- Title: Nine Witch Tales
- Editor: Abby Kedabra
- Illustrator: John Fernie
- Publisher: Scholastic Book Services
- Year: First printing, September 1968
- Excerpt from "The Hungry Old Witch":
"She was a witch, she was very old, and she was always hungry, and she lived long ago near a forest, just in the corner where Brazil and Argentina touch. Those were the days when mighty beasts moved in the marshes, and when strange creatures with wings like bats flew in the air. There were also great worms then, so strong that they bored through mountains and rocks as an ordinary worm makes its way through clay."
- Notes: Let's start this time with the artist who did this marvelous cover. His name was John A. Fernie and he lived from 1919 to 2001. He was born in Scotland and, according to Ask Art, he was "an illustrator for major magazines such as the Saturday Evening Post [and] also designed Broadway theater posters and painted landscape and genre scenes in Vermont and Maine." Prashant C. Trikannad wrote a short blog post about Fernie in 2012, and you can see galleries of Fernie's varied work on Facebook and Flickr. This great Scholastic cover was one of his few forays into horror and chills. He should have done more! ... Meanwhile, the editor of this late 1960s anthology is listed as Abby Kedabra, which is obviously a joke. I could not determine, however, who the actual editor was. ... The book opens with an excerpt from The Witches' Chant (from Shakespeare's Scottish play) and then, as advertised, presents nine witch tales from around the world. Here's the full list:
- "The Horned Witches" by Geoffrey Palmer and Noel Lloyd
- "The Huntsman and the Witch" by The Brothers Grimm
- "The Cat Witch" by Maria Leach (from 1959's The Thing at the Foot of the Bed and Other Scary Tales)
- "Baba Yaga, the Forest Witch" by Arthur Ransome
- "The Bewitching Ointment" by Geoffrey Palmer and Noel Lloyd
- "The Hungry Old Witch" by Charles J. Finger (from 1924's Tales From Silver Lands)1
- "The Young Witch-Horse" by Moritz Jagendorf (from 1949's Upstate, Downstate: Folk Tales of the Middle Atlantic States)
- "The Witch of Wandaland" by Geoffrey Palmer and Noel Lloyd
- "the Hex and the Oxen" by Moritz Jagendorf
1. According to Wikipedia, the epitaph on Finger's Arkansas gravestone states: "This voyage done, set sail and steer once more To further landfall on some nobler shore."
2. I also love this separate passage from the obituary for Lloyd that Jack Adrian penned in 1998 for The Independent:
"As a bookseller in 1970s Islington, so close to that seething and incestuous haunt of back-stabbing book-runners, Camden Passage, Noel Lloyd often benefited from the track-down skills (genius would be no exaggeration) of the legendary Martin Stone, rock guitarist extraordinaire and the finest literary truffle-hunter this side of the Millennium. Lloyd's own talents as a scourer of north and south London street barrows and book barns, however, not to mention the dubious bazaars around Praed Street, should not be overlooked. The Compton Bookshop invariably had stock you seldom found elsewhere."