The Squirrel Wife recalls a medieval fairytale with a story of love and loss and transformation.  One night Jack the swineherd meets the magical green people who live deep in the forest.  As a reward for saving one of them, he is given a gold ring to put on a newborn squirrel who in time will become his squirrel wife and show him the ways of the forest.

Jack had never seen her before.  She was small for a woman, graceful and exceedingly nimble in her movement.  Her hair was brown; her eyes were brown, and what made them remarkable was their strange, wild look of watchfulness.

Then with joy Jack remembered the promise of the lord of the green people.  He took the hand she held out towards him, for he knew that already he loved his squirrel-wife, as she loved him.  They would live together always , as man and wife.  They determine not to go back to Jack's cruel brother, but to settle far from him, within the forest.  The forest was the only place for a squirrel-wife.

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