The Princess and Curdie - George MacDonald (Illustrated)
The Princess and the Goblin and the The Princess and Curdie, together make up a single story that is among the most moving and insightful tales ever penned for children, or rather for the child-like.
The Princess and the Goblin
This wonderful children's novel tells the story of eight year old Princess Irene. Cared for by her nurse Lootie, she lives in a mountain farmhouse while her father rules over the region from a mountain top castle. The local folk work as miners but are beset by the Goblins who inhabit the underground. Irene is saved from the Goblins by Curdie, a thirteen year old miner, and she in turn saves him. The whole thing is told in a pleasant conversational style and is filled with humor, word games, magic, derring-do, and pure wonderment. MacDonald maintains a sense of suspense and mystery throughout the story.
In the process of playing off and twisting traditional Romantic literature and fairy tales, MacDonald manages to transcend both genres and create a truly original work of wonder.
MacDonald has a remarkable ability to tell a delightful and enchanting story for children, layered with strong Christian themes and imagery by means of allegory and symbols. The Princess and the Goblin is one of his most beloved works for children
The Princess and Curdie.
The Princess and Curdie is a sequel to the Princess and the Goblin. While the former dealt primarily with the adventures of Princess Irene this one focuses almost exclusively on the young miner Curdie who struggles to aid the King and Princess Irene against the treachery of those who wish to overthrow their Kingdom.
If anything, this book is even better than the first -- a bit more mature, a little bit darker, but with the same haunting prose and likeable characters.
MacDonald and Lewis Carroll were friends, but to my tastes MacDonald is the greater storyteller. And the ending of this story is unlike any I've read elsewhere, serving as the source of many discussions on why MacDonald ended it that way!
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