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But I must beg you, when my husband comes in, not to say a word about these things; for he thinks me even half crazy for believing anything of the sort. But I must believe my senses, as he cannot believe beyond his, which give him no intimations of this kind. I think he could spend the whole of Midsummer-eve in the wood and come back with the report that he saw nothing worse than himself. Indeed, good man, he would hardly find anything better than himself, if he had seven more senses given him.

And then, you know, you began by being in love with her before you saw her beauty, mistaking her for the lady of the marble — another kind altogether, I should think.

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But the chief thing that makes her beautiful is this: So a wise man, whom she met in the wood some years ago, and who, I think, for all his wisdom, fared no better than you, told me, when, like you, he spent the next night here, and recounted to me his adventures. I thanked her very warmly for her solution, though it was but partial; wondering much that in her, as in woman I met on my first entering the forest, there should be such superiority to her apparent condition. Here she left me to take some rest; though, indeed, I was too much agitated to rest in any other way than by simply ceasing to move.

In half an hour, I heard a heavy step approach and enter the house. Let them swill, lass! Gluttony is not forbidden in their commandments. It began to look as if I had known every corner of it for twenty years; and when, soon after, the dame came and fetched me to partake of their early supper, the grasp of his great hand, and the harvest-moon of his benevolent face, which was needed to light up the rotundity of the globe beneath it, produced such a reaction in me, that, for a moment, I could hardly believe that there was a Fairy Land; and that all I had passed through since I left home, had not been the wandering dream of a diseased imagination, operating on a too mobile frame, not merely causing me indeed to travel, but peopling for me with vague phantoms the regions through which my actual steps had led me.

But the next moment my eye fell upon a little girl who was sitting in the chimney-corner, with a little book open on her knee, from which she had apparently just looked up to fix great inquiring eyes upon me. I believed in Fairy Land again. She went on with her reading, as soon as she saw that I observed her looking at me. Stormy night, last night, sir. A lovelier night I never saw. Where were you last night? I dare say you saw nothing worse than yourself there? We have but few sensible folks round about us. Now, you would hardly credit it, but my wife believes every fairy-tale that ever was written.

I cannot account for it. She is a most sensible woman in everything else. Mother has told me so a many times, and you ought to believe everything she says. Your mother sprang out of bed, and going as near it as she could, mewed so infernally like a great cat, that the noise ceased instantly. I believe the poor mouse died of the fright, for we have never heard it again. I watched him, and saw that, as soon as it was over, he looked scared, as if he dreaded some evil consequences to follow his presumption.

The woman stood near, waiting till we should seat ourselves at the table, and listening to it all with an amused air, which had something in it of the look with which one listens to the sententious remarks of a pompous child. We sat down to supper, and I ate heartily. My bygone distresses began already to look far off. For although I have lived on the borders of it all my life, I have been too busy to make journeys of discovery into it.

Nor do I see what I could discover. It is only trees and trees, till one is sick of them. No; he only changed their gold crowns for nightcaps; and the great long-toothed ogre killed them in mistake; but I do not think even he ate them, for you know they were his own little ogresses. However, the house has, of course, in such a foolish neighbourhood as this, a bad enough name; and I must confess there is a woman living in it, with teeth long enough, and white enough too, for the lineal descendant of the greatest ogre that ever was made.

I think you had better not go near her. In such talk as this the night wore on. When supper was finished, which lasted some time, my hostess conducted me to my chamber. For they frequently pass the window, and even enter the room sometimes. Strange creatures spend whole nights in it, at certain seasons of the year.

I am used to it, and do not mind it. No more does my little girl, who sleeps in it always. But this room looks southward towards the open country, and they never show themselves here; at least I never saw any. In the morning I awoke refreshed, after a profound and dreamless sleep. The sun was high, when I looked out of the window, shining over a wide, undulating, cultivated country. Various garden-vegetables were growing beneath my window.

Everything was radiant with clear sunlight. The dew-drops were sparkling their busiest; the cows in a near-by field were eating as if they had not been at it all day yesterday; the maids were singing at their work as they passed to and fro between the out-houses: I did not believe in Fairy Land. I went down, and found the family already at breakfast. But before I entered the room where they sat, the little girl came to me, and looked up in my face, as though she wanted to say something to me. After breakfast, the farmer and his son went out; and I was left alone with the mother and daughter.

Yet I could persuade myself, after my last adventures, to go back, and have nothing more to do with such strange beings. They must go on, and go through it. How, I do not in the least know.

