of Quentaris - Anna Ciddor
The idea for Prisoner of Quentaris came from an old
Irish folktale about little folk called leprechauns. I decided
a group of leprechauns would visit the city of Quentaris. Leprechauns
are as small as a normal person’s hand. Instead of riding horses,
they ride on rats. To them, the people of Quentaris are giants.
In my story, the Archon of Quentaris captures the leprechaun king.
While I was writing the book, I asked the students in the schools
I visited to help me think of ways the tiny warriors could annoy
the Archon and the other giants and try to win their king’s release.
Here’s how you helped me...
Plot idea number 1
‘Get the leprechauns to push things off their
shelves and make a mess’
‘Get them to drop slippery banana peels
on the ground’
Thanks, guys, you inspired a bit of the story where
the leprechauns attack the market in Quentaris:
Up the stalls and barrows they swarmed, and the next moment
giant rounds of cheese were rolling and teetering off the counters.
With thud after thud they toppled over the edges and splattered
on the ground. Sacks of grain wobbled and sagged as leprechauns
tore at the hessian with their swords. Corn, wheat, barley and
rye flowed out on the cobblestones. Piglets squealed and shot
away to freedom as their bonds were cut away, and hens flapped
free, clucking in excitement.
On the fruit stands, the tiny figures danced and yelled in
triumph, slashing and stabbing till fountains of red and yellow
juice spurted in the air. The rats, joining in the frenzy, ripped,
bit and tugged.
Angry stallholders tried to fend off the attack, but when
they chased the leprechauns they only trod on their own produce.
They slipped in the rivulets of milk, slithered on the scattered
grain, and fell onto the slimy pulp of squashed fruit and vegetables.
Plot Idea number 2
‘Disturb the giants by tickling their feet, making noises under
their beds, pulling their hair...’
Another great idea! Here’s how I use it in the story (Heaney and
Tola are leprechauns, and Sharpfang is the name of a rat):
As they passed a gate, a baby let out a shriek. Heaney turned
to look and saw a wooden cradle wobbling in the sunshine, and
chubby feet and fists flailing the air.
Tola popped up on the side of the cradle, caught sight of
Heaney, and waved in triumph. He launched himself off the side
of the cradle, setting it pitching wildly, and came pelting out
the gate on the back of Sharpfang.
‘Quick!’ he panted.
Glancing over his shoulder, Heaney caught a glimpse of a distraught
girl giant trying to soothe the baby and a dog at the same time.
‘What did you do?’ he called.
Tola was chuckling. ‘Sharpfang nipped the dog while I scattered
thorns in the baby’s sheets,’ he answered with glee. ‘Come on.’
Even when the book was finished, I still called on you to help
me. I couldn’t decide on a title for the book, so I came
up with four choices and asked classes all over Australia to vote.
These were the choices:
of the Archon
As you can see from the title of the book, the one you chose was Prisoner
So, thanks for all your help, and I hope you
enjoy the book!
‘I know of a land of giants, where one man could
wipe out all the people in leprechaun land with a single sneez,’
He soon regrets his words, for when Finnegan, king
of the leprechauns, ventures through the rift caves to see this
dangerous land for himself. he is taken prisoner by the giants!
Heaney and the other leprechauns set out in a valiant attempt to
rescue their king. But can these tiny warriors possibly overpower
the mighty giants of Quentaris?
Maganach bent down and wrapped his arms around the
heavy chest filled with weapons. With a roar of triumph he wrenched
it in the air and hurled it across the banquet hall. It soared
over the heads of the crowd, smashed through the wall and thudded
onto the ground outside.
‘There!’ Maganach dusted off his hands and beamed
with satisfaction. He was a squat, brawny leprechaun and his furry
moth-wing vest was split at the seams where his muscles bulged. ‘I’m
the strongest!’ he boasted. ‘I win the hero’s portion.’
He turned to the long table where a whole roast mouse
lay on a platter, succulent and steaming, with a berry in its mouth. ‘The
hindquarter for me!’ cried Maganach, and raised his sword.
‘No, wait!’ Tola jumped to his feet. Tola was as
tall as Maganach was stout. He was taller than all the leprechauns
in the banquet hall. In fact, he was so tall, when he stood on
tiptoes he could look a magpie in the eye. ‘I am the strongest,’
Bounding like a grasshopper, Tola crossed the room
and burst through the new hole in the wall. He skidded to a halt
beside a thistle that towered over his head. The stem was thicker
than his thigh and the leaves so wide and long they blocked out
the sun. ‘Watch!’ he cried. He lifted his axe, and struck the stem.
For a moment there was silence, then with a rending groan the tall
flower toppled and fell. There was a crash as it landed
on the thatched roof of the banquet hall. A long spiky leaf pierced
the ceiling and a rubble of dried mud and grass showered down.
‘There,’ preened Tola, ‘I can fell a thistle with
single blow of my axe. I’m the champion’