Read Puck of Pook's Hill by Rudyard Kipling H.R. Millar Online

puck-of-pook-s-hill

A pair of children happen across an ancient shrine, where they conjure up an impish sprite named Puck, who treats them to a series of tales about Old England. Rudyard Kipling, the storyteller behind Puck's fables, lived in the East Sussex region of Pook's Hill. To amuse his children, Kipling created these quasi-historical stories about the people who lived in their neighboA pair of children happen across an ancient shrine, where they conjure up an impish sprite named Puck, who treats them to a series of tales about Old England. Rudyard Kipling, the storyteller behind Puck's fables, lived in the East Sussex region of Pook's Hill. To amuse his children, Kipling created these quasi-historical stories about the people who lived in their neighborhood centuries ago.Readers of all ages will treasure Puck's ten magical tales of adventure and intrigue. Kipling's imaginative blend of fact and fancy transports readers back to the days of William the Conqueror, to the camps of the Roman legions who guarded Hadrian's Wall against the Picts, and to the thirteenth-century court of King John. All of the stories abound in the freshness of invention and narrative vigor that have kept the author's books popular for generations. Each enchanting myth is followed by a selection of Kipling's spirited poetry....

Title : Puck of Pook's Hill
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 13432468
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 306 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Puck of Pook's Hill Reviews

  • Nandakishore Varma
    2019-01-04 05:05

    I read this because it was available free on Kindle (now I am on a "Kindle"-ing spree).This book carries with it a childhood memory for me. I used to buy comics from the Higginbothams' bookstall in the railway station (they still have stalls all over railway stations in South India, but carry mostly magazines) - Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse, Casper the Friendly Ghost, Bugs Bunny... freely available in those days and costing the lordly sum of one rupee. My father on this occasion, however, decided to "improve" my reading and picked up a few children's books from the shelf. This book was one of them.It was a beautiful edition with a glossy cover and enthralling pictures, but my dad was not impressed. He told me there were much better books by Kipling (true!) and put it back on the shelf, and I went for my comic. But the book remained in memory.However, I am glad I did not get it then - I would have been totally lost! Because in this series of connected stories, Kipling does a masterly job of weaving together England's mythology, legend and history. Compered by the fairy "Puck" from The Midsummer Night's Dream, the narrators range from Puck himself, a knight, a roman soldier and a Jew. The timeline shifts between the mythic, sylvan past of the Island through the Roman occupation and medieval intrigues up to the signing of the Magna Carta.It is typical Kipling - each story is sandwiched between a couple of poems (which are sometimes much better than the tales). The mundane and the magical seamlessly weave together to create a brilliant tapestry, familiar to all Kipling fans. But the tales were, I felt, rather mediocre. From the creator of The Jungle Book one expected a bit more.The author's intention here - made explicit in the last poem - is to inculcate pride and love for the motherland in the heart of youngsters and maybe get them to study the culture of their country in detail. Very laudable, but it has not aged well like The Jungle Book or Just So Stories.

  • J.G. Keely
    2018-12-27 07:56

    The more familiar I become with Kipling's many short, fantastical works, the clearer it becomes that almost every fantasy author of the past century owes him a great debt. I have pointed out before that he has written works which lay out whole subgenres--blueprints which later authors like C.S. Lewis, H.P Lovecraft, Neal Gaiman, and Susanna Clarke have expanded upon.And in this collection, we can see yet another branch of influence. In several stories spanning centuries of English history, Kipling writes of war, politics, and adventure amongst the clash of conquerors and settlers of that island. Each story is full of unusual historical details and characters, woven closely together into a rich and varied tapestry where beauty, comedy, and tragedy are depicted side by side.It is this vividity of myriad emotions that I have come to see as the mark of a great and exciting tale of adventure. As Howard said of his greatest creation, Conan the Barbarian:"Hither came Conan, the Cimmerian, black-haired, sullen-eyed, sword in hand, a thief, a reaver, a slayer, with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandalled feet..."Of the many authors who have followed after Howard, the great majority are lackluster, for though they all remember the 'gigantic melancholies', none recall the 'gigantic mirth'. And indeed, these tales of Kipling's are immediately reminiscent of the wild, strange adventures penned by Howard and Leiber.They both learned well the lesson that both magic and realism are dependent on a constant rush of strange yet naturalistic details. Any long-winded explanation is the death of a story, while innumerable implications of the greater world are its life. More than that, they resemble Kipling in form. The sorts of characters, places, events, and twists we see are immediately familiar to the connoisseur of Sword and Sorcery: piracy, doomed battles, monstrous apes, lost treasures, inscrutable foreign allies, mystery cults, ruthless generals, seers, &c.Tying all these tales together was a frame story taken from the English fairy tale tradition, with the familiar theme of modern children accidentally coming across ancient myths (though in this case, they are only listeners, not participants). Yet what fascinated me was how fantastical the stories themselves felt, despite the fact that they were not overtly magical. Even so, Kipling maintains a consistent tone of wonderment and strangeness, often by representing the world through the eyes of the characters, themselves.So many authors seem to think that including some elves and dragons will make a story wondrous, but for the most part, they are known quantities, not mysterious entities. We all know what dragons are, so their appearance in fantasy could hardly surprise us. No story will be fantastical if it is fundamentally familiar and predictable. It is not the color of a creature's skin that makes it otherworldly, it is how the creature is personified. It is simply impossible to make something fantastical without a strong sense of tone.So perhaps I should have been less surprised that I found in the thirty pages of one of these stories more complex characters, emotional depth, and sense of the mystical than I have in most five-hundred page books about yet another dragon war.Unfortunately, I found the last few stories dragged on a bit, lacking the conciseness and immediacy of the earlier ones. Kipling's attempt to tie all the stories together into a meaningful narrative about English identity was stretched a bit thin. Likewise, there is an uncomfortable implication of 'White Man's Burden' in the way the Romans treat the Picts--but if anything, the fact that he turns the same argument on his own people suggests that it is a comment about international power relations, and not race.Once more, Kipling shows the breadth of his imagination--the many periods, peoples, and stories he covered--and it's easy to see his influence among the best writers of fantasy and adventure.My List of Suggested Fantasy Books