Phantastes, A Faerie Romance for Men and Women by George MacDonald

Something compels me to go on, as if my only path was onward, but I feel less inclined this morning to continue my adventures. She sleeps in the one I told you of, looking towards the forest. So we went together, the little girl running before to open the door for us. It was a large room, full of old-fashioned furniture, that seemed to have once belonged to some great house.

The window was built with a low arch, and filled with lozenge-shaped panes. The wall was very thick, and built of solid stone. I could see that part of the house had been erected against the remains of some old castle or abbey, or other great building; the fallen stones of which had probably served to complete it. But as soon as I looked out of the window, a gush of wonderment and longing flowed over my soul like the tide of a great sea.

Fairy Land lay before me, and drew me towards it with an irresistible attraction. The trees bathed their great heads in the waves of the morning, while their roots were planted deep in gloom; save where on the borders the sunshine broke against their stems, or swept in long streams through their avenues, washing with brighter hue all the leaves over which it flowed; revealing the rich brown of the decayed leaves and fallen pine-cones, and the delicate greens of the long grasses and tiny forests of moss that covered the channel over which it passed in motionless rivers of light.

I turned hurriedly to bid my hostess farewell without further delay. She smiled at my haste, but with an anxious look. My son will show you into another path, which will join the first beyond it. Not wishing to be headstrong or too confident any more, I agreed; and having taken leave of my kind entertainers, went into the wood, accompanied by the youth. He scarcely spoke as we went along; but he led me through the trees till we struck upon a path. My spirits rose as I went deeper; into the forest; but I could not regain my former elasticity of mind. I found cheerfulness to be like life itself — not to be created by any argument.

Afterwards I learned, that the best way to manage some kinds of pain fill thoughts, is to dare them to do their worst; to let them lie and gnaw at your heart till they are tired; and you find you still have a residue of life they cannot kill. So, better and worse, I went on, till I came to a little clearing in the forest. In the middle of this clearing stood a long, low hut, built with one end against a single tall cypress, which rose like a spire to the building.

A vague misgiving crossed my mind when I saw it; but I must needs go closer, and look through a little half-open door, near the opposite end from the cypress. Window I saw none. On peeping in, and looking towards the further end, I saw a lamp burning, with a dim, reddish flame, and the head of a woman, bent downwards, as if reading by its light.

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I could see nothing more for a few moments. At length, as my eyes got used to the dimness of the place, I saw that the part of the rude building near me was used for household purposes; for several rough utensils lay here and there, and a bed stood in the corner. An irresistible attraction caused me to enter. The woman never raised her face, the upper part of which alone I could see distinctly; but, as soon as I stepped within the threshold, she began to read aloud, in a low and not altogether unpleasing voice, from an ancient little volume which she held open with one hand on the table upon which stood the lamp.

What she read was something like this:. So, then, is it eternal. The negation of aught else, is its affirmation. Where the light cannot come, there abideth the darkness. The light doth but hollow a mine out of the infinite extension of the darkness. And ever upon the steps of the light treadeth the darkness; yea, springeth in fountains and wells amidst it, from the secret channels of its mighty sea. Truly, man is but a passing flame, moving unquietly amid the surrounding rest of night; without which he yet could not be, and whereof he is in part compounded.

As I drew nearer, and she read on, she moved a little to turn a leaf of the dark old volume, and I saw that her face was sallow and slightly forbidding. Her forehead was high, and her black eyes repressedly quiet. But she took no notice of me. This end of the cottage, if cottage it could be called, was destitute of furniture, except the table with the lamp, and the chair on which the woman sat.

In one corner was a door, apparently of a cupboard in the wall, but which might lead to a room beyond. Still the irresistible desire which had made me enter the building urged me: I must open that door, and see what was beyond it. I approached, and laid my hand on the rude latch. Then the woman spoke, but without lifting her head or looking at me: The prohibition, however, only increased my desire to see; and as she took no further notice, I gently opened the door to its full width, and looked in. At first, I saw nothing worthy of attention. It seemed a common closet, with shelves on each hand, on which stood various little necessaries for the humble uses of a cottage.

In one corner stood one or two brooms, in another a hatchet and other common tools; showing that it was in use every hour of the day for household purposes. But, as I looked, I saw that there were no shelves at the back, and that an empty space went in further; its termination appearing to be a faintly glimmering wall or curtain, somewhat less, however, than the width and height of the doorway where I stood.

But, as I continued looking, for a few seconds, towards this faintly luminous limit, my eyes came into true relation with their object. All at once, with such a shiver as when one is suddenly conscious of the presence of another in a room where he has, for hours, considered himself alone, I saw that the seemingly luminous extremity was a sky, as of night, beheld through the long perspective of a narrow, dark passage, through what, or built of what, I could not tell.

