Friday, September 30, 2016

Strangely Enough! By C. B. Colby

Another Scholastic Book from my childhood, this is the 1967 edition, an abridged version of the 1959 original edition. I loved this paperback as a kid. Included are 91 short one or two page stories about incredible happenings, buried treasure, oddities of science and nature, tales of ghosts and witches, flying saucers and other weird things. Black and white illustrations by David Lockhart add some mood. Taken from a wide variety of un-credited sources, author C. B. Colby repeats some well known tales, such as the legend of treasure on Amelia Island, or the lost city of Machu Picchu, interspersed with little ghost stories or modern tales of flying saucers. I recall one of my childhood favorites was a story titled “The Balls of Clay.” It’s a bout a traveler who wanders into a Florida cave and discovers a cache of small clay balls about the size of a small bird’s egg. Taking a handful, the traveler thought it might be fun to skip the balls across the water as he walked along the beach. Later, this traveler hears a story that pirates centuries past hid precious gems in balls of clay. Remembering that he has one clay ball left, the traveler cracks it open to discover a small blue-white diamond. Had he thrown away a fortune? Another favorite was “The Man Who Fell Forever” about a sailor named Curly who, upon visiting an abandoned lighthouse, wraps his lucky coin in a kerchief and tosses it over the edge. After losing sight of the kerchief, Curl himself decides the fastest way down is to jump, and so he does. But Curly’s body is never found. All that’s left is the kerchief with Curly’s lucky coin also missing. The story ends with the line, “Perhaps that too, like Curly, has vanished on the way down.” There’s nothing too detailed here or gruesome, just mysterious capsules to wet your appetite and fire up your imagination.

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