Storyteller say, This happened oncet upon a time, on a little island off the coast of South Carolina. A girl named Sukey lived with her ma and new step-pa. Sukey called her step-pa "Mister Hard-Times." Every day, while he watched, she hoed the weeds in the garden and every day, she sang: Mister Hard-Times, Since you come My ma don't like me, My work never done. But one morning, when her step-pa wasn't looking, Sukey ran away to her secret hiding place by the sea and unwittingly called up Mama Jo, a beautiful black mermaid. The adventures that followed changed her life forever. In this dream-woven story, artfully retold by Robert D. San Souci from an American folktale, a poor girl finds her wishes answered not by treasure, or the sea's magic, but by goodness and love.
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