Monday, 9 March 2015

Eric Linklater, Wind On The Moon

It was Orcadian writer Eric Linklater's birth date yesterday. Born in Swansea, South Wales, to an Orcadian father in 1899, Eric Linklater  was educated in Aberdeen and spent much of his adult life in Harray, Orkney.

I was aware of many of his novels for adults such as Whitemaa's Saga, Poet's Pub and Juan in America, but not of his books written for children.

We have several editions of the fantastic The Wind On The Moon so called for the warning given by Major Palfrey to his mischievous daughters Dinah and Dorinda:

There is a wind on the moon... I don't like the look of it at all. If there is an ill wind, and you behave badly, it will blow straight into your heart, and then you will behave badly for a long time to come.

Dinah and Dorindah like the sound of this as their parents do not seem to appreciate any of their good deeds at all and indeed, only seem pleased when the girls 'sit quite still, doing nothing at all, either good or bad.'

First the girls decide to be very, very greedy and eat so much that they need to be rolled down the street to the doctor's surgery by their horrified mother:

For breakfast they ate porridge and cream, fish and bacon and eggs and sausages and tomatoes, toast and marmalade, and rolls and honey. For dinner they ate roast beef and cold lamb, boiled mutton with caper sauce, Scotch broth and clear soup, hare soup and lentil soup, roast chicken with thyme and parsley stuffing, boiled fowl with oatmeal and onion stuffing, roast duck with apple sauce, apple-tart and cherry pie, Yorkshire pudding and plum pudding, trifle and jelly, potatoes and Brussels sprouts and cauliflower and French beans and green peas, and all sorts of cheese. For tea they had scones and pancakes, crumpets and pikelets, muffins and cream buns, plum cake and seed cake and cream cake and chocolate cake, and often some bread and butter as well. And for supper they had stewed fruit and fresh fruit, oranges and bananas and baked apples and half a gallon of milk at the very least.

The girls then turn themselves into kangaroos with the help of their friend Mrs Grimble and get captured by a zoo-keeper. They make friends with all of the animals.

A judge manages to annoy them so they make sure that his home is filled with stinking dead mice, eels and old kippers to force him to 'change his mind'. As you do.

The girls then decide to rescue their father from a dungeon in a far-away castle.

The fantastic illustrations are by Nicolas Bentley.

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