Vermont Folklife Center

The Scrimshaw Ring

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William Jaspersohn
Paintings by Vernon Thornblad
Hardcover, 32 pages, illustrated
U.S. $15.95, Can. $24.95

young boy watching ships sail away

About this Story

The year: 1710. The place: Newport, Rhode Island. On a peaceful farm by the sea live a kindly couple and their young son, William. One day, when his parents leave him at home with the family cook, William has the shock of his life. A pirate ship anchors in the cove below the house, and pirates, cruel and violent, row ashore. Finding William alone and afraid, one of the pirates takes pity on him and gives him a token of kindness—a scrimshaw ring.

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woman and child

About the Storyteller

Horace Beck, a renowned folklorist and descendant of William Bateman (the boy who met the pirate), first heard the story of the scrimshaw ring from his grandparents, who lived in the Bateman house through the 1920’s. The author of Folklore and Sea, Horace dedicated his life to documenting maritime culture around the world. Along with the story, Horace also inherited the very scrimshaw ring that the pirate gave to his ancestor 300 years before.

Horace Beck passed away on July 1, 2003.

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child sitting in the corner of the room

About the Author

William Jaspersohn has written more than 20 children’s books, including How the Forest Grew (a Boston Globe-Horn Book Award winner) and The Ballpark (a New York Times Best Book and American Book Award nominee). In 2000, Yankee Magazine named his Vermont Folklife Center Children’s Book, The Two Brothers, a Top 40 Classic New England Children’s Book. Jaspersohn lives in Johnson, Vermont.

About the Illustrator

Vernon Thornblad, a painter and illustrator, is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design. As a toy designer, he created Bendos™, an award-winning line of bendable, posable action figures. The Scrimshaw Ring is his first illustrated book for children. Thornblad lives in Bennington, New Hampshire, with his wife and daughter.

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