  • John Frankham
    2019-01-13 08:19

    A magical tale which starts when the two children, Dan and Una, are rehearsing scenes from A Midsummer Night's Dream in a field near their house on the South Downs. They enjoy it so much they rehearse three times in a circular clearing. This conjures up the last of the old hill people, Puck, who, through a series of narrated tableaux over several months, shows them the spirit of England, from Roman, Saxon, and Norman times, through Magna Carta to the Middle Ages. The first chapter in simple marvellous, and Kipling cannot for me maintain the frisson/goose pimple level throughout as he did when I read this as a boy. But, really good.The GR blurb says:Rudyard Kipling, the storyteller behind Puck's fables, lived in the East Sussex region of Pook's Hill. To amuse his children, Kipling created these quasi-historical stories about the people who lived in their neighborhood centuries ago.Readers of all ages will treasure Puck's ten magical tales of adventure and intrigue. Kipling's imaginative blend of fact and fancy transports readers back to the days of William the Conqueror, to the camps of the Roman legions who guarded Hadrian's Wall against the Picts, and to the thirteenth-century court of King John. All of the stories abound in the freshness of invention and narrative vigor that have kept the author's books popular for generations. Each enchanting myth is followed by a selection of Kipling's spirited poetry.

  • Monica Davis
    2019-01-16 05:25

    A pair of children happen across an ancient shrine, where they conjure up an impish sprite named Puck, who treats them to a series of tales about Old England.Expect the unexpected with Puck (from Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream") as your guide. Characters from various periods of history make appearances, and tell their wondrous tales. Be wary not to be magicked by Puck's "Oak, and Ash, and Thorn", lest you forget the story.

  • Oliviu Craznic
    2019-01-11 04:09

    A classic. Interconnected short stories of England history, told by a Faun, a medieval knight, a Roman centurion, a painter dealing with cannons and pirates...However, most of the stories are pure historical adventure, no supernatural involved whatsoever, or including false supernatural events („the Evil spirit in the bottle” showing the direction is but a Chinese compass, „the hairy devils of the Jungle” are mere gorillas etc.).NB The story of the outlaws guarding the Wall against savage attacks could have been inspiration for „Game of Thrones”, the „knights in the Jungle adventure” is a possible source for some of Robert E. Howard`s stories, and fans of Gothic metal band Tiamat are likely to know these lyrics: „She thinks she smells the Northland snow, And she's as glad as we to go. (...) Her very bolts are sick for shore, And we - we want it ten times more!”

