Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Dark, Dark Tale...

This is one of my very favourite children's picture books which I love to read to young children at this time of the year. Written and illustrated by Ruth Brown, it is delightfully scary as it leads the reader (or listener) to a surprising climax!  I got the best response from the 4 years olds who were wide-eyed with suspense and then laughed uproariously at the ending.

Here is a Youtube video of the story being read on a British children's programme called "Flicks". If you don't want to see the introductory part just skip ahead to the 3 minute mark for the beginning of the story.
A Dark, Dark Tale on video.

For more information about this author/illustrator, please see this article:
Ruth Brown (1941–) Biography - Personal, Addresses, Career, Honors Awards, Writings, Adaptations, Sidelights

Brown's story begins "on a dark, dark moor" which I was happy to describe to the children because I had finally visited "the moors" this past July when I went to see the home of the Bronte family in Haworth.  I wish I had spent more time there, in order to really get a feel for the place. But this website has some lovely pictures of the moorlands. I imagine at night and in bad weather, it must look very spooky indeed!

While in Edinburgh, we took a nighttime tour through the narrow streets of the city and then down into the underground to the Vaults which are believed to be haunted and where we heard a spine-tingling ghost story!
Here are some of my pictures from this tour, but make sure you watch the videos on the link above, as they were very similar to what we saw.
These evil instruments were displays at the Torture Museum which was part of the tour. I'd tell you what they were for, but it was so ghastly that I couldn't take it all in! That people could be so cruel to each other is just mind boggling to me!

Underground vault
Wiccan temple
These two pictures were taken in the underground vaults. The first is not a very good one, as it was so dark I did not really know what was going to be in the picture. The second one is a room in one of the underground vaults which was used for Wiccan religious ceremonies until the High Priest felt the presence of a dangerous spirit which so terrified his group that they apparently abandoned the room to move to a more favourable area within the underground.

Our tour guide relating another dark, dark tale
This picture was taken of our tour guide while he told us a tragic and horrifying story about a group of homeless people who were trapped in the underground during a great fire in the city.

And now here is a ghost story by none other than Elizabeth Gaskell. It is a radio program version of      The Old Nurse's Story dramatized by Weird Circle Theatre.
Sorry for the cigarette ads on this radio show...Remember this was made back in the day when smoking was extremely popular.  Now just hearing the ads is almost as unnerving as the story itself! :)

Currently on the BBC's Season 9 of Spooks (a.k.a. MI-5),  
Lucas North is living his own dark, dark tale. 
One can only hope that he, like his name "Lucas" which means light, will not be extinguished, and that his character will remain undimmed by the storm of plot contrivances with which the scriptwriters have attempted to smother him.
This pumpkin carving idea is thanks to an anonymous poster at Richard Armitage Fan Blog.


Avalon said...

Happy Halloween!

DEZMOND said...

I like the tour guide :)
Hope you're having a lovely Halloween, Phylly :)

phylly3 said...

@Avalon -- Same to you and your family! Thanks for visiting!
@Dezmond -- Yes. The tour guide was quite young and good looking, and he did an excellent job of scaring the bejeezus out of us! :) I like how that flashlit photo turned out!