Blodin the Beast, written by Michael Morpurgo and illustrated by Christina Balit, is a tale with many biblical echoes set in a mythical Middle-Eastern setting.1
Blodin is a huge beast who drinks oil, breathes fire and enslaves entire populations. When the story opens, there is only one village left standing. The villagers all wish to surrender to Blodin and only the wise old man, Shanga, and a young boy, Hosea, refuse. Shanga has his life’s work to complete, a carpet into which he has woven ‘all the good in the world’ and whose powers, he tells Hosea, are capable of defeating Blodin. Blodin burns the village and sleeps. While he does so, Hosea sets o! alone on his journey, having to brave the dangers of the mountains, the forest and the desert. He carries with him Shanga’s carpet, which also acts as a map to lead him to a land of peace and plenty. Having crossed the desert, he rests and dreams that Blodin awakens but that Shanga confronts and defies him. ‘You may think yourself the strongest, but you are not. You may think you have conquered the world but you have not. Up in the mountains is a small boy and he is stronger than you.’ Hosea dreams that Shanga is burned by Blodin and,
as he awakens, he realises that Blodin is in pursuit of him. He flees and reaches the river as Blodin’s shadow looms over him. A small voice in his head has been guiding him all along and now it tells him to trust the carpet and to float across the river on it. As he does so, Blodin plunges in after him, breathing his fire around him but Hosea reaches the far shore in safety as the waters of the river wash Blodin away. Beyond the shore, there are meadows and cornfields. Men and women are working together and children are laughing. He has reached the land of peace and plenty and Blodin is no more.