Sunday, 11 February 2018

A Town That Cannot Always Be Found and Other Almost Forgotten Tales...


Cover via Turn to 400 
  I need some help remembering some story books from my childhood.  I read a lot of weird and wonderful tales when I was young - Joan Aiken's A Necklace of Raindrops; Enid Blyton's The Magic Faraway Tree; Thomas Keneally's Ned Kelly and the City of Bees; C. S. Lewis' The Magician's Nephew; Ian Livingstone's Deathtrap Dungeon; Nicholas Fisk's Trillions - but there are some stories that I just can't remember enough of to work out whether they are from actual books, or just things I've made up or dreamt about.
  I've googled (and "Bing"ed) until my fingers are bleeding and sore, and I've even resorted to asking both Indescribable (an avid reader) and Inexcuseable (good memory), but neither was of much use - Indescribable thinks these weren't children's books, but stories for adults (especially the "Death of Adults" one, see below), and Inexcuseable thinks these were all dreams I had.  Useless!

  Anyway, the following are the stories that I'm most curious about.  I don't know what the book titles are, or who wrote them, or whether they're short stories, novels, one of a series etc. or whether they are for children or adults (although, despite what Indescribable says, I'm leaning towards "for children").
 

"Maxi and the Magician"
  A tiny boy, maybe an inch or two tall, and a normal-sized male magician.  They are a double act - Maxi helping the magician with his illusions - and a family (child and guardian).  Maxi is carried around in the magician's pocket.
  In one story, Maxi becomes normal-sized but is not recognised by the magician (who may have another tiny child in place of Maxi).  I think this may have been Maxi's dream because I seem to remember him telling the magician about how scared and lonely he felt as a normal-sized boy.

"Floating Glass Castle"
  Some people - probably children/teenagers - in a floating glass/invisible castle get lost inside it.  In one of the castle's rooms, there may be a deep well (must be magical otherwise it would just be a hole through to the foundations which opens out into the sky below the castle).  They are instructed (by a spider?) not to eat anything while inside, but do so anyway (only some crumbs, I think?) which causes the castle to turn opaque milky white and sink to the ground, losing all its magic.

"Dove Egg-eating Princess"
  A princess trapped or imprisoned in a castle/tower survives by eating eggs laid by a dove in a nest near a windowsill.  A prince (or other such male agent) comes to visit her (possibly regularly) but can't get in the tower, so has to remain outside and talk to her from the ground below her window.  I don't think this is Rapunzel.

"A Book of Short Stories"
  A friendly-ish vampire who can't cross running water is dissolved by a shower over a bath.
  A boy accidently finds his way to Ashbury/Ashbourne/Ashford (or some other town beginning with Ash-) after walking down an unfamiliar road/street lined with beech trees or a beech hedge.  He manages to get out, but cannot find his way back again later on.
My quick sketch of what I imagine
the pink pond creature looks like
  Another boy (or is it the same one?) discovers a pink flannel-sized creature in a pond or small lake on a town/village green, and studies it.  After various pets and other animals go missing, and the creature increases in size, the boy realises that the animals have been eaten by it.  With some help, he puts an explosive in the pond and blows it up.  The creature is blasted apart, and little bits of it are found all around the blast zone.  The pieces - pink skin with a straw-yellow underneath - are still alive and wriggle back into the pond, each one now a new creature.

"Death of the Adults"
  Old people begin to die in greater numbers all around the country (or world?), then whatever disease, virus or other phenomenon is causing the deaths begins to kill younger and younger adults.  No cure can be found and people keep dying until young adults and teenagers are the oldest people left.  A boy and his younger brother (and a friend?) make their way across the country to a town, then out into the countryside as the disease or whatever it is seems not to spread as quickly there.  They gather cans of food and other long-life food items to live off.  Then the teenagers and older children start dying, leaving only the very young.  The protagonist becomes ill and realises that he too is going to die which will leave his younger brother all alone. He worries that even if his brother doesn't catch the disease, he'll die of starvation as he's too young to open cans or fend for himself.  I don't think this story had a happy ending.
     
"Turned to Stone by a Talking Dog"
  I think this story was from or set in Australia.  A group of children are in the overgrown grounds of an old building - a hospital or manor house or something - and discover oddly posed statues of people.  One of them thinks that the statues were once real people who were turned to stone when they heard a dog speak.  This story heavily inspired my Hallowe'en tale back in 2015.

