THE TOWER BY THE SEA by Meindert De Jong


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A sparkling legend with a moral, about a witch hunt, a cat with one blue eye, a magpie, and a Wise Old Woman. The Wise Old Woman in a Dutch village a long time ago lived near a graveyard, taught her cat with one blue eye to live in peace with her pet magpie and was often seen in the company of Mad Alice, a pitiful woman who walked in the graveyards mourning the death of her imagined baby. This is enough to convince the townspeople that the Wise Old Woman is a witch and when fever strikes the village and the child of the burgomaster is stolen, the Wise Old Woman is condemned to die. Some straight, hard thinking by the burgomaster and the Wise Old Woman and a happy chance when waves carry the baby's cradle balanced by the blue-eyed cat away from Mad Alice, who stole it, to the village shore, bring a happy ending and a lesson in the terrible results of hysteria and superstition. There is an unpleasant scene in which the cat is treated very cruelly and the poetic simplification of character may be overly sophisticated for some of this age group, but on the whole, this is a well-sustained story with suspense, action, mature structure, and pleasant fairy-tale prose.

Pub Date: Oct. 13th, 1950
Publisher: Harper