  • Courtney Johnston
    2019-01-06 05:19

    Puck of Pook’s Hill and Rewards and Fairies are two collections of children’s stories, based on English folktale and history. As stories, none are nearly as funny or moving as anything from the Jungle Book or the Just So Stories, but on re-reading them I was really struck by how the collections are structured.There is the basic structure - two collections of about a dozen stories each, in which each story is bookended by two connecting poems. But then there’s a series of layers across the stories, that turn them into something deeper.The first layer consists of a setting based on Kipling’s own home in Sussex, and Dan and Una, two characters based on his own children. Dan and Una have an enviable existence in an idyllic Edwardian country setting; there’s a touch of feudalism to the way they somewhat imperiously claim ownership of the surrounding farmland and the attention of the (slightly mysterious) woodsman Hobden, who poaches rabbits and shows them a dormouse in its woven nest. Dan and Una biggest problems are remembering that the nursery is now the ‘schoolroom’ and getting out of Latin lessons with their governess; they are leading a sunlit Swallows and Amazons kind of life filled with rowboats and playacting.This playacting opens up the second layer. On Midsummer Eve Dan and Una ‘break open the hills’, by acting out the ‘fairy’ scenes from Midsummer’s Night Dream three times in a row in a fairy ring under Pook’s Hill. This brings forth Puck - ‘the Oldest Old Thing in England’ - who makes them an offer:'You see, I can't let you into the Hills because the People of the Hills have gone; but if you care to take seizin from me, I may be able to show you something out of the common here on Human Earth. You certainly deserve it.''What's taking seizin?' said Dan, cautiously.'It's an old custom the people had when they bought and sold land. They used to cut out a clod and hand it over to the buyer, and you weren't lawfully seized of your land - it didn't really belong to you - till the other fellow had actually given you a piece of it -'like this.' Heheld out the turves.'But it's our own meadow,' said Dan, drawing back. 'Are you going to magic it away?'Puck laughed. 'I know it's your meadow, but there's a great deal more in it than you or your father ever guessed. Try!'He turned his eyes on Una.'I'll do it,' she said. Dan followed her example at once.'Now are you two lawfully seized and possessed of all Old England,' began Puck, in a sing-song voice. 'By right of Oak, Ash, and Thorn are you free to come and go and look and know where I shall show or best you please. You shall see What you shall see and you shall hear What you shall hear, though It shall have happened three thousand year; and you shall know neither Doubt nor Fear. Fast! Hold fast all I give you.'Puck’s magic is the second layer of the story. From this point forth he brings magic and history into the children’s everyday world - he is the gate between the past and the present. He is a self-effacing but powerful and knowledgeable character, melancholy and jovial in turn, who guides Dan and Una through their encounters. The mythical characters of the stories seem in particular to belong to him: the smith Weland, ‘the only Old Thing … who worked honestly for his living after he came down in the world. … I think he claimed kin with Thor of the Scandinavians’, the prehistoric flintworker who traded his human life to bring iron back to his people.Puck and the children form the framing device for each of the stories. In each story, Puck appears with a companion while the children are going about their normal daily adventures, the story is told, and then the scene is closed when Puck skilfully introduces ‘the leaves of Oak and Ash and Thorn’ to wipe the children’s memories. (I remember the satisfaction I felt as a kid each time this closing device was used - the pleasure in Puck’s ingenuity, and the power of being able to retain the story myself when Dan and Una could not.)The third layer are the stories of these legendary and historical characters. This is history - the thrills and spills of England, from life on the Roman wall to the Normans and the Saxons to Elizabethan intrigue; smugglers and astrologers and medicine-men; royalty and mastercraftsmen and Jewish moneylenders. Sometimes the stories are complex (the ones set in America in particular, featuring Talleyrand in disguise, still do my head in even at this venerable age) whilst others are more like rollicking adventure tales (such as ‘The Knights of the Joyous Venture’).And the bottom layer is the allegory of England that is built up through all these actions. Not just an allegory, but a personality: a place where honour is more important than pride, loyalty more important than gain, good craftsmanship, bravery and and an adventurous spirit are valued. A land that has seen wave after wave after wave of occupying peoples, and slowly forged this into a single great nation - an Empire that was in its bloom when Kipling was writing at the beginning of the 20th century. It’s an allegory that we’ve been taught to distrust now, but it’s nonetheless a powerful and moving picture.

  • James Lyon
    2018-12-29 07:21

    If you like Harry Potter, this book is for you!The British have a wonderful tradition of excellent adult authors writing fantasy children’s books that are also fun reads for adults. J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter”, C.S. Lewis’ "Alice in Wonderland" and "Chronicles of Narnia", and J. M. Barrie’s "Peter Pan" all spring to mind. Even J.R.R. Tolkien’s "Hobbit" and "Lord of the Rings" were YA accessible and appropriate. But who would have thought Rudyard Kipling falls into this category?The book Puck of Pook’s Hill follows two children, Dan and his sister Una, as they spend an enchanted summer in the English countryside. When they perform Shakespeare’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream” under the oldest hill in England three times in a row on Midsummer’s Eve, who should appear, but the magical faun Puck.In a series of short episodes, Puck introduces Dan and Una to various characters from England’s history, including a Roman legionnaire, a Nobleman, a money-lender, a blacksmith, and one of the old pre-Christian pagan Gods -- Weyland. The story-telling is masterful, the writing lyrical, and the plot moves along quite quickly. The story is interspersed with lots of poems by Kipling, who was, after all, a master poet. Puck is the type of book you can read out loud to your children in the evening, and they won’t get bored. Each chapter is just the right length for a bedtime story. Or, you can keep it all to yourself and savor every last word of it. The only problem with reading it to your children is that they will ask you millions of questions about it. There are some historical references that non-British readers may not understand, for which I would recommend the reference list at http://www.kipling.org.uk/rg_puck.htm.Puck of Pook's Hill was first published in 1906, and is available for free on Amazon and other on-line sites.

  • Hazel
    2019-01-03 09:06

    Such a delight. I can't wait 'til my niece is old enough for this. I've revisited a number of childhood reads in recent weeks, and this is the one that has worn best. I imagine that says something about my penchant for whimsy and nostalgia. There's nothing sophisticated about Kipling's take on what made Britain great, but for some reason I can overlook all his failings as he uses fairy tales as illustration for a history lesson. I can even tolerate the AntiSemitism. Go figure.

