George MacDonald’s use of symbolism in “The Golden Key” The image of a loving God. And with the repose there lay on his face a shimmer as of moonlight, which seemed as if any moment it might break into such a ravishing smile as would cause the beholder to weep himself to death. No. he asked, one evening. Out of that pot comes something more than the dead fish, you will see.". It fitted. The trunks stood like rows of red columns in the shine of the red sun, and he could see down aisle after aisle in the vanishing distance. W. H. Auden's afterword touches upon why this is such a good Christian literature. It is not and easy story by any means and has many elements I appreciate only because of my experience with non-linear film. I know "The Golden Key" is supposed to be McDonald's best (or nearly his best) "childre. "You will not be afraid of anything I do with you--will you?" I is very symbolic and I feel in this reading I just barely scratched the surface of what MacDonald has to teach hear. The rest of them rubbed themselves all over her, and with their wet feathers washed her quite clean. I realize people often find great meaning and hidden symbols in these adventures, but I find them tedious. "But," exclaimed Tangle. he asked. 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. She had even a suspicion that the trees and flowers all about the cottage were holding midnight communications with each other; but what they said she could not hear. He started back a step in dismay. "Will you tell me where to find the Old Man of the Sea?". It began to grow dark. Anon an exquisite shadow group of gambolling children would be followed by the loveliest female form, and that again by the grand stride of a Titanic shape, each disappearing in the surrounding press of shadowy foliage. This book was very strange and it freaked me out. But I will send some as soon as I can.". he said. It was still only a small portion of a huge bow. She heard a murmuring all about her, which became more and more articulate, and at length, as she went on eating, grew intelligible. Suddenly she remembered that the beautiful lady had told them, if they lost each other in a country of which she could not remember the name, they were not to be afraid, but to go straight on. The forest lay to the east, and the sun, which was setting behind the cottage, looked straight into the dark wood with his level red eye. Plus, air-fish! Sometimes wild horses would tear across, free, or bestrode by noble shadows of ruling men. But I work all day long--that is my pleasure; and you will have to leave me so soon!". "Ah!" This is my second time reading it through all the way. This book has more metaphor and symbolism that Dylan's first four albums. For it is perfectly well known that out of Fairyland nobody ever can find where the rainbow stands. Then the Old Man looked at him more intently, and said,--, "Your sight, young man, is better than that of most who take this way. And as he gazed into the forest he began to feel as if the trees were all waiting for him, and had something they could not go on with till he came to them. The wind was blowing from the sea. But what do you want?" "Better never find it than sell it," returned his aunt. "There is no one here but me," he answered, smiling. "No, they do not," he answered. A dreamlike, numinous fairytale. The trees were all old, and had few branches below, so that the sun could see a great way into the forest and the boy, being keen-sighted, could see almost as far as the sun. she cried aloud in terror. A little stream spouted from a rent in the rock and fell into a basin of moss. Look here. And it was of the same new colour that he had seen in the rainbow when he saw it first in the fairy forest. My Profile. No girl need be afraid to go with a youth that has the golden key. But they knew that she had been reading the story of Silverhair all day. "What have you got in that hand?" I know I'm in the minority, but I really don't enjoy George MacDonald's fairy tales, except of course, The Princess and the Goblin and The Light Princess. My wife loves this book...I beg to differ, at least for now. 0 (0 Reviews) Published: 1867. that I do not know. He tried the key. But she could not go far with out looking back at the marvellous Child. They loosened their hold at once, and the creature went on attacking them, till at length they let the child go. She has got to be one of my favorite characters in, I don’t remember if I’d read this before or not. answered Tangle, rising. A boy finds a golden key at the base of a rainbow in Fairyland; a girl flees home to join him on a journey in search of the key's lock. It disclosed a great hole that went plumb-down. The Golden Key: George MacDonald (9780802818591): Free Delivery when you spend £10 at The Golden Key by George MacDonald 2,420 ratings, 4.06 average rating, 246 reviews The Golden Key Quotes Showing 1-3 of 3 “Then the Old Man of the Earth stooped over the floor of the cave, raised a huge stone from it, and left it leaning. He had not gone far before the sun set. I go there myself sometimes. She took her up in her arms, and said,--, "Ah, you are come at last! I only dream about it myself. They stood on the level of the raging sea, looking towards the east. Only those who like to understand the mind of G. MacDonald, and those who like poetic imagery. You need not go with him except you please, but you must go some day; and I should like you to go with him, for he has the golden key. But he was hungry and wanted his supper. It was a sea of shadows. So saying she lifted her dress a little, and there were the loveliest white feet, but no shoes. If you are looking for an easy story to just hop through then the Light Princess is a better choice from MacDonald's work, or if you're looking for a good