The ancient Celtic holiday of Samhain begins at sunset October 31. Lasting three days, Samhain marks the end of the harvest and the beginning of the "dark half" of the year. According to Celtic mythology, it is a time of enchantment, a time when the veil between grows thin and for three days, allowing both mortal and immortal to pass back and forth between this world and the Otherworld. Traditionally it is also the time of year when the ancient Celts began their storytelling cycles, gathered as a community around the winter fires. This cycle contined until Beltaine, May 1, when the warm weather and agricultural duties required full attention.
John Bauer [1882-1918] is best known for his imaginative illustrations for Among Gnomes and Trolls, a collection of Swedish folktales. Throughout his short life Bauer felt a tension between the children's illustrations that earned recognition and the more serious art he imagined he needed to be doing. While traveling to a new home in Stockholm, he died with his wife and child in a boating accident on Lake Vättern.
Three illustrations by John Bauer (1882-1918)