WORK IN PROGRESS


I am currently researching and writing a major book of 
Native American Myths 
collected between 1636 and 1920. 
For publication in the UK market in 2018.

Modern First Nations design based on traditional art motifs, 
photographed by the author 
at Klemtu, BC, Canada,  2013



VIKING 
MYTHS & SAGAS
RETOLD FROM ANCIENT NORSE TEXTS


UK print edition published by Talking Stone 2015
US / Canadian edition published by Chartwell (Quarto Books) forthcoming late 2017
eBook edition published worldwide by Talking Stone








‘I met a wild woman walking down the road.  
Her grey hair was grimy and unkempt, 
coiling round her shoulders like winter snakes, 
her eyes unnaturally bright.  She hailed me and began to speak 
in a clear, compelling voice.  This is what she told me.’

The stories of the Viking Age rank amongst the world’s great narrative traditions. Preserved orally through countless generations and eventually transcribed in the 13th Century, their vividly imagined characters and high dramas are richly embroidered with dark humour and wisdom.

This definitive and unique collection presents thirty-four of the most important Viking myths, heroic legends and historical sagas, many previously known only within the academic world. Gods, giantesses, dwarfs, valkyries, ghosts and dragons mingle with real life queens, kings, slaves, lovers and outlaws. Visions of the mythical creation and end of the world contrast with a graphic account of the Vikings’ discovery of North America. It includes tales of the cursed ring that inspired Tolkien, and the story behind Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Written  in consultation with leading scholars, the book also contains proverbs, spells, poems, riddles, detailed notes and a comprehensive glossary, offering a unique insight into Viking Age culture and beliefs.


"Myths and legends expert with a collection of 34 of the most important Viking myths, heroic legends and historical sagas...bring Viking people, culture and beliefs vividly to life... along with the odd dragon, ghost and valkyrie." - The Bookseller

"Weaves together different versions of Norse sagas into highly readable and tellable renderings, that have also been carefully researched as the unobtrusive but informative notes show." - Gramarye, The Journal of the Sussex Centre for Folklore, Fairy Tales and Fantasy at Chichester University


"In presenting her versions of stories from Scandinavian myth and legend, as well as extracts from Icelandic sagas, Rosalind Kerven...writes in a distinguished tradition. While many modern retellings of these stories are sanitized versions for children, Kerven’s are aimed at adults and are better described as 'reimaginings', with copious endnotes explaining how her versions differ from their sources. The stories are short and lively, a few even successfully presented in verse. There is a strong focus on character and dialogue... Those who already know Kerven’s sources will enjoy spotting her many re-interpretations. Other readers should first enjoy these stories and then seek out the originals, precisely for their differences of tone and emphasis"  – Times Literary Supplement


“An excellent and informative book surrounding all the Viking myths and legends.  The author’s writing style is so excellent and at a perfect pace so that it truly feels like you are sitting round a fire at camp being told a story… The range covered in this book is also exceptional, from all the places the Vikings travelled to, to the number of mythical creatures; gods, dragons, trees, trolls, all sorts.  All in all, an excellent, insightful and informative book that I am very pleased to have discovered.” – 5-star reader review on both goodreads.com and amazon.







CHINESE MYTHS & FOLK TALES

(Talking Stone eBook September 2016)

Originally published by Cambridge University Press as
'In the Court of the Jade Emperor – Stories from Old China' 
two editions 1993, 1999







The first C.U.P edition
was selected by the 
Federation of Children’s Book Groups 
for National Tell a Story Week 1994

Great for reading aloud!




REVIEWS OF THE FIRST EDITION

'What riches there are to read here! A wonderful variety of stories... and in a variety of tellers' voices, so that every story is different and a delightful surprise.   The language itself is immediate... The words have a truth and depth... a book both to instruct us on Chinese culture and to delight our narrative thirst. A real find!" – School Librarian 

Rosalind Kerven is the author of a number of excellent retellings of traditional stories from around the world and this collection is as good as the others. The language is lively and direct and she avoids both the archaic and the over-colloquial so that the stories have a timeless feel, but are easy to read." – English and Media Magazine
 

Rosalind Kerven has a fine record of retellings of traditional stories...luminously clear prose... Her style is free of the stilted formality which can still occur in such retellings." – TES

