Robert Bannerman’s Boyhood

by George MacDonald first published 1871

The story of a young motherless boy growing up with his brothers in a Scottish manse. Throughout the twists and turns of his escapades and adventures, Ranald learns from his father the important lessons of courage and integrity. He meets plenty of colorful characters such as the wicked sneaking, housekeeper, Mrs. Mitchel, Kirsty, an enchanting Highland storyteller, Turkey – the intrepid cowherd, the strange Wandering Willie, the evil Kelpie, the sweet horse Missie, and the lovely Elsie Duff.

This book was a sweet joy to read. Escapism at its best. I’ve read that it is loosely based on MacDonald’s boyhood, not sure if that is true or not. I adore his books. This one is such a beautiful old copy. A Blackie and Son edition published around 1911. I picked it up at a used bookshop in St. Andrews Scotland in 2015. Gorgeous color pictures and pencil sketches sprinkled throughout. A real treasure…

If your interested in George MacDonald and his theology I found this excellent article that helped me understand him. I too don’t agree with his thoughts on afterlife but none the less enjoy his work!

Treasure Found in St. Andrews

I am a George MacDonald fan. In the States you only find newer edited versions of his books. I did find several years ago online new versions not edited. They were special editions. A joy to read! Difficult at first, but a real joy. I was hoping to find at least one original MacDonald while here. Hadn’t seen a one and then at Katrina and Jack’s favourite used bookstore I hit the jackpot! I had to restrain myself and I only picked four of the eight. Absolute gorgeous old volumes in lovely shape.

The Alec Forbes book is a first edition with an owners signature and the year 1893 written in the front! 122 years old!


Ranald Bannerman’s Boyhood has such a lovely cover and beautiful illustrations. There is no publication date in the book. So many really old ones don’t.

Annals of a Quiet Neighbourhood has lovely end papers and just says New Edition.


Malcolm was the first book I read by MacDonald in an edited new version years ago and became an instant fan. This edition is a real treat as it is written in the Scot language! Here’s a sample:

 “I think we cud sort them,” said Phemy. “There’s ae place, a guid bit farrer in, what the rufe comes doon to the flure, leavin’ jist ae sma’ hole to creep throu’: it wad be fine to hae a gey muckle stane handy, jist to row athort it, an’ gar’t luik as gien ‘t was the en’ o’ a’thing. But the hole’s sae sma’ at the laird has ill gettin’ his puir back throu’ ‘t.” 
Isn’t that great?!
Problem is, I am going to go way over my weight limit in my luggage going home. Katrina is sending lots of books home with me and we still have to go to Leakeys used bookstore in Inverness. So we have gone to the Postoffice and inquired and I can send a box of books home by freight not air for a good price. Much cheaper than an extra suitcase to check! But George MacDonald will be traveling in my carry on!
Today we took a long coastal walk along the Firth of Forth in Kirkcaldy and climbed over rocks to get close enough to take pics of a bunch of seals sunning on the rocks! I used muscles I forgot I had! It was worth it though! For supper we had Indian curry, my first taste of that kind of food. Delicious!
Edinburgh Castle on Saturday! And Sunday we’re going to Peebles to meet Evee from Evee’s Blog. She’s going with us on our trip to the Highlands too! Looking forward to meeting her in person!
Peggy Ann