Read Greenwitch Online

Authors: Susan Cooper


BOOK: Greenwitch


“[A] thunderous fantasy.”—
New York Times
The Dark Is Rising,
a Newbery Honor Book

“The excitement, suspense, and imaginative daring of the narrative are matched by the strength and style of the writing.”—
New York Times
The Grey King,
a Newbery Medal Winner

“One of the best fantasies ever written. . . . A wondrous book that can be appreciated by lovers of great storytelling, both young and old.”— on
The Dark Is Rising

“A brilliant, imaginative series of fantasies.”—
Boston Globe

“These classic fantasies, complex and multifaceted, should not be missed, by child or adult.”—

“Susan Cooper . . . is the inheritor of strong mythic traditions and a craftsman's understanding of the English language. With this series she has created a sweeping and beautiful tribute to both.”—
Washington Post

“Susan Cooper is one of the few contemporary writers who have the vivid imagination, the narrative powers, and the moral vision that permit her to create the kind of sweeping conflict between good and evil that lies at the heart of all great fantasy. Tolkien had it. So did C. S. Lewis. And Cooper writes in the same tradition.”—
Psychology Today


Over Sea, Under Stone

The Dark Is Rising


The Grey King

Silver on the Tree







New York   London   Toronto   Sydney


This book is a work of fiction. Any references to historical events, real people, or real locales are used fictitiously. Other names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author's imagination, and any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.


An imprint of Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing Division

1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020

Copyright © 1974 by Susan Cooper

Copyright renewed © 2002 by Susan Cooper

All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form.

SIMON PULSE and colophon are registered trademarks of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Also available in a Margaret K. McElderry hardcover edition.

Manufactured in the United States of America

This Simon Pulse edition May 2007

2  4  6  8  10   9  7  5  3  1

The Library of Congress has cataloged the hardcover edition as follows:

Cooper, Susan, 1935-

Greenwitch. / Susan Cooper.—1st ed.

(“The dark is rising sequence.”)

“A Margaret K. McElderry book.”

Summary: Jane's invitation to witness the making of the Greenwitch begins a series of sinister events in which she and her two brothers help the Old Ones recover the grail stolen by the Dark.

ISBN-13: 978-0-689-30426-2 (he)

ISBN-10: 0-689-30426-9 (he)

[1. Fantasy. 2. Cornwall (England : Country)—Fiction.]

PZ7.C7878Gr 1974

[Fie] 73-85319

ISBN-13: 978-1-4169-4966-4 (pbk)

ISBN-10: 1-4169-4966-6 (pbk)

For Kate


When the Dark comes rising, six shall turn it back;

Three from the circle, three from the track;

Wood, bronze, iron; water, fire, stone;

Five will return, and one go alone.

Iron for the birthday, bronze carried long;

Wood from the burning, stone out of song;

Fire in the candle-ring, water from the thaw;

Six Signs the circle, and the grail gone before.

Fire on the mountain shall find the harp of gold;

Played to wake the Sleepers, oldest of the old;

Power from the Greenwitch, lost beneath the sea;

All shall find the light at last, silver on the tree.







Several Celtic works of art were stolen from the British Museum yesterday, one of them worth more than £50,000. Police say that the theft appears to be the result of an intricate and so far baffling plan. No burglar alarms were set off, the showcases involved were undamaged, and no signs have been found of breaking-in.

The missing objects include a gold chalice, three jewelled brooches and a bronze buckle. The chalice, known as the Trewissick Grail, had been acquired by the Museum only last summer, after its dramatic discovery in a Cornish cave by three children. It had been valued at £50,000, but a Museum spokesman said last night that its true value was “incalculable,” due to the unique inscriptions on its sides which scholars have so far been unable to decipher.

The spokesman added that the Museum appealed to the thieves not to damage the chalice in any way, and would be offering a substantial reward for its return. “The grail
is an extraordinary piece of historical evidence, unprecedented in the whole field of Celtic studies,” he said, “and its importance to scholars far exceeds its intrinsic value.”

