The Islands of the Blessed

BOOK: The Islands of the Blessed
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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

THE ISLANDS OF THE BLESSED

NANCY FARMER

Atheneum Books for Young Readers

An imprint of Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing Division

1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, New York 10020
SimonandSchuster.com

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 © 2009 by Nancy Farmer

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

ATHENEUM BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS
is a registered trademark of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

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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

First Edition

2 4 6 8 10 9 7 5 3 1

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Farmer, Nancy, 1941–

The Islands of the Blessed / Nancy Farmer. — 1st ed.

p. cm.

“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: 978-1-4169-0737-4

ISBN: 978-1-4391-6047-3 (eBook)

[1. Bards and bardism—Fiction. 2. Druids and druidism—Fiction. 3. Saxons—Fiction. 4. Vikings—Fiction. 5. Mythology, Norse—Fiction. 6. Folklore—Scotland—Orkney— Fiction. 7. Mermaids—Fiction.] I. Title.

PZ7.F23814Is 2009

[Fic]—dc22 2008045415

To Harold

May we find the Islands of the Blessed together

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

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.

CONTENTS

Cast of Characters

1. The Gathering Storm

2. The Wild Hunt

3. The Hazel Wood

4. Seafarer

5. A Scream in the Dark

6. Fair Lamenting

7. The Mermaid

8. The
Draugr

9. A Plea for Justice

10. The Hobgoblins Arrive

11. Hazel Comes Home

12. The Tanner Brats

13. The Paths Open

14. Schlaup

15. All Aboard

16. A Love Story

17. The Pink Palace

18. Pangur Ban

19. Find Tanners

20. The Quest

21. Ethne's Cell

22. Schlaup's Betrothal

23. The Sacrificial Stone

24. Bjorn Skull-Splitter

25. Princess Thorgil

26. The Hogboon

27. Escape Plans

28. Full Moon

29. The Dead Wall

30. The Water of Life

31. Voyage to Notland

32. The Fin Folk

33. The City Under the Sea

34. The Shoney's Feast

35. The
Draugr's
Tomb

36. A Life for a Life

37. Grim's Island

38. St. Columba's Cave

39. Odin

40. A Joyful Reunion

41. Rescue

42. Flying Venom

43. Sister Wulfhilda

44. The Rune of Protection

45. Departure

46. Thorgil Silver-Hand

47. The Islands of the Blessed

Appendix

The
Carnyx

Father Severus

The Fin Folk

Flying Venom

Lorica

Mermaids

St. Columba

Seafarer

Sources

CAST OF CHARACTERS

HUMANS (SAXONS)

Jack:
Age fourteen; an apprentice bard

Hazel:
Jack's sister; age eight; stolen by hobgoblins

Lucy:
Jack's foster sister; lost to Elfland

Mother:
Alditha; Jack's mother; a wise woman

Father:
Giles Crookleg; Jack's father

The Bard:
A druid from Ireland; also known as Dragon Tongue

Ethne:
Daughter of the Elf Queen and the Bard

Pega:
An ex–slave girl; age fifteen

Mrs. Tanner:
The tanner's widow; mother of Ymma and Ythla

Ymma and Ythla:
The Tanner girls; ages ten and eight

Brother Aiden:
A monk from the Holy Isle

Gog and Magog:
Slaves of the village blacksmith

King Brutus:
Ruler of Bebba's Town

Father Severus:
Abbot of St. Filian's Monastery

Sister Wulfhilda:
A nun

Allyson:
Thorgil's mother; deceased

HUMANS (NORTHMEN)

Thorgil:
Olaf One-Brow's adopted daughter; age fourteen

Olaf One-Brow:
A famous warrior and Thorgil's foster father; deceased

Skakki:
Olaf's son; age eighteen; a sea captain

Rune, Sven the Vengeful, Eric the Rash, Eric Pretty-Face:
Members of Skakki's crew

Egil Long-Spear:
Sea captain and trader

Bjorn Skull-Splitter:
Olaf One-Brow's best friend

Einar Adder-Tooth:
A pirate

Big Half and Little Half:
Brothers working for Adder-Tooth

THINGS THAT GO BUMP IN THE NIGHT

The Bugaboo:
King of the hobgoblins

The Nemesis:
The Bugaboo's second-in-command

Mr. Blewit:
Hobgoblin foster father of Hazel

The
draugr:
Avenging spirit

The hogboon:
Soulless being that feeds on life

OTHERS

The Shoney:
Ruler of the fin folk

Shair Shair:
The Shoney's wife

Shellia:
Their daughter; also known as the
drauger

Whush:
A fin man

Man in the Moon:
An old god; exiled to the moon

Yarthkins:
Also known as
landvœttir;
spirits of the land

Pangur Ban:
Large white cat from Ireland

Odin:
Northman war god; lord of Valhalla and the Wild Hunt

JOTUNS (TROLLS)

The Mountain Queen:
Glamdis; ruler of Jotunheim

Fonn and Forath:
The Mountain Queen's daughters

Schlaup Half-Troll:
The Mountain Queen's son

Pangur Ban

I and Pangur Ban, my cat—

'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.

BOOK: The Islands of the Blessed
8.57Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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