  • Chris Purser
    2019-01-19 09:01

    This was first published in 1906, and a modern child, 10+ years, could still enjoy it, if they are a good reader, and are into historical adventure told in an old-fashioned and very masculine style, with a touch of fantasy softening the edges.Two Edwardian children, Dan and Una, live out in the country in a place called Pevensey, and receive lessons in the morning from a governess. In the afternoon, they can run loose in the countryside. They accidentally summon up the fairy Puck one midsummer eve, who is a very butch and masculine fairy, and he starts bringing over men who lived at different times in the local area, or who otherwise had a connection with Pevensey, to tell the children anecdotes from their own lives. This means the stories are told in first person, and Kipling does adjust the narrative voice of each one - I quite liked the young Roman centurion's take on the world!I'm not sure why other reviewers are commenting on a feeling of peace - this book is full of war! Half the stories are told from the point of view of conquerors of Britain ie. a Norman knight and the Roman centurion, and I got the feeling that Kipling (a very famous writer on the experiences of people in the British Empire) was bringing over his own first-hand observations of conquering and colonising people who don't really want that to happen. The story about the old gods mentioned human sacrifices. The story of the medieval Jewish moneylender referenced regular torture, and that King John used to pull out the teeth of Jews to force them to lend money to him. There are also Vikings, pirates, killer apes, a very cheeky tale about smugglers, and a much more fey-like one about the fairies getting on a boat and leaving Britain because they were unhappy with the burnings and killings of the Reformation.I enjoyed it very much, but it's a lot more full-on about the harsh side of past life than today's historical fiction for children.Last point: - C.S. Lewis must have read this as a child. It's the only book outside of the "Narnia Chronicles" where I've seen "Son of Adam/Daughter of Eve" used, and it also mentions wicked apes, fauns, and the repeated use of the place name Pevensey.Read less

  • dragonhelmuk
    2019-01-19 07:56

    Amazing book at the beginning, until it gets a bit strange and racist later on. All about two children who accidently summon Puck (Robin) the genius loci of the English countryside. Talk about creating a mythology for England – Tolkien would have loved this. Thanks to the children summoning him, he lets them meet people from England’s past, from Weland right the way down to some of the local heroes who helped shape the surrounding area. (English barrow lore)' Ah, but you are a fairy,' said Dan.' Have you ever heard me use that word yet ' said Puck, quickly. 'No. You talk about "the People of the Hills," but you never say "fairies," ' said Una. 'I was wondering at that. Don't you like it?' ' How would you like to be called " mortal" or "human being" all the time?' said Puck; ' or " son of Adam " or " daughter of Eve " ?' ' I shouldn't like it at all,' said Dan. ' That's how the Djinns and Afrits talk in the Arabian Nights: 'And that's how I feel about saying—that word that I don't say. Besides, what you call them are made-up things the People of the Hills have never heard of—little buzzflies with butterfly wings and gauze petticoats, and shiny stars in their hair, and a wand like a schoolteacher's cane for punishing bad boys and rewarding good ones. I know 'em!' ' We don't mean that sort,' said Dan. ' We hate 'em too.' 'Exactly,' said Puck. 'Can you wonder that the People of the Hills don't care to be confused with that painty-winged, wand-waving, sugar-and-shake-your-head set of impostors? Butterfly wings, indeed! I've seen Sir Huon and a troop of his people setting off from Tintagel Castle for Hy-Brasil in the teeth of a sou'-westerly gale, with the spray flying all over the castle, and the Horses of the Hill wild with fright. Out they'd go in a lull, screaming like gulls, and back they'd be driven five good miles inland before they could come head to wind again. Butterfly-wings! It was Magic—Magic as black as Merlin could make it, and the whole sea was green fire and white foam with singing mermaids in it. And the Horses of the Hill picked their way from one wave to another by the lightning flashes! That was how it was in the old days!'(Viking parrots)I remember' — he laughed to himself—'when first we entered there a loud voice cried, "Out swords! Out swords! Kill, kill!' Seeing us start Witta laughed, and showed us it was but a great-beaked grey bird with a red tail. He sat her on his shoulder, and she called for bread and wine hoarsely, and prayed him to kiss her. Yet she was no more than a silly bird. But—ye knew this ?' He looked at their smiling faces. 'We weren't laughing at you/ said Una. ' That must have been a parrot. It's just what Pollies do.' 1 So we learned later. But here is another marvel. The Yellow Man, whose name was Kitai, had with him a brown box. In the box was a blue bowl with red marks upon the rim, and within the bowl, hanging from a fine thread, was a piece of iron no thicker than that grass stem, and as long, maybe, as my spur, but straight. In this iron, said Witta, abode an Evil Spirit which Kitai the Yellow Man, had brought by Art Magic out of his own country that lay three years' journey southward. The Evil Spirit strove day and night to return to his country, and therefore, look you, the iron needle pointed continually to the South.'

