Monday, January 28, 2013
Off the Bookshelf: THE LIGHT PRINCESS
I can remember reading this in picture book format in the children's section of the Berea Library, way back ... well, long enough ago I don't want to date myself!
Funny, but there's a whole lot more to this story I definitely did not remember reading in the picture book.
THE LIGHT PRINCESS is a faerie tale -- at least, on one level. It's also a tale of redemption, sacrifice, and ... learning the proper sort of gravity.
George MacDonald is perhaps better known for his novels AT THE BACK OF THE NORTH WIND and PHANTASTES, as well as being a major influence on C.S. Lewis. THE LIGHT PRINCESS is a very small book. Easily read in a few hours. But I guarantee, you're going to want to reread it several times to savor it and look back and see some of the story in a new light. I obtained this book in free e-book format through Project Google. Yeah, that means the book has been around a long while. Like I said, a classic!
What's it about? Well, it starts out like any faerie tale -- a long-awaited birth to a king and queen. A christening where the last person you want to insult isn't invited. Some magic. A curse. And of course, a handsome prince who has wandered into the country quite by accident.
Instead of being cursed to prick her finger and sleep forever, or talk gibberish, or have to marry a troll to save the kingdom or a thousand other totally bizarre curses faerie tale princesses have to endure, this one steals the princess's gravity. Meaning she rarely sets foot on the ground, but floats through life. And she doesn't take much of anything seriously. And doesn't cry. That doesn't sound so bad, does it? But consider how frustrating it is to live with someone who takes nothing seriously, and doesn't seem to care about anyone.
Well, yeah, there are a lot of people like that in today's world, but they made themselves that way. And if you think about it, such people might look and sound happy, but listen and watch them long enough, and you realize they aren't. Happy, that is. You need tears to appreciate laughter, and grief to enjoy happiness.
Read the book. You'll love it. And you'll keep it to read again.