I SAW THREE SHIPS by Elizabeth Goudge


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Polly is the orphaned daughter of her elderly aunts' elder brother, so perhaps it's not surprising that sometimes ""they suffered from the sensation that she was older than they were."" Polly however is a winsome child, ""looking very demure in the long skirts of a hundred and sixty years ago,"" but underneath (the awkward way of dressing up the date) she is a persistent little body, as eager hat the door be left open for the Three Wise Men on Christmas Eve as Aunt Constantia is that her long-gone ""brother Tom should suddenly come home."" Therein lies the tale, or at least the outline of it; to fill it in--i.e. represent the two other Wise Men--we have a ""mad"" French refugee from ""something called the Terror"" and one-legged Rag-and-Bones, the venerable town beggar. Uncle Tom returns bearing gold, the Frenchman brings Polly a jeweled rosary (frankincense) and the old beggar offers up his life (myrrh), while ""on Christmas day in the morning. . . three ships come sailing in,"" carrying the Frenchman's feared-lost family, and occasioning all-round rejoicing. Shaped like a picture book and laced with references to Popish Latin prayers, to decanters and chiffoniers, this wouldn't be much good for American children even if it were better.

Pub Date: Oct. 16th, 1969
ISBN: 1567923690
Publisher: Coward-McCann