Posted by: Lizzie Ross | May 18, 2010

George MacDonald 1

The Light Princess, George MacDonald (1864), Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 110 pp.

The first time I read this, I missed seeing it as a retelling of “Sleeping Beauty,” despite the uninvited witch who comes to the princess’s christening anyway. I just enjoyed the clever curse:  the princess would weigh nothing, and be serious about nothing. Always laughing, always in danger of floating away. (When out walking, she must be tied to 20 retainers.)

It’s only when immersed in a nearby lake that the princess approaches normalcy–calmer, weightier. And it’s while floating in the lake that she meets the prince who rescues her from the curse.

It’s an old-fashioned tale, in that the princess must be rescued by a prince, and that love wins over all (even death), but otherwise it’s quite charming.


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