- The Light Princess and Other Stories © 1980
- 171 pages
This is the third of four volumes Eerdmans put together in 1980 to collect all the short fantasy works of George MacDonald. I have been pleasantly surprised to discover that MacDonald, whose Victorian novels span six to eight hundred pages, is able to develop a compelling story in such a short number of words.
This volume contains five stories:
- “The Light Princess” (1864 from Adela Cathcart)
- “The Giant’s Heart” (1863 from Illustrated London News)
- “The Carasoyn” (1866, 1871 from Argosy, then expanded in Works)
- “Port in a Storm” (1866 from Argosy)
- “Papa’s Story” (1865 from Illustrated London News)
The collection is very strong. The title story manages to use quite a bit of humour to tell what turns out to be an intense story. “The Giant’s Heart” is a children’s story about two kids who stumble into giant country, but you don’t have to be a child to enjoy it. In it, MacDonald makes some brilliant sarcastic jabs against Sunday Morning legalism. “The Carasoyn” is another of MacDonald’s fairy stories that use traditional motifs to spin a compelling tale.
The last two stories are not fantasy stories at all. “Port in a Storm” is the story of how a husband and wife got together. (Who knew you could buy a wife with a case of Port?) This is probably the weakest story of the lot. The final story is deeply moving, especially if you’ve spent any time reflecting on the parable of the Prodigal Son.
Like the first two collections I’ve read in this series, MacDonald’s stories are always worth the time to track down and read.