  • Kirsty
    2019-01-09 00:59

    Rudyard Kipling has left a plethora of fantastic writing behind him, ranging from his moralistic Just-So Stories and his beautiful and far-reaching collection of poems, to his delightful work for children. Each story in Puck of Pook’s Hill – which was first published in 1906, and is possibly the most charming novel which Kipling turned his hand to writing – ‘mixes war and politics with adventure and intrigue’.The foreword to Hesperus Minor’s beautiful new reprint of Kipling’s classic children’s novel has been written by Marcus Sedgwick. He explains, first and foremost, that a puck is ‘an ancient creature of British mythology, a catch-all name for the “little people”, the fairy-folk, or the People of the Hills’.The novel is comprised of short stories which relate to one another in terms of the central thread running through them, and which are separated by rousing poems. Surely such a format deems them perfect for bedtime reading. In the novel, we are introduced to siblings Una and Dan, who live in rural Sussex. On Midsummer’s Eve, whilst they are reciting – rather fittingly, one feels – the beautiful A Midsummer Night’s Dream to one another, using a fairy ring ‘of darkened grass’ as their stage, they manage to summon an elf named Puck, and ‘are taken on a fantastic journey through Britain’s past’. Kipling describes the little creature in rather a charming and vivid manner: all of a sudden, ‘in the very spot where Dan had stood as Puck they saw a small, brown, broad-shouldered, pointy-eared person with a snub nose, slanting blue eyes, and a grin that ran right across his freckled face’. Pook’s Hill, upon which the children sit, belong to Puck: ‘it is just that’, Sedgwick writes, ‘as the years go by, words and names change’.The entirety of Puck of Pook’s Hill is filled with history. Una and Dan meet, amongst other figures of yore, a Roman Centurion and the knight Sir Richard, who came to England with William the Conqueror. Both figures tell many tales of their pasts. In this way, the book is both entertaining and educative, telling the story of Britain’s important past by way of events which are sure to pique the interest of children. Throughout, Kipling balances the adventurous tales with beautiful descriptions – for example, ‘The trees closing overhead made long tunnels through which the sunshine worked in blobs and patches’, and ‘the little voices of the slipping water began again’.Puck of Pook’s Hill is of the rare kind of children’s literature, presenting as it does a story which will equally appeal to both boys and girls. It is filled to the brim with magic, folklore, ancient beings, other-worldly creatures, and two very endearing children. The charming story which Kipling has woven is ready to be rediscovered by a whole new generation of readers, who are sure to treasure it.

  • Melinda
    2018-12-29 02:57

    Written by Rudyard Kipling to amuse his children, this book is a wonderfully entertaining little gem. A brother and sister stumble across Puck, the woodland sprite of English mythology also known as Robin Goodfellow. (Those up on Shakespeare's "A Midsummer's Night Dream" will recognize Puck as the jester to the King of the Fairies, Oberon). Puck teaches them about Old England from the time of William the Conqueror, to the Roman's guarding Hadrian's Wall against the PIcts, and even into the court of King John. Each story is told with a person from that time magically brought to the present to tell his tale. The children learn about the history of the area where they live, Pook's Hill, and what battles were fought there and why.It is of interest to note that Kipling lived in East Sussex region of Pook's Hill, so his children would have known all the geographical references he makes, as do the two children in the book. A delightful book, and well worth reading. I particularly enjoyed our copy with Arthur Rackham's illustrations. His Puck reminds me in some ways of Psamathos Psamathides, chief of all Psamathists, from J.R.R. Tolkien's "Roverandom". That novella was also written to entertain the author's children!

  • Mary Findley
    2018-12-26 04:09

    This is a children's story intending to teach some English history in an entertaining fashion, and it does a really good job of that. Certainly his child audience was a lot better educated than our sis today for the most part. The language and imagery is rich, even when he's not writing actual poetry. I found his religious perspective very disturbing, however, as I always do with Kipling. He is a humanist, but he also claims that Protestantism was an evil bringer of destruction and hatred to England. Smugglers are funny and clever. Catholics and Jews can wise, clever and good, but only when they support humanist and pagan goals. The worship of the "old gods" and fairies is far better than modern church practices in Kipling's mind.

  • Helen
    2019-01-13 07:16

    I have enjoyed this book since I was a teenager and read it again every once in a while. The empire support is phrased in such away that you can easily accept it, but there is a strong racist element underneath. If I were reading it with children I would be very careful and annotate it orally. This time I have been reading a book about Roman remains in Britain so I wanted to read the chapters about Parnesius, a Roman British centurion in the Thirtieth Legion serving on Hadrian's Wall. Kipling's history stands up pretty well, including the ways of life at the time. It is very satisfying to read books you've enjoyed in the past and find big chunks that stand up. Of course, it's still going strong after more than a century so I shouldn't be surprised, I suppose.

  • Res
    2019-01-10 04:11

    The one where two children meet Puck, the last fairy remaining in England, and he introduces them to dead Saxons, Normans, Romans, and stories that tell of British history.Alas for period prejudices. The story starts with the tale of Weland Smith and the sword he made, and then introduces you to charming people from various historical periods, with mostly-lovely poetry between the sections -- and just about the time you're going, "Oh, ooh, all this is going to add up to the Magna Carta," in walks ... the Jew. Who plays his part in history because he's obsessed with gold.

  • Stephen
    2018-12-30 05:08

    Another freebie read on my phone in stolen moments. A sweet romp, though the cadences were took a bit of getting used to with my modern ears. The story is a fanciful way of outlining the early history of England, with the mythical Puck introducing two children to characters out of their local history. As an American kid I never would have picked up on that, but as an adult Anglophile I was able to enjoy it immensely. Well worth your time.

  • Dale
    2019-01-10 06:06

    I absolutely loved reading this book. It gives so much depth to the understanding of the history of both East Sussex and Britain as a whole. It also gives one an understanding of the expanse of knowledge which Kipling had in his education. Looking up characters of legend such as 'Weland' was interesting.

