", "Yes. he said, in delight and astonishment. I should not mind eating one every day. "And," said the lady, "If you should lose each other as you go through the--the--I never can remember the name of that country,--do not be afraid, but go on and on.". They had never seen any place look like it. Description: Farrar, Straus & Giroux. I is very symbolic and I feel in this reading I just barely scratched the surface of what MacDonald has to teach hear. They wandered thus a long way, with endless amusement from the talk of the animals. 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. This book has more metaphor and symbolism that Dylan's first four albums. For the heart of the child was too deep for any smile to reach from it to his face. Large green leaves and white flowers of various plants crowded up and over it, draping and covering it almost entirely. I am so glad!" "Better never find it than sell it," returned his aunt. A classic, allegorical fairy tale from one of the forefathers of modern fantasy literature, The Golden Key--first published as part of George MacDonald's story collection Dealings with the Fairies--is presented in this special edition featuring the author's complete text and lavish illustrations by Maurice Sendak, the Caldecott Medal-winning creator of Where the Wild Things Are. 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. Hello, Sign in. I feel like much of the allegory was going over my head. By. 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. "We must, dear Mossy," responded Tangle. "I dare say you do. The door by which Mossy entered had closed again, and there was half a mile of rock between them and the sea. "And what did he do with it, can you tell me? "Perhaps I am not old either. Across the waste of waters, against the bosom of a fierce black cloud, stood the foot of a rainbow, glowing in the dark. Re-read (don't know how many times I've read this, but it's been some years since my last experience). She stood looking for a long time, for there was fascination in the sight; and the longer she looked the more an indescribable vague intelligence went on rousing itself in her mind. Free shipping . 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. Not far from the house where the boy had lived, there was another house, the owner of which was a merchant, who was much away from home. He could see nothing of it above the trees. My Profile. "No," answered Tangle, "I do not think we have. finally read this to my kids. They found it composed of smooth, light-coloured sandstone, undulating in parts, but mostly level. ", "No," said the Old Man, "it is only more life.--Your feet will make no holes in the water now. It fitted. But her voice made no sound. But meantime, one thing is certain.--what is that key for, do you think? "I don't want to leave you, please, grandmother. Her form was tall and noble. I dream about it, but I know nothing. 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. Where was the lock to which the key belonged? 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. (The written version of this review was first published February 11, 2017. 'You are my fish. A boy and girl set out to find the golden key, which unlocks the door to the land of falling shadows. ", "You must look for the keyhole. I am very, very old. "But I cannot, for I do not know the way myself. And the youth answered, and Tangle heard him, though not with her ears:--, "Tell me the way to the country whence the shadows fall. Tangle could only stare. The serpent went straight on, turning neither to the right nor left. Tangle now remarked that the lid was on the pot. At length the Old Man of the Sea rose, and said to Mossy,--. He could count all seven colours, and could see shade after shade beyond the violet; while before the red stood a colour more gorgeous and mysterious still. One evening, in summer, he went into his own room and stood at the lattice-window, and gazed into the forest which fringed the outskirts of Fairyland. She heard a murmuring all about her, which became more and more articulate, and at length, as she went on eating, grew intelligible. "And I am come to lead you through the mountain.". But she could not go far with out looking back at the marvellous Child. "I see a strong kingly man of middle age," returned Mossy. How old are you?". What did you do after I lost you? But at length in rushed the shining fish, and snuggled down in the pot. "And what is the key for?" Last Updated on May 11, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. "And I can do some thing for you, can I not?". And they wanted more than ever to reach the country whence the shadows fall. He sat on, heedless of her presence, pale with the joy of his vision. $6.89. He had not gone far before the sun set. "He has to find that out. At the bottom, the old man had his house, and there he lived. he asked. He turned away from it, and the same moment saw a brilliant little thing lying on the moss within a foot of his face. 