solid sto., Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, Listen to this text, read by Peter Eastman (. By the time she had finished her share, the sounds of all the animals in the forest came crowding through the door to her ears; for the door still stood wide open, though it was pitch-dark outside; and they were no longer sounds only; they were speech, and speech that she could understand. "Are you the oldest man of all?" In the end, the boy defeats wind as he crosses the sea on foot, a mirror of Jesus walking. I understood what many of the allusions were in this story, but can someone tell me what the hell this book is all about? At least I always thought so. This set her laughing and she forgot the ape and the grinning heads. "This indeed is my way," said Mossy, as soon as he saw the rainbow, and stepped out upon the sea. "And they do speak such nonsense!--Tomorrow," he continued, "I must show you the way to the Old Man of the Earth. It led him into a hall fit for such an approach--irregular and rude in formation, but floor, sides, pillars, and vaulted roof, all one mass of shining stones of every colour that light can show. It was polished quite smooth inside, and had a carpet of yellow sand in the bottom of it. The lady spoke some words Tangle could not understand, and threw her into the tank. "Oh! --"But we must rest here for a little, and then we shall be able to cross the plain before night.". I think I do. The bushes made way for him. "But you are a great, splendid, beautiful lady," said Mossy. This, however, stands to be reputed by others more qualified, with stronger skills of literary interpretation. So good! ", "My poor darling!" "And what did he do with it, can you tell me? If I did, it was when I was a child. And still Mossy journeyed eastward. He next drew a long curved line in the sand with his finger, and laid the egg in it. So they looked about them for a way out of the cave. The Golden Key. "He will lead you the right way.". "I am the Old Man of the Sea," the figure answered. He gazed about him, up into the air, down to the earth, but saw no keyhole in the clouds, in the grass, or in the trees. I loved the air fish! It is not and easy story by any means and has many elements I appreciate only because of my experience with non-linear film. I have been looking for you a long time.". If you fall in with the Old Man of the Sea, mind you ask him whether he has not got some more fishes ready for me. Presently a great noise arose in the sea. (The written version of this review was first published February 11, 2017. ", "What kind of box will it open? Just finished it again and am starting to read it to the twins. At length one of them flew up into the lady's hand, looking lively and ready. Her head was under water, but that did not signify, for, when she thought about it, she could not remember that she had breathed once since her bath in the cave of the Old Man of the Sea. That is not possible. ", "They must wait their time, like you and me too, my little Tangle.". My only wish is that it would have been longer to spend more time watching characters develope. “Is it good?”, Great Children's Books Written Prior to the 1950s, 56 of the Most Anticipated Young Adult Books of 2021. But meantime, one thing is certain.--what is that key for, do you think? This is the first of McDonald's "children's" books that I've read and I found myself wincing at parts (I won't go into detail right now about which ones) that I thought were too stilted, underdeveloped or just weird. The fish was out of the door in a moment. Last Updated on July 29, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Don't you see how beautiful I am!". "Thousands of years old,' answered the lady. George MacDonald's "The Golden Key" is really only a short story (or maybe a short novelette), but is packed with wonder and awe. I’m not at all sure I would’ve loved this when I was little, but I loved it now. You will take care of her, Mossy, will you not?". When he woke in the morning the sun was looking straight into his eyes. It was quite dark about her, and yet she could see. She felt quite sure it was true. It led her gently along till all at once it swam in at a cottage door. Nor could any change of place restore the vision to the boy's eyes. "We must, dear Mossy," responded Tangle. “The Golden Key,” by George Macdonald, illustrations by Maurice Sendak Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, 1967 (reprint from 1867 edition), 86 pages, Grades 5 and above. Even the blinking moles would fetch them an earth-nut or a truffle now and then, talking as if their mouths, as well as their eyes and ears, were full of cotton wool, or their own velvety fur. "But now," she went on, "I must get you washed and dressed, and then we shall have some supper.". They sat down and ate the fish, and then the winged creature rose from the pot, circled the roof, and settled on the lady's lap. Mossy followed. The children age through life before the end. The floor and walls were covered with moss--green, soft, and damp. Far abroad, over ocean and land, they could see through its transparent walls the earth beneath their feet. In front was still the solid rock, with this one slab fallen forward out of it. Tangle went up. The story unfolds in a mysterious, surreal, dream-like flow. Here he stood and pondered.