CHAPTER 1: GLADYS SAYS NO
Most people are happier when their feet are dry. They do not care to hear squelchy noises in their shoes or feel water seeping between their toes—but the Hag of the Dribble was different. Having wet feet made her feel better: it reminded her of the Dribble where she had been born and lived for the first seventy-eight years of her life, and now she dipped her socks into the washbasin and made sure they were thoroughly soaked before she put them on her feet and went downstairs to make porridge for herself and her lodgers.
The Hag did not care for porridge—being fond of porridge is quite difficult—but she was glad to be busy; it helped her to cope with the terrible homesickness which attacked her each morning when she woke and saw the sooty brick wall of the house opposite instead of the wide sky and scudding clouds of the place where she had lived so long.
It is not easy to describe a Dribble. A Dribble is not exactly a marsh, nor is it really a bog or a water meadow, but it’s a bit like all of these. Anyone who has been brought up in a Dribble suffers terribly when they have to leave; it is so quiet and so peaceful; the damp air is so soft. You are never alone in a Dribble—there are frogs and newts under your feet, and birds wheeling overhead, and dragonflies hovering over the pools, but often you do not see a human being for days on end.
Hags live for a very long time, and she had expected to end her days there, and sink peacefully into the marshy ground when her life was done—but one day men had come with machines—more and more men and more and more machines, and had started to drain the Dribble and turn it into a building site.
So the Hag had come to London, not because she liked cities, she detested them, but because she needed to find work—and the work she found was running a boardinghouse for other Unusual People like herself—displaced witches or exhausted wizards or wary water sprites who had to do ordinary jobs because the time for magic seemed to be past.
The kettle had just come to a boil when she heard a noise like thunder coming from the room on the first floor where the troll was getting out of bed, and then a roar of fury. Ulf Oakroot also felt homesick when he woke up, but his homesickness was not a damp, dreamy homesickness like the Hag’s—it was a wild and angry longing for the forest of Northern Sweden where he had been born.
Trolls are fierce and hairy and extremely strong, and they have violent tempers. They can throw boulders for miles across fields and lift up small houses, but they love the woods in which they live and will do anything to protect them. So when the men had come with great saws and started to cut down the forests—not felling carefully—just destroying everything in their path, the trolls’ world had been destroyed, too.
THE OGRE OF OGLEFORT by Eva Ibbotson, Dutton Children Books, a division of Penguin Young Reader’s Group, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., © 2011
He’s hideous, beastly and frighteningly foul. With the touch of his finger, he can turn humans into animals. He’s the Ogre of Oglefort, and he is fearsome to behold. But when a troll, a hag, a wizard and an orphan are charged with rescuing young Princess Mirella from the dreaded Ogre, they discover that Mirella is no ordinary princess, and the Ogre of Oglefort isn’t all that he seems.
Featuring the gruesome ghosts, extraordinary magic and sharp wit that have made beloved English storyteller Eva Ibbotson an international bestseller, The Ogre of Oglefort, which was short-listed for the 2010 Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize, is a delightful fantasy about finding friends and happiness in the most unusual places. (Ages 9-12)
Hardcover Book : pages
Publisher: Penguin Group (Usa) ( August 01, 2011 )
Item #: 13-366770
Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.25 inches
Product Weight: 11.0 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)