Boggart" in THE WITNESS AND OTHER SHORT STORIES:
Dinty, Kevin's great-grandmother, lives alone and everyone marvels
at how clean and neat she keeps her house and garden. When she begins
to become senile, Kevin's family moves Dinty into a seniors' home.
One day Dinty asks Kevin to do her a favour - to go to her house and
invite her resident boggart to slip into an empty box so she can mail
him back to Yorkshire where he came from. Kevin wonders what a boggart
is. Dinty explains that he is an invisible creature who does all the
housework as long as you feed him his daily ration of cream. Kevin
sets out to do what Dinty asks, even though he is sure that he doesn't
believe in boggarts.
I have always been fascinated by the creatures in English folklore,
such as fairies, goblins, and boggarts. One famous folktale is about
a boggart whose family moves to get rid of him, only to find that
he has hitched a ride. After I read this I wondered what would happen
if a boggart accompanied a couple all the way to Canada.
I always meant
to turn this story into a novel but another children's author, Susan
Cooper, beat me to it! In her excellent novel, THE BOGGART, she also
features a boggart who comes to Canada. She must have read the same
folktales I did!