  • Linda
    2019-01-06 05:20

    Two early 20th century children, living in Pevensey, England, have a chance encounter with the legendary Puck, who undertakes to bring them a series of first hand accounts of the history of their region. Fun combination of fact and fancy.

  • Georgina
    2018-12-29 01:15

    Wonderful. I only wish it were longer...

  • Catherine Hill
    2019-01-12 01:13

    This is charming English history for kids and people who have been taught history is boring.

  • Glas
    2019-01-02 01:08

    I recently listened to the Librivox audio of Puck of Pook's Hill, which reminded me again how much I love Rudyard Kipling.

  • Jefferson
    2018-12-19 07:05

    Puck of Pook's Hill (1906) is Rudyard Kipling's paean to England and history and youth, as Puck, "the oldest Old Thing in England," introduces to two children, siblings Dan and Una, various figures and events from throughout three thousand or so years of British history. The first of the ten tales in the book features Puck's account of the advent, worship, and end of pagan Gods in Britain, focusing on one in particular, Weland, Smith of the Nordic Gods. In the second through fourth stories, the Norman knight Sir Richard Dalyngridge tells of his coming as a boy in 1066 with William the Conqueror to take England and instead being taken by the country (Norman and Saxon cultures and peoples merging into a new England), going as a middle-aged man on a pilgrimage that morphs into a Danish piratical voyage to Africa (men joyfully adventuring), and trying as an old man to help his lord protect England from internal and external foes (making the inevitable transition from youth to old age). The fifth through seventh stories are told by Parnesius, a British-born Roman, about his career as a centurion stationed on Hadrian's Wall during the 4th century when the Spanish general Maximus pulled vital troops from England to help him in his effort to become Emperor of Rome, making it more difficult to protect the Wall from Picts and "Winged Hats" (Vikings). Like Sir Richard's stories, Parnesius' are about the rich mix of British culture, the rewards of male friendship, the need to give yourself to something bigger and better than yourself, and the swiftness by which young people grow up. In the eighth story, "Hal-o-the Draft," a young, talented, cocky Renaissance draftsman-architect is sent to renovate a church in Sussex, where his job is complicated by a Scottish pirate, local smugglers, and the explorer Sebastian Cabot. The ninth story is told by Puck in the guise of a local rustic about the "flitting" of fairies from England during the Reformation, because fairies (like bees) cannot abide hate and war. In the last story a Jewish physician named Kadmiel relates his key role in the writing and signing of the Magna Carta in 1215. Kadmiel's story conveys what it was like to be a cruelly exploited and persecuted Jew, expresses the belief in universal freedom for all people, and ties up all the tales by revealing what happened to the treasure that was gained by the sword that was made by Weland in the first story. Kipling writes some wonderful prose in this compact book. He evokes the lush Sussex countryside as sensually experienced by healthy, active, and curious children:"They lay beneath a roof of close green, watching the water trickle over the flood-gates down the mossy brick chute from the millstream to the book. A big trout--the children knew him well--rolled head and shoulders at some fly that sailed round the bend, while, once in just so often, the brook rose a fraction of an inch against all the wet pebbles, and they watched the slow draw and shiver of a breath of air through the tree-tops. Then the little voices of the slipping water began again. 'It's like the shadows talking, isn't it?' said Una."He writes some magical fantasy:"Magic as black as Merlin could make it, and the whole sea was green fire and white foam with singing mermaids in it. And the Horses of the Hills picked their way from one wave to another by the lightning flashes!" He interestingly depicts the complexities of human nature:"Then he [a scoundrel] warmed to it [his confession], and smoothly set out all his shifts, malices, and treacheries, his extreme boldnesses (he was desperate bold); his retreats, shufflings, and counterfeitings (he was also inconceivably a coward); his lack of gear and honour; his despair at their loss; his remedies, and well-coloured contrivances. Yes, he waved the filthy rags of his life before us, as though they had been some proud banner."He writes great lines about human nature and life:"I was on a pilgrimage to forget, which no pilgrimage brings.""We talked together of times past. That is all men can do when they grow old." "It is knightly to keep faith, even after a thousand years."And to introduce and or conclude each tale he writes seventeen songs, each one in a different style for a different voice, among them Puck’s, a Viking’s, A Pict’s, a sword's rune's, a smuggler’s, and a bee keeper boy’s. The book, then, features rich writing, engaging historical stories, lively and beautiful songs, and interesting and useful themes for children. I do have some reservations about Puck of Pook's Hill. First, Kipling's history is male-centered. Although Una is a spunky girl, there is not a single positive female actor in his historical tales, and the most important relationships are between men, especially soldiers fighting the good fight. Where is Boudica or Elizabeth, or even a baker's wife or a midwife? Second, to prevent Una and Dan from chattering about Puck to grownups, which would result in the children being made to see a doctor, Kipling has Puck erase their memories after each tale and before each teatime. The mind-wipe contrivance conflicts with Kipling's obvious desire to communicate the interesting and important and relevant nature of history. Finally, unlike all the other songs, "The Children's Song" that closes the book contains much didactic patriotic messaging, as in the last stanza: Land of our Birth, our faith, our pride, For whose dear sake our fathers died;O Motherland, we pledge to theeHead, heart and hand through the years to be.That's the kind of thing that Kipling detractors focus on when they condemn him for being a pro-empire, white-man's burden writer.My reservations notwithstanding, I did enjoy Puck of Pook's Hill, and recommend it to readers interested in British history, Kipling's work, and stories designed to make children more curious and active about their history, world, and fellow human beings.

