Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Mime the Birds

I can't remember how old I was when I first read Tuck Everlasting, but Natalie Babbitt totally made a fan of me. I read everything by her that I could get my hands on. Last weekend found me re-reading Babbitt's The Search for Delicious. It's been so long since I first read it that it was like a new book to me.

In The Search for Delicious, the king has asked his prime minister to write a dictionary. Trouble begins when the king disagrees with the prime minister's definition of "delicious" -- "Delicious is fried fish." The king wants delicious to be apples, but the queen thinks delicious is a Christmas pudding. After everyone in court starts arguing for their own favorites, the prime minister winds up sending his son, Gaylen, to ask each person in the kingdom what "delicious" is. The food that gets the most votes will win.

Along the way, Gaylen meets a minstrel who sings this song:

The way is long and high and hot.
Be gay and sing! You may as well
Be feeling light of heart as not.
The way is long and high and hot,
But mime the birds and praise your lot.
Sweet freedom is the tale to tell.
The way is long and high and hot.
Be gay and sing! You may as well.

I'm not sure what that poetic form is, if it does follow one. (I like unusual forms, but I can't remember their names very well.) Anyone know?

I thought about what I would suggest for a definition of delicious. Mine might change from day to day -- one day "honeycrisp apples," the next "soup." My overall winner might be "chocolate croissants fresh out of the oven."

Then again, I have to agree with what they decide at the end of the book.

Do you have a definition of "delicious"?

P.S. Did you know that Natalie Babbitt illustrated a lot of Valerie Worth's excellent poetry books? How fabulous is that?


Toby Speed said...

I've always loved Tuck Everlasting, too. And I think Natalie Babbitt's drawings in Valerie Worth's book of small poems are perfect.

My definition of delicious is -- a tuna melt on toasted rye from the Greek diner!

M Pax said...

It is great. :D In the Phantom Toll Booth Milo eats letters and numbers. I've always thought 3 would be delicious. I have no idea why.

Tabatha said...

M, you made me LOL. Three does sound pretty tasty...