Daniel Koehn: Laughter in Little Daylight

Sometimes the lightheartedness of George MacDonald may be seen in playful dialogue in his fairy tales, such as in the passage below, where a good fairy reveals that she is able to recognize a prince by “the curl of the third eyelash on [his] left eyelid.”  The prince’s attempt to “secretly” acquire further knowledge about the princess Daylight ends in a delightful banter about secrets that leaves him as ignorant as he was before.   The passage is from Little Daylight, a stand-alone fairytale that is imbedded as chapter 28 in the children’s novel At the Back of the North Wind.

"But do you believe there could be a princess who never saw the daylight? Do you believe that now?"

This the prince said, not that he doubted the princess, but that he wanted the fairy to tell him more. She was too old a fairy, however, to be caught so easily.

"Of all people, fairies must not tell secrets. Besides, she's a princess."

"Well, I'll tell you a secret. I'm a prince."

"I know that."

"How do you know it?"

"By the curl of the third eyelash on your left eyelid."

"Which corner do you count from?"

"That's a secret."

---Daniel Koehn