The Moorchild


The Moorchild

"The Moorchild" is a novel by Eloise McGraw, centering on the life of a changeling girl in Ireland and drawing heavily from Irish and European folklore about changelings, leprechauns and fairies.

Plot summary

Saaski is a changeling child who struggles to fit in with the humans. In a past life she was raised as Moql, a Folk child, but when the time came for testing the folk children for the ability to render themselves invisible, Moql fails miserably. As a result, her human side was found. The Folk then exchanged her for a human child. From this point on, Saaski is rejected by everybody except her foster family and her grandmother. She also struggles to reconcile the emotional insensitivity of her Folk half with her human emotions, all the while trying to be accepted by others.

While roaming the moor, she finds a friend in a young goatherder called Tam, who helps her to rescue Anwara's real daughter from the Folk and return the child to their rightful parents. In a bitter sweet but unavoidable ending, Saaski and Tam leave the village, taking with them the remnants of their previous lives. In an epilogue, it appears that the villagers barely remember the odd child who caused such a disturbance, although Anwara is said to hear Saaski's bagpipes on the moor.

Characters

Moql/Saaski: the protagonist, first a young elfish creature, or Folk. She then is transformed into a human child, albeit an odd one. Often described as "Eldritch" and "Freaky Odd," she is secretive and has a stubborn streak. She shows no signs of wanting to belong with the other children, who she describes as dull and primitive.

Anwara: Saaski's adopted mother, a harassed young woman living in a small village by the moor. She often displays a kindly attitude towards Saaski, but is disheartened as the story progresses.

Yanno: the village's blacksmith, and Saaski's adoptive father. A huge man with the smell of iron about him, he is bemused by his daughter's oddities, but shows a gentle streak towards her and defends her from the villagers.

Tam: a lonely orphan, a shepherd on the moor who befriends Saaski and escapes with her to lands unknown.

Old Bess: Anwara's mother, a mysterious old woman living in a hut on the outskirts of town. She is very in tune with the ethereal world that Saaski first was part of, and suspects Saaski's true identity from the start.

Awards and nominations

It was awarded the Newbery Honor in 1997. [cite web|url=http://www.ala.org/ala/alsc/awardsscholarships/literaryawds/newberymedal/newberyhonors/1997newberymedal.htm|title=1997 Newbery Medal and Honor Books]

Footnotes


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