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The Stone And The Flute is an epic fantasy tale that I first read many years ago when I was just a child but still holds a magical influence over me now many, many years later. Translated from its original German, it is a classic modern fairy tale that has much in common with the likes of Aeosop's fables and the stories of The Brothers Grim.
Listener is born the son of The Great Roarer but is not a fighter like his father. So when the Raiding Riders attack his village and lands, he attends the battlefield not as a soldier but as a medic; helping those who have been injured and lie on the fringes of death.
It is whilst doing this that he mets Arni, a tribesman of the Raiding Riders, and helps ease his passage to the other side. Arni, on his deathbed and grateful that an enemy should come to his aid, passes on to Listener a magical stone and the little riddle that accompanies it that hides the true and secret nature of the stone. Listener comes to believe that it is his destiny to discover the secret of Arni's Stone and so sets off to visit his grandfather, The Gentle Fluter. But, along the way, Listener falls in with an evil-natured witch woman and from then on his life takes on an unexpected turn and his journey many strange and unusual twists!
I loved this story since the first day I read it and have re-read it several times over the years. For me, the book has never lost any of its magic and is full of plenty of spellbinding moments! Listener's journey is a complicated one and along the way we learn lots about the other characters who inhabit his world through different stories he himself is told, but the end message or moral is an important one and one that holds much relevance even today many years after this was first published!
I could wax lyrical about this book even more but I don't want to give anything away; suffice to say this is an epic tale that spans several generations and is still as much a delight to read today as it was all those years ago when I first picked it up!