As I gazed, I clearly discerned two or three stars glimmering faintly in the distant blue. But, suddenly, and as if it had been running fast from a far distance for this very point, and had turned the corner without abating its swiftness, a dark figure sped into and along the passage from the blue opening at the remote end. I started back and shuddered, but kept looking, for I could not help it.

On and on it came, with a speedy approach but delayed arrival; till, at last, through the many gradations of approach, it seemed to come within the sphere of myself, rushed up to me, and passed me into the cottage. All I could tell of its appearance was, that it seemed to be a dark human figure. Its motion was entirely noiseless, and might be called a gliding, were it not that it appeared that of a runner, but with ghostly feet.

I had moved back yet a little to let him pass me, and looked round after him instantly. I could not see him. I turned and looked, but saw nothing. Then with a feeling that there was yet something behind me, I looked round over my shoulder; and there, on the ground, lay a black shadow, the size of a man. It was so dark, that I could see it in the dim light of the lamp, which shone full upon it, apparently without thinning at all the intensity of its hue.

I believe you call it by a different name in your world: Here, for the first time, she lifted her head, and looked full at me: I could not speak, but turned and left the house, with the shadow at my heels.

Phantastes: A Faerie Romance for Men and Women (version 2)

Indeed, only when I stood between it and the sun, was the blackness at all diminished. I was so bewildered — stunned — both by the event itself and its suddenness, that I could not at all realise to myself what it would be to have such a constant and strange attendance; but with a dim conviction that my present dislike would soon grow to loathing, I took my dreary way through the wood. From this time, until I arrived at the palace of Fairy Land, I can attempt no consecutive account of my wanderings and adventures.

Everything, henceforward, existed for me in its relation to my attendant. What influence he exercised upon everything into contact with which I was brought, may be understood from a few detached instances. To begin with this very day on which he first joined me: I lay for half an hour in a dull repose, and then got up to pursue my way. The flowers on the spot where I had lain were crushed to the earth: Not so those on which my shadow had lain.

The very outline of it could be traced in the withered lifeless grass, and the scorched and shrivelled flowers which stood there, dead, and hopeless of any resurrection. I shuddered, and hastened away with sad forebodings. In a few days, I had reason to dread an extension of its baleful influences from the fact, that it was no longer confined to one position in regard to myself.

Hitherto, when seized with an irresistible desire to look on my evil demon which longing would unaccountably seize me at any moment, returning at longer or shorter intervals, sometimes every minute , I had to turn my head backwards, and look over my shoulder; in which position, as long as I could retain it, I was fascinated. But one day, having come out on a clear grassy hill, which commanded a glorious prospect, though of what I cannot now tell, my shadow moved round, and came in front of me.

And, presently, a new manifestation increased my distress. For it began to coruscate, and shoot out on all sides a radiation of dim shadow. These rays of gloom issued from the central shadow as from a black sun, lengthening and shortening with continual change. But wherever a ray struck, that part of earth, or sea, or sky, became void, and desert, and sad to my heart. On this, the first development of its new power, one ray shot out beyond the rest, seeming to lengthen infinitely, until it smote the great sun on the face, which withered and darkened beneath the blow.

I turned away and went on. The shadow retreated to its former position; and when I looked again, it had drawn in all its spears of darkness, and followed like a dog at my heels.

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Once, as I passed by a cottage, there came out a lovely fairy child, with two wondrous toys, one in each hand. The one was the tube through which the fairy-gifted poet looks when he beholds the same thing everywhere; the other that through which he looks when he combines into new forms of loveliness those images of beauty which his own choice has gathered from all regions wherein he has travelled. As I looked at him in wonder and delight, round crept from behind me the something dark, and the child stood in my shadow.

Straightway he was a commonplace boy, with a rough broad-brimmed straw hat, through which brim the sun shone from behind. The toys he carried were a multiplying-glass and a kaleidoscope. I sighed and departed. One evening, as a great silent flood of western gold flowed through an avenue in the woods, down the stream, just as when I saw him first, came the sad knight, riding on his chestnut steed.

Many a blow of mighty sword and axe, turned aside by the strength of his mail, and glancing adown the surface, had swept from its path the fretted rust, and the glorious steel had answered the kindly blow with the thanks of returning light. These streaks and spots made his armour look like the floor of a forest in the sunlight. His forehead was higher than before, for the contracting wrinkles were nearly gone; and the sadness that remained on his face was the sadness of a dewy summer twilight, not that of a frosty autumn morn. He, too, had met the Alder-maiden as I, but he had plunged into the torrent of mighty deeds, and the stain was nearly washed away.

