• Jem Roberts

THE HEDLEY KOW: Money Can't Buy You Happiness

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Happy Folklore Thursday to all the lovely folkies in the Tales of Britain campaign!

It's actually quite nice to have such a relatively uncomplicated theme this week – MONEY. And the first of our 77 tales to come to mind is also one of the first we retold many years ago – THE HEDLEY KOW.

©John D Batten

The tale's simplicity is one of its many appeals, and to summarise it runs the risk of giving the entire plot away, but we hope our retelling has its own warmth and funny spirit to it. In brief, a lovely old lady, poor as you like, discovers a pot of gold while setting off home up the hill in the village of Hedley, west of Newcastle, and her joy at the discovery can't even be lessened by the further shocking development that the gold... well, we'll leave it at that for now. Suffice to say it's one of the neatest ways to spread the message that being rich does not equal being BEST, and that there's pleasure to be found in life without material gains. An obvious point, but when made via the lovely character of this tale's protagonist, meeting all her misfortunes with a warm Geordie cry of happiness, a point worth making again and again.

It would be a lie to say we've walked the highways and byways of Hedley-on-the-Hill in Northumberland, let alone found a pot of gold or been pounced on by The Hedley Kow – sadly we don't have the budget to travel to every corner of the island, ironically given the theme of the tale in question. But one day, the aim is to visit every single one of them, even if there's not a huge list of things to do in every tale location...

Budgets remain a thorny issue – yes, we're nearly at 150% funded, but that's on a dramatically reduced publishing plan, and with publishing not being the most rapid of businesses, the ambition of getting this book out to you all by early summer is becoming increasingly... ambitious. As author, I have already waived every penny of the budget excess, wanting it all ploughed back into making the best book possible. And that is also very simply done – we have provided perfect design templates, art has been suggested free of charge, a brilliant designer in our campaign community has even offered cover concepts without asking for a penny! But budget issues do keep being raised, so please, keep on spreading the word, pitching in if you can with pre-orders, because the higher our total gets, the easier it will be to make this book as perfect as it can be for you all – and get it out as soon as possible. We can always hope for deluxe editions in the future, but for now – but who needs goldleaf paper-edging and full colour plates? The 77 tales we have to offer you are riches enough.

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Getting ready for print
Publication date: November 2018
162% funded
324 backers