Orphans of the Night
We humans have a penchant for scary tales. Think on the
perrenial popularity of Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday The 13th,
Goosebumps, and virtually anything penned by Stephen King. There's no
more perfect time than winter, when darkness falls almost right after
kids get out of school, to share stories of the supernatural,
especially when a storm knocks out the power and the blackness outside
is full of spooky sounds.
Orphans of the Night, edited by Joseph Sherman, shows us that
the perennially popular urban legends (think Bloody Mary) are not the
only show in town. This collection of short stories by talented
juvenile lit authors brings us the supernatural beings that are the
stuff of nightmares across time and around the world. If you read it
cover to cover (which I maybe shouldn't have done with my husband
planning to depart soon for some vacation days at camp) you'll learn
about such fine frightening fiends such as:
*the Njuggle, a demon from the Shetland Islands, that will kill by
taking the form of a handsome horse and riding into the water to drown
*the Mongolian Sidhi-kur, a living corpse that can be quite a trickster;
*the Ixtabay, a vengeful female spirit that lures men to their death...
My favorite story concerns a Hawaiian Menehune, one of a race of
little people with supernatural construction powers. In A Few Good
Menehune one, with a lot of help from his friends, manages to
transform a too powerful white developer with plans to replace
precious natural habitat with condos.
"They found Mr. Kirk sitting stark naked in the surf, singing
'Tiny Bubbles' to the little fishies. From neck to ankles he had been
tattooed with a perfect pin-striped business suit, oxford shirt, and
power tie. He looked up to met Darlene's gaze with a vacant, cheerful
If you have young adults in the house Orphans of the Night might
be a great investment for a night when the power goes out, maybe
rendering the ubiquitous electronics less than useful. It would seem
to be a great boredom buster.
On a personal note, after twenty-five years the oven part of our
electric stove stopped working. Eugene went out and bought a lovely
new one. He thinks it's not so great because it doesn't have fancy
features. I love it. It does all it needs to and has a digital clock
and an oven light. Plus I'm aware of the billions of people who can
only dream of having such a stove, electricity to run it, and ample
food to prepare with it.
A great big shout out goes out to all who collect traditional stories
to keep them alive.
Julia Emily Hathaway
Sent from my iPod