THE SINGING FLUTE by Curdon S. Worcester


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Although presumably set in the present, the aura of an older, simpler time hangs about this story of Hilli, a little lame girl, her quarry-owner father; and his bitter feud with a work-injured brother who lives a hermit's life in the recesses of the woods near the Cape Ann Finnish settlement. Hilli's father marked off the boundaries of his life to a grim work routine. His younger brother lived for laughter and his flute. The final estrangement of the brothers came with the rage of Hilli's father against the evident enjoyment her mother (who died in childbirth) took in her brother-in-law's flute playing during the work day. Dividing their land, they existed in wounded silence, only to come together in an overactive ending when Hilli is saved from drowning by a pariah dog harbored by the uncle, whose flute song has lured Hilli through childhood and continues to torment her father. It is a symbol-full, description-heavy story with adult relationships reduced to a black and white simplicity that only a child could believe. Delicate illustrations by Irene Burns reflect the hypersensitive mood set by the author. Nancy Hale supplied the introduction in which she relates this to such greats as H. C. Andersen, The Grimms, Beatrix Potter, Arabian Nights and Isak Dinesen. We respectfully disagree, placing it much lower in the genealogy as simply a story younger girls will respond to while eating an apple and plying a hanky.

Pub Date: Oct. 25th, 1963
Publisher: Obelosnky