No shadow followed him. He had not entered the dark house; he had not had time to open the closet door. We travelled together for two days, and I began to love him. It was plain that he suspected my story in some degree; and I saw him once or twice looking curiously and anxiously at my attendant gloom, which all this time had remained very obsequiously behind me; but I offered no explanation, and he asked none.

Shame at my neglect of his warning, and a horror which shrunk from even alluding to its cause, kept me silent; till, on the evening of the second day, some noble words from my companion roused all my heart; and I was at the point of falling on his neck, and telling him the whole story; seeking, if not for helpful advice, for of that I was hopeless, yet for the comfort of sympathy — when round slid the shadow and inwrapt my friend; and I could not trust him.

The glory of his brow vanished; the light of his eye grew cold; and I held my peace. The next morning we parted. But the most dreadful thing of all was, that I now began to feel something like satisfaction in the presence of the shadow. He does away with all appearances, and shows me things in their true colour and form. And I am not one to be fooled with the vanities of the common crowd. I will not see beauty where there is none. I will dare to behold things as they are. And if I live in a waste instead of a paradise, I will live knowing where I live.

One bright noon, a little maiden joined me, coming through the wood in a direction at right angles to my path. She came along singing and dancing, happy as a child, though she seemed almost a woman. In her hands — now in one, now in another — she carried a small globe, bright and clear as the purest crystal. This seemed at once her plaything and her greatest treasure. At one moment, you would have thought her utterly careless of it, and at another, overwhelmed with anxiety for its safety. But I believe she was taking care of it all the time, perhaps not least when least occupied about it.

She stopped by me with a smile, and bade me good day with the sweetest voice. I felt a wonderful liking to the child — for she produced on me more the impression of a child, though my understanding told me differently. We talked a little, and then walked on together in the direction I had been pursuing. I asked her about the globe she carried, but getting no definite answer, I held out my hand to take it. A slight vibratory motion arose in it, accompanied, or perhaps manifested, by a faint sweet sound. I touched it again, and the sound increased. I touched it the third time: She would not let me touch it any more.

We travelled on together all that day. She left me when twilight came on; but next day, at noon, she met me as before, and again we travelled till evening. The third day she came once more at noon, and we walked on together. Now, though we had talked about a great many things connected with Fairy Land, and the life she had led hitherto, I had never been able to learn anything about the globe. This day, however, as we went on, the shadow glided round and inwrapt the maiden. It could not change her. But my desire to know about the globe, which in his gloom began to waver as with an inward light, and to shoot out flashes of many-coloured flame, grew irresistible.

I put out both my hands and laid hold of it. It began to sound as before. The sound rapidly increased, till it grew a low tempest of harmony, and the globe trembled, and quivered, and throbbed between my hands. I had not the heart to pull it away from the maiden, though I held it in spite of her attempts to take it from me; yes, I shame to say, in spite of her prayers, and, at last, her tears.

The music went on growing in, intensity and complication of tones, and the globe vibrated and heaved; till at last it burst in our hands, and a black vapour broke upwards from out of it; then turned, as if blown sideways, and enveloped the maiden, hiding even the shadow in its blackness. It lies heavy on my heart to this hour. Here I will mention one more strange thing; but whether this peculiarity was owing to my shadow at all, I am not able to assure myself. I came to a village, the inhabitants of which could not at first sight be distinguished from the dwellers in our land.

They rather avoided than sought my company, though they were very pleasant when I addressed them. But at last I observed, that whenever I came within a certain distance of any one of them, which distance, however, varied with different individuals, the whole appearance of the person began to change; and this change increased in degree as I approached. When I receded to the former distance, the former appearance was restored. The nature of the change was grotesque, following no fixed rule. The nearest resemblance to it that I know, is the distortion produced in your countenance when you look at it as reflected in a concave or convex surface — say, either side of a bright spoon.

Of this phenomenon I first became aware in rather a ludicrous way. For some days my companion-shadow had been less obtrusive than usual; and such was the reaction of spirits occasioned by the simple mitigation of torment, that, although I had cause enough besides to be gloomy, I felt light and comparatively happy. My impression is, that she was quite aware of the law of appearances that existed between the people of the place and myself, and had resolved to amuse herself at my expense; for one evening, after some jesting and raillery, she, somehow or other, provoked me to attempt to kiss her.

But she was well defended from any assault of the kind. Her countenance became, of a sudden, absurdly hideous; the pretty mouth was elongated and otherwise amplified sufficiently to have allowed of six simultaneous kisses. I started back in bewildered dismay; she burst into the merriest fit of laughter, and ran from the room.