"My ten year old son doesn't like reading but he really enjoyed this book. He said it was different to other stories he had read and it was full of surprises!" – 5-star reader review on www.amazon.co.uk

MEET TRULY ASTONISHING CHARACTERS SUCH AS:
  • King Monkey, the outrageously loveable, mischievous, anarchic anti-hero who ruled the whole world – and tried to take over Heaven too
  • Sea Girl, who climbed a lonely mountain and dived into a lake for the Golden Key, saving her people from dying of thirst
  • Bald Head, whose ocean-warming pig led him into the arms of a dragon princess
  • The talking ox who helped his kindly but impoverished owner to marry a goddess


TRAVEL:

  • On a cloud-trapeze – head over heels 108,000 leagues in a single leap
  • Forward in time with chess-playing fairies
  • Up to the sky and the Palace of Boundless Cold 
  • Down to the Underworld, where King Yama weighs up rewards and punishments for all the souls of the dead.

LEARN ABOUT
  • The secrets of Everlasting Life
  • The origins of yin and yang
  • The realms of the dragon kings
  • The magic horse that makes it rain
And lots more!


My research for this book led deeply into the world of traditional Chinese beliefs – Daoism, Buddhism, Confucianism, the deities of Heaven, the importance of family ancestors and the supernatural world – a fascinating counterpoint to the Western perspective. 

The first section tells of the extraordinary Monkey who tries to take over the whole world and Heaven too, only to be vanquished by the Buddha himself.  It's based on China's much loved 16th Century novel of the same name by Wu Ch’eng-en. My retelling  picks up the whimsical style of the original.  I often used to read this story aloud to older children in primary schools; they were always totally gripped and enthralled by the non-stop action and rich array of enchantment.

It's followed by a selection of China's favourite traditional stories – each one full of surprises, astonishing magic and unforgettable characters.

The stories are complemented by brief notes on traditional Chinese beliefs, updated for the new eBook edition.



CONTENTS

THE EXTRAORDINARY ADVENTURES OF MONKEY
  • In Which Monkey Proves That Nothing Is Impossible
  • In Which Monkey Gets Too Big For His Boots
  • In Which Monkey Tastes The Peaches Of Immortality
  • In Which Monkey Takes A Giant Leap To Nowhere
WOMAN-OF-THE-MOON, MAN-OF-THE-SUN
THE FARMER AND THE WEAVING GODDESS
THE PALACE OF BOUNDLESS COLD
THE GOLDEN KEY
THE MAN WHO DID DRAGON'S WORK
THE HOT PIG AND THE DRAGON PRINCESS
THE GIRL WHO WENT HER OWN WAY
CAKES AND KITCHENS
STORM GIRL
THE BOYS WHO FELL OUT OF TIME
BACKGROUND TO THE STORIES




  'Ask me, ask me, ask me!' chanted another voice. 
  She spun round, and saw a green parrot looking down at her from the branches of a cinnamon tree.   
  'Sea Girl,' said the parrot, 'it is no good looking for the Golden Key until you have found the Dragon King's third and youngest daughter.' 
  'Oh where?' cried Sea Girl; but the parrot had already flown away.
  She turned and walked back into the bamboo forest. Very soon, a peacock alighted before her and began to strut about, displaying his beautiful tail. 
  'It is not “where?”, Sea Girl but “how”,' he said. 'And “how” is easy: you must sing! Go back to the shore and sweeten your throat with more water. Then do not stop singing until the Dragon King's third and youngest daughter comes to you.' 
   So Sea Girl did as the peacock told her. She sat down and sang until her voice was hoarse. By then the sun was turning red and sinking behind the distant slopes. 
   The waters of the lake began to stir and ripple. Slowly, the Dragon King's third daughter came rising out. Her body shimmered like a rainbow: one moment a dragon, the next transformed into a young woman, her necklace of water droplets sparkling with golden sunset fire. 
– from The Golden Key 


ROSALIND KERVEN IS ALSO THE AUTHOR 
OF A THRILLING HISTORICAL FICTION SERIES FOR CHILDREN

PLEASE VISIT 

FAERIES, ELVES AND GOBLINS 
The Old Stories

(Anova Books for the National Trust 2013)




