"Fire on the Mountain Shall Find the Harp of Gold Played to Wake the Sleepers, Oldest of the Old..."
With the final battle between the Light and the Dark soon approaching, Will sets out on a quest to call for aid. Hidden within the Welsh hills is a magical harp that he must use to wake the Sleepers - six noble riders who have slept for centuries.
But an illness has robbed Will of nearly all his knowledge of the Old Ones, and he is left only with a broken riddle to guide him in his task. As Will travels blindly through the hills, his journey will bring him face-to-face with the most powerful Lord of the Dark - the Grey King. The King holds the harp and Sleepers within his lands, and there has yet to be a force strong enough to tear them from his grasp...
- Newbery Medal
Gr 1-6-This recording contains five adapted Japanese tales performed by captivating storyteller Elizabeth Falconer. In the various stories, a feared dragon turns out to be lonely but friendly, a sneaky badger gets his comeuppance when a magic fan forces his nose to grow, a rabbit loses his long tail when a crocodile bites it off (explaining why even floppy-eared rabbits have short tails), a poor woodcutter is rewarded with gold from mice with whom he shared rice balls, and a kind brother is rewarded with love while a greedy brother is punished. The tales include Japanese music featuring the 13-stringed koto which is played by the narrator, and sound effects. These tales will add flavor to public and school library folktale collections.-Erin Caskey, Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, OH Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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Margaret K. McElderry Books
December 31, 2001
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Excerpt from The Grey King by Susan Cooper
Will pedalled hard, blessing the valley road for its winding flatness, and freewheeling only when his pounding heart seemed about to leap right out of his chest. He rode one-handed. He had said nothing about his hurt arm, and Bran had not noticed, but it hurt abominably if he so much as touched the handlebars with his left hand. He tried not to think about the way it would feel when carrying the golden harp.
That was the only thing to be done, now. The music of the harp was the only magic within his reach that would release Pen from the power of the warestone. In any case, it was time now to bring the harp to the pleasant lake, to accomplish its deeper purpose. Everything was coming together, as if two roads led to the same mountain pass; he could only hope that the pass would now be blocked by some obstacle able to hinder both at once. This time more than ever, the matter of holding the Dark at bay depended as much on the decisions and emotions of men as on the strength of the Light. Perhaps even more.
Broken sunlight flickered in and out of his eyes, as clouds scudded briskly over the sky. At least, he thought wryly, we've got a good day for it all. His wheels sang on the road; he was nearly at Clwyd Farm now. He wondered how he was to explain his sudden arrival, and equally sudden departure afterwards, to Aunt Jen. She would probably be the only one there. She must have been there for Caradog Prichard's appearance earlier that morning, and the changing of his two mutilated tyres. Perhaps he could say that he had come to get something to help put Prichard off the scent, to keep him from finding Pen... something John Rowlands had suggested... but still he would have to leave the house with the golden harp. Aunt Jen would not be likely to let that sacking-swathed object past her sharp eye without at least inquiring what was wrapped up in there. And what possible reason could anyone have, least of all her nephew, for not letting her see?
Will wished, not for the first time, that Merriman were with him, to ease such difficulties. For a Master of the Light, it was no great matter to transport beings and objects not only through space but through time, in the twinkling of an eye. But for the youngest of the Old Ones, however acute his need, that was a talent too large.
He came to the farm; rode in; pushed through the back door. But when he called, no one came. He realised suddenly with a great lightening of the spirits that he had seen no cars in the yard outside. Both his aunt and uncle must have gone out; that was one piece of luck, at any rate. He ran upstairs to his bedroom, said the necessary words to release the golden harp from protection, and ran down again with it under his arm, a rough sacking-wrapped bundle of odd triangular shape. He was halfway across the yard to the bicycle when a Land Rover chugged in through the gate.
For a second Will froze in panic; then he walked slowly, carefully, to the bicycle, and turned it ready to leave.
Owen Davies climbed out of the car and stood looking at him. He said, "Was it you left the gate open?"