  • serina khristi
    2018-12-30 05:02

    It is very interesting and ghost type story

  • Guillermo
    2018-12-25 04:58

    Cuatro o cinco historias que duendes y espectros le cuentan a dos chicos simpáticos y bien educados. Son historias míticas de Inglaterra vueltas a contar por sus protagonistas.A favor: el oficio de Kipling para contar cuentos, con héroes haciendo lo que corresponde.En contra: no tendrían tanta gracia para quien ignore plenamente estas historias.

  • Jim
    2018-12-27 08:21

    Enchanted by the theatre, Dan and Una decide to recreate their own version of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Finding the perfect spot, an old fairy ring, they set about their play, and are so enchanted that they perform it three times in a row. After a final bow, they sit down in the centre of the fairy ring - whereupon, the bushes part and Puck enters, stage left. Using his fairy magic, Puck then conjures up the past to entertain the two amazed children - a Roman centurion, a Renaissance artisan and a bygone village all appear before their very eyes. Puck of Pook's Hill is an innocent and charming tale to delight readers of all ages. About the Author Rudyard Joseph Kipling was born in the then named Bombay, India on 30th December 1865. Aged six, he was sent to England to be educated, firstly in Southsea, where he was cared for in a foster home, and later at Westward Ho, a United Services College in Devon. A life of misery at the former was described in his story 'Baa Baa Black Sheep', whilst Westward Ho was used as a basis for his questioning the public school ethic in 'Stalky and Co'. Kipling returned to India in 1882 to work as an assistant editor for the Civil and Military Gazette of Lahore. His reputation as a writer was established with stories of English life in India, published there in 1888/9. 'The Phantom Rickshaw', 'Soldiers Three' and 'Under the Deodars' are amongst these early works. Returning to England in 1889, Kipling settled in London and continued to earn a living as a writer. In 1892 he married Caroline Balestier, an American. They travelled extensively in the following four years, including a spell living in America, and it was in this time most of his enduring work was written, not least 'The Jungle Book' and 'The Second Jungle Book'. Kipling once again returned to England in 1896 and continued his writing career, although tragedy hit the family when his eldest daughter, Josephine, died in 1899. Nonetheless, in 1901 he completed 'Kim', often considered to be his best work. The following year, having settled in Sussex, he published 'Just So Stories', a book he had planned to write for Josephine. Having refused the position of Poet Laureate, which was offered in 1895, he did accept the Nobel Prize for Literature, becoming the first English author to be so honoured. By 1910, however, Kipling's appeal was waning. His poems and stories were based on values that were perceived as outdated. There was widespread reaction against Victorian imperialism, highlighted by the incompetent management of the Boer War. When World War I came, Kipling had difficulty in adapting to the mood of the public and after his only son, John, was reported missing in action believed killed in 1915, he became very active on the War Graves Commission. After the war he became an increasingly isolated figure, although some of his best writing was to come, with 'Debits and Credits' in 1926 and 'Limits and Renewals' in 1932. Kipling died in 1936 in London and was buried in Westminster Abbey. Today, however, he is once again avidly read not just for the quality of his writing and storytelling, but through a renewed

  • Jason
    2019-01-16 06:19

    I've read a lot of Kipling's work lately, and the depth, complexity, and artistry of his writing has left me amazed and grateful that I made the decision to pick up so many of his stories. Puck of Pook's Hill falls is one of those stories. Essentially Puck of myth and legend visits two children, siblings, and gifts them with tales of Britain's history from the days of the Roman Empire to medieval times to the 1400s using the ghosts of individuals who might be historical (I'm not British history expert). Actually, the way these historical figures are presented, they might not be ghosts. They may be illusions, they may even be Puck in disguise although usually Puck is there with them, but we are talking about a magical being here, so who's to say he can't be Puck and a "ghost" at the same time? It is left uncertain as to what may be the case, and I appreciate that because it isn't the point of this collection of tales. The point is Puck serving as teacher and storyteller to these two children about the place they call home.These tales are similar to Kim in that they reflect a complex reality full of change and politics. For example, several of the tales are about a knight, his friend, and his lord during the time Normans and Saxons are battling it out for rulership of England. These tales, while presented simply, have very complicated conflicts to deal with; which king should a lord support when one has the ability to call that lord a traitor for not serving him and having him hanged while the other king could simply drop a fleet at that lord's doorstep? How do you deal with a traitor who has proven himself to be incredibly useful, especially in an age where literacy is uncommon? These concepts are, to quote Marty McFly, "heavy". This heaviness makes Puck of Pook's Hill a slow read; you won't go through the book in one night, and frankly that's for the best. Reading Kipling is like drinking tea; it should be sipped and savored, not chugged, otherwise you miss a great deal.