I soon found that the same undefinable law of change operated between me and all the other villagers; and that, to feel I was in pleasant company, it was absolutely necessary for me to discover and observe the right focal distance between myself and each one with whom I had to do. This done, all went pleasantly enough. Whether, when I happened to neglect this precaution, I presented to them an equally ridiculous appearance, I did not ascertain; but I presume that the alteration was common to the approximating parties. I was likewise unable to determine whether I was a necessary party to the production of this strange transformation, or whether it took place as well, under the given circumstances, between the inhabitants themselves.

After leaving this village, where I had rested for nearly a week, I travelled through a desert region of dry sand and glittering rocks, peopled principally by goblin-fairies. When I first entered their domains, and, indeed, whenever I fell in with another tribe of them, they began mocking me with offered handfuls of gold and jewels, making hideous grimaces at me, and performing the most antic homage, as if they thought I expected reverence, and meant to humour me like a maniac.

But ever, as soon as one cast his eyes on the shadow behind me, he made a wry face, partly of pity, partly of contempt, and looked ashamed, as if he had been caught doing something inhuman; then, throwing down his handful of gold, and ceasing all his grimaces, he stood aside to let me pass in peace, and made signs to his companions to do the like. I had no inclination to observe them much, for the shadow was in my heart as well as at my heels. I walked listlessly and almost hopelessly along, till I arrived one day at a small spring; which, bursting cool from the heart of a sun-heated rock, flowed somewhat southwards from the direction I had been taking.

I drank of this spring, and found myself wonderfully refreshed. A kind of love to the cheerful little stream arose in my heart. So down with the stream I went, over rocky lands, burning with sunbeams. But the rivulet flowed not far, before a few blades of grass appeared on its banks, and then, here and there, a stunted bush.

Sometimes it disappeared altogether under ground; and after I had wandered some distance, as near as I could guess, in the direction it seemed to take, I would suddenly hear it again, singing, sometimes far away to my right or left, amongst new rocks, over which it made new cataracts of watery melodies. As I sat, a gush of joy sprang forth in my heart, and over flowed at my eyes.

Through my tears, the whole landscape glimmered in such bewildering loveliness, that I felt as if I were entering Fairy Land for the first time, and some loving hand were waiting to cool my head, and a loving word to warm my heart. Roses, wild roses, everywhere!

So plentiful were they, they not only perfumed the air, they seemed to dye it a faint rose-hue. The colour floated abroad with the scent, and clomb, and spread, until the whole west blushed and glowed with the gathered incense of roses. And my heart fainted with longing in my bosom. Could I but see the Spirit of the Earth, as I saw once the in dwelling woman of the beech-tree, and my beauty of the pale marble, I should be content.

Yea, I would cease to be, if that would bring me one word of love from the one mouth. The twilight sank around, and infolded me with sleep. I slept as I had not slept for months. I did not awake till late in the morning; when, refreshed in body and mind, I rose as from the death that wipes out the sadness of life, and then dies itself in the new morrow. Again I followed the stream; now climbing a steep rocky bank that hemmed it in; now wading through long grasses and wild flowers in its path; now through meadows; and anon through woods that crowded down to the very lip of the water.

At length, in a nook of the river, gloomy with the weight of overhanging foliage, and still and deep as a soul in which the torrent eddies of pain have hollowed a great gulf, and then, subsiding in violence, have left it full of a motionless, fathomless sorrow — I saw a little boat lying. So still was the water here, that the boat needed no fastening. It lay as if some one had just stepped ashore, and would in a moment return. But as there were no signs of presence, and no track through the thick bushes; and, moreover, as I was in Fairy Land where one does very much as he pleases, I forced my way to the brink, stepped into the boat, pushed it, with the help of the tree-branches, out into the stream, lay down in the bottom, and let my boat and me float whither the stream would carry us.

I seemed to lose myself in the great flow of sky above me unbroken in its infinitude, except when now and then, coming nearer the shore at a bend in the river, a tree would sweep its mighty head silently above mine, and glide away back into the past, never more to fling its shadow over me. I fell asleep in this cradle, in which mother Nature was rocking her weary child; and while I slept, the sun slept not, but went round his arched way. When I awoke, he slept in the waters, and I went on my silent path beneath a round silvery moon.

And a pale moon looked up from the floor of the great blue cave that lay in the abysmal silence beneath. Why are all reflections lovelier than what we call the reality? Fair as is the gliding sloop on the shining sea, the wavering, trembling, unresting sail below is fairer still. Yea, the reflecting ocean itself, reflected in the mirror, has a wondrousness about its waters that somewhat vanishes when I turn towards itself. All mirrors are magic mirrors. The commonest room is a room in a poem when I turn to the glass. And this reminds me, while I write, of a strange story which I read in the fairy palace, and of which I will try to make a feeble memorial in its place.