::

  So.  Anyone have any ideas?  Or, do you have half remembered stories from your youths that you'd like help recalling?





Looking back on these now that I've written them out, I don't think any of them (except for "Maxi and the Magician") had a traditional happy ending. 
  

23 comments:

  1. No clue. But they do sound intriguing!

    My fave types of books to read were usually collections of short stories. I recall a fave named Burmese and Thai Fairytales. Haven't found an exact copy as the one I read from the grade school library. The editions I've come across are whitewashed or lack the stories I remember reading.

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    1. Fairytales, myths and legends from other cultures and countries are often very fascinating.
      I do wonder if what we remember reading isn't what we actually read, what with several years/decades to have those memories contaminated, overwritten, or otherwise altered through seeing life through an older, more experienced lens?

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  2. For your “Death of the Adults” category could the book you’re looking for be The Girl Who Owned a City?

    A deadly virus has killed off everyone over the age of 12 and there’s plenty of food hoarding.

    However, the protagonist is a 10-year-old girl with a younger brother, not two boys.

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    1. Ooh, thanks for the tip, but no, aside from the girl-not-boy thing (which I could be misremembering - see my reply to Eros), I don't recall any major fighting or gang warfare.

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  3. Sorry, I don't know any of these stories. However, I am interested in whatever hallucinogens that were involved, for "a friend," obv.

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    1. I'll see what I can do - for your "friend", of course - but I think the class and type of hallucinogen that was available at the time these books were written has long gone out of fashion...

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  4. I can see elements of terry Nation in the Death of Adults tale.Possibly because he wrote the story the TV series was based on Just remembered! Survivors (1975 TV series) - Wikipedia

    All of the stories have European-sounding elements.I'll keep poling in my attic, but don't hold your breath!

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    1. I have just looked through his credits on Wikipedia and discovered that he co-wrote "The House in Nightmare Pink". How fabulous!

      On a second glance, however, it's just another humdrum story set in Nightmare Park. Sigh...

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  5. Hmmm these books probably explain everything! Sadly they don't sound familiar.
    I don't suppose you can help with a book I had where an adult female character had a carpet which was too big for the room so it was rolled up at the edges? I remember nothing more about it but I loved it!

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    1. I think you're right, Hound. The more stories I remember, the more I think they were shaping me to be host for Witchface.
      As to your strange carpetty story, no, nothing springs to mind, sadly.

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  6. The website “Library Thing” has a group called Name that Book.

    If you’ve forgotten the title of a book you once read, this group is here to help you find it again.

    You have to sign up to use it but it’s worth it if you can’t find what you’re looking for.

    Also try contacting a reference librarian at your local library. Give them as much information as you can about the book and see if they can track it down for you.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. 'Name that Book' looks interesting - I'll have a look after I've finished replying here (and hope I don't get caught up for hours in it - it's nearly bedtime!).
      I haven't been to a library in a couple of years or so - I must rectify that!

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  7. p.s. Check your spam folder or wherever comments disappear to. My email notified me that Hound of Hecate left a comment on this post yet I don't see it here.

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    1. Found it! I don't know why some of Hound's comments (and one or two of Mistress Maddie's) get the spam treatment? I don't know if it's a Blogger thing, or some other problem? Are you still experiencing problems with viewing your blog?

      Delete
  8. This is an undramatic comment to say I left another which has vanished. Strange, the comments I leave commenting on my comments being spamified are never spammed.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. So I can't call you a Drama Queen again, then?

      Spoilsport.

      Delete
  9. And even ones which viagra look like spam are penis enlargement not spammed.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Not even those in which spam is used to enlarge the penis!

      Delete
  10. There was a Star Trek episode very like the Death of the Adults one. As other commenters have mentioned, they all sound very interesting.

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    1. I think I know which one you mean, although I have to confess to not having watched it (or if I did, it was so long ago that I can't remember). The Original Series isn't really my thing (although I love the 80s movies!), but I may have to give that episode a go in case I am confusing the book I think I've read with it.

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  11. I'm pleased I'm not the only one that goes on a Google frenzy looking for books I know I've read yet I've forgotten their titles. The hours I've wasted.
    Anyhow, The death of Adults - the only one I can think of is Only Lovers Left Alive - but this is not a children's book.
    Sx

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    1. No, and thank heavens the film adaptation starring The Rolling Stones didn't come to fruition!

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  12. The plots of the books you're seeking really DO explain a lot about you and your fertile imagination.

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Tickle my fancy, why don't you?