Saturday, 22 June 2013

Midsummer: Stig of the Dump by Clive King

published 1963  chapter 9







[Barney and his sister Lou have come out on Midsummer Night, and found themselves in the world of caveman Stig]

They were walking over the smooth turf towards the cluster of huts. The armed tribesmen were on each side of them, and it was difficult for them to feel sure whether they were prisoners or guests… they passed into the circle of firelight, and the crowd, who had been talking among themselves quite quietly before, fell silent, and everyone was looking at them. They walked in silence round the edge of the circle. Barney heard a very small whisper from Lou: ‘Remember when we were bridesmaid and page at the wedding?’ He did remember, and the feeling was about the same as when they had walked into the church with the bride…



On the other side of the circle was a group of older men, and in the middle there was a figure sitting on a tree-trunk. As they went nearer they could see that he had white hair, very bright black eyes, and was dressed in some very silky fur, with necklaces and bangles of animals’ teeth. They didn’t need to be told that this was the chief.




observations: Stig of the Dump again, with Barney and Lou’s excursion back into Stig’s time, because of the magic of Midsummer. Lou will give a truly splendid speech to the tribe, made up of phrases from overheard adults, a bit of speech day and some quotations from poems. She does a particularly good job acting out the seasonally inappropriate ‘Christmas is coming’:

‘PLEASE!’ she begged, holding out her hand, ‘put a penny’ – she paused - ‘in the old man’s hat,’ she finished with her hand on her heart.

and it will go down a storm with the non-comprehending but appreciative audience. They will also see some standing stones being erected, and help save a baby – quite the adventure for one night. Although Stig doesn’t disappear with the sunrise, unlike his tribe, this is pretty much the end of his adventures with Barney, though the book has a wholly admirable hazy ending: absolutely perfect.


Links up with: This picture of Stig is one of the blog's proudest moments. Midsummer can come in other guises - last year's seasonal efforts showed off these strange creatures:




The top picture - really, what can we say? Other than thank you Julia. They are dressed as pile-dwellers, and you can find the details (in German) hereThe 2nd picture is, again, from the Builth Wells Historical Pageant of 1909, via the National Library of Wales. For the other pictures, see the original entries.

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