“Jerry, Jimmy, and Cathy stumble upon a mysterious castle with a beautiful princess asleep in the garden. The princess is really Mabel, the housekeeper’s niece, who is only pretending to be royalty. But when she shows them a secret room filled with treasure where they discover a magical ring, enchantment becomes a reality”.
Edith Nesbit wrote “The Enchanted Castle” in 1907 and introduced the readers of the early 1900s to an enchanting and creative universe. There are so many great elements in this book. It is the story of four children (Gerald, Jimmy, Cathy and Mabel) and their fairy tale which becomes a quest for discovery and a meeting with unfamiliar and magical features and creatures. The reader is presented to this unique world and is allowed to join the four children on their journey. Edith Nesby has a beautiful and imaginary language and it is so easy to close your eyes and imagine yourself right in the middle of the magical world. It is a world filled with magic, dragons and stone figures which come alive during the night. As a reader you never know what happens next. You can easily let your imagination run wild – again, it’s about what you want and what you want to believe.
“When you are young so many things are difficult to believe, and yet the dullest people will tell you that they are true–such things, for instance, as that the earth goes round the sun, and that it is not flat but round. But the things that seem really likely, like fairy-tales and magic, are, so say the grown-ups, not true at all. Yet they are so easy to believe, especially when you see them happening. And, as I am always telling you, the most wonderful things happen to all sorts of people, only you never hear about them because the people think that no one will believe their stories, and so they don’t tell them to anyone except me. And they tell me, because they know that I can believe anything.”
The story’s plot revolves around a magic ring that makes you wish for what you want the most, and it doesn’t always end as expected, so Nesbit presents the message of: “being careful for what you wish for”, so there is a sense of morality hidden between the many magical elements of the story.
It is written in a classic language so the reader gets an image of the language of the early 1900s. The story is told with small episodic glimpses of the different experiences of the main characters, as well as it changes point of view, so all of the children are allowed to explore the magic of the ring.
Edith Nesbit has written a wonderful story for children as well as adults. It is a fine story with magic, comic relief and educational elements, such as the hidden morality (“be careful what you wish for”). We learn of Greek mythology and realize that there are changes while growing up. It is the story of accepting how you are, what others are and that in the end, things are not always what we think they are.
The story sets the mind going; What is real? What is imagination? Edith Nesbit draws an invisible line between the two. Is the magical fairytale really taking its place, is it happening in the children’s own imagination or are we all really a part of something bigger and undefined?
It is easy to become enchanted yourself while reading this story!
“In a place of the light there was darkness; in a place of the sounds there was silence”