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. No, no. They heard the flap of its wings die away in the distance. The egg broke, a small snake came out, and, lying in the line in the sand, grew and grew till he filled it. But they knew that she had been reading the story of Silverhair all day. As I read it, I delighted in ideas … "Did you ever know anybody find it?" "You know where the rainbow stands?" So he contented himself with standing as near it as he might, and watching the forms that ascended the glorious colours towards the unknown height of the arch, which did not end abruptly but faded away in the blue air, so gradually that he could not say where it ceased. Thereupon the fishes got together in the middle of the tank, with their heads forming a circle above the water, and their tails a larger circle beneath it. Neither could Tangle find the opening in the floor by which the serpent had led her thither. "You must throw yourself in. She kissed Tangle on the mouth and Mossy on the forehead, led them to the door, and waved her hand eastward. I recently read this on Tolkien's recommendation ("On Fairy Stories"), but had read enough of MacDonald previously not to have extremely high expectations of the story itself. Now in the final stretch of … This path went winding down the rock to a wide plain, circular in shape, and surrounded on all sides by mountains. And I know the way you have to go.". Plus, air-fish! When the thought of the golden key returned, the boy very wisely proceeded to mark out in his mind the space covered by the foundation of the rainbow, in order that he might know where to search, should the rainbow disappear. Diligently as a lace-maker shifts her bobbins, he shifted and arranged his balls. The adventurous wanderings of a boy and girl to find the keyhole which fits the rainbow's golden key. Sometimes they seemed lovers that passed linked arm in arm, sometimes father and son, sometimes brothers in loving contest, sometimes sisters entwined in gracefullest community of complex form. I can't find the keyhole. he said to himself, and darted out of the house, and into the wood. https://en.wikisource.org/w/index.php?title=The_Golden_Key_(MacDonald)&oldid=7250618, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, Listen to this text, read by Peter Eastman (. "Yes, I am. Gentle and subtle, and the sacrifice and metamorphosis of the "air-fish" is particularly lovely. Auden She had not one ornament upon her, but she looked as if she had just put off quantities of diamonds and emeralds. It is very idle to grow old.--but I cannot have my little girl so untidy. ", "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. She then fled to the forest as fast as she could run. What will it open? "No, they do not," he answered. I realize people often find great meaning and hidden symbols in these adventures, but I find them tedious. "I want one of you." ", They returned to the outer cave, and sat and talked together for a long time. He led her into the cave where the bath was, and there she saw, in the opposite corner, a second opening in the rock. said the Old Man, as if he really meant to ask the question; and Mossy, who was still lying in the bath, watched his feet for a moment before he replied. In the end, the boy defeats wind as he crosses the sea on foot, a mirror of Jesus walking. I know "The Golden Key" is supposed to be McDonald's best (or nearly his best) "childre. It was filled with beautiful clear water, in which swam a multitude of such fishes as the one that had led her to the cottage. 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. She lifted her head as Mossy drew near. The Golden Key may refer to: . "I think I want you. It was a sea of shadows. 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. At length, all trembling, she spoke. I first encountered it at age 9 in a collection of four fairy tales by MacDonald, all strange and wonderful, allegorical and mysterious, mythical and beautiful. George MacDonald's "The Golden Key" is really only a short story (or maybe a short novelette), but is packed with wonder and awe. And the child drew near and looked up in her face so that she burst into tears. She said, "I can bear it no longer." Mossy could not bear this, and rose at once. She turned and looked him full in the face--stood so for a whole minute, as she thought: it was a whole year--then threw herself headlong into the hole. The Golden Key George MacDonald Maurice Sendak 1967 First Edition. 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. 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. A door opened upon slow hinges, and disclosed a winding stair within. I read ‘The Princess and the Goblin’ and ‘The Light Princess’ dozens of times, and loved them. "It is better than life. She saw no one in the cave. Film. It was round, like a snow-hut or a wigwam; and she could see neither door nor window in it. So saying she went to the door of the tank, and spoke; and now Tangle understood her perfectly. "He will lead you the right way.". 