The Magic Pudding

Written by Norman Lindsay and published in 1918, The Magic Pudding is a classic Australian children’s book. It is said that Norman had a bet with a friend Bertram Stevens of the Bulletin that children would be more interested in food than in fairies.

The book has been reprinted many times and has been made into an animated movie. The story is set in Australia and is about a pudding that magically replaces any slice that is taken. Because it is always a whole pudding, it attracts pudding thieves. And so there is an adventure.

The story is divided into slices rather than chapters and it contains many short songs, including sea shanties. The book is extensively illustrated by Norman. The story revolves round the characters of young Bunyip Bluegum (Koala) search for his parents, Bill Barnacle (Sailor) and Sam Sawnoff (Penguin) and of course the very cantankerous Albert the Magic Puddin’. Other main characters are Possum and Wombat, profession thieves who desire to own Albert the Magic Puddin’. Many of the characters they meet on their adventures are Australian animals.

After many adventures the friends decide that the only way to keep Albert the Magic Puddin’ safe from thieves is to build a special home for him. So at the end of the story the friends build a splendid house up a tree. To keep the pudding safe they make him a little Puddin’ paddock. At night the ladder is raised to prevent any puddin’ thieves pinching the Puddin’.

The story ends with the song The Salt Junk Sarah.

“Oh rolling round the ocean,
From a far and foreign land,
May suit the common notion

That a sailor’s life is grand.

But for me, I’d sooner be
A roaring here at home
About the rolling roaring life
Of them that sails the foam.

For the homeward-bounder’s chorus,
Which he roars across the foam
Is all about chucking a sailors life
And settling down at home.

Home, home, home,
That’s the song of them that roam
The song of the roaring, rolling sea
Is all about rolling home.

Museum Australia (Vic) Archival Survival Volunteer Museum 2014
Place of Deposit, Public Records Office of Victoria
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