--It could not be that the way stopped here, else what was the path for? By. He had lost his wife some years before, and had only one child, a little girl, whom he left to the charge of two servants, who were very idle and careless. There was a boy who used to sit in the twilight and listen to his great-aunt's stories. "You know where the rainbow stands?" They journey through Fairyland in search of the lock worked by a mysterious golden key … "Ah! Perhaps he can tell you. Looking down, they could not tell whether the valley below was a grassy plain or a great still lake. I never saw him myself.". Tangle came up behind him, and peeping through the window into the heart of the great deep green ocean, saw the most curious creatures, some very ugly, all very odd, and with especially queer mouths, swimming about everywhere, above and below, but all coming towards the window in answer to the tap of the Old Man of the Sea. The old man opened the slide again, and tapped on the glass, whereupon the fishes were all as still as sleep. The child could not tell what was the colour of her hair, but could not help thinking it had a tinge of dark green. And Tangle cast a glance at him, and thought she should like to go with him. She took Tangle on her knee, and began to sing to her--such songs as made her wish she could listen to them for ever. I know "The Golden Key" is supposed to be McDonald's best (or nearly his best) "children's" book, but I just don't know. By the time they got out of the forest they were very fond of each other, and Tangle was not in the least sorry that her grandmother had sent her away with Mossy. As soon as the fish was eaten, the lady went to the fire and took the lid off the pot. And it was alright ... but mostly just really confusing. First Edition. Tangle at length, although filled with awe, ventured to ask. But I must mind my work. Read more. But I think the Old Man of the Fire must know. But the moment she stood upright she had a marvellous sense that she was in the secret of the earth and all its ways. First she got bread out of one hole in the wall; then milk out of another; then several kinds of fruit out a third; and then she went to the pot on the fire, and took out the fish, now nicely cooked, and, as soon as she had pulled off its feathered skin, ready to be eaten. But in Fairyland it is quite different. Tangle heard the flapping of its wings die away in the distance. At times would appear the forms of strange, graceful creatures, running up and down the shadow-boles and along the branches, to disappear in the wind-tossed foliage. I feel like much of the allegory was going over my head. "But," she continued, "I think we may have one for supper to-morrow. What did you do after I lost you? “You have tasted of death now,” said the old man. ", "Then grandmother says, have you any more fishes ready for her? He drew nearer to the rainbow. she sobbed. she said, returning. The squirrels were always friendly, and gave them nuts out of their own hoards; but the bees were selfish and rude, justifying themselves on the ground that Tangle and Mossy were not subjects of their queen, and charity must begin at home, though indeed they had not one drone in their poorhouse at the time. The rainbow alone was visible by its own light. I really wasn't sure what was going on, or what the point was of what did occur. Seven years had she sat there waiting. She said, "I can bear it no longer." I dream about it, but I know nothing. Refresh and try again. Yet here she was in the simplest, poorest little cottage, where she was evidently at home. "Yes, indeed. he said, in delight and astonishment. "Yes, mother, quite well," answered the fish. "Don't I? Start by marking “The Golden Key” as Want to Read: Error rating book. "I dare say you do. "And what is the key for?" It was no wonder to them now that they had not been able to tell what it was, for this surface was everywhere crowded with shadows. What will it open? that would be grand," returned Mossy. The Golden Key (George MacDonald). A beautiful woman rose from the opposite side of the fire and came to meet the girl. 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). It has great depths to it, and is surely worthy of many rereadings, and much time to think about. "Yes. He could now see a great deal more of it. No, no. She stood and watched him. At length they reached a place where they rose above their heads, and made all dark around them. Tangle followed the serpent. He is the oldest man of all. A door opened upon slow hinges, and disclosed a winding stair within. Two or three of them got under her head and kept it up. Have you got the key still?". He was playing with balls of various colours and sizes, which he disposed in strange figures upon the floor beside him. It was a dark, stormy evening. Pete the Cat Childrens Books Box Set I Can Read Phonics Learn to Read Lot 12. They want the whole earth nice and clean. The adventurous wanderings of a boy and girl to find the keyhole which fits the rainbow's golden key. "I wish I could see that country too," he said. "But I must mind my work.". From behind she could see his white beard spread out on the rocky floor in front of him. George MacDonald: An Illustrated Anthology BLOG: New Scots-English Edition of Robert Falconer! Not even the sound of water reached them. Then the lady, who had been looking on all the time, spoke again; whereupon some thirty or forty of the fishes rose out of the water underneath Tangle, and so bore her up to the arms the lady held out to take her. shipping: + $20.31 shipping . I had supper long ago," said Tangle. You are thirteen and more now.". December 1st 1984 "You must throw yourself in. I know I also read ‘At the Back of the North Wind’ and didn’t care for it as much. 