Six Lives of Fankle the Cat

George Mackay Brown

Out of print

Quick Look

  • Rediscover this children's classic by George Mackay Brown, new in the Kelpies Classics series.
  • Full of excitement as Fankle tells of his former lives, featuring the king of pirates, the Empress of China and ancient Egypt.
  • A rich and rewarding read for boys and girls alike.

Fankle tells Jenny the stories of his different lives with pirates, in ancient Egypt and even with the Empress of China.

198 x 130 mm
Floris Books
20 illustrations
Age Range:
From 7 to 10 years
160 pages
Publication date:
21 Mar 2002
2nd edition


Tom Strynd says he is going to drown Fankle the cat in the millpond unless Jenny rescues him, so even though her mother hates cats, Jenny takes him home. Fankle tells Jenny the stories of his different lives with pirates, in ancient Egypt and even with the Empress of China.

George Mackay Brown weaves the story of Orkney's villagers into his writing in his own inimitable style, resulting in a rewarding read for adults and children alike.


'Reading this book is pure joy.'
-- The Scotsman

'A book to be read aloud and enjoyed by adults and children alike.'
-- Shelf Life, Summer 2002

'The theme of the book is the power of narrative. Living as she does for story making, Jenny projects her skill on to Fankle. The village schoolchildren are asked to write about Fankle, and their efforts make up the central chapter of the novel. There is stimulus here for readers' own writing. Mackay Brown modulates the mood delicately -- amusing, roistering, and touching. Underlying there is a wistful reminder that all lives, not only Fankle's, are brief and that humans, unlike cats, have only one.'
-- Treasure Island: A guide to Scottish fiction for young readers aged 10-14, Summer 2003


The work of George Mackay Brown (1921-96) is defined by the spirit and history of the Orkney islands. He managed to give the culture, land and oral tradition of the islands universal significance. Throughout his prolific writing career, he found inspiration in the history and folklore of Orkney.


Download or print a free Teacher's Guide for this book:
Six Lives of Fankle the Cat Teacher's Guide (PDF; 48KB)

Also set on Orkney:
The Boy with the Bronze Axe by Kathleen Fidler

Don't miss the Discover Kelpies website for children with exclusive author interviews, fun stuff and latest gossip on your favourite Scottish stories.

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