  • Mary
    2019-01-07 03:14

    As one might expect from Rudyard Kipling, the language in this book is clean and energetic. The basic story is surprisingly complex, though it seems simple on the surface. One midsummer's day, two children reenacting a scene from Shakespeare conjure up a being from the deep past - Puck, or Robin Goodfellow himself. Over the coming months, Puck shows Dan and Una scenes from the history of their house, beginning with the forging of a sword by the mythical Wayland Smith, and ending with the loss of a great treasure. The narrative skips back and forth in time, and the children encounter a Roman legionary, a smuggler, a merchant, and a crusader who was once a monk, and learn how all these people were connected to their home. Two things about the narrative particularly fascinated me: Kipling's view of children and the influence this book must have had on Rosemary Sutcliff. Dan and Una are outdoors practically every minute they aren't doing lessons, and they always have some project in hand. If some of their projects seem cruel to modern eyes, they are not consciously so, and both boy and girl are shown as bright, alert, and capable. They are left alone to explore. Modern children without their freedoms might well envy them.The story of the young Roman soldier reminded me of the beginning of Sutcliff's "Eagle of the Ninth", as the young man and his friend are exiled to Hadrian's wall for displeasing the emperor. I think Sutcliff would also have enjoyed Kipling's emphasis on local history. As often happens in tales like this, Puck fools the children, using leaves of oak, ash, and thorn to steal their memories of the events he shows them. I didn't like that. I never like that, in any story. I also felt - and I can't tell why - a little let down by the ending, which seemed sudden. But fans of timeslip novels or of Kipling will certainly want to read this.

  • Adam
    2018-12-27 02:12

    Puck is a fairy, but this is only nominally a fairy story. He exists in the story only as a framing device, summoning warriors from across Britain's noble history to tell exciting tales of valor and deceit to a pair of dumbshit aristocratic children. It's a concept so similar to the premise of Holdstock's Mythago Wood that I at least wouldn't be surprised to learn he was inspired by it. But unlike Holdstock's culture heroes, Kipling's figures come from some mellowing afterlife campfire. They all fondly reminisce about the good old days, remembering them like they were only yesterday, creating the quaint flavor of neutered action and adventure that kids in those days I guess had to make do with. Kipling has this odd way of sounding like he's talking down to kids (especially to the frame story kids) while at the same time romanticizing kid stories. The stories themselves are all over the place. Kipling is certainly a skilled storyteller, there's no doubt about that. A few of the stories achieve some interesting scheming and characterization. Most of them are nominally fun. Together they both elucidate and romanticize the palimpsest of ethnic conflict throughout British history. The stories about Romans fighting barbarians on Hadrian's Wall is an astonishing match for GRRM's Wall - not that Kipling's telling has any details that aren't present in the historical version. The last story is a bizarre conspiracy thing about how Jews understand the deeper causes of things and completely control the affairs of honorable kings and noble fighting men through judicious control of monetary supply. :s

  • Griselda Heppel
    2019-01-05 03:05

    This is a charming runthrough of English history, sparked by the conceit of two children, Dan and Una, managing (by mistake) to conjure Puck up one midsummer night's eve. The playful fairy proceeds to entertain them by bringing to life a range of characters: Weland the legendary smith to the gods; Sir Richard Dalyngridge, a Norman knight from William the Conqueror's army; Parnesius, a centurion guarding Hadrian's Wall; and several more. The children are enthralled by this magical way of learning history, helped by telling details of the surrounding countryside and dwellings which show how the present connects to the past over hundreds of years. I enjoyed this book but my rating reflects my sense that it's one of Kipling's slighter works (still a jolly good read!); a collection of people representing different historical periods strung together by a whimsical, shallow structure (Dan and Una are barely characterised). A word of warning (or not, depending whether this kind of thing bothers you): read this book before going to see Bateman's, Kipling's home in Sussex. It's a wonderful house and garden, well worth seeing - but I didn't realise quite how strongly Puck of Pook's Hill is modelled on it. I'd have liked to imagine the magic lawn the children play on, when they conjure up Puck, and the mill that's referred to in the book. Exciting that these places really do exist - I just wish I'd read the book first!

  • Rebecca
    2019-01-04 06:55

    When three children perform Midsummer Night's Dream three times, they accidentally open up the fairy mound behind them, but the only fairy left is Puck, the first fairy ever to come to England. He introduces them to several people from history, who relate their tales. There's Wayland, who came as a god and left as a blacksmith. There's Sir Richard, a Norman who conquered a Saxon estate with kindness and hard work, then he and a friend were captured by Vikings and taken on an amazing adventure to Africa. Parnesius is a Roman captain assigned to Hadrian's Wall, and tells of his adventures there. A medieval stonemason tells of his difficulty building the local church because of smugglers. The children also hear the story of how the fairies left England, and how a Jewish man enabled the signing of the Magna Carta.All of these tales seem designed to show how deep the roots of English history are, and they were certainly entertaining to listen to. They were at a remove, since it was someone telling a past tale to the main characters, so all the action was in the past. I wish the children could have been more involved, but they weren't even allowed to remember the tales; Puck always removed their memories afterwards. So, didn't love it, didn't hate it.