Spiritual Library

Saturday, November 19, 2016

The Light Princess by George MacDonald- Chapter 4

4. Where Is She?
One fine summer day, a month after these her first adventures, during which time she had been very carefully watched, the princess was lying on the bed in the queen's own chamber, fast asleep. One of the windows was open, for it was noon, and the day was so sultry that the little girl was wrapped in nothing less ethereal than slumber itself. The queen came into the room, and not observing that the baby was on the bed, opened another window. A frolicsome fairy wind, which had been watching for a chance of mischief, rushed in at the one window, and taking its way over the bed where the child was lying, caught her up, and rolling and floating her along like a piece of flue, or a dandelion seed, carried her with it through the opposite window, and away. The queen went down-stairs, quite ignorant of the loss she had herself occasioned.

When the nurse returned, she supposed that her Majesty had carried her off, and, dreading a scolding, delayed making inquiry about her. But hearing nothing, she grew uneasy, and went at length to the queen's boudoir, where she found her Majesty.

"Please, your Majesty, shall I take the baby?" said she.

"Where is she?" asked the queen.

"Please forgive me. I know it was wrong."

"What do you mean?" said the queen, looking grave.

"Oh! Don’t frighten me, your Majesty!" exclaimed the nurse, clasping her hands.

The queen saw that something was amiss, and fell down in a faint. The nurse rushed about the palace, screaming, "My baby! My baby!"

Every one ran to the queen's room. But the queen could give no orders. They soon found out, however, that the princess was missing, and in a moment the palace was like a beehive in a garden; and in one minute more the queen was brought to herself by a great shout and a clapping of hands. They had found the princess fast asleep under a rose-bush, to which the elvish little wind-puff had carried her, finishing its mischief by shaking a shower of red rose-leaves all over the little white sleeper. Startled by the noise the servants made, she woke, and, furious with glee, scattered the rose-leaves in all directions, like a shower of spray in the sunset.

She was watched more carefully after this, no doubt; yet it would be endless to relate all the odd incidents resulting from this peculiarity of the young princess. But there never was a baby in a house, not to say a palace, that kept the household in such constant good humour, at least below-stairs. If it was not easy for her nurses to hold her, at least she made neither their arms nor their hearts ache. And she was so nice to play at ball with! There was positively no danger of letting her fall. They might throw her down, or knock her down, or push her down, but couldn't let her down. It is true, they might let her fly into the fire or the coal-hole, or through the window; but none of these accidents had happened as yet. If you heard peals of laughter resounding from some unknown region, you might be sure enough of the cause. Going down into the kitchen, or the room, you would find Jane and Thomas, and Robert and Susan, all and sum, playing at ball with the little princess. She was the ball herself, and did not enjoy it the less for that. Away she went, flying from one to another, screeching with laughter. And the servants loved the ball itself better even than the game. But they had to take some care how they threw her, for if she received an upward direction, she would never come down again without being fetched.

Friday, November 18, 2016

The Light Princess by George MacDonald- Chapter 3

Chapter 3. She Can't Be Ours.

Her atrocious aunt had deprived the child of all her gravity. If you ask me how this was effected, I answer, "In the easiest way in the world. She had only to destroy gravitation." For the princess was a philosopher, and knew all the ins and outs of the laws of gravitation as well as the ins and outs of her boot-lace. And being a witch as well, she could abrogate those laws in a moment; or at least so clog their wheels and rust their bearings, that they would not work at all. But we have more to do with what followed than with how it was done.

The first awkwardness that resulted from this unhappy privation was, that the moment the nurse began to float the baby up and down, she flew from her arms towards the ceiling. Happily, the resistance of the air brought her ascending career to a close within a foot of it. There she remained, horizontal as when she left her nurse's arms, kicking and laughing amazingly. The nurse in terror flew to the bell, and begged the footman, who answered it, to bring up the house-steps directly. Trembling in every limb, she climbed upon the steps, and had to stand upon the very top, and reach up, before she could catch the floating tail of the baby's long clothes.

When the strange fact came to be known, there was a terrible commotion in the palace. The occasion of its discovery by the king was naturally a repetition of the nurse's experience. Astonished that he felt no weight when the child was laid in his arms, he began to wave her up and not down, for she slowly ascended to the ceiling as before, and there remained floating in perfect comfort and satisfaction, as was testified by her peals of tiny laughter. The king stood staring up in speechless amazement, and trembled so that his beard shook like grass in the wind. At last, turning to the queen, who was just as horror-struck as himself, he said, gasping, staring, and stammering,

"She can't be ours, queen!"

