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The cup and the mask ISBN: 9781859020289
Clancy, Gertrude
Published by Pont, 1994
A fairy tale. Megan, the miller's daughter, was born with a large crimson birthmark on her face. She and the beautiful Princess Bronwen share a birthday, and when they are almost sixteen, a black tower - Twr Du - appears on the top of a hill in the kingdom. Its occupant is Nara, a witch, abetted by her ugly dwarf, Skag. Nara invites all the citizens to a great feast, which they accept. Megan refuses to go because she is shy about her face, so her friend Aled brings her a telescope so she can watch from the hill above. Horrified, she sees the witch take the Princess into the tower while an invisible shield keeps everyone else away. Nara sends word that unless the most beautiful child in the kingdom is sent to her each month, seven children a day will be stricken deaf, dumb, and blind. The king has no choice but to send the children to the witch, to be turned into gold statues. It is Megan and Aled who find the good witch Gweneth, and through an intricate plot in which Megan must wear a mask that makes her beautiful, the children are saved. When all is well, Gweneth gives Megan the choice of keeping her new face, but she request the old one back again: 'I just want to be myself'. There is a happy-ever-after ending, with Megan and Aled declaring their love for each other. Particularly good on Megan's feeling about her birthmark and the difficulty of accepting teasing and hurtful remarks. Superb black and white illustrations.
Age: 6+