The Fog Catcher’s Daughter

The Fog Catcher’s Daughter
Marianne McShane and Alan Marks
Walker Books

Somewhere on the Irish coast (three fields away from the sea to be precise) near the enchanted isle of Lisnashee where the Good People, or fairy folk, dwell, live young Eily and her fog catcher father.
The villagers stay well away from the island, fearing the consequences, should they anger the sinister sprites known for spoiling livestock, wrecking ships, and stealing people away in the night.
However members of Eily’s family have for generations, journeyed to the island once a year in their role as fog-catchers. Their task is to collect magical beads of mist that will help grow herbs Annie uses for protection charms, and to make potions, and healing ointments in her apothecary.

With the fairy wind on the rise, Eily knows that this year her father faces a treacherous crossing to Lisnashee. So she heads down to Annie’s apothecary to choose him a journey treasure and when she leaves Annie gives the child a blessing, “A smooth way before you, child.”

By the time she reaches the shore her Papa has already loaded his boat so she bids him a safe journey, gives him a farewell hug and puts the stone into his hand. Returning home she discovers that Papa’s charm has been snatched from his grasp by the fairy wind and fears for his safety. She does as she’s bid, leaves butter on the doorstep and curls up holding the charm.

However soon after, what she finds on the doorstep prompts her to undertake a perilous journey in Lapwing, rowing out on the storm tossed sea to rescue her beloved Papa.

Suffused with folklore of the Emerald Isle, Marianne McShane’s elegantly told, powerfully atmospheric story is both haunting and timeless, made all the more so by Alan Marks’ delicate, almost ethereal, watercolour scenes. How perfectly he captures the white-capped, rolling waves, the ghostly, menacing faeries, and the determination of Eily.

Child listeners and anybody with an interest in folklore will surely love this magical tale. In a final note, the author explains what inspired her to write it.

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