Thursday, October 19, 2006

Whistle Down the Wind

Andrew Lloyd Webber composed the music for a musical called Whistle Down the Wind. I have never seen it. It is actually one of the six shows of his I have not seen. (He has composed 16.) I am quite familiar with its soundtrack however and was curious about the book it was based on, Whistle Down the Wind by Mary Hayley Bell. Mary Hayley Bell is actually the mother of the well-known Hayley Mills. My mom bought a copy for me as they are not easy to find. It is actually a hard cover first edition. I'm going to see if I can get someone to remove the crayon marks and typical wear from library usage.

It is only 175 pages and is basically a children's book. I would not say it is for small children as the narrator likes to use the word "hell" a number of times but perhaps a 10 year old or so would enjoy it.

It is simply a story of a group of children, three primary ones strangely named Swallow, Brat and Poor Baby (they are all really named after birds with Swallow being the only one to use her birth name), who find a strange man and they believe him to be Jesus. With a high fever, the man says the name "Jesus" when asked who he is while looking around the barn. He bears a hole through each foot and even quotes the bible. The children are convinced that he has returned to earth and they must care for him. It is soon discovered that all the adults are on the lookout for a convicted felon who is on the run and, as an adult reader, it becomes obvious that the man is in fact the convict. But through the man's kindness, the children still believe him to be Jesus.

In the end, it really doesn't matter that he most likely is not, in fact, Jesus. There is more than one moral to the story. First, every life must always have purpose and the greatest purpose is in caring for each other. Second, with the faith of a child we can see Jesus in others. Third, you have to have faith - faith in miracles, faith in the impossible, faith in each other - and hope in God.

It is a children's story every child and adult should read. (Now if only one could find a copy!)

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