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Martin Pippin in the Apple Orchard

Martin Pippin in the Apple Orchard by Eleanor Farjeon
By: (1881-1965)

The wandering minstrel Martin Pippin finds a lovelorn ploughman who begs him to visit the orchard where his beloved has been locked in the well-house with six sworn virgins to guard her. Martin Pippin goes to the rescue and wins the confidence of the young women by telling them love stories. Although ostensibly a children's book, the six love stories, which have much the form of Perrault's fairy tales such as Beauty and the Beast and Cinderella, have a depth which is adult in sentiment, and indeed they were written not for a child but for a young soldier, Victor Haslam. Among the stories, themes include the apparent loss of a loved one, betrayal, and the yearning of a woman for whom it appears that love will never come.

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Martin Pippin in the Apple Orchard


Eleanor Farjeon


I have been asked to introduce Miss Farjeon to the American public, and although I believe that introductions of this kind often do more harm than good, I have consented in this case because the instance is rare enough to justify an exception. If Miss Farjeon had been a promising young novelist either of the realistic or the romantic school, I should not have dared to express an opinion on her work, even if I had believed that she had greater gifts than the ninety nine other promising young novelists who appear in the course of each decade. But she has a far rarer gift than any of those that go to the making of a successful novelist. She is one of the few who can conceive and tell a fairy tale; the only one to my knowledge with the just possible exceptions of James Stephens and Walter de la Mare in my own generation. She has, in fact, the true gift of fancy. It has already been displayed in her verse a form in which it is far commoner than in prose but Martin Pippin is her first book in this kind... Continue reading book >>

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