Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Heckedy Peg

While browsing the picture books at our local library last week, I stumbled upon an unfamiliar title by one of my favorite authors/illustrators, Don and Audrey Wood. You'll know them by their wonderful books, "King Bidgood's in the Bathtub" and "The Napping House". It's quickly become a favorite in our house, and I've found myself surprisingly inspired by the story, and the parallels it draws between good vs. evil as well as the sacred role of motherhood. Check it out sometime.

Heckedy Peg is a story about a poor widowed mother with seven children, who goes to the market promising gifts for her children. She warns the children against strangers and playing with fire. "We need to remember that the full commitment of motherhood and of putting children first can be difficult... There are moments of great joy and incredible fulfillment, but there are also moments of a sense of inadequacy, monotony, and frustration. Mothers may feel they receive little or no appreciation for the choice they have made. Sometimes even husbands seem to have no idea of the demands upon their wives.

"As a Church, we have enormous respect and gratitude to you mothers of young children. We want you to be happy and successful in your families and to have the validation and support you need and deserve." M. Russell Ballard

A witch named Heckedy Peg enters the scene and casts an evil spell on the children, turning them into food. (Don't you just love the pictures? So much detail, and the lighting is spectacular!)

"Parents and children should realize that strong opposition will always come against the work and will of the Lord. Because the work (and glory) of God is to bring to pass our immortality and eternal life as a family, it logically follows that the work of the adversary will strike directly at the heart of the home—the family. Relentlessly Lucifer attacks the sanctity of life and the joy of parenthood."- Russell M. Nelson

Only the mother can break the spell, and she must use both wit and courage to outsmart the witch and save her children. I love the part where the mother finds the witch and starts beating at the door, "Let me in! I want my children back!"

“Families across the Church are searching for ways to strengthen and protect their children against the evils around them. In some cases those parents are desperately trying to bring back some in their family who have wandered. I am confident that there will be, increasingly, a reward given by God for their efforts. Those who never give up will find that God never gave up and that He will help them.” Henry B. Eyring

I love the mother's tenacity in this story, and the great lengths she goes to in order to save her children. Sometimes when I think I'll go mad if I have to break up one more argument, repeat one more direction, or wrestle through one more sacrament meeting. However, all of those family prayers and scripture studies and sacrament meetings are protecting my children and preparing them to be able to choose good for themselves.

No family is immune to Satan's influence. I'm grateful that we don't have to be widows alone in raising our children. Together with Christ, we can receive the strength, help, direction we need to be saved. One day we will hear the words, "I've got my children back, Heckedy Peg. Now you'll be sorry you ever took them!" Until then, every day, I'll continue to chase the evil influences out of my heart, and out of our home, and out of our conversations and interactions.

To all live happily ever after.

* Pictures from the book Heckedy Peg by Don Wood


Heidi said...

I love this - thank you!

Dianna said...

King Bidgood is one of our favorites. We will have to check out this one now.

Tim said...

Amy, that was awesome. You are such a great mom. I think of our mom as well when I read your post. Add two kids to the family in the story and you have our mom. Your comment about family prayer and scripture study made me think of her diligence and I know she's had first hand experience saying "I've got my children back."

Sarah said...

Have always especially loved the artwork in this book of theirs. Now I'll love and think of the thoughts you've put with it and Tim's comment. Sweet reassuring post.

Catherine said...

Great thoughts! I'm always looking for good book recommendations too- so i just ordered those three off amazon! Cant wait to see you guys next week!

Lenice said...

Wow, Amy, you are amazing to find those quotes that match the story perfectly. I am printing this off to save for a lesson (Primary, YW, Sunday School) some day. Keep up the good work.