The Songs of Power: A Northern Tale of Magicby Aaron Shepard
A thousand years ago, in the Celtic kingdoms of Wales, great lords gave great feasts for their fighting men and courtiers. In timbered halls, for days on end, heaps of meat and bread were washed down with gallons of beer and mead. And in between the meals, when bellies were stuffed and spirits high, the storyteller rose and spun his tales of times long past.… See more details below
A thousand years ago, in the Celtic kingdoms of Wales, great lords gave great feasts for their fighting men and courtiers. In timbered halls, for days on end, heaps of meat and bread were washed down with gallons of beer and mead. And in between the meals, when bellies were stuffed and spirits high, the storyteller rose and spun his tales of times long past.
He told of lords, bold and generous. He told of ladies, grand and glorious. He told of friends, brave and faithful. But of all he told about, no friend was more reliable than Manawydan, son of Llyr. No lady was more admirable than Rhiannon. And no lord was more honorable than Pwyll, King of Dyfed.
The halls are now long gone -- yet some tales were written down and gathered in a book we call today The Mabinogion. And so the tales live on. . . .
For ages 10 and up. Not illustrated!
Aaron Shepard is the award-winning author of "The Baker's Dozen," "The Sea King's Daughter," "The Monkey King," and many more children's books. His stories have appeared often in Cricket magazine, while his Web site is known internationally as a prime resource for folktales, storytelling, and reader's theater. Once a professional storyteller, Aaron specializes in lively retellings of folktales and other traditional literature, which have won him honors from the American Library Association, the New York Public Library, the Bank Street College of Education, the National Council for the Social Studies, and the American Folklore Society.
"Highly recommended . . . . A brief yet exciting and exotic fable of heroes striving to make their mark and protect those most dear to them in a fantastic world." -- Children's Bookwatch (Midwest Library Review), Jan. 2007
"Written in a lyrical voice that channels the ghosts of storytellers past. . . . Great for a librarian or teacher to read to a class." -- Sheila Ruth, Wands and Worlds, Jan. 2007
"A clear, simple, beautiful retelling. Those familiar with the source material will recognise how masterly a piece of work Shepard has crafted from notoriously challenging material. . . . Best of all, the language has retained the full richness of the underlying Celtic music." -- Louise Owen, Celtic Cafe
The next day, after the midday meal, Pwyll said to Manawydan, "Let us walk again on the mount. But this time, we'll bring my horse along."
So once more they climbed the mount. And they had not sat long when they saw the same lady, in the same dress and veil, on the same horse, on the same road, coming at the same slow, steady pace.
Pwyll speedily mounted his horse, but as he reached the foot of the mount, she was already riding past the spot. Then he let his horse prance after, thinking to easily overtake her. When he did not, he gave his horse the rein. It began to trot, yet fell even farther behind. Then he spurred it to a gallop -- but at its greatest speed, it lost more ground than ever. And still the lady rode no faster than a walk.
At last his horse began to fail, and he called out, "Lady, in the name of the man you hold dearest, please halt."
"I will," she said. "And for the sake of your horse, you could have asked it sooner."
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The collection of 'The Ancient Fantasy' series will take both adults and children into a world of folklore of long ago. In another time and country. My grandsons and myself have been have been reading this series and we have all enjoyed what we have read so far. We just finished reading 'The Songs of Power'. The front and back covers of the book are enchanting. Brandon and Johnny love them. In their own words: 'they are awesome'. I am always delighted when we finish a book and they look at the covers again and can recognized some of the characters. As a mom it was important to me to teach my children to enjoy reading. As a grandma I truly love to teach my grandchildren to enjoy literature. I highly recommend the whole series to parents, grandparents, children and adults. We had just finished reading, 'The Songs Of Power', when Brandon said 'Grandma my teacher says poems are just songs'. So we have read this book in different ways many times. We each read it to our own beats. We even tried to sing it. We each chose a song we knew and changed out the words to fit the book. I am so glad there was no one around to hear us. It is something only a grandparent could love. I am so proud when I see the light of understanding shine in their eyes. Or when they have read a part without mistakes. What a blessing for me. Mr. Shepard you are helping children to develop their own imaginations. These books have taken my grandson's away from their video and dvd games they keep here. That is quite an accomplishment. Especially in the world we live in now. When I first told them I had some books coming that I thought they would enjoy was a mistake on my part. Every day until the books arrived I was asked if I had checked my po box that day. When the books finally arrived I waited and let them open the box. We looked at the books and then at each other and knew these books would be different than any we had read before. Thank you once again, and my grandson's say this is another five star book. They think your books get better and better as they read each one. I say their minds have opened up more and more. Sandra Heptinstall Brandon Heptinstall Johnny Heptinstall