“The moon was a bright as new cheese now, and they could see every detail of the Land of Green Ginger quite clearly” (Langley, 89).
Wow! This section was a lot of fun. All the magical and exciting stuff finally appears. Yay!
In the eighth chapter, Abu Ali, Boomalakka Wee and the Mouse find the Land of Green Ginger! Well, technically it finds them. They’re in the desert and suddenly – grass! And water. Which Boomalakka Wee almost drowns in.
I love Abu Ali’s reasoning as to why the Mouse isn’t imagining the scent of flowers or the feel of grass: “‘No; I too smell flowers!’ said Abu Ali. ‘Is it possible that we’ve been walking in our sleep? No, it can’t be! We haven’t gone to sleep yet!’” (87).
I also love how practical the Mouse is. See, I was curious as to how, if the Land of Green Ginger landed in the desert, how did the grass get under them.The Mouse asks the same question. In particular, she wonders how “‘if it really settled on us, why aren’t we underneath it instead of on top of it?’” Yeah, I like her a lot.
Once the moon rises, the story features some lovely visual descriptions that make any Aladdin related story great (for me). Here’s one:
“It was sprinkled with ginger trees laded down with branch upon branch of sparkling sugar-coated green ginger; and big bright beauteous flowers grew out of the soft velvety grass, and water-lilies floated on a cheerful little hubblebubbling stream” (89).
As soon as Abu Ali realizes they’re on the Land of the Green Ginger, he wants to go find the Phoenix Birds. Even though I can’t recall there ever being a mention of them being there. When was it confirmed that was where they were?
Either way, Abu Ali has to forage in the stream to try and find his bow and arrows (which Boomalakka Wee lost when he fell in). And as chance would have it, he meets the Magician who made the Land of Green Ginger. A “Large Tortoise…[who] wore enormous tortoiseshell spectacles at the end of its nose” (92).
Ha! So I was right! Sort of. The Magician was lost along with the Land of Green Ginger. But it wasn’t on his back. But he still traveled with it. So I was half right.
After plucking a large water-lily for the Magician-Turned-Tortoise to eat to break the spell, Abu Ali heads back to Boomalakka Wee and the Mouse with his bow and arrows (which the Tortoise had thought was a “‘rare variety of edible asparagus’” (93).) With them, he finally spots the Phoenix Birds.
And what do they look like? Here’s nice visual description two:
“They look like blue-and-purple storks, except that they have tufted golden crests on their heads, emerald-green beaks and legs; and they sparkle and glitter like all the precious stones in Aladdin’s Cave” (91).
What’s Aladdin’s Cave? Is it where he found the lamp? Are the precious, glittering stones related in any way to the rare jewel fruit that grow on the trees where the lamp is in Galland’s version? Cause that’s awesome.
Also, why are they called Phoenix Birds if they’re not a phoenix? Although, there’s only ever one phoenix, so calling them Birds would cancel that connection out.
Either way, Abu Ali shoots off three tail feathers. The male Phoenix Bird is none too happy about it. But once he hears why Abu Ali did it, his bad humor is appeased. His wife is still miffed Abu Ali didn’t ask, but the pair departs in relative peace. Abu Ali and company head to sleep, feeling a job well done.
Everything seems to be going swell for them, but in the ninth chapter, things take a turn for the worse.
So far, I’m having a lot of fun with the story. It’s got definite problems, but I admit, I’m really engaged in the story. I love the descriptions and the characters.
- alacrity: n. 1. 2.
“…and right above them two Magic Phoenix Birds began circling curiously, having mistaken Boomalakka Wee’s bellowing for the call of the Zanzibar Ostrich in molt” (95)
Langley, Noel. The Land of Green Ginger. Jeffrey, NH: David R. Godine Publisher, 1975. Print.