Saturday, January 24, 2015

The Blue Cat of Castle Town, by Catherine Cate Coblentz

An interesting modern folk tale based on actual historical events and people in a small Vermont town in the mid-1800's.  Zeruah Guernsey, resident of Castleton, embroidered a carpet so noteworthy that it was added to the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.  The book's author has created a story to explain the origin of the blue cat that it features at the bottom.

A blue cat born during a blue moon has a destiny, as all such cats do, to learn the river's song and teach it to the people who need to hear it.  In this case, the blue cat must go to Castleton so the beauty, peace and content[ment] that the song can bring will drive back an evil enchantment that is spreading through the town through greed and haste.

Wikipedia has a pretty thorough summary of the book so I won't invent the wheel by doing it again here.  The book in its entirety is also available in the public domain for those who are curious.  At 123 pages, it isn't exceptionally long.  The author certainly did her research into primary sources to add important townspeople to the narrative.  Although from some quick research I've done, I am sorry that the book was so unfair to Mr. Arunah Hyde- he's feared and reviled in the book as a man who values profit over everything and produces shoddy products in his haste.  Accounts I've found of him seem to indicate that he was very invested in the town's prosperity and gave generously of both his time and his money and resources to promote its progress.  Sorry, Arunah!  I hope that somewhere there is another contemporary account that recalls you favorably.

No comments:

Post a Comment