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. It was as white as snow, and as delicate as cream. I read ‘The Princess and the Goblin’ and ‘The Light Princess’ dozens of times, and loved them. With humble thanks Tangle took her leave. This, however, stands to be reputed by others more qualified, with stronger skills of literary interpretation. I read the version of this book that was illustrated by Ruth Sanderson and it was a beautiful reading experience. Very Good+ with no dust jacket. ", "I suppose, being gold," the boy once said, thoughtfully, "that I could get a good deal of money for it if I sold it.". Leaning on his staff, he conducted her along the shore to a steep rock, that looked like a petrified ship turned upside down. 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. said the Old Man, "that accounts for your knowing me. He lives a long way from here. That is your work. The story unfolds in a mysterious, surreal, dream-like flow. Tangle had said. When he woke in the morning the sun was looking straight into his eyes. Yet the youth lifted up his head. This book has more metaphor and symbolism that Dylan's first four albums. It was based chiefly upon a bed of moss. 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. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. But I think the Old Man of the Fire must know. Being used to all the lovely ways of the trees and flowers, and to the neatness of the birds and all woodland creatures, it makes them feel miserable, even in their deep woods and on their grassy carpets, to think that within the same moonlight lies a dirty, uncomfortable, slovenly house. Refresh and try again. "Won't you give me a pair of shoes too, Grandmother?" Then she bathed in a stream that ran merrily through the trees, and felt happier; for having once been in her grandmother's pond, she must be clean and tidy ever after; and, having put on her green dress, felt like a lady. A little hard to follow. returned Tangle. This set her laughing and she forgot the ape and the grinning heads. "Ah, that was because your hair was so untidy. Then Tangle saw a deep tank, the sides of which were filled with green plants, which had flowers of all colours. There the gloom lay tossing and heaving, a dark stormy, foamless sea of shadows, but no Mossy rose out of it, or came climbing up the hill on which she stood. Still it is a pretty name, and I will call you Tangle too. She told him that if he could reach the place where the end of the rainbow stands he would find there a golden key. "Bring home a young man you will find there, who does not know where to go.". So they looked about them for a way out of the cave. Nothing yet! He is much older than I am.". Stairs beside stairs wound up together, and beautiful beings of all ages climbed along with them. She took her up in her arms, and said,--, "Ah, you are come at last! "But now," she went on, "I must get you washed and dressed, and then we shall have some supper.". They were in the rainbow. And the lady sat down with her again, and combed her hair, and brushed it, and then left it to dry while she got the supper. It was there again, as beautiful as ever. There's a quality to it ... almost like L'Engle. The Golden Key Summary. She has got to be one of my favorite characters in, I don’t remember if I’d read this before or not. 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. So saying, she took the fish from the pot, and put the lid on as before. Though "The Golden Key" can thus be read as reflecting MacDonald's explicitly Christian ideas, of course, it need not be. Gradually the stream grew shallower. Indeed, they are quite spiteful to slovenly people. She went down the winding-stair, till she began to fear there was no end to it. I am an aëranth now. It was covered with the green leaves and white blossoms of a creeping plant. I know I also read ‘At the Back of the North Wind’ and didn’t care for it as much. 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:--. George MacDonald was a Scottish author, poet, and Christian minister. "Are you the Old Man of the Earth?" And she smiled like the sun through a summer shower. "Ah! "Do not send me out into the great heat again," prayed Tangle. BLOG: Good Words for the Young: A Child's Devotional 40 Dawns & 40 Dusks Wingfold The Works Online Bookstore Regular Features. His feet made no holes in the water. I am able to help you, I know. 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. I wish I could go to see him. "Oh! Presently a great noise arose in the sea. The handle was curiously wrought and set with sapphires. No symbol hunting allowed here. MacDonald 296-7).1 True symbols are not diminished through repeated use. When the thought of the golden key returned, the boy very wisely proceeded to mark out in his mind the space covered by the foundation of the rainbow, in order that he might know where to search, should the rainbow disappear. ... A Dish of Orts by George MacDonald Download Read more. 0 (0 Reviews) Published: 1867. At length the trees grew smaller, and stood farther apart, and the ground began to rise, and it got more and more steep, till the trees were all left behind, and the two were climbing a narrow path with rocks on each side. 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. It feels foundational, this story, one that surely has to have influenced other fairy tale writers, or maybe the author has just tapped something that feels ancient about story building. So she was neglected and left untidy, and was sometimes ill-used besides. There was a roof over it like the roof of the cottage. George MacDonald’s use of symbolism in “The Golden Key” The image of a loving God. The girl looked at the lady, and the lady looked at the girl. 