In whatever way it may be accounted for, of one thing we may be sure, that this feeling is no cheat; for there is no cheating in nature and the simple unsought feelings of the soul. There must be a truth involved in it, though we may but in part lay hold of the meaning. Even the memories of past pain are beautiful; and past delights, though beheld only through clefts in the grey clouds of sorrow, are lovely as Fairy Land.

But how have I wandered into the deeper fairyland of the soul, while as yet I only float towards the fairy palace of Fairy Land! The moon, which is the lovelier memory or reflex of the down-gone sun, the joyous day seen in the faint mirror of the brooding night, had rapt me away. I sat up in the boat. Gigantic forest trees were about me; through which, like a silver snake, twisted and twined the great river.

The little waves, when I moved in the boat, heaved and fell with a plash as of molten silver, breaking the image of the moon into a thousand morsels, fusing again into one, as the ripples of laughter die into the still face of joy. The sleeping woods, in undefined massiveness; the water that flowed in its sleep; and, above all, the enchantress moon, which had cast them all, with her pale eye, into the charmed slumber, sank into my soul, and I felt as if I had died in a dream, and should never more awake.

From this I was partly aroused by a glimmering of white, that, through the trees on the left, vaguely crossed my vision, as I gazed upwards. But the trees again hid the object; and at the moment, some strange melodious bird took up its song, and sang, not an ordinary bird-song, with constant repetitions of the same melody, but what sounded like a continuous strain, in which one thought was expressed, deepening in intensity as evolved in progress. It sounded like a welcome already overshadowed with the coming farewell. As in all sweetest music, a tinge of sadness was in every note.

Nor do we know how much of the pleasures even of life we owe to the intermingled sorrows. Joy cannot unfold the deepest truths, although deepest truth must be deepest joy. Cometh white-robed Sorrow, stooping and wan, and flingeth wide the doors she may not enter. Almost we linger with Sorrow for very love. Anodos finds a large palace with many rooms, including a bedroom labelled as his own. In the palace library, he reads the story of Cosmo of Prague.

Cosmo is a believer in fantasy who sacrifices his life to free the soul of his lover from an enchanted mirror. Anodos spends much time in the palace. He comes upon corridors filled with still statues. Anodos explores the halls and realizes that the statues dance in the halls, and return quickly to their pedestals when he enters.

He dreams of the marble lady, that she alone has an empty pedestal among the statues. He later finds this pedestal and sings to it. The marble lady materializes on the pedestal, but flees him. Anodos follows, going into a strange subterranean world with gnome-like Kobolds that mock him. Anodos escapes this place and finds himself on the beach of a stormy sea.

A boat takes him to an "island" with a cottage with four doors which is inhabited by an ancient lady. Anodos enters each door in turn, each containing a different world. In the first he becomes a child again, remembering the death of his brother. In the next door he finds the marble lady and Sir Percivale in love. Here Anodos makes a last outburst of his love for the marble lady. The next door recounts the death of a loved one of Anodos, and he finds his family mausoleum.

Finally, Anodos travels through the last door "the door of the timeless" but is saved by the ancient lady without remembering anything. The ancient lady says that because she saved him, he must leave via an isthmus before the island sinks underwater. I went into reading this knowing a bit about MacDonald and that he wrote these allegorical type things. I was a little hesitant, but open to the idea - so many of these writers like Lewis write fantastical allegories and somehow in my head I'm trying to make sense of it all because that's just not how my brain works, I'm too scientific or something.

I think there are religious stories and then there are fantasy novels, and I don't always get how they can be one and the same without likely getting into an argument with someone. So it's better to just keep my mouth shut. Okay, so the story is fine, but man, it really dragged for me.

I don't feel it ever really picked up, and maybe that's because I knew that I was being for lack of a better word tricked by MacDonald. I knew that what he was writing was not what he was saying and that made me sort of irate. So I tried to put that aside and just focus on the imagery because MacDonald wrote incredible imagery. But that trickery was beneath it and I couldn't get over it. Plus, there are a lot of songs. Remember Tom Bombadil's songs in Tolkien? Whatever, this just didn't work for me. It's not without merit, though, and clearly a lot of writers I do appreciate, respect, or even enjoy were into MacDonald.

I have more of his books that I will eventually read, but I'm not particularly looking forward to it.