5-star reviews on www.goodreads.com: 
 "A fantastic collection of fairy stories...gorgeous illustrations throughout...Go out and buy this book." 
"Frankly, I have never encountered an author who does short stories quite like this author does.  She breathes new life into OLD tales and does it with wit and humour.  Utterly engaging, and a wonderful trip down memory lane." 
"A truly enchanting read." 
"Not only does this book contain quaint tales from all over Britain, but it contains little tidbits of knowledge as well.  It is so hard to determine which story was my favourite. I loved them all... a wonderful book of tales." 
"my visiting grand-nieces and grand-nephews enjoyed them tremendously. Asking if they could have some read again the next night.  To me that is the best recommendation, but I have to tell you as an adult this reader got just as much enjoyment from the stories as the children they were read to." 
"Possibly the finest collection of faery stories I've ever read. The author has a keen eye for faery 'type' and retells the tales with such finesse that she truly captures their capricious, mischievous, funny, mysterious natures in a way that would appeal to a modern reader while still hearkening the ancient-tale traditions." 
"Endearing collection of cherished stories for all ages... I loved the additional information at the back of the book to read separately from the stories. The illustrations were lovely... The wealth of additional information and where to find it makes this one shine above the others.  Very well done." 
"Simply lovely and beautifully illustrated."
"Well selected, well-written (eloquent, enjoyable and close to oral storytelling...)  Bonus points for the fact that each story comes with extensive notes...and there is a long bibliography at the end for further research... Enjoyable read for fans of fairy folklore, and a very useful research for storytellers."


5-star reviews on amazon.co.uk:
"This is a wonderful book.  I enjoyed reading this and will do again. A great read. Delighted with this." 
"Exquisite" 
"I loved this book and really enjoyed it"


 5-star reviews on the National Trust Shop:
"Really lovely for a gift, gorgeous illustrations" 
"A beautiful book. Delightful classic pictures illustrate the magical tales within. A must for believers and non-believers alike."

A definitive collection of traditional tales about the Faery tribes of England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and the Isle of Man, aimed at adults but also with much appeal to children. The 25 stories are interspersed with spotlight features on Faery folklore, including their morals, the various  tribes, spells and dealings between Faeries and Mortals. There are also quotes from historical manuscripts going back to Anglo-Saxon times, 17th Century spells to summon up Faeries and numerous sightings of them recorded over hundreds of years. Beautifully produced by the publisher with illustrations by vintage artists such as Arthur Rackham.


CONTENTS

Of Faeries, Elves & Goblins
Hob Thrush
Midwife to the Faeries
The Bogie’s Field
Edain and Midhir
Whuppity Stoorie
Sightings
Yallery Brown
The Man Who Married a Faery
Faery Wishes
Only Me
The Faeries' Mist-Gate
Some Faery Tribes 
King Herla
The Leprechaun's Trick
The Miser and The Spriggans
Tam Lin
The Goblin and the Sprites
Dealings between Faeries and Mortals
The Faery Borrower
The King of France’s Daughter
Flitting
A Box of Faeries
A Year and a Day in Faeryland
Spells
The Good People's Shawl
A Brewery of Eggshells
Thomas the Rhymer
The Magic Ointment
Flying with the Faeries
Notes


"You may call them Good People, Strangers, The Gentry, Honest Folk, People of Peace, Tiddy Ones, Mother’s Blessing, Them That’s In or simply Themselves; but never speak their true names. 
They are older than history and bitter-sweet as memories. They dwell under the ground, inside the hill, through the passage, beneath the water and beyond the mist. 
They are both male and female, young and old, immortal. They may grow tall as kings or stay small as sucklings. They are of the earth yet unearthly.  Some are beautiful, angelic and light as gossamer; others are wizened, moth-eaten, prickly old men.  They dress in caps and feathers, breeches and gowns: green, red, white or the colours of dust. They spin and weave, bake bread, work metal.  Their music is like honey spiked with sorrow. 
They are passionate, vengeful and cunning, yet neither good nor evil.  They are secretive and sly, creators of illusion, shapeshifters. They fly with magic cap or powerful words, astride twigs and stems, or dizzily on gusts of wind.  They can fade, turn invisible and vanish."


