In its first production for older children, the Austin Public Library is hosting Literature Live! Presents: The Fifolet for youth ages 8 to 12. The term fifolet (pronounced fee-fo-lay) comes from Louisiana folklore and refers to a ghostly glowing ball of light rumored to mark buried pirate treasure.

Devo Carpenter and Ellen Scott, Austin Public Library employees, comprise the puppetry troupe Literature Live, which puts on about 150 productions a year in the library system. In another first for these shows, each production includes live musical accompaniment. Joseph Palmer of the Austin Guitar Society strums and picks a lively set of tunes to set the mood.

“This collaboration has been incredible,” says Carpenter. “The idea for the fifolet came from my background. I’m from East Texas/South Louisiana. I’ve always been interested in legends and folktales from that area.”

“The legend is that John Lafitte, the pirate, would bury his treasure in the swamp and then kill one of his crewmen to watch over the treasure,” Carpenter says. “Fast-forward to the urban legend, which is that if you go into the swamp at night, you will see this ghost, which is called a fifolet. But the ghost doesn’t lead you to the treasure. The ghost leads you to your own demise.”

Shows will be performed:

  • Aug. 1 at 4 p.m. at University Hills Branch
  • Aug. 3 at 6 p.m. at Manchaca Rd. Branch
  • Aug. 4 at 3 p.m. at Little Walnut Creek Branch
  • Aug. 6 at 2 p.m. at Faulk Central Library
  • Aug. 7 at 2 p.m. at Windsor Park Branch
  • Aug. 19 at 3 p.m. at Recycled Reads

For more information, visit the Austin Public Library.

Photo: Joseph Palmer rehearses for Literature Live! Presents: The Fifolet. 

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