Once upon a time, and a very good time it was, not in your time, indeed not in my time, but in olden times, when quart bottles held half a gallon and houses were papered with pancakes and pigs run about with forks stuck in their backs seeing who wanted a slice o' ham, there were two old people and they never had no children, and they figured they were too old to ever have any.
So begins The Queen of Paradise's Garden, a wonderful adaptation of a traditional Newfoundland tale, and the first in an ongoing series that combines the telling wit and resonant language of acclaimed Newfoundland actor, writer and comedian Andy Jones with the charming illustrations of Slovenian-born puppeteer and artist Darka Erdelji.
Of course, it's clear from the story's beginning that there are children on the way, and one of those children is Jack, the delightful, mischievous, big-hearted hero of so many Newfoundland tales. Told with the humor, warmth and sly wit that have made Jones one of the Island's finest and best-loved storytellers, The Queen of Paradise's Garden follows Jack on his way to the land of the Queen of Paradise, three miles this side of the end of the world, where he searches for a magic fruit to make his parents young again, and finds quite a few other handy things as well.
The story is a free adaptation of a tale told by Albert Heber Keeping of Grand Bank, which he got from Billy Quann of Sagona Island; Keeping's version was published in Herbert Halpert and John Widdowson's seminal collection, Folktales of Newfoundland.