Once upon a time there was a thick, dark forest that was said to be enchanted.  Sweet scents often drifted from it; creeping ivy and vicious thorns blocked every path that led to it.  Nobody with any sense ever ventured inside it. 
It happened that the laird who owned the land where this forest grew had a wayward daughter called Janet.  One damp and misty day, Janet loosened the braids from her long hair, slipped out from her father’s hall, ran to the forest edge and went in. 
Under the trees, everything was utterly still and eerily silent.  Janet walked on slowly until she reached an ancient well.  Beside it stood a solitary milk-white horse in full harness; but there was no sign of its rider.  
Janet called out but nobody answered.  She crept closer to the well.  The crumbling bricks were half-hidden by a mass of sweet smelling wild roses.  She reached out to pick one... and at that very moment a young man stepped out from the trees. 
‘Stay!’ he cried. ‘Do not take my lady’s flowers!  How dare you enter this forbidden place?’ 
Janet stared at him.  ‘I can come here any time I want to,’ she said coolly.  ‘My father owns this forest.’ 
The young man advanced on her, fixing her with wild, grey eyes.  ‘You lie!  No Mortal can have dominion over this place.  It belongs to the Queen of Faeryland.’ 
‘What nonsense,’ retorted Janet.  ‘You can’t frighten me.’ 
‘You may change your mind when you hear my story,’ the young man said.  ‘My name is Tam Lin, and I used to be an ordinary person like you - until the day that I entered this forest.  I was overcome by a strange drowsiness that caused me to fall off my horse and break my back: I almost died.  But I was rescued by the Faery Queen.  She nursed me with her own hands until I was well again.  Then she named the price of her care: I must stay here for ever as her bondservant and serve her every whim. One of my tasks is to guard the forest - and to capture anyone who enters it.’ 
Janet tossed her head.  ‘You’ll not catch me, Tam Lin.’ 
He said, ‘The Queen has evil ways to punish me if I let any intruders go free.   But I am prepared to risk that for you - if you will help me in return.’ 
‘Help you, Tam Lin?  In what way?’ 
‘You must come back here,’ he said, ‘at midnight tomorrow.’ 
‘I'd be a fool to agree to that,' said Janet.  'Tomorrow is the most dangerous night of the year - it's Hallowe'en!’  
‘Indeed,' said Tam Lin. 'But you would be even more of a fool to refuse me.  For at Hallowe'en the Faery Queen will lead her procession past this very well - and I will be able to escape her if you can pull me free. Come back here, deliver me from her torments!  It is my only chance - and your only chance too.  For if you either spurn me or fail this task, the Faery Queen will hunt you out -  and make you her slave as well.’ 
‘But what must I do?’ cried Janet.  'Surely it cannot be so easy?' 
'You are right,' said Tam Lin.  ‘The Faery Queen will terrify you: she will try to beat you down with grotesque shape-shifting spells. You must find the strength to resist them.'  
Janet shook her head and shuddered, making to flee him.  She searched frantically for the path she had come down, or for some deer track that might take her away from this haunted glade; but whichever way she turned, he was there first to block her way.  
- from Tam Lin, a Scottish faery tale



“AN OINTMENT TO GIVE SIGHT OF THE FAERIES
TO ANNOINT UNDER THE EYELIDS AND UPON THE EYELIDS
IN THE EVENING AND MORNING
Take a glass vial, first washed with rose water and marigold flower water, 
the flowers gathered towards the east.  
Put put salad oil into it. 
Add buds of hollyhock, flowers of marigold, 
wild thyme (gathered near the side of a hill where Faeries often go), 
buds of young hazel, and the grass of a Faery throne.  
Set it to dissolve for three days in the sun, 
and keep it for your use.”
- simplified from a 17th Century manuscript, England







ARTHURIAN LEGENDS
(Anova Books for the National Trust 2011)

Translated into Russian and Japanese

                                       







Reader reviews on www.goodreads.com:

"a great book to get yourself acquainted with Arthurian legend...all around great to read." 
"a really great general overview of the Arthurian legends.  My absolute favorite part is the Notes on the Stories section at the end in which Kerven goes into more detail about the stories and characters, and offers a comprehensive breakdown of the original sources and alternate versions"



Meet King Arthur, Queen Guinevere, wizard Merlin and the Knights of the Round Table, and enter their richly embroidered world of courtly love, chivalrous adventure, bawdy humour and enchantment. 

