2006 National Book Award Finalist
Young People's Literature

Martine Leavitt

Keturah and Lord Death

Front Street, an imprint of Boyds Mills Press

Photo credit: Ted Dawson

About the Book

Renowned for her storytelling, Keturah charms Lord Death with a story and is given another 24 hours to live—if she can find her one true love in that time.

About the Author

Martine Leavitt is the author of Tom Finder (2003), winner of the Mr. Christie Award, and Heck Superhero (2004), a finalist for the Governor General's Award. She has a BA from the University of Calgary and an MFA from Vermont College and works full time as a copy editor in the corporate sector. The creative project she is most proud of is her seven children and six grandchildren, all of whom have been critically acclaimed.

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From Keturah and Lord Death
Copyright © 2006 by Martine Leavitt.

At dusk, death came to me in the form of a man.

He was dressed in a black cape and came mounted on a black stallion. Beneath his hood I could see that he was a goodly man, severe but beautiful, not old but in the time of his greatest powers. My courage failed me. I wanted to escape, but I was too weak to stand. My limbs seemed rooted in the ground beneath me. The tree I leaned against cradled my shoulders.

I remembered the good manners Grandmother had taught me with her switch and paddle. When he had dismounted and was coming toward me I said, "Good Sir Death, forgive me if I do not rise."

His steps slowed. "You know who I am, then?"

"I do, sir."

The dusk deepened, as if the gloom unfurled from the folds of his cloak.

"Is it Keturah?" he asked. His voice was calm and cold, and thrilled me with fear. "You are the daughter of Catherine Reeve, whom I know."

"Yes, sir." He knew my mother indeed, but I did not. She had died giving birth to me. "I regret to say, sir, that, as in the case of my mother, you have come before I was ready."

"No one is ready."

"Forgive me, sir," I said, without hope, "but there was something I wanted to do."

"Your doing is past." He hunkered down on one knee as if to get a good look at me. I saw that where his boot had been, the grass was utterly crushed and flattened. "You were foolish to come so far into the wood."