Children’s Fantasy
written by various authors

This page:

Charles Carryl: Davy and the Goblin
Margaret Lovett: The Great and Terrible Quest
John Ruskin: The King of the Golden River


Children’s Fantasy

index pages:

The well-known nonsense song A Capital Ship (a.k.a. The Walloping Window Blind) originally was recited by Sindbad the Sailor in Davy and the Goblin.

It was circulating as a “traditional” song by the 1920s. Most versions use the same tune, the same chorus (not included in the book), and the same changes to the verses, so I suspect it was revised and published as a song not much later. I knew it as a family tradition before I read the story.

Davy and the Goblin

or, What Followed Reading “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”

by Charles Carryl

from St. Nicholas magazine
originally serialized 1884-1885

Chapter I:
How the Goblin Came
[...] here people were very wise about the weather, and stayed indoors, huddled around great blazing wood fires; and the storm, finding no live game, buried up the roads and the fences, and such small-fry of houses as could readily be put out of sight, and howled and roared over the fields and through the trees in a fashion not to be forgotten.
Chapter II:
The Beginning of the Believing Voyage

“How did that window ever get changed into a round hole?” he asked the Goblin, pointing to it in great astonishment.

“Oh,” said the Goblin, carelessly, “that’s one of the circular singumstances that happen on a Believing Voyage.”

Chapter V:
The Giant Badorful

“I thought we were chasing something.”

“Of course you did,” said the Goblin, complacently; “but in this part of the world things very often turn out to be different from what they would have been if they hadn’t been otherwise than as you expected they were going to be.”

Chapter VI:
The Moving Forest

“Venison is deer, isn’t it?” said Davy, looking up at the sign.

“Not at all,” said Robin Hood, promptly. “It’s the cheapest meat about here.”

“Oh, I didn’t mean that,” replied Davy; “I meant that it comes off of a deer.”

“Wrong again!” said Robin Hood, triumphantly. “It comes on a deer. I cut it off myself. Steaks? Chops?”

Chapter VII:
Sinbad the Sailor’s House

Now Davy knew perfectly well, as all little boys should know, that when you meet a savage in the woods you must get behind a tree as quickly as possible; but he did this in such haste that he found to his dismay that he and the savage had chosen the same tree, and in the next instant the savage was after him.



Chapter X:
Jack and the Beanstalk’s Farm

“You’ve heard of ‘Jack and the Beanstalk,’ haven’t you?”

“Oh, yes, indeed!” said Davy, beginning to be very much interested. “I should like to see the beanstalk.”

“You can’t see the beans talk,” said the Cow, gravely. “You might hear them talk—that is, if they had anything to say, and you listened long enough.”



Chapter XIII:
The End of the Believing Voyage
“Paint him with raspberry jam and put him to bed in a bee-hive. That’ll make him smart, at all events.”

text checked (see note) Feb 2005

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After far too long out of print, The Great and Terrible Quest was reissued as a paperback in 2001.

The Great and Terrible Quest
by Margaret Lovett

Copyright © 1967 by Margaret Lovett

Chapter Five He had kept himself from sinking into despair in his life with Grandfather by believing that only Grandfather and his friends were wicked, cruel and greedy. Sure that everything Grandfather said must be untrue, he had pictured a world outside where, no matter what poverty or grief there might be, people were kind and gentle and ready to help each other. The society he had seen among the forest men had made this seem true, and it was not the fate of the woman, not even the behavior of the farmer and the priest, but the closed mean faces of the others as they hurried by which had shattered the picture he had clung to.
“And those others who did not help—where should they learn to do so? The King in his Palace, the lords in their castles, the priests in their churches think of nothing but themselves, help no one, teach no one. If the rich do not help from their plenty, is it wonder that the poor do not from their scarcity? Rather is it a marvel that there are some who do.”
Chapter Eight As long as the poor were protected in their few rights and possessions by the Law or custom of the land, administered with more or less justice and mercy by the King and his lords, they could be content enough plodding through their lives in the humble hope of reward in Paradise, helping each other from both fellow-feeling and Christian teaching. But in a land where the Law had become nothing but the will of a few greedy wicked men there was no protection for anyone. Nothing was safe, neither their lives nor their goods, and so every man thought of himself only. Those with power used it to get themselves whatever they wanted, and Diamond with his out-and-out robbers was hardly worse than any lord or knight throughout the land: those without power became cunning and selfish in defense of whatever they could grab or keep for themselves; only a few rare spirits or those taught by desperate danger stretched out a hand to those in need.



text checked (see note) Feb 2005

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Ruskin appears as a character in Tom Stoppard’s The Invention of Love.

The King of the Golden River
by John Ruskin

(written 1841; published 1851)

Chapter V

“Why,” said Gluck, “I am sure, sir—your majesty, I mean—they got the water out of the church font.”

“Very probably,” replied the dwarf; “but,” and his countenance grew stern as he spoke, “the water which has been refused to the cry of the weary and dying, is unholy, though it had been blessed by every saint in heaven; and the water which is found in the vessel of mercy is holy, though it had been defiled with corpses.”

text checked (see note) Jan 2005

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Background graphic copyright © 2003 by Hal Keen