The Old Woman and the Hen is a charming folktale written by one of Canada's best known poets. Written simply, but infused with the rhythm and wordcraft that only a poet of P. K. Page's talent can deliver, the text is accompanied by six original wood engravings created for the book by Jim Westergard.
About the author
P. K. Page has written some of the best poems published in Canadaover the last five decades. In addition to winning the Governor General's awardfor poetry in 1957, she was appointed a Companion of the Order of Canada in1999. She is the author of more than a dozen books, including tenvolumes of poetry, a novel, selected short stories, three books for children,and a memoir, entitled Brazilian Journal, based on her extended stay in Brazilwith her late husband Arthur Irwin, who served as the Canadian Ambassador therefrom 1957 to 1959. A two-volume edition of Page's collected poems, The Hidden Room (Porcupine's Quill), was published in 1997. In addition to writing, Page paints, under the name P. K. Irwin. She has mounted one-woman showsin Mexico and Canada. Her work has also been exhibited in various group shows, andis represented in the permanent collections of the National Gallery ofCanada, the Art Gallery of Ontario, and the Victoria Art Gallery, amongothers. P. K. Page was born in England and brought up on the Canadian prairies. She has livedin the Maritimes and in Montreal. After years abroad inAustralia, Brazil and Mexico, she now makes her permanent home in Victoria, British Columbia.
Excerpt: The Old Woman and the Hen (by (author) P.K. Page)
'Once upon a time there was a poor woman who lived alone and performed small chores for her neighbours in return for food. One day, as she was going home, she heard a strange voice speaking from the roadside. ''Luck,'' the voice said. ''Good luck. Quick, pick me up. Up.'' The old woman searched among the roadside grasses and found a hen. Such a bedraggled creature she had never seen before. Its feathers were all awry and its beautiful red comb drooped to one side. ''Poor thing,'' said the woman and she picked it up and smoothed its feathers and put it in her basket and took it home.'
Page's tale conveys respect for attitudes and traits of character like friendliness, compassion, clear thinking, openness, and generosity. While not denying the very real dangers that exist in the world, the author lets readers know that help can often come from unexpected sources, and that there is wisdom in being attentive to one's intuition. She also gracefully reveals how the power of a shared dream can sometimes shape the future in wondrous ways.