Title: The White StagThe White Stag
Author: Kate Seredy
Pages: 94
Reading Level: 10-14
Star Rating: ★★

Newbery Winner!

The Story.

Nimrod, mighty hunter before the Lord, is old. He is dying and hopes only to live until the day that his sons, both mighty men, return from their hunt of the elusive white stag.

As night comes, Nimrod cries out to that most powerful of his gods, Hadur. He begs to know the future – pleads to know the fate of his people. Hadur responds; he grants Nimrod a vision of powerful eagles flying and screaming in the air. Nimrod dies in peace, knowing that his sons, Hunor and Magyar will continue the quest of his people, the quest of the white stag.

But will the brothers remain true and pure before Hadur? Or will they begin to lust after blood and warfare?

Discussion.

Yes, well. You might say that The White Stag falls into the same category as The Corn Grows Ripe and The Cat Who Went to Heaven. These are not historic stories with occasional references to pagan gods / beliefs. The paganism – symbols, visions, visitations from mystical creatures – IS the story. There’s no avoiding it.

The White Stag presents a strange syncretism between mostly pagan beliefs and an occasional biblical reference. For example, Nimrod himself is a character from the Bible. Also, reference is made to the tower of Babel. However, Christianity is in no way reflected by the religious practices and experiences of The White Stag.

Conclusion. There is a certain amount of beauty to the prose in The White Stag. However, it is so saturated by mythology that I would not recommend it to any but those who are specifically studying the mythology of other people groups.

Review © 2014 Laura Verret

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