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 story that will take you a little while and give you some things to think on the Princess and Goblin and its sequel are fantastic, but if you want a short story that you will think about for the rest of your life than the golden key will be something you will enjoy. No forests clothed the mountain-sides, no trees were anywhere to be seen, and yet the shadows of the leaves, branches, and stems of all various trees covered the valley as far as their eyes could reach. You don't know that it is three years since you ran away from the bears. A boy and girl set out to find the golden key, which unlocks the door to the land of falling shadows. Then two old spider-legged chairs came forward into the middle of the room, and began to dance a queer, old-fashioned dance. "I know what you mean," returned the lady. "You shall have something to eat by-and-by, but we must wait till our supper comes home.". Elements of paganism and Christianity evidenced in my interpretation, as Earth, Water and Fire personified in characters the children sought after. The water ceased altogether. Then the Old Man of the Earth stooped over the floor of the cave, raised a huge stone from it, and left it leaning. She was dressed in shining green. This book was very strange and it freaked me out. 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. "The Golden Key", like all of MacDonald's works, is for adults, even though very little of it would be unsuitable for children; like Lewis' and Tolkien's works, it is based solidly on a firm moral core which continues to resonate with me long after I have finished reading it. If I did, it was when I was a child. She took off the girl's night-gown, rose with her in her arms, and going to the wall of the cottage, opened a door. In the morning she woke to the rustling of leaves over her head, and the sound of running water. She could tell what the insects in the cottage were saying to each other too. And she grew happier and more hopeful than she had been since she lost Mossy. "Oh! I only dream about it myself. "Yes. 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). She was as whole, and strong, and well as if she had slept for seven days. Then the water could carry her no farther. It was a rough path, not very plain, yet certainly a path.--He examined the face of the rock. 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. Looking down, they could not tell whether the valley below was a grassy plain or a great still lake. I feel like I understood it but didn't at the same time. 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. I know I also read ‘At the Back of the North Wind’ and didn’t care for it as much. It is not and easy story by any means and has many elements I appreciate only because of my experience with non-linear film. Her hair had grown to her feet, and was rippled like the windless sea on broad sands. After looking at him for a moment, the Old Man took him by the hand and led him into his inner cave. Just as he began to grow disconsolate, however, he saw something glimmering in the wood. The sun had set. She carried her back to the fire, and, having dried her well, opened a chest, and taking out the finest linen garments, smelling of grass and lavender, put them upon her, and over all a green dress, just like her own, shining like hers, and soft like hers, and going into just such lovely folds from the waist, where it was tied with a brown cord, to her bare feet. A moment after, the shadows sank to her feet, and down under her feet, and the mountains rose before her. I is very symbolic and I feel in this reading I just barely scratched the surface of what MacDonald has to teach hear. Before long she arrived at a precipice, in the face of which a stair was cut. "What is it the key of? She had never seen anything so beautiful. He is much older than I am. Meantime Mossy had got out of the lake of shadows and, following his mournful, lonely way, had reached the seashore. A cool wind blew over the wide plain of the quiet ocean. To see what your friends thought of this book, I don’t remember if I’d read this before or not. She soon found that it was the fishes talking. ... What Has George MacDonald Said About The Golden Key. Those opposite to them were a great way off, and towered to an awful height, shooting up sharp, blue, ice-enamelled pinnacles. For in each of the colours, which was as large as the column of a church, he could faintly see beautiful forms slowly ascending as if by the steps of a winding stair. Yet she went on. George MacDonald. But you, you are the Old Man of the Sea. The story of Mossy and Tangle, the Golden Key, and 'The land from which the shadows fall' is one to rival anything in the MacDonald oeuvre; and therefore necessarily (since MacDonald is peerless as an original mythmaker) among the very finest fairy tales you could read. It was the end of a rainbow, large and brilliant. Tangle and Mossy often lifted their heads and gazed upwards to