Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Puck of Pooks Hill (published in 1906) - A fantasy book by Rudyard Kipling

Rudyard Kipling, a Nobel laureate was born in India to a vivacious Alice Kipling and sculptor Painter, John Kipling. His works range from poems, to children's books. Rudyard was a English language writer whose prose is peppered with colloquial usage and languages mainly from India which opens a window to the prevailing culture and customs of the time. His children's stories are the most endured classics of the time and his short stories are the most sought after. Many of his works are deemed to be controversial as the time progressed. Rudyard Kipling was the product of an imperial India where imperialism under Queen Victoria was at its heights. His poems like 'White Mans Burden' are often sited as a clarion call for the imperialist and has been criticized by subsequent humanist. But as one of the youngest Nobel Prize recipient for English Language, the place for Kipling in human history cannot be discounted and his prose and poems enthuse millions even today. Kipling died in 1936 in London and was buried in Westminster Abbey.
These are series of stories which Kipling has taken from historical accounts and is basically about the Kings and Queens of yesteryears in Europe. So you have Queen Elizabeth, King henry, Roman Generals, Fairies, pirates and vikings striding across the pages in a glorious procession before your very own eyes.

The story starts with two children Dan and Una who stage their version of “The Midsummer Nights Dream” thus pulling the naughty fairy Puck in to their midst. Puck magically transports them across ages where they see a Norman Knight, a Renaissance artisan, Saxons, Picts, Norsemen (Vikings), a Chinese slave-master, Kings, Queens and many others, each of whom imparts his respective piece of England's history. The fantasy stories starts with:

Weland's Sword: It tells the account of the Norseman conquest where Weland the great smith forges the sword through which he conquers a country and a princess.

The Young man of the Manor continues the saga of the Norman conquest and introduces Sir Richard Dalyngridge who takes part in the conquest and wins a manor.

The Knight of the Joyous venture depicts the voyage by the Danes along with Richard Dalyngridge and other captured prisoners.

Old Men of Pevensy tells the story of intrigue in the court of Henry I when he is in Pevensy.

Centurion of the Thirtieth is the story of Parsimus who is a Roman soldier who goes to battle with the general Magnus Maximus. It tells the conquest of Gaul by the general.

On the great Wall tells us about the Hadrian Wall which was built by the Romans and it defense against the invaders.

The Winged Hats continues with the Hadrian Wall and the defense of general Magnus Maximus.

'Hal o' the Draft' is the tale of deception, mutiny and beheading involving the explores Sebastian Cabote and Privateer Andrew Barton

Dymchurch Flit is a fairy tale where Puck disguises himself as Tom Shoesmith and tells the story of widow Whitgift who loaned her sons to help others.

“The treasure and the Law” is about a Jewish money lender Kadmiel whose shrewdness is instrumental in signing of the Magna Carta ushering in peoples law in England.

All these tales are in the realm of historical fantasies and educate the children about the law and evolution of the land (England) they live in. beautiful and delightful and a must read for all ages.

Puck of Pooks Hill (published in 1906) - A fantasy book by Rudyard Kipling

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