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Download At the Back of the North Wind (Watermill Classics) epub

by George MacDonald

The story of a boy's friendship with the North Wind and his adventures with it
Download At the Back of the North Wind (Watermill Classics) epub
ISBN: 0816728771
ISBN13: 978-0816728770
Category: Children
Author: George MacDonald
Language: English
Publisher: Troll Communications Llc (October 1, 1992)
ePUB size: 1757 kb
FB2 size: 1983 kb
Rating: 4.4
Votes: 120
Other Formats: docx lrf rtf mbr

Funny duck
George MacDonald (1824-1905) was a Scottish author, poet and preacher; a mentor of fellow writer Lewis Carroll, and some of his works of fantasy have become classics in the genre, and inspired other authors, like C.S. Lewis. At the Back of the North Wind was first serialized in the children's magazine Good Words for the Young in 1868, and published in book form in 1871.

At the centre of the story is a small boy named Diamond, son of a poor coachman – who also has a horse with the same name. The boy Diamond sleeps in the loft over the stable (right over the stall of Diamond the horse); and in the wall by his bed there is a knothole, through which the North Wind blows. In Diamond’s dreams (or is it more than just dreams?), the North Wind takes the shape of a beautiful woman with long hair – sometimes small like a fairy, sometimes huge and awe-inspiring like a mighty storm – sweeping Diamond away on nightly adventures, both in his own town and to a distant land, “at the back of the north wind”.

Diamond is at the same time a mystery and a joy to the people around him. Kind and helpful and trusting, and making friends whereever he goes - but also going his own ways, showing both practical initiative, and surprising people by fanciful ideas, rhymes and dreams. He’s naive in some ways, and yet also wise and philosphical far beyond his age. Some think he’s not quite right in his head; but he never takes offense.

It is not a book easy to categorize. Take the basic setting (including poor little boy) from a novel by Charles Dickens; put it down a rabbit hole (as in Alice in Wonderland - 1865); add a good portion of classic fairy tale and fable; mix in some serious theodicy questions and answers; and serve with a sprinkle of nursery rhymes on top. It’s very much up to the reader’s taste to decide what to make of it!

I read it the first time about 25 years ago in Swedish translation, and reread it now because I found had forgotten most of it, and also wanted to read it in the original language. The story also makes a lot of deviations like long nursery rhymes and whole fairy tales told within the story. Some of the details deserve more attention than one might think at first, as there are plenty of parallells between the ‘reality’ vs. stories and dreams within the book (much like the roots of our dreams can often be found in our daytime life).

It’s not a book I’d recommend as a must-read for everyone. My guess is that some will stll love it while other modern readers may find it strange and too old-fashioned in style. But if you are interested in classic children’s literature and fantasy, I think you will probably recognise themes and ideas also used by many other authors within those genres.
Another exquisite tapestry of a fairy tale by the renowned 19th century Scottish minister and theologian, George MacDonald, who, according to his biography, lost several of his own children to early death, due to the appalling childhood mortality which was just a fact of existence during MacDonald's lifetime. This highly intelligent and educated author's child-like, unquestioning faith in a traditional Christian God, despite his own many losses and suffering, resulted in a faith in a God, who, though mysterious in His ways, nevertheless, must have a purpose for His often times ill-seeming behavior and eventually (in Heaven?) reveal a deep meaning, behind the superfiicial appearance of tragedy, illness, sickness, lack of fairness, etc., for the down-trodden and afflicted members of humankind, as well as for animals and all sentient beings, e.g, elves in cottages and fairies who dwell among the petals of roses. MacDonald portrays the powerful, yet apparently whimsical or sometimes even nