The Old Woman Who Lived in a Vinegar Bottle

Rumer Godden; Illustrated by Mairi Hedderwick

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Quick Look

  • The classic Grimm's tale of being careful what you wish for is retold with rumour and plenty of Scottish character
  • Reimagined by Rumer Godden OBE, one of the twentieth century's best-loved writers
  • The first book illustrated by best-selling Katie Morag creator Mairi Hedderwick

A delightful adaptation of a traditional tale with a Scottish twist! With a story by Rumer Godden, one of the UK's most acclaimed authors, and charming artwork by best-selling illustrator Mairi Hedderwick, creator of Katie Morag.

294 x 219 mm
Floris Books
Picture Kelpies: Traditional Tales
colour illustrations
Age Range:
From 4 to 7 years
32 pages
Publication date:
21 Jun 2018
Picture Kelpies: Traditional Scottish Tales


The old woman is happy living in her old vinegar bottle house by a loch, until one day she saves a charming fish prince who grants her wishes in return.

At first the old woman's wishes are humble -- a hot dinner and a little cottage -- but as she asks for more and more extravagant things she forgets how happy she used to be in her little vinegar bottle house with her cat, Malt. Can her wishes truly bring her happiness?

This traditional tale is adapted with charm and humour by Rumer Godden, one of the twentieth-century's best-loved writers, while the beautiful artwork of best-selling illustrator Mairi Hedderwick, creator of Katie Morag, give the story a Scottish twist!

Featuring beautiful Scottish landscapes and lively characters, The Old Woman Who Lived in a Vinegar Bottle is a wonderful traditional tale to share with young children.


'Beautifully illustrated... A fantastic story of the dangers of greed.'
-- Juno

'Charming and pertinent... A perfect bedtime story to share.'
-- South Wales Evening Post


Rumer Godden (1908 -- 1998) was one of the UK's most notable writers. She wrote over sixty works in her lifetime, including much-loved children's books The Dolls House and The Diddakoi. She won The Whitbread Award for Children's Literature in 1972, and was awarded an OBE in 1993.

Mairi Hedderwick is the author and illustrator of the best-selling Katie Morag picture books, inspired by Mairi's life on the Scottish Isle of Coll, as well as many other titles for children and adults. Katie Morag is one of Scotland's best-loved literary characters and her stories have been adapted for television. In 2017 Mairi received Scottish Book Trust's inaugural Outstanding Achievement Award.

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