In The Moon Sister, Tiggy develops a close relationship with a mystical white stag whom she calls Pegasus. In cultures all over the world, white stags are highly revered – the Celtic people of ancient Scotland believed them to be messengers from the Otherworld, and medieval legends claim that capturing one would give you untold spiritual knowledge. In The Moon Sister, Pegasus becomes Tiggy’s friend and guardian.
White stags are not albinos. The white colouring is caused by a condition called leucism, which causes the hair and skin of the deer to lose its colour. There are only a handful of white stags in the UK at any given time, and they are closely guarded as they are highly sought after as hunting trophies. In 2007, residents of Devon and Cornwall protected the secret location of a white stag, but sadly it was poached, and its head removed as a trophy. At the time, it was said to be the only one in the entire country, but then there were sightings of a white calf…
For Tiggy’s story, I knew from the beginning that white stags would have a special significance for her. Tiggy’s mythical counterpart is Taygete, who was a companion of the Greek deity Artemis, ‘the Mistress of Animals’. The story goes that Zeus was pursuing Taygete, and to protect her Artemis turned her into a doe.
A Roman statue of Artemis (known as Diana to the Romans) with her deer in the Louvre Museum, Paris.