John Barleycorn must die — so everyone agrees from the ploughmen to the tinker in this exquisitely illustrated edition of the old English ballad. But who will have the last word? The hand-colored woodcuts of artist Mary Azarian brings the tale of John Barleycorn to a new and glorious life, just like old Sir John himself, the strongest man at last. There are exquisite details on every page from the ploughing, sowing, harrowing, scything, tying, and grinding—until, finally, the drinking and celebrating.
This story of how barley becomes beer dates back to the 16th century though the underlying theme of nature’s cycle dates back to pagan times. However old the tale, the mystery and celebration of the earth’s cycles at the core of the tale still resonants strongly today. And as befits the tradition of the ballad, a bathtub beer recipe is included as well.