Today’s tale is adapted from “Simon and Margaret” in West Irish Folk-Tales and Romances, collected by William Larmine and published in 1893. The version I read is Brave Margaret by Robert D. San Souce, illustrated by Sally Wern Comport.
Margaret is an amazing heroine, a nice contrast to all the princesses out there who need rescuing. She lives alone in western Ireland and is quite content. She was hard-working and wise, but yearned to know what lay beyond the sea or behind the cliffs. One day, a handsome prince, Simon, stops at her cottage and explains that he and his men are on a voyage but need meat to continue. she agrees to give him her cattle as long as he takes her along too. She’s looking forward to the adventure and has also fallen a little in love with Simon.He agrees, and reluctantly lets her join the crew.
At sea, a sea serpent threatens the boat, saying they must give her the red woman. Simon refuses of course, but Margaret states she won’t endanger them all and takes off in a small rowboat. She defeats the sea serpent and she is washed ashore. she seeks shelter in the hut of an old woman who turns out to be a witch. A magic sword and ring hang on the wall and the witch tells Margaret about being driven from her home by a giant. Simon, after searching, finds Margaret, and they are preparing to leave when the old women imprisons Margaret and demands that Simon kill the giant in return for Margaret’s release. Simon fights and dies, but Margaret takes the ring, which fits her and the sword. “What fools we are for thinking it must be a man who slays that great, dirty giant!”. Margaret fights the giant with the enchanted sword and wins. When the old woman regains the castle, a magic potion restores her youth and Simon’s life.
Margaret and Simon return to Simon’s hone and are married. They all live happily ever after.
I love this book as a read aloud for boys and girls. It’s got enough adventure and monsters to keep any boy entertained and the brave, undaunted, more than competent Margaret is the kind of princess little girls will love. This particular version is filled with bright, fiery pictures that fit the adventerous feel of the story. They’re vivid and pull you right into the tale. Romance, danger, magic – it all boils down to a good story.
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Thursday’s Tales is a weekly event here at Carol’s Notebook. Fairy tales, folktales, tall tales, even re-tellings, I love them all.