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NAMED TO THE INTERNATIONAL YOUTH LIBRARY’S 2004 WHITE RAVENS LIST
Shortlisted for the 2004/05 Hackmatack Reading Award
… and Peg lay down on the floor, but she couldn’t sleep. She twisted and turned all night, just couldn’t get to sleep. There was something bad about that place, she could feel it right down into her bones. So she got up and she walked around the old woman’s house. Now, she soon knew that the old woman was a witch, for in her kitchen she found a decanter that could never be emptied. She poured wine into it, turned it upside down, the wine flowed and flowed and flowed. Water same thing, milk same thing. Flowed and flowed. Never stopped. Then out in the barn, she found a lantern that could shine a half mile light. You didn’t have to fill it. You didn’t have to light it. All you had to do was touch it, and it shone for a half a mile. And touch it Peg did, and it shone for half a mile…..
– from Peg Bearskin
Peg’s big, ugly and hairy, but she has the wit, tenacity and courage to outfox a witch and find husbands for her two beautiful sisters and one for herself as well. A typical folktale? Well, perhaps. But Peg is no typical heroine, and the ending of her story isn’t typical either.
This story was adapted by Philip Dinn and Andy Jones for “Jack-Five-Oh,” a storytelling play that marked the 50th anniversary of Newfoundland’s entry into confederation with Canada. Mercedes Barry, who told the story in some versions of the play, also had input in the adapation.
It is taken from a version told by Mrs. Elizabeth Brewer of Freshwater, Placentia Bay, and collected in Halpert and Widdowson’s Folktales of Newfoundland.
Elly Cohen’s linocut illustrations were commissioned for the project.
Please note: the offset-printed version of this book does not come with a furry cover. If you are interested in that version of the book, you can find it in the listing of fiction titles.
The photos feature the letterpress-printed edition; this offset-printed is a facsimile of that handmade, limited edition book.