Wendy (here_be_dragons) wrote,

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There is a mountain called Ben Macdui, and that mountain is haunted - Day 07 - 30 Days of Me

Day 07 - A Fictional Book

I already wrote about one fictional book a few days ago, but apparently this meme wants me to write about books at least two more times. So, I chose a fictional book that was a childhood favorite of mine: 

The Haunted Mountain, by Mollie Hunter

I don't remember when I first read this book - probably somewhere between the ages of 8 and 10 (although possibly younger - it was written in 1972, so if I got it when it was new, I'd have been about 6). In a village in the Cairngorm Mountains, in the Scotttish Highlands, it was common practice to leave a portion of one's land untilled to avoid the wrath of the the Sidhe, or local faery people. All the villagers followed this practice, until the year when a man called MacAllister decided to till this so-called "Goodman's Croft." Why, he proclaimed, should the Sidhe benefit from land that belonged to him? His neighbors warned against this challenge to the faeries, but he went ahead and tilled the land anyway. This did indeed bring upon him the wrath of the Sidhe, who embarked on a campaign of revenge which MacAllister suffered for thirteen years.

I loved this story. I was a big fan of faery tales to begin with, and something about The Haunted Mountain just captured my imagination. MacAllister and his pride, the Seelie Woman - half human, half Sidhe - who lived in the village. An Ferla Mor, the "Great Grey Man" who wandered Ben Macdui, killing anyone who wandered in his path, trying to protect the mountain's treasure - gemstones, including the cairngorms which are found only in this part of the world. MacAllister's brave son Fergus, and the valiant hound, An Cu Mor. I read this book over and over again as a child, and rediscovered it as an adult not long before my then-husband and I took our first trip to Great Britain. While on vacation, we hiked in the Cairngorm Mountains, along the Lairig Ghru, in the shade of the mighty Ben Macdui, the air filled with mist, making the colors of the green moss and purple flowers and red earth even more brilliant than usual. Reminded of this book, I told it to him while we hiked. It was almost enough to make me nervous - hoping the Sidhe wouldn't take offense at being spoken of in not-entirely-complimentary terms. Apparently, they didn't mind my telling of the story, since we had no mishaps on our hike (in fact, we had good luck in general on that trip). Later, while living in Edinburgh, I found cairngorm jewelry for sale, so I own a pair of earrings with this unusual smoky-colored stone. I still adore this book. A few years ago, I read it with Connor, and he loved it as well (it even scared him a bit, something he hardly ever admits). The ending still makes me cry, every time. 

I highly recommend this book for anyone who likes supernatural stories, and especially for grade-school-aged children. 
Tags: 30 days, books

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