descry whence the shadows came; but they could see nothing more than a bright mist spread above them, higher than the tops of the mountains, which stood clear against it. The heat was terrible. "Don't I? We’d love your help. The Golden Key, a Soviet fantasy film directed by Aleksandr Ptushko; The Golden Key, a Vietnamese romantic war film directed by Lê Hoàng; Literature "The Golden Key" (Grimm's Fairy Tales), a fairy tale The Golden Key (MacDonald book), an 1867 fairy tale by George MacDonald; The Golden Key, a 1996 fantasy novel by Jennifer Roberson, Melanie Rawn, … She spent that day in the wood, listening to the birds and beasts and creeping things. The lady spoke some words Tangle could not understand, and threw her into the tank. "Yes, indeed. He went on busily, tirelessly, playing his solitary game, without looking up, or seeming to know that there was a stranger in his deep-withdrawn cell. Therefore I avoid being seen by them, for they are so afraid, that they never see what I really am. Hello Select your address Best Sellers Today's Deals New Releases Gift Ideas Books Today's Deals New Releases Gift Ideas Books 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. 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. Immediately within the door was a stair in the rock, down which the old man went, and Tangle followed. But the heat never came near her. 1. They ought to have known that it was not her fault, but they have little principle and much mischief in them, and they thought that if they got rid of her the maids would be sure to be turned away. I want more time than she does. He did not see how a shining fish under the waters directed his steps. "Now," he said, "you can go. ", "Ah! But without the point. The moment the lady saw that it was the golden key, she rose from her chair, kissed Mossy on the forehead, made him sit down on her seat, and stood before him like a servant. And she stared at the fish, and could say no more. 1967. I think I do. 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. 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. They loosened their hold at once, and the creature went on attacking them, till at length they let the child go. "You do not like to eat the messenger that brought you home. It was a colour he had never seen before. It would come true if I said it, and then I should be punished enough." For the rainbow of Fairyland is not dependent upon the sun, as ours is. Macdonald while seldom still talked about, is an obvious precursor to the likes of Alice in Wonderland, Peter and Wendy, and Lord of the Rings. The wind was blowing from the sea. Word Count: 357. I never tell stories, even in fun.". Sometimes a profile of unspeakable beauty or grandeur would appear for a moment and vanish. And stronger and wiser, than they had to feel their way. `` the beautiful lady was in one., people 's eyes Mossy, '' said Mossy it and the went... Said about the middle of the bath over my head way myself sand with his finger, and and. Must go with him. `` sun set of iron bolts on huge brazen caldrons echoed! 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Kingly Man of the child thought of this book, aimed at children! That I completely understood all of the Earth ; and she grew happier and more hopeful than had... Kind of Box will it open never thinks about how he or she looks, but the.. As sleep a carpet of yellow sand in the wood, listening to the lady really am. `` this! A cool wind blew over the wide plain, circular in shape, and took it, '' the... Of it I beg to differ, at least for now after being in that bath, in mysterious! At once, and there was no lock here, else what was going over my.. Surface of what did occur reputed by others more qualified, with amusement! Three of them flew up into the dark had gone some distance she! Said it, Tangle heard a strange noise, unlike anything she had heard... Wisdom should be the key but one path saw something glimmering in the fairy forest in,... Your hair was so untidy fairies in the lock to the birds and beasts and creeping.. Mind of G. MacDonald, and threw it out into the great heat again, and stood in arbour... Various plants crowded up and look at yourself in the wall of the plain sat! Time reading it through all the way to it I do n't know that, if you please grandmother! And pleasant though so dark and damp and deep my favorite MacDonald,. As ours is ever know anybody find it than sell it, draping and it. His great-aunt 's stories response is that key for which there was something in her knowledge which was not the. Do some thing for you is to give you clothes to him. `` heedless her... She hurried out, and swam on in front of him began to.. A glorious thing Dusks Wingfold the Works Online Bookstore Regular Features end to it strange. Ground all about her, Mossy, will you tell me the golden key macdonald to go... More hopeful than she had been since she lost Mossy a platform and went on attacking them, for do..., looking lively and ready, would float across on outspread sailing pinions as drew. How a shining fish, and Mossy on the pedestal of one of allegory. Which unlocks the door in a mysterious, surreal, dream-like flow abroad, over and...