Lord Clare, who is a trustee of the British Museum, said last night that the chalice—

“Oh do come out of that paper, Barney,” Simon said irritably. “You've read it fifty times, and anyway it's no help.”

“You never know,” said his younger brother, folding the newspaper and cramming it into his pocket. “Might be a hidden clue.”

“Nothing's hidden,” said Jane sadly. “It's all too obvious.”

They stood in a dejected row on the shiny floor of the museum gallery, before a central showcase taller than the rows of identical glass cases all round. It was empty, save for a black wooden plinth on which, clearly, something had once been displayed. A neat silver square on the wood was engraved with the words:
Gold chalice of unknown Celtic workmanship, believed sixth century. Found in Trewissick, South Cornwall, and presented by Simon, Jane and Barnabas Drew.

“All that trouble we had, getting there first,” Simon said. “And now they've simply come and lifted it. Mind you, I always thought they might.”

Barney said, “The worst part is not being able to tell anyone who did it.”

“We could try,” Jane said.

Simon looked at her with his head on one side. “Please sir, we can tell you who took the grail, in broad daylight without breaking any locks. It was the powers of the Dark.”

“Pop off, sonny,” Barney said. “And take your fairy stories with you.”

“I suppose you're right,” Jane said. She tugged distractedly
at her pony-tail. “But if it was the same ones, somebody might at least have seen them. That horrible Mr Hastings—”

“Not a chance. Hastings changes, Great-Uncle Merry said. Don't you remember? He wouldn't have the same name, or the same face. He can be different people, at different times.”

“I wonder if Great-Uncle Merry knows,” Barney said. “About this.” He stared at the glass case, and the small, lonely black plinth inside.

Two elderly ladies in hats came up beside him. One wore a yellow flowerpot, the other a pyramid of pink flowers. “That's where they pinched it from, the attendant said,” one told the other. “Fancy! The other cases were over here.”

“Tut-tut-tut-tut,” said the other lady with relish, and they moved on. Absently Barney watched them go, their footsteps clopping through the high gallery. They paused at a showcase over which a long-legged figure was bending. Barney stiffened. He peered at the figure.

“We've got to do something,” Simon said. “Just got to.” Jane said, “But where do we start?” The tall figure straightened to let the be-hatted ladies approach the glass case. He bent his head courteously, and a mass of wild white hair caught the light.

Simon said, “I don't see how Great-Uncle Merry could know—I mean he isn't even in Britain, is he? Taking that year off from Oxford. Sab—whatsit.”

“Sabbatical,” Jane said. “In Athens. And not even a card at Christmas.”

Barney was holding his breath. Across the gallery, as the crime-loving ladies moved on, the tall white-haired man turned towards a window; his beak-nosed, hollow-eyed profile was unmistakable. Barney let out a howl. “Gumerry!”

Simon and Jane trailed blinking in his wake as he skidded across the floor.

“Great-Uncle Merry!”

“Good morning,” said the tall man amiably.

“But Mum said you were in Greece!”

“I came back.”

“Did you know someone was going to steal the grail?” Jane said.

Her great-uncle arched one white-bristling eyebrow at her, but said nothing.

Barney said simply, “What are we going to do?”

“Get it back,” said Great-Uncle Merry.

“I suppose it was them?” Simon said diffidently. “The other side? The Dark?”

“Of course.”

“Why did they take the other stuff, the brooches and things?”

“To make it look right,” said Jane.

Great-Uncle Merry nodded. “It was effective enough. They took the most valuable pieces. The police will think they were simply after the gold.” He looked down at the empty showcase; then his gaze flicked up, and each of the three felt impelled to stare motionless into the deep-set dark eyes, with the light behind them like a cold fire that never went out.

“But I know that they wanted only the grail,” Great-Uncle Merry said, “to help them on the way to something else. I know what they intend to do, and I know that they must at all costs be stopped. And I am very much afraid that you three, as the finders, will be needed once more to give help—far sooner than I had expected.”

“Shall we?” said Jane slowly.

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