Amaryllis & Little Witch

By Pascal Brullemans
Translated by Alexis Diamond

Amaryllis & Little Witch
  • Currently 0 out of 5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thank you for rating this book!

You have already rated this book, you can only rate it once!

Your rating has been changed, thanks for rating!

Sign-up or sign-in to rate this book.


In these dark fairy tales, two girls face danger while grieving loved ones, and learn some hard truths about growing up along the way. Imaginative and curious, these fables illustrate adventures for children who have to make big choices.

In Amaryllis, a preteen goes missing ... Read more


Overview

In these dark fairy tales, two girls face danger while grieving loved ones, and learn some hard truths about growing up along the way. Imaginative and curious, these fables illustrate adventures for children who have to make big choices.

In Amaryllis, a preteen goes missing on her birthday. Amaryllis heads out with her sister Fey’s ashes, determined to scatter the remains and set Fey free. But when she discovers that Fey is stuck between life and death, she realizes she has to join Fey on a trek to the Land of the Dead.

In Little Witch, a sickly mother and her daughter live in the deep, dark wood. One day, Big Witch finds an ogre caught in a trap. They make a deal: in return for saving him, the ogre agrees to take care of Little Witch once Big Witch has passed. Soon, the little girl finds herself in the ogre’s home, frightened and alone except for her pet cat. But when a Hunter Boy gets caught by the ogre, Little Witch must make a choice: save herself, save the boy, or choose another path . . .

Pascal Brullemans

Pascal Brullemans got into the National Theatre School to woo a girl, only to discover that he actually had talent; his first play was directed by Wajdi Mouawad. After a foray into writing for young audiences with L’armoire, Pascal reached out to teens with his plays Isberg and Monstres. Amaryllis took top honours at Lyon Playwrights’ Days and won the Louise-LaHaye Award for Young Audiences in 2013. He lives in Montréal.

Alexis Diamond

Alexis Diamond is a theatre artist, opera and musical librettist, translator, and theatre curator working on both sides of Montréal’s linguistic divide. Her award-winning works have been presented across Canada, the US, and Europe. Her translation of Pascal Brullemans’ plays for young audiences, Amaryllis and Little Witch (Playwrights Canada Press) was a finalist for the 2020 Governor General’s Award. In 2018, Alexis began a collaboration with Erin Hurley and Emma Tibaldo researching the history of English-language theatre in Québec. Alexis is the Anglo-Canadian theatre curator for the famed Festival du Jamais Lu; she presented the mostly French-language Faux-amis with co-author Hubert Lemire for the festival in 2019 and has continued to work on it with Hubert at the 2021 Banff Playwrights Lab. Upcoming tours of her theatre translations include The Problem with Pink by Érika Tremblay-Roy and Pascal Brullemans’s The Nonexistent. She is currently working on translating Alexia Bürger's Les Hardings and Marie-Hélène Larose-Truchon's Un oiseau m'attend. She lives in Montréal.

Excerpt

Amaryllis

You got all the good stuff. That left all the bad for me.

Fey

Cursèd be she

who betrays her family!

Amaryllis

Oh, yeah? What if I don’t have a family no more!

Fey

“What if I haven’t got a family anymore .  .  .  ”

Amaryllis

What?

Fey

You used a double negative.

Amaryllis

How can you be so perfect and not get it!

Fey

What have I failed to grasp?

Amaryllis

How everything got messed up when you left! Mom took off. Dad’s been a total zombie. The only time they’re kinda with it is when they’re standing in front of the mantelpiece looking at your urn.

Fey

You can’t just steal my urn,

a gesture most unwise!

It won’t undo the turn

of my untimely demise.

Amaryllis

It’s all I could come up with.

Fey

So, what is your plan for my ashes?

Amaryllis

I was just going to throw you off the end of the pier.

Fey

You wish to drown the dead?

Amaryllis

Well .  .  . maybe it’s not the best idea.

Fey

It’s absurd!

Amaryllis

You got a better one?

Fey

Yes! Seek assistance!

Amaryllis

Watch Miss Perfect fall apart.

Fey

I’d rather be perfect

than wicked!

Amaryllis

I’d rather be wicked

than dead!

Fey

Enough, please stop.

You’ve gone too far.

Think being dead

is fun — a lark?

I didn’t want

to fade away,

nor do I want

to stay this way.

Amaryllis

So why are you here?

Fey

I’m hanging on by a thread.

Once dead, my relieved soul fled,

crossed over to the other side,

where I met sad souls who tried

so desperately to find a door.

I found mine but could do no more,

held back by a bit of ribbon.

I traced it here, to its origin,

my last earthly tie drawing me

to the foot of the white tree.

Narrator

At the centre of the garden stands the Ribbon Tree. It is what is holding your sister back. Thousands of ribbons are tangled in its branches. One thread for each of the dead whose loved ones refuse to let go.

Amaryllis

Why didn’t you untie yourself?

Fey

No solution availed.

Whatever I tried, failed.

Narrator

Only the living can untie the knots.

Amaryllis

Well, if that’s all, I’ll go do it.

Narrator

You can’t just enter the Land of the Dead like it’s the mall.

Fey

I could be your guide,

but promise to be good — 

don’t make me nag or chide.

Swear to listen as you should!

Amaryllis

On one condition.

Fey

State your terms.

Amaryllis

No more rhymes. That’s it. I’m fed up. Starting now, you talk like everybody else.

Fey

You demand too high a price

for so great a sacrifice!

Amaryllis

Fine. Whatever.

Fey

Wait! Okay .  .  . I’ll try.

Amaryllis

Deal! So, which way to the Land of the Dead?

Fey

To cross to the other side,

simply swallow your pride,

promise this hand to heed

wherever it shall lead.

Amaryllis

I’m sorry, what was that?

Fey

Hold my hand.

Amaryllis

Now you’re talking.

Fey takes her sister’s hand.

Awards

  • Governor General's Literary Award 2020,

Reader Reviews

Tell us what you think!

Sign Up or Sign In to add your review or comment.