Although there are many Arthurian books in circulation, this one is probably unique in being a collection of literary retellings based only on the original medieval manuscripts, many dating from the 12th Century or even earlier. It contains the five most important subsidiary stories in the Arthurian cycle, contained within the 'frame' story of the rise and fall of King Arthur.

My versions reflect the storylines, characterisation and tone of the earliest texts as faithfully as possible - often quite different from more modern adaptations. The extensive notes on each story bring the central characters vividly to life, and tell almost everything one might want to know about Arthurian legend.



CONTENTS


  • The Coming of King Arthur
  • The Enchantment of Merlin
  • How Culhwch won Olwen
  • Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
  • Tristram and Isolde
  • Elaine who Loved Sir Lancelot
  • The End of the Golden Age


      Christmastide had come and gone; now the feast of New Year’s Eve heralded the promise of fresh adventures. King Arthur was in high spirits. He strode around his hall, exchanging jokes and tidings with his favourite knights and melting all the ladies’ hearts with his smile. Then he took his seat, thumped his great fist upon the Round Table and shouted for everyone’s attention.
      ‘Noble knights! Fairest of ladies,’ he declared, ‘it is time for us all to make our annual vows and resolutions. Here’s my own to set the ball rolling: I swear I shall never again eat at a feast unless my day has been spiced by some new marvel!’
      A ripple of dismay spread around the table. For it was already laden with dishes of soup, meat and many other steaming delicacies; but of course, no one could taste these if the King himself had not begun his meal. However, no sooner had he made this pronouncement than a loud rapping was heard at the door – which then burst open seemingly of its own accord. A blast of icy wind rushed into the hall. Hooves clattered upon the flagstones and an extraordinary man entered, still mounted upon his horse.
      He was lofty as a giant, yet debonair and perfectly proportioned, with broad shoulders and slim, elegant hips. His tunic, trousers, fur-lined cloak and belt buckle were all a vivid shade of green. He wore his finely-combed hair way below his shoulders: that was green too – as was his great, bushy beard. Green and gold threads were plaited into the horse’s mane; its saddle-cloth and bridle ornaments were likewise green. The stranger wore neither boots nor armour, and carried a bunch of festive holly in one hand; but in his other hand, he clutched a monstrous axe, its blade and handle weirdly engraved with green designs.
      He made no greeting. He did not bow to the ladies or even to the King. Instead he gazed impudently around, staring at each knight in turn. Suddenly he roared:
      ‘All right! Which one of you’s in charge here? Come on, show yourself, man! Or are you too much of a mouse to dare speak with me?’
      The whole court was frozen in wonder and indignation. The ladies whispered behind their hands that this uncouth yet colourful visitor must surely have come from the realms of faery. The knights watched their king, anticipating that he would draw his sword without ado and slay the stranger for his insults. But Arthur was not in the least perturbed. He took all the time he needed to study the Green Knight and ponder his answer. Finally he said,
      ‘I am Arthur, lord not just of this hall and its lands, but also of the entire realm of Britain. You have come here at a perfect moment, sir, so I offer you a hearty welcome. Feel free to dismount and uncloak yourself. Join our feast. Warm yourself by the fire. And tell us your business.’
      Whah-hoh!’ responded the Green Knight, ‘so you’re the famous King Arthur, are you? Don’t worry, your majesty, I won’t spend any more time here than I need to. I’ve only popped in because I thought it would be fun for you all to end the festive season with a jolly game.'
      - from Sir Gawain and the Green Knight






      ENGLISH FAIRY TALES AND LEGENDS
      (Anova Books for the National Trust 2008)

      Translated into Russian



      5-star reviews on www.amazon.co.uk
      "This wonderful set of fairy tales features stories and legends from the different counties of England and wraps them up so beautifully in illustrations that steal right into your heart, awakening long forgotten memories of ghosts and dragons, witches and forbidden forests... All the stories are equally delightful and the extensive notes and sources at the end of the book gives the history of the legend and its source in other literature."  
      "Rosalind Kerven is to England what the Brothers Grimm were to Germany, except that she's even better at telling fairy tales than they were... she's also an immaculate researcher and her 'Notes and Sources towards the end of the book are every bit as fascinatingly rewarding as the tales themselves... one of my most cherished possessions." 
      "a wonderful collection.  The writing itself is fluid and not overly formal... I love that there are notes to explain the origin of each story too." 
      "The tales are imaginatively written, combined with enchanting illustrations.  I've enjoyed reading these stories as much as my 6-year old has enjoyed listening to them.  It would make a lovely timeless gift." 
      "Lovely little book.  Really enjoyed the stories which have a good feel to them and lovely illustrations, really thick paper and good quality" 
      "This is a wonderful book.  I enjoyed reading this and will do again.  A great read.  Delighted with this." 
      "Love this book.  Really oldy world." 
      "Very good read.  Lots of interesting tales."