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. Tangle, too, lay admiring, and wondering, and longing after the country whence the shadows came. Her form was tall and noble. "You do not like to eat the messenger that brought you home. Re-read (don't know how many times I've read this, but it's been some years since my last experience). Account & Lists Account Returns & Orders. There she lay, half asleep with weariness and rest, listening to the low plash and retreat of the tiny waves, which seemed ever enticing the land to leave off being land, and become sea. She has got to be one of my favorite characters in fiction, and even a brief appearance is wonderful. The Golden Key. After earning her BA from Brock University, where she rebuilt her Golden Key chapter, she landed an impressive job as Executive Director of Welland Downtown, a business development organization. What is there inside? "He has to find that out. To see what your friends thought of this book, I don’t remember if I’d read this before or not. At length the light began to return, and at last they came out upon a narrow path on the face of a lofty precipice. "Why should I leave you? 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. Description: Farrar, Straus & Giroux. Very fascinating. Read more. Enticing story of an allegorical journey of refinement. 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. A deep water rolled between it and the shore, upon which a majestic figure was walking alone. I feel like I understood it but didn't at the same time. It was based chiefly upon a bed of moss. 'You are my fish. The waves had surrounded the rock within which lay the Old Man's house. Tangle now remarked that the lid was on the pot. ", "Yes. In the centre stood seven columns, ranged from red to violet. "Here I am," answered the child, rising and leaving his balls on the moss. There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Tangle had said. "I couldn't if I tried. How long they were in crossing this plain I cannot tell; but before night Mossy's hair was streaked with grey, and Tangle had got wrinkles on her forehead. Through this archway Tangle fell exhausted into a cool mossy cave. Where should he go to look for it? There's a quality to it ... almost like L'Engle. I read the version of this book that was illustrated by Ruth Sanderson and it was a beautiful reading experience. Tangle could only stare. But at length in rushed the shining fish, and snuggled down in the pot. It disclosed a great hole that went plumb-down. As soon as she entered it, Tangle heard a strange noise, unlike anything she had ever heard before. They searched till it grew so dark that they could see nothing, and gave it up. Then she lifted her head and looked around. She talked to it, carried it to the door, and threw it out into the dark. And her great blue eyes looked down on the little Tangle, as if all the stars in the sky were melted in them to make their brightness. And now Tangle felt that there was something in her knowledge which was not in her understanding. ", "In Fairyland," resumed the lady, as they sat down to the table, "the ambition of the animals is to be eaten by the people; for that is their highest end in that condition. But this house was quite a shame, and the fairies in the forest could not endure it. Then Tangle was content to go without shoes too. He is much older than I am. "We must find the country from which the shadows come," said Mossy. He drew out the key. Mossy opened his hand, and there lay the golden key. It turned. fairytale... you think you understand the allegory, but sometimes feel uncertain if things are put in for meaning or for the thrill of the fantastical. But as his eyes kept roving hopelessly over it, something glittered, and he caught sight of a row of small sapphires. The Golden Key may refer to: . a beautiful, wondrous tale that will be just as potent until the end of time. And they wanted more than ever to reach the country whence the shadows fall. Mossy held out his hand. It was a grand sight, burning away there in silence, with its gorgeous, its lovely, its delicate colours, each distinct, all combining. "And I can do some thing for you, can I not?". The children just kind of go through the story ... and there are no hardships ... just strange talking fish. So he lingered. Are not you the Old Man of the Sea? It ended and I thought..."is that really it? But the heat never came near her. ", "Perhaps it comes tumbling down the rainbow from the sky.". she returned. He led her into the cave where the bath was, and there she saw, in the opposite corner, a second opening in the rock. "Bring home a young man you will find there, who does not know where to go.". You will be a happy boy if you find the nest. Word Count: 368. The golden key by Macdonald, George, 1824-1905. The Old Man looked through the whole flock carefully for some minutes, and then turning to Tangle, said,--, "I am sorry I have not got one ready yet. She went down the winding-stair, till she began to fear there was no end to it. ", "Perhaps," suggested Tangle, feeling ashamed, but not too much so to say a word for herself,--"perhaps that is because the tree made me cry so. Her hair had grown to her feet, and was rippled like the windless sea on broad sands. There was such an awfulness of absolute repose on the face of the child that Tangle stood dumb before him. asked Mossy. Read this wishing I was reading it aloud to children. It was there again, as beautiful as ever. Elements of paganism and Christianity evidenced in my interpretation, as Earth, Water and Fire personified in characters the children sought after. 4th Generation Warfare Handbook (William S. Lind). For the shadows were not merely lying on the surface of the ground, but heaped up above it like substantial forms of darkness, as if they had been cast upon a thousand different planes of the air. There is no other way.". Will you tell me what to do? And the moment his white wings moved, they began to throw off a continuous shower of sparks of all colours, which lighted up the passage before them. And she grew happier and more hopeful than she had been since she lost Mossy. Yet Mossy knew her at once. 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.
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