Now the queen was much cleverer than the king, and had begun already to suspect that "this effect defective came by cause."

"I am sure she is ours," answered she. "But we ought to have taken better care of her at the christening. People who were never invited ought not to have been present."

"Oh, ho!" said the king, tapping his forehead with his forefinger, "I have it all. I've found her out. Don't you see it, queen? Princess Makemnoit has bewitched her." "That's just what I say," answered the queen.

"I beg your pardon, my love; I did not hear you.John! Bring the steps I get on my throne with."

For he was a little king with a great throne, like many other kings.

The throne-steps were brought, and set upon the dining-table, and John got upon the top of them. But he could not reach the little princess, who lay like a baby-laughter-cloud in the air, exploding continuously. "Take the tongs, John," said his Majesty; and getting up on the table, he handed them to him.

John could reach the baby now, and the little princess was handed down by the tongs.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

The Light Princess by George MacDonald- Chapter 2

Chapter 2. Won't I, Just?
The king tried to have patience, but he succeeded very badly. It was more than he deserved, therefore, when, at last, the queen gave him a daughteras lovely a little princess as ever cried.

The day drew near when the infant must be christened. The king wrote all the invitations with his own hand. Of course somebody was forgotten. Now it does not generally matter if somebody is forgotten, only you must mind who. Unfortunately, the king forgot without intending to forget; and so the chance fell upon the Princess Makemnoit, which was awkward. For the princess was the king's own sister; and he ought not to have forgotten her. But she had made herself so disagreeable to the old king, their father, that he had forgotten her in making his will; and so it was no wonder that her brother forgot her in writing his invitations. But poor relations don't do anything to keep you in mind of them. Why don't they? The king could not see into the garret she lived in, could he?

She was a sour, spiteful creature. The wrinkles of contempt crossed the wrinkles of peevishness, and made her face as full of wrinkles as a pat of butter. If ever a king could be justified in forgetting anybody, this king was justified in forgetting his sister, even at a christening. She looked very odd, too. Her forehead was as large as all the rest of her face, and projected over it like a precipice. When she was angry, her little eyes flashed blue. When she hated anybody, they shone yellow and green. What they looked like when she loved anybody, I do not know; for I never heard of her loving anybody but herself, and I do not think she could have managed that if she had not somehow got used to herself. But what made it highly imprudent in the king to forget her was that she was awfully clever. In fact, she was a witch; and when she bewitched anybody, he very soon had enough of it; for she beat all the wicked fairies in wickedness, and all the clever ones in cleverness. She despised all the modes we read of in history, in which offended fairies and witches have taken their revenges; and therefore, after waiting and waiting in vain for an invitation, she made up her mind at last to go without one, and make the whole family miserable, like a princess as she was.

So she put on her best gown, went to the palace, was kindly received by the happy monarch, who forgot that he had forgotten her, and took her place in the procession to the royal chapel. When they were all gathered about the font, she contrived to get next to it, and throw something into the water; after which she maintained a very respectful demeanor till the water was applied to the child's face. But at that moment she turned round in her place three times, and muttered the following words, loud enough for those beside her to hear:

"Light of spirit, by my charms,
Light of body, every part,
Never weary human arms
Only crush thy parents' heart!"

They all thought she had lost her wits, and was repeating some foolish nursery rhyme; but a shudder went through the whole of them notwithstanding. The baby, on the contrary, began to laugh and crow; while the nurse gave a start and a smothered cry, for she thought she was struck with paralysis: she could not feel the baby in her arms. But she clasped it tight and said nothing. The mischief was done.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

A Classic Revisited- The Light Princess by George MacDonald- Chapter 1

The Light Princess by George MacDonald is, in my mind, one of the best fairy tales ever written. It combines humor, philosophy, and pathos in a charming love story. This is the first installment.

Chapter 1. What! No Children?

Once upon a time, so long ago that I have quite forgotten the date, there lived a king and queen who had no children.

And the king said to himself, "All the queens of my acquaintance have children, some three, some seven, and some as many as twelve; and my queen has not one. I feel ill-used." So he made up his mind to be cross with his wife about it. But she bore it all like a good patient queen as she was. Then the king grew very cross indeed. But the queen pretended to take it all as a joke, and a very good one too.

"Why don't you have any daughters, at least?" said he. "I don't say sons; that might be too much to expect."

"I am sure, dear king, I am very sorry," said the queen.

"So you ought to be," retorted the king; "you are not going to make a virtue of that, surely."

But he was not an ill-tempered king, and in any matter of less moment would have let the queen have her own way with all his heart. This, however, was an affair of state.