      5-star reviews on www.goodreads.com:

      "a beautiful book with the quality and taste you would expect from something produced for the National Trust...charmingly written and enjoyable for adults and certainly children as well... if you want a beautiful and charming book, perfect for a coffee table, I can't see how you could do better than this." 
      "wonderful book... I'd have no hesitation in recommending this collection as a primer of English folklore." 
      "All the stories are equally delightful." 
      "A quick read, with a great section with notes on the sources of each separate story.  It's a great place to start reading about the more traditional, less well known fairy stories.  Additionally, it's an absolutely beautiful book – something to treasure." 
      "I absolutely love it and like to keep re-reading it."

      The best known fairy tales come from mainland Europe, and even collections of folk tales from the British Isles tend to concentrate on Scotland, Wales and Ireland. So I conceived this book to fill in the gap - the first major book of purely English fairy tales since Joseph Jacobs' important two collections of 1890 and 1894. There were clearly many people waiting for something like this, since it quickly became one of the National Trust's bestselling titles. The book is marketed for adults, but it seems to work best as a cross-over title for both adults and children, and can often be found in the children's section of many shops.

      My research revealed a huge selection of wonderful stories, and I have chosen one each on the following themes: Arthurian legend, magic helpers, evil spirits, giants, dragons, robin Hood, fairies, the Devil as trickster, nonsense tales, swan maidens, Cinderella motifs, witches, mermaids, enchanted woods and quests. Extensive notes discuss further examples of each story type.

      The book is really beautifully produced, in hardback, with thick paper, excellent design and historical illustrations by the likes of Arthur Rackham.


      CONTENTS



      • King Arthur and the Hideous Hag (Cumbria)
      • Tom Tit Tot (Suffolk)
      • The Dead Moon (Lincolnshire
      • Jack the Giant Killer (Cornwall) 
      • Dragon Castle (Northumberland)
      • Robin Hood and the Golden Arrow (Nottinghamshire)
      • The Weardale Fairies (County Durham) 
      • The Devil’s Bargain (Lancashire)
      • The Princess and the Fool (Kent)
      • The Seventh Swan (Cambridgeshire)
      • The Knight of York (Yorkshire)
      • The Wicked Witch (London)
      • The Asrai (Shropshire)
      • The Forbidden Forest (Warwickshire)
      • The King of England’s Three Sons (Gypsy) 


      There was once a foolish woman who had a foolish daughter, and which of them was worse I couldn’t tell you. Anyway, one day this woman set to and baked five fine apple pies, and when they were done she put them on the pantry shelf to cool, then popped out to do her shopping. Her daughter was slavering at the mouth from the delicious smell of them, and as soon as the mother was away, the girl sneaked into the pantry to steal a taste of one. It was so good that she couldn’t help but finish the whole pie off, and then another and yet another, until soon she’d finished every single one of them. Just as she was licking the last crumbs off her fingers, her mother came home; and when she saw what had happened - who can blame her? - she fell into a rage.
      She slapped the daughter hard on both cheeks and when the girl began to bawl, she whacked her backside with a broom-handle, just for good measure. Then the woman went stomping out into the street, yelling at the top of her voice:
      ‘Oh lawdloverducks! What a glutton I’ve got for a daughter! That’s five whole pies the girl’s eaten, all in a single day!’
      Eventually she calmed down a bit; but when she turned round to go back indoors, you’ll never guess what she found behind her: only a big black horse with bells and golden ornaments all over its bridle; and on its back was sitting the King! 
      Of course the woman was terribly flustered. She smoothed her hair and dropped a curtsey and muttered a humble apology for not seeing his majesty before. But the King waved away her apologies and said,
      ‘Good woman, I heard you saying something about your daughter just now, that sounded very interesting, but I couldn’t catch the words properly. Would you kindly repeat it.’
      - from Tom Tit Tot