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THE PRINCE OF IRELAND AND THE THREE MAGIC STALLIONS by Bryce Milligan

THE PRINCE OF IRELAND AND THE THREE MAGIC STALLIONS

By Bryce Milligan (Adaptor) , Preston McDaniels (Illustrator)

Age Range: 6 - 8

Pub Date: March 15th, 2003
ISBN: 0-8234-1573-2
Publisher: Holiday House

A stepmother’s endeavor to give a kingdom to her own sons sends the real heir on a quest that offers another story. His stepmother lays a geis, a deadly spell, upon the eldest prince of Ireland to not sleep two nights under the same roof nor eat two meals from the same fire until he has brought her the three magic stallions that the young giant Sean O’Donal keeps at the edge of the western world. Before beginning his quest, the prince lays a geis of his own on the queen: she must stand before the high cross with a sheaf of oats in the one hand and a needle in the other and eat nothing but what comes from the sheaf of oats and passes through the eye of the needle until he returns. He and his two stepbrothers, friends that they are, set out together. They come upon the giant’s sisters and hide themselves in their bundles. This gets them into the horse barn, but one of the stallions tells him that he can only go with him if the giant allows it. The prince summons the giant, but soon finds himself and the two stepsons hung from the rafters, roasting over a fire. He bargains with the giant to tell a story of a fix that was worse than this one. The three sit by the fire and the prince proceeds to tell of his rescue of a baby giant from a fierce giant; the babe proves to be none other than the giant himself. The grateful giant sends him off with the stallions and he returns home triumphant. The lilt of the language makes this fun to read, but the pastel illustrations, despite clever line and lively scenes, seem almost washed out and lack the strength of the adventure. For tellers, then, not readers. (author’s source notes) (Picture book/folktale. 6-8)