Authors: Nancy Farmer
THE ISLANDS OF THE BLESSED
ALSO BY THE AUTHOR
The Land of the Silver Apples
The Sea of Trolls
The House of the Scorpion
A Girl Named Disaster
The Warm Place
The Ear, the Eye and the Arm
Do You Know Me
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
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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 products of the author's imagination, and any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Copyright Â© 2009 by Nancy Farmer
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Book design by Russell Gordon
The text for this book is set in Edlund.
Manufactured in the United States of America
2 4 6 8 10 9 7 5 3 1
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Farmer, Nancy, 1941â
The Islands of the Blessed / Nancy Farmer. â 1st ed.
“A Richard Jackson book.”
Sequel to: The Land of the Silver Apples.
Summary: Two years after their adventures in the Land of the Silver Apples, the apprentice bard Jack and his Viking companion Thorgil confront the malevolent spirit of a vengeful mermaid and begin a quest that casts them among the fin folk of Notland (present-day Orkney Islands).
Includes bibliographical references (p. ).
ISBN: 978-1-4391-6047-3 (eBook)
[1. Bards and bardismâFiction. 2. Druids and druidismâFiction. 3. SaxonsâFiction. 4. VikingsâFiction. 5. Mythology, NorseâFiction. 6. FolkloreâScotlandâOrkneyâ Fiction. 7. MermaidsâFiction.] I. Title.
May we find the Islands of the Blessed together
Heartfelt thanks to the editors who picked me out of the slush pile and nurtured my career: Richard Jackson, Susan Hirschman, and Sharon November.
Especial thanks to Emma Dryden and Carol Chou for cheering me on while I was writing this book.
Warmest appreciations to my son, Daniel, and nephew, Nathan Stout, for their joint inspiration for the character Olaf One-Brow.
Age fourteen; an apprentice bard
Jack's sister; age eight; stolen by hobgoblins
Jack's foster sister; lost to Elfland
Alditha; Jack's mother; a wise woman
Giles Crookleg; Jack's father
A druid from Ireland; also known as Dragon Tongue
Daughter of the Elf Queen and the Bard
An exâslave girl; age fifteen
The tanner's widow; mother of Ymma and Ythla
Ymma and Ythla:
The Tanner girls; ages ten and eight
A monk from the Holy Isle
Gog and Magog:
Slaves of the village blacksmith
Ruler of Bebba's Town
Abbot of St. Filian's Monastery
Thorgil's mother; deceased
Olaf One-Brow's adopted daughter; age fourteen
A famous warrior and Thorgil's foster father; deceased
Olaf's son; age eighteen; a sea captain
Rune, Sven the Vengeful, Eric the Rash, Eric Pretty-Face:
Members of Skakki's crew
Sea captain and trader
Olaf One-Brow's best friend
Big Half and Little Half:
Brothers working for Adder-Tooth
THINGS THAT GO BUMP IN THE NIGHT
King of the hobgoblins
The Bugaboo's second-in-command
Hobgoblin foster father of Hazel
Soulless being that feeds on life
Ruler of the fin folk
The Shoney's wife
Their daughter; also known as the
A fin man
Man in the Moon:
An old god; exiled to the moon
Also known as
spirits of the land
Large white cat from Ireland
Northman war god; lord of Valhalla and the Wild Hunt
The Mountain Queen:
Glamdis; ruler of Jotunheim
Fonn and Forath:
The Mountain Queen's daughters
The Mountain Queen's son
I and Pangur Ban, my catâ
'Tis a like task we are at:
Hunting mice is his delight;
Hunting words, I sit all night.
Better far than praise of men
'Tis to sit with book and pen.
Pangur bears me no ill will;
He too plies his simple skill.
'Tis a merry thing to see
At our tasks how glad are we,
When at home we sit and find
Entertainment to our mind.
Oftentimes a mouse will stray
In the hero Pangur's way;
Oftentimes my keen thought set
Takes a meaning in its net.
'Gainst the wall he sets his eye
Full and fierce and sharp and sly;
'Gainst the wall of knowledge I
All my little wisdom try.
When a mouse darts from its den,
O how glad is Pangur then!
O what gladness do I prove
When I solve the doubts I love!
So in peace our tasks we ply,
Pangur Ban, my cat, and I.
In our arts we find our bliss;
I have mine and he has his.
Practice every day has made
Pangur perfect in his trade;
I get wisdom day and night
Turning darkness into light.
Written by an unknown eighth-century Irish monk in the margins of a manuscript, when he was supposed to be copying the Bible. Translated by Robin Flower in
The Irish Tradition,
Oxford University Press, London, 1947.