Let's put it this way - this book wasn't worth the overdue library fees I accrued by holding onto it longer than I should have. You can put cheese on broccoli but it's still broccoli, y'know? I know that I read this once before, many moons ago. But my only recollection of it consisted in the fact that I had read it. I recently decided to read it again because of the impact it had on Lewis.

Having done so, I can only conclude that Lewis saw a great deal more in it than I was able to, although I did enjoy it -- particularly the last third. There are some great moments. But it struck me as kind of a fairy land hodge podge, only with the hodge parts and the podge parts packed closely tog I know that I read this once before, many moons ago.

But it struck me as kind of a fairy land hodge podge, only with the hodge parts and the podge parts packed closely together by hand. On his twenty-first birthday, Anodos entered his father's study and opens a drawer where a little woman that claims to be his grandmother grants his wish to go to fairy-land.

With many tests to pass, will he pass them all to make it into Fairy-land or is all just a fantasy? Read on and find out for yourself. This was a pretty good read and my first ever read by George Macdonald. It was full of action, adventure, prose and was a very whimsical fantasy. Look for this book at your local library and On his twenty-first birthday, Anodos entered his father's study and opens a drawer where a little woman that claims to be his grandmother grants his wish to go to fairy-land.

Look for this book at your local library and wherever books are sold. View all 5 comments. May 07, Werner rated it liked it Recommends it for: Fantasy fans who don't mind Victorian diction. While I read this book several years ago the date is a "best guess" , I'd actually started it back in and didn't finish it at that time.

It gets off to kind of a slow start, and one element in the storyline was initially off-putting to me but no spoilers here! However, I'm glad I decided to give it a second and fairer chance; it proved to be a solid three-star fantasy that I enjoyed. Basically, it's a coming-of-age tale in a fantasy setting; and it's perhaps the first example in th While I read this book several years ago the date is a "best guess" , I'd actually started it back in and didn't finish it at that time.

Knowing that MacDonald was a favorite author of C. Lewis, it isn't hard to see the influence of this work on the idea behind the latter's Narnia series. There are actually no explicit Christian references in the book, but the author's Christian worldview underlies the strongly moral tone and messages here.

Of course, this is a 19th-century work, with Victorian diction throughout; readers who find that problematic will probably enjoy the book less than those of us who don't mind that! In many ways this really isn't a good book. The style borders on choppy and dense. The story doesn't always flow. MacDonald routinely makes excurses without telling you. The "mythopoeic" prose is its redeeming quality.

MaDonald bathed the book in sacramentality. Every leaf, grove, and spring refleted redemption--and MacDonald is a talented enough artist that he can show redemption without telling you redemption usually. The story line is simple enough. The protagonists finds himself in " In many ways this really isn't a good book. The protagonists finds himself in "faerie land" and must navigate through trials and temptations, with all the self-discoveries.

CS Lewis mentioned this book spoke of a "good death. This is none other than the Christian story of Baptism, a Baptism that our hero must undergo. Some things I learned about Fairie Land: Sometimes the beauty was so intoxicating that I felt my heart would stop. Jan 17, John rated it really liked it Shelves: Now if only I could understand more of the symbolism Oct 08, Heideblume rated it liked it.

Atmosfere ottocentesce, romantiche, evocative, oniriche. Molte descrizioni e poca azione. Le idee ci sono Es. In compenso questo libro h Atmosfere ottocentesce, romantiche, evocative, oniriche. In compenso questo libro ha di buono l'aver segnato indelebilmente sia C. I learned that he that will be a hero, will barely be a man; that he that will be nothing but a doer of his work, is sure of his manhood.

In nothing was my ideal lowered, or dimmed, or grown less precious; I only saw it too plainly, to set myself for a moment beside it. Indeed, my ideal soon became my life; whereas, formerly, my life had consisted in a vain attempt to behold, if not my ideal in myself, at least myself in my ideal. Jul 30, Larissa rated it it was amazing Shelves: Like many of the other reviewers, I am certain that a second reading would reveal much more of this story to me.

Many times throughtout the reading I wished I could just jump into MacDonalds mind and find the key to much that I am sure is allegorical! This book is so beautiful it almost hurts. I loved and was confused by it. I know now why C. Lewis thought him a master; if Lewis loooked up to him you know that most of the rest of us would see him as brilliant! The story begins with this young Like many of the other reviewers, I am certain that a second reading would reveal much more of this story to me.

The story begins with this young man's 21st birthday and continues through a meeting with humans and others who inhabit the world of faerie land into which he awakens. He travels through forest and caves, sea and river eventually making a great sacrifice for the purpose of revealing truth to a beloved friend who had been decieved. The man eventually awakens from his visit and is reminded to use all he learned in faerie land to help him live his life in reality. Not a difficult book to read, but definetly a book that bears much more study and thought than most!

