In this volume, Margery Hargest Jones – whose previous books for Austin Macauley have covered some of the most iconic folk tales of the British Isles, from the Mabinogion and King Arthur to Robin Hood – now tells, or re-tells, some of her favourite stories. Three of these are given in full, while the other four are compressed into intriguing and resonant summary form.
The title story, ‘The Aged Infant’, is set in the author’s native Wales and concerns a devoted mother’s troubles with a changeling child. The next, ‘The Miraculous Watermelon’, reads like one of the piquantly comic tales from The Arabian Nights. The final tale in this section, ‘Caravan Joe’, details how the eponymous character deals with the mischievous inhabitants of Squirrel Wood.
The four subsequent summaries range from a simple anecdote about Larry the Lamb and other much-loved characters of ‘ToyTown’ to a mini-epic in which the Nordic hero Sigmund battles with a she-wolf.