New Zealand’s literary output, especially in the 19th century is (largely justifiably) considered to be of little importance (outside of some examples of Utopian scientific romances) and poor quality, which is why the discovery of this overlooked tale commissioned for the Otago witness was such a pleasant surprise, coming as it did in 1892, this story is highly imaginative with a strong and convincing voice (happily free from the droll or twee naming conventions which marred most of the children’s fantasy produced by New Zealand prior to the second world war).
The story is woven with illusion and misdirection, from it’s central conflict of a princess who disappears when her companion stops looking at her, to each of the situations (both positive and negative) encountered in the quest to recover her. Whether through the tone of the writing or through the mindset evoked by the uncertainty of the world the central character finds himself inhabiting it echo’s the storytelling of Michael Ende‘s Never Ending Story
we have been able to find no biographical information about the author E. Hudson, if anyone knows anything please leave a comment (perhaps some relation to Cadbury owner Richard Hudson?)
With thanks to the National Library of New Zealand