Nov 03, Jeslyn rated it it was amazing. Lyrical, mesmerizing "faerie romance for men and women", thus far this story focuses on Anodos and his epic journey through the dreamlike Fairy Land - but if the reader is looking for tiny winged creatures, he will find them only briefly; Fairy Land is populated with numerous inhabitants who are in fact human, and others appear so but with supernatural qualities.

Though society and rampant marketing have oversold the idea of a benign parallel world of beauty and frolicking sprites, make no mis Lyrical, mesmerizing "faerie romance for men and women", thus far this story focuses on Anodos and his epic journey through the dreamlike Fairy Land - but if the reader is looking for tiny winged creatures, he will find them only briefly; Fairy Land is populated with numerous inhabitants who are in fact human, and others appear so but with supernatural qualities.

Though society and rampant marketing have oversold the idea of a benign parallel world of beauty and frolicking sprites, make no mistake - the world McDonald has created is far more than pan flutes, babbling brooks and laughter, and much of the main character's adventure involves the grotesque and disturbing; Anodos definitely has his work cut out for him here.

A wonderful, wonderful, story, with some of the most beautiful imagery I've read, and a glorious finish. Regarding the back-cover reference to a "faerie romance" - this is without question a love story, but not in the blushing, eyelid-fluttering sense of the word. Boys and men would do well to read this book, and will have plenty to rivet their attention. Jan 21, Megan Fritts rated it it was amazing Shelves: Absolutely the most incredible book I've ever read.

I'm pretty sure it will stay my favorite forever. That is what this book was, to me. I know that you're not supposed to "over-sell" books, because then everyone's expectations will be high, or whatever. This book changed how I view the world. Lewis was spot-on in his opinion of MacDonald, Absolutely the most incredible book I've ever read. Lewis was spot-on in his opinion of MacDonald, and especially of this book. By the time the book ended, I was transfixed in a sort of solemn reverence for life. Just read the book, ok? A friend and I decided to have "family story time" each evening as a new bedtime routine to help us fall asleep more calmly in the midst of interpersonal and academic stress.

We chose this classic tale, picked up by C. Lewis at a train station he later said that it influenced his writing greatly.. We have at least a dozen notecards with quotes from the book scattered about the A friend and I decided to have "family story time" each evening as a new bedtime routine to help us fall asleep more calmly in the midst of interpersonal and academic stress.

We have at least a dozen notecards with quotes from the book scattered about the room now. Pero como dije, dejemos eso aparte. Porque Fantastes es una especie de 'Los Himnos a la Noche' redux en forma de cuento de hadas. Y me encanta encontrame con libros que no esperaba. No voy a decir mentiras: Si al final tengo que ponerle un adjetivo a esta novela, es: Aug 09, Michaela rated it it was amazing.

In other words, it was fun while it lasted, but not worth a second read or even a second thought. And we sit there a few minutes trying to piece it all together. Phantastes by George MacDonald is the latter kind. In my opinion, Anodos is an extremely lucky person. He follows it into a strange land where many very odd things happen in seemingly no particular order, with even stranger people, some of whom are on their own journeys.

I particularly love Sir Percival in his armor that will only shine again when the blows of enemy swords have chipped all the rust from it; and the strange house with the three doors - the door of grief, the door of sighs, and the door of dismay, from which the only door leading away is that of the vault of a tomb. What we call evil, is the only and best shape, which for the person and his condition at the time, could be assumed by the best good. The book relates the story of Anodos, a young wealthy man who, on his 21st birthday receives the keys to a mysterious secretary which belonged to his father.

He opens it and so begins his journey into adulthood. It is really the story of his coming of age through challenges he has to overcome, of joy and love and sadness and despair, for he must go through all of that. His journey takes him to a fantastic land — he meets a birch-tree that is not really a tree, statues that are not really statues, giants and knights and kind old ladies.

Learn that sometimes we do harm and are forgiven by those whom we have hurt, that love can be of many ways, that beauty does not equal purity of soul, and friendship has wonderful rewards. Each adventure is meant to teach him something and he comes out of this experience changed, an adult. Imbued with wonderful bits of poetry and very vividly described scenes, it took me to another world where everything was possible and nothing was left to chance, to a land where beauty goes hand in hand with ugliness and where weeping is the companion of laughter.

In other words, life. Jul 24, matthew rated it it was ok. This is an interesting book. Lewis further said that Phantastes "baptized [his: Those are strong words and citations from an author that I love reading.