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They soon spied the shadows of flowers mingled with those of the leaves, and now and then the shadow of a bird with open beak, and throat distended with song. It was based chiefly upon a bed of moss. Though "The Golden Key" can thus be read as reflecting MacDonald's explicitly Christian ideas, of course, it need not be. A cool wind blew over the wide plain of the quiet ocean. The mass was chiefly made up of the shadows of leaves innumerable, of all lovely and imaginative forms, waving to and fro, floating and quivering in the breath of a breeze whose motion was unfelt, whose sound was unheard. "Now," he said, "you can go. ", "Yes. "This indeed is my way," said Mossy, as soon as he saw the rainbow, and stepped out upon the sea. At length the light began to return, and at last they came out upon a narrow path on the face of a lofty precipice. But they are not therefore destroyed. $23.68. The child did not know she was alone, and lay contentedly looking out of her window towards the forest, of which, however, she could not see much, because of the ivy and other creeping plants which had straggled across her window. He drew nearer to the rainbow. Where was the lock to which the key belonged? George MacDonald's "The Golden Key" is really only a short story (or maybe a short novelette), but is packed with wonder and awe. He tried the key. He could see nothing of it above the trees. "I like your saying so, and I shall be quite satisfied," answered the lady. He showed no surprise, however, at seeing her--only smiled a welcome. Read more. But, to her surprise, she could find no door--nothing but the moss grown wall of the cottage. She stood and watched him. ", "My poor darling!" The sky of it was of rock, lowering over them like solid thunderclouds; and the whole place was so hot that she saw, in bright rivulets, the yellow gold and white silver and red copper trickling molten from the rocks. MacDonald 296-7).1 True symbols are not diminished through repeated use. All the fatigue and aching of her long journey had vanished. "Yes. She took her up in her arms, and said,--, "Ah, you are come at last! For there she hoped to find Mossy again. It has great depths to it, and is surely worthy of many rereadings, and much time to think about. Then Tangle saw a deep tank, the sides of which were filled with green plants, which had flowers of all colours. Description: Farrar, Straus & Giroux. They were in the rainbow. Mossy and Tangle took each other's hand and walked away into the depth of the forest. In his right hand Mossy held the golden key. It was polished quite smooth inside, and had a carpet of yellow sand in the bottom of it. Elements of paganism and Christianity evidenced in my interpretation, as Earth, Water and Fire personified in characters the children sought after. Things that look real in this country look very thin indeed in Fairyland, while some of the things that here cannot stand still for a moment, will not move there. Little streams were constantly running into it from cracks in the wall of the cavern. Then the Old Man of the Earth stooped over the floor of the cave, raised a huge stone from it, and left it leaning. It grew darker and darker, till it was pitch dark, and they had to feel their way. He could look through them, and see the one behind the other, till they mixed in a mass of darkness. But he was hungry and wanted his supper. They journey through Fairyland in search of the lock worked by a mysterious golden key they have found. Pages: 0. "Ah! In the morning she woke to the rustling of leaves over her head, and the sound of running water. The adventurous wanderings of a boy and girl to find the keyhole which fits the rainbow's golden key. A great slab fell at his feet. You must not mind my asking you questions, for you may ask me the same questions, every one of them, and any others that you like. "And I am come to lead you through the mountain.". "Follow that serpent," said the child. W. H. Auden's afterword touches upon why this is such a good Christian literature. "How old are you. Large green leaves and white flowers of various plants crowded up and over it, draping and covering it almost entirely. "You have tasted of death now," said the Old Man. she said, returning. "What is it the key of? All at once Tangle found that she had not a hold of Mossy's hand, though when she lost it she could not tell. Very fascinating. This story was thought provoking on the extreme, and I am still mulling over it in my mind. I read ‘The Princess and the Goblin’ and ‘The Light Princess’ dozens of times, and loved them. She understood all that they said, though she could not repeat a word of it; and every kind had a different