The Search for Delicious
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Gaylen, the King's messenger, a skinny boy of twelve, is off to poll the kingdom, traveling from town to farmstead to town on his horse, Marrow. At first it is merely a question of disagreement at the royal castle over which food should stand for Delicious in the new dictionary. But soon it seems that the search for Delicious had better succeed if civil war is to be avoided.
Gaylen's quest leads him to the woldweller, a wise, 900-year-old creature who lives alone at the precise center of the forest; to Canto, the minstrel who sings him an old song about a mermaid child and who gives him a peculiar good-luck charm; to the underground domain of the dwarfs; and finally to Ardis who might save the kingdom from havoc.
The Search for Delicious is a 1969 New York Times Book Review Notable Children's Book of the Year.
instantly. “Whistles and keys! Whistles and keys!” said the crow. “Poor Ardis lost her doll!” Gaylen stood gaping at the bird, who had thrust its head under its wing and was pecking at itself fiercely. Ardis! Here was her name again, from a most unlikely source. “Tell me about Ardis,” he said to the crow eagerly. “Tell me something more!” The crow settled its feathers and stared off in another direction. Then it cocked its head again and said, “Too bad! Too bad! Poor Ardis. Whistles and
back to my work.” There was the sound of light footsteps and a heavy, metal door clanged shut. And then there was silence. Gaylen turned and made his way rapidly back up the tunnel. He could hear the hoofs of the gray horse Ballywrack clattering behind him. He raced toward the cave and slipped behind the boulder just in time to quiet Marrow’s nervous whinny. An instant later Ballywrack appeared, with Hemlock stiff and angry in the saddle. They went out through the mouth of the cave. The
and opened the Prime Minister’s letter: Vaungaylen: The King rides out today to reason with the people. All the streams are going dry, as you must know wherever you are. We hear from our scouts that Hemlock is damming up the lake. The King is sure this will prove to the people that Hemlock is behind it all and hopes to lead them to some resolution of the trouble. The war has not amounted to much as yet, I’m glad to say, for they have no leaders and are very disorganized. But we must get to them
somewhere up above, as the men who had helped him fled away. But the King sat apart on his horse, his head bowed. A man sprang forward into the middle of the nearest stream and Gaylen recognized him. It was Veto, the mayor of the second town. “Long live the King!” yelled Veto, and instantly the cry was taken up and the mountains rang: “Long live the King!” The King raised his head and looked about him. Then he smiled and held up his hand. “Drink!” he shouted. “It’s all over, by Harry! Go and
business today—and nobody killed. All safe and sound. Except for my poor, blameless bird.” “We’ll put up a statue to it,” the King declared. “A lovely little statue in the garden. To help us remember.” They stood together quietly for a long moment, each with his own thoughts, and then Gaylen climbed back up to the lake and found Marrow where Hemlock had tied him under the trees. He pressed his cheek against the horse’s neck and stood gazing out across the sparkling water. “She must be happy