The queen smiled.

"You must have patience with a lady, you know, dear king," said she.

She was, indeed, a very nice queen, and heartily sorry that she could not oblige the king immediately.

Friday, November 11, 2016


While digging through some stacks of papers, magazines, and miscellaneous memorabilia of days gone by, I came across a paper by an author from years ago. The name of the author is irrelevant, the time of the writing is unimportant, but I think the nature of the topic bears mention here. I have not attempted to reproduce it word for word, but what follows is what I have attempted to reproduce.

Once upon a time- that is how all the old stories start. And they do have a certain inkling of romance attached to them- the sound of a roaring wind- chestnuts cracking in a great stone hall- the smell of lavender and jasmine in the opal air- the sweet taste of the first honeysuckle- the red, blue, and purple crackling of an open fire with the stars dancing above and the dew lightly kissing the grass beneath. The smell of cinnamon and nutmeg, ginger and garlic; the warmth of the sun on your face and sand between your toes; the creaking of the leather saddles and the taste of freshly-baked blueberry pies- yes, those magical words have a kind of romance about them that can instantly transport you to another place and time.

With all this in mind, there is still an unsatisfied recess of my mind which demands for something more. Why are all the stories in the past? Why doesn't someone write a story that is happening this very instant; as the clock ticks away the seconds while you are reading, the very same clock is ticking away the seconds in the story.

What new horizons would this lead to in the world of literature? What planets are we yet to discover? Quit your tedious plowing of the underground fields of the ancient myths, and turn your attention to the deep and secret happenings of today- either plainly exposed under a mountain or concealed in a soft bed of clouds. Breathe in the polluted air and enjoy the progress of today. Don't bother recording it for posterity- the future is too hazy and that would make us the past- accordingly, irrelevant. No, instead, do everything for the now. Because now is all that really matters. The progressive people of today want to know what is happening as it happens. After that, what does it matter anymore? Why would we want to wait 20, 50, 100 or more years for it to be a confirmed part of our history, our culture, and our folklore before obtaining the story? I mean, hey, the best thing about our society today is satisfaction on demand. Instant gratification, some call it. But didn't someone once say something about time being money? How true!! Why waste time on little details!!

Funny that we should use that metaphor, though, because these days money is so figurative. It's a hazy concept which has been floating around for centuries. Apparently it used to actually have a specific value and stood for something real. Now, our money system is basically a complex cycle of numbers. You get paid X amount of dollars and bring it to the bank in the form of a cheque. You hand the piece of paper to the teller, who types something into the computer and hands you back a receipt. You go merrily on your way, and there the numbers sit for X years. In the meantime, you have earned interest on your numbers and they have increased by 0.0XXXXXX%. You finally decide to purchase something with your numbers. So you go to the store and bring along with you a tiny plastic card with your name and- you guessed it!- a series of numbers engraved on it. With an easy swipe of the card and pressing of a few numbers the items are yours. But woe is you if the numbers in your bank account and the numbers on your grand total don't match up! Some time is wasted by worrying about how to multiply and add up those numbers. I'll admit, that is the one flaw in our current monetary system. But no worries! Pretty soon you will receive a piece of paper in the mail from the government saying that they made more numbers to give to you! So you see, like time, money is a hazy thing which somehow keeps on coming. You never see it itself. Just its representatives.

Can you imagine living in a world where you had what you had, and you had to work, plan, and wait to get it? I hear tell that that is what it used to be like. But we have more important things to spend time on now.

Why worry about the future and how you are going to eat when you are hungry now? Why pinch pennies for winter clothes and heat when you really want that new pair of sunglasses? I mean, seriously, why worry about those boring, mundane details of life when now is happening!! I mean, now is now. Yesterday is gone and who knows if tomorrow will ever come? Now is what is important. Time is now.

Well, there you have it. Those words written long ago are the figuration of my main pet peeve. Futility. Money, however much it is not, is not is mere numbers. Or rather, it shouldn't be. It should have purpose and use. God is outside of time, larger than time. However, we need to encounter Him in the now of every moment of our lives. Time and money are not the same. But they are similar in that they both represent something larger than themselves: money representing our temporal needs, our mortal bodies. Time representing our immortal souls, and our quest to let God find us. Hence, time is not money. And we can't save both at Dollar General because we will die and we may or may not make it to Heaven. People, Dollar General is not the answer to all life's questions. The name implies ordering money around, which translates to someone bossing you about how to live your life, which, seen as it is none of their beeswax, trespasses on Free Will. Seeing that Free Will is a Gift from God, and Dollar General is trying to take away God's gifts, don't listen.