Once upon a time, long, long ago,
where the forest runs down to the
ocean, a hunter lived all alone in a
house made of logs he had chopped for
himself and shingles he had split for
himself. The house had one room, and
at the end closest to the ocean there was
a fireplace of pink and gray and green
boulders–the hunter had carried them
home in his arms from the cliff where
the forest ended….
In spring the meadow that ran down
from the cliff to the beach was all foam-
white and sea-blue with flowers; the
hunter looked at it and it was beautiful.
But when he came home there was no
one to tell what he had seen–and if he
picked the flowers and brought them
home in his hands, there was no one to
give them to. And when at evening,
past the dark blue shape of a far-off
island, the sun sank under the edge of
the sea like red world vanishing, the
hunter saw it all, but there was no one
to tell what he had seen.
This strange and beautiful book has hunters and mermaids; bears and lynxes; loneliness, love, and luck; and moments of violence and deep sadness. More than anything else it is about making a family.
Author: Randall Jarrell
Illustrator: Maurice Sendak