Two stories for the price of one today. Rumer Godden wrote so beautifully, and was a particular favourite of mine, as a child.
Her tales set at Christmas are a particular joy. The Fairy Doll and The Story of Holly and Ivy feature two small girls and two dolls, none of whom are happy at the beginning of their stories.
The Fairy Doll has her moment of glory atop the Christmas tree, but spends the rest of her time packed away in a trunk. Lucy who lives in the house with that trunk is the youngest of four, much put upon by her siblings and classmates.
Holly is a doll for Christmas, dressed in red and green for the season, sitting on a shelf in a toy shop, waiting to be sold. Orphaned Ivy is abandoned at Christmas, and whilst seeking shelter, looks into the window of the toy shop on Christmas Eve…….
How Holly and Ivy, and the Fairy doll and Lucy get together and help each other, are tales of resilience and determination, and the strength of wishing, amid the glitz and glitter of the festive period.
These stories are very much of their time (both written in the 1950s), but should not be too hastily dismissed as old fashioned flim flam. Very much in the vein of all good fairy stories, the good end well and the bad not so well, or are redeemed in heartwarming fashion. These are timeless qualities for us all to enjoy in such rich prose, with the crack of a doll’s heart breaking, and a wand faintly stirring on the Christmas tree.