A Stranger Came Ashore

Mollie Hunter


Quick Look

  • The original selkie story by Mollie Hunter
  • A fantastic, gripping tale set on the beautiful, windswept Shetland Isles
  • Kelpies Classics bring classic Scottish children's fiction alive for a new generation

Robbie knows there's something strange about the man who stumbles out of a stormy sea into the Shetland islanders lives. Will anyone believe him? Mollie Hunter's best-known story, a true Scottish classic.

Floris Books
Age Range:
From 8 to 12 years
136 pages
Publication date:
20 Mar 2014
Classic Kelpies


When Finn Learson literally stumbles out of a stormy sea into a small village on the Shetland Isles, he steals the villagers' hearts. He's handsome and charming, he helps with the fishing and the harvest, and he's particularly drawn to Robbie's older sister Elspeth, with her beautiful long golden hair.

Yet there's something about Finn that makes Robbie and his dog Tam feel uneasy. Haunted by local tales of the Selkie folk, Robbie suspects there's more to Finn than meets the eye. But who would believe Robbie's wild suspicions?

As the story reaches its explosive finale at the fire festival of Up Helly Aa, can Robbie reveal the truth in time to save his sister?

One of Mollie Hunter's most popular novels for children, A Stranger Came Ashore was first published in 1975 to great acclaim. This new Kelpies Classics edition brings this much-loved Scottish classic to a new generation of children.


'I feel sure there's no more magical yet believable scene in literature than the lead-in to the final battle of A Stranger Came Ashore, as the straw-clad Guisers of Up Helly Aa dance from home to home in the green glow of the aurora borealis. But for me, the most wonderful and true moment of the book happens when Robbie manages to hold and feel the furnace-like heat of a baby seal. A Stranger Came Ashore, like all Mollie Hunter's books, is stunning in its blend of local tradition and belief, legend and life.'
-- Elizabeth Wein, The Guardian, What are the best Scottish children's books?

'Mollie Hunter's books have stood the test of time and it's a joy to have a new edition of A Stranger Came Ashore ... First published nearly forty years ago, Mollie's story remains as intriguing and beguiling as ever.'
-- The Scotsman

'The haunting mystery of this story grips the reader to the end.'
-- Sunday Telegraph

'A fantastic, gripping tale based on the traditional Scottish legend of the Selkie Folk, and set on the beautiful, windswept Shetland Isles. Floris Books should be congratulated for making Mollie Hunter's book widely available again -- they are perennial favourites and deservedly so.'
-- Scottish Children's Books, Winter 2002


Mollie Hunter (1922-2012) wrote more than 25 novels for children since 1953, incorporating a life-long exploration of Scotland's folklore and history into her stories. She received numerous awards and honours for her books, including the New York Times Outstanding Books of the Year Award, the Boston Globe Horn Book Award and the Carnegie Medal.


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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