The Magician, The Goat and I
Camiel would do anything to get his dad out of prison, but he has to make sure he doesn’t end up there himself
Camiel and Joris Roossen’s father is a magician. Or that’s what he claims. It’s certainly true that he’s always away from home. Once every couple of weeks he sends them a funny letter about his adventures, which Camiel reads out to his brother.
There’s the story about the ventriloquist Julio, for instance, who’s so bad that he nearly gets beaten up by an angry audience demanding a refund. The magician gives him some cash so at least he can buy something to eat. Joris swallows the stories, but Camiel has known for a long time what the real situation is.
Camiel’s father is suspected of fraud, and so Camiel and his little brother have to go and stay with their strict grandparents. It’s 1927 and an economic depression is in full swing. Grandpa is a cobbler and the family is not well off. Camiel really wants to become a magician, just like his father, but he’ll need proper training, and education costs money.
So Camiel has to get his father out of prison and he knows they’re going to need a lawyer. He takes care of a goat with a wooden leg and tries to sell her milk, but soon realises he won’t make enough money that way. So then he starts altering the bills for his grandfather’s customers, so he can pocket the difference himself. And when he’s asked to be a scout for a band of smugglers, he seizes his opportunity…
The Magician, the Goat and I is an old-fashioned book for boys, about a young man trying to get by as best he can. An exciting story, still relevant today, plays out against a backdrop of economic crisis. It ends, of course, with a magic show.