The Graven Image Graphics

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Garden Rhymes

The Tale of La Befana

Parsley Sage

Nursery Rhymes

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I am working on an adaptation of the Italian Folktale, The Tale of La Befana, about the traditional Christmas gift-giver. The story is thirty-two pages in length, and each page is lushly illustrated with my own full-color watercolor illustrations.

My adaptation begins with the origins of La Befana's eternal Christmas journey:

La Befana lives all alone with only her old cat Graugrau to keep her company. One winter night she hears a knock at her door. The Three Kings have come on their way to Bethlehem. They ask for her help to rest and water their animals. They tell her all about the star they follow and the Child they seek. When they are ready to set out again, they ask Befana to accompany them, but she tells them that she is much too busy with bread to bake, and floors to sweep, and eggs to gather, to even think of going.

Later that night, she reconsiders. Who will sing songs to the Babe, and who will play cat's cradle with him? She gathers some toys in a basket and sets out with her cat. She is sure that she will have no trouble catching the Kings' slow-moving caravan. She follows the road through vineyards and groves of olive trees, through small villages, and hill towns, and great walled cities. Over her head, the moon rises, and sets, and is new, and grows full again. She keeps searching, all over Italy, but she never finds them. She is still searching today. And though she has never found the one child she is looking for, she sees many children, and leaves gifts for them, when they have been good.