language, while there was a common though more limited understanding between all the inhabitants of the forest. The heat was terrible. Suddenly, far among the trees, as far as the sun could shine, he saw a glorious thing. After running a long way, and as the last of the light was disappearing, she passed under a tree with drooping branches. But this house was quite a shame, and the fairies in the forest could not endure it. The door of it was the rudder of a great vessel, ages ago at the bottom of the sea. Tangle went in, and found a smaller room or cave, in the further corner of which was a great basin hollowed out of a rock, and half full of the clearest sea-water. For they were younger and better, and stronger and wiser, than they had ever been before. And the youth answered, and Tangle heard him, though not with her ears:--, "Tell me the way to the country whence the shadows fall. "Are you the Old Man of the Earth?" The fire will not burn you. Two or three of them got under her head and kept it up. Preview of The Golden Key Summary: In "The Golden Key," MacDonald has created an imaginative world through which two adolescents—Mossy, the hero, and Tangle, the heroine—must undertake a special quest. For seven years she had stood there watching the naked child with his coloured balls, and it seemed to her like seven hours, when all at once the shape the balls took, she knew not why, reminded her of the Valley of Shadows, and she spoke:--. And as he stood it grew more wonderful still. Three exciting rediscoveries for me have been Ruth Krauss, Randall Jarrell and of course the chimerical George Macdonald. ", "No. A deep water rolled between it and the shore, upon which a majestic figure was walking alone. Everything she had seen, or learned from books; all that her grandmother had said or sung to her; all the talk of the beasts, birds, and fishes; all that had happened to her on her journey with Mossy, and since then in the heart of the earth with the Old man and the Older man--all was plain: she understood it all, and saw that everything meant the same thing, though she could not have put it into words again. And she smiled a smile which the sadness in it made more lovely. He drew out the key. She was standing at the foot of a tree in the twilight, listening to a quarrel between a mole and a squirrel, in which the mole told the squirrel that the tail was the best of him, and the squirrel called the mole Spade-fists, when, the darkness having deepened around her, she became aware of something shining in her face, and looking round, saw that the door of the cottage was open, and the red light of the fire flowing from it like a river through the darkness. The creature takes such good care of its golden key, always flitting from place to place, lest any one should find it! But she could not help thinking how very sad it was for a poor old man to live there all alone, and have to take care of a whole seaful of stupid and riotous fishes. she returned. No, no. "But," exclaimed Tangle. he asked. The trees welcomed him. Maurice Sendak (1928-2012) was the author and illustrator of such classic children's books as Where the Wild Things Are and In the Night Kitchen . They searched till it grew so dark that they could see nothing, and gave it up. "But," she continued, "I think we may have one for supper to-morrow. He is much older than I am. There was a boy who used to sit in the twilight and listen to his great-aunt's stories. Meantime it had grown quite dark in the wood. When she had ascended halfway, the stair ceased, and the path led straight into the mountain. Stairs beside stairs wound up together, and beautiful beings of all ages climbed along with them. As they walked they waded knee-deep in the lovely lake. The waves flew from before the footsteps of the Old Man of the Sea, and Mossy followed upon dry sand. I wish I could go to see him. "Oh, I have waited for you so long! With humble thanks Tangle took her leave. But I work all day long--that is my pleasure; and you will have to leave me so soon!". It rose high into the blue heavens, but bent so little that he could not tell how high the crown of the arch must reach. He rose and looked at himself in the water, and there was not a grey hair on his head or a wrinkle on his skin. It was a colour he had never seen before. Three exciting rediscoveries for me have been Ruth Krauss, Randall Jarrell and of course the chimerical George Macdonald. 2 … No symbol hunting allowed here. she asked, humbly. "But you are a great, splendid, beautiful lady," said Mossy. Day after day he held on, and he thought he had no guide. Share This. There's a quality to it ... almost like L'Engle. It does feature the same Grandmother/Lady seen in ‘The Princess and the Goblin,’ with her magical baths. Meantime Mossy had got out of the lake of shadows and, following his mournful, lonely way, had reached the seashore. And moving a slide in the wall of his house, he first looked out, and then tapped upon a thick piece of crystal that filled the round opening. The key vanished from his fingers. (The written version of this review was first published February 11, 2017. So it was not in the least absurd of the old lady to tell her nephew such things about the golden key. The rest of them rubbed themselves all over her, and with their wet feathers washed her quite clean. After sitting for a while, each, looking up, saw the other in tears: they were each longing after the country whence the shadows fell. Elements of paganism and Christianity evidenced in my interpretation, as Earth, Water and Fire personified in characters the children sought after. I am so glad!" In true MacDonald fashion, not everything lines up to a specific allegorical meaning but rather guides the reader into contemplation and quiet awareness of spiritual realities in general, and in particular the trials that cleanse and mature us along our way. It fitted. this book is one of the three things that i lent to my (now) boyfriend, before we hardly knew eachother, which he says caused him to fall in love with me... this is one of those books that, if i even glance at it sitting quietly on my bookshelf, i can feel the magic that it contains inside. "Oh! But her voice made no sound. A lovely day and a lovelier night followed. He lives a long way from here. she sobbed. He next drew a long curved line in the sand with his finger, and laid the egg in it. This book has more metaphor and symbolism that Dylan's first four albums. But the moment he stepped upon it, a second fell, just short of the edge of the first, making the next step of a stair, which thus kept dropping itself before him as he ascended into the heart of the precipice. I feel like I understood it but didn't at the same time. Hello Select your address Best Sellers Today's Deals Electronics Customer Service Books New Releases Home Computers Gift Ideas Gift Cards Sell And on it he saw a sparkle of blue. The sun had set. Yet Mossy knew her at once. This is my second time reading it through all the way. I go there myself sometimes. 3 stars for allegorical obviousness, bumped up for the fascinating images (especially the land full of shadows cast by multiple dimensions of unseen objects) and sometimes lovely writing. Last Updated on May 11, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. He led her to a hole in the wall, which she had not observed before. But without the point. Donal Grant. "I want one of you." There was such an awfulness of absolute repose on the face of the child that Tangle stood dumb before him. I know "The Golden Key" is supposed to be McDonald's best (or nearly his best) "childre. she said,--"the wisest.". As soon as she entered it, Tangle heard a strange noise, unlike anything she had ever heard before. ... What Has George MacDonald Said About The Golden Key. And I know the way you have to go.". For the rainbow of Fairyland is not dependent upon the sun, as ours is. Fairy tales are some of the oldest forms of literature. Thus, the five elements of paganism and magic surface: Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Spirit (thank you Dan Brown for revealing that to me in one of your extraordinary works). Leaning on his staff, he conducted her along the shore to a steep rock, that looked like a petrified ship turned upside down. I read the version of this book that was illustrated by Ruth Sanderson and it was a beautiful reading experience. On a stone in the middle of it sat a figure with its back towards her--the figure of an old man bent double with age. ", "It is good," said Mossy. ", "Perhaps it is. It was smooth as glass. A little stream spouted from a rent in the rock and fell into a basin of moss. Unlocking Wonder in "The Golden Key" view gallery of Ruth Sanderson's illustrations for "The Golden Key" George MacDonald was a Scottish clergyman living in the Victorian era who stepped down as a minister to communicate his personal vision through the medium of fantastic fiction—novels for adults and children, and shorter fiction in the form of literary fairy tales. An hour, as of iron bolts on huge brazen caldrons, echoed thunderously within which were filled green! One thing is certain. -- what is that it was a stair in the simplest poorest... As want to find the golden key dark and damp and deep rose at once children and.... Change of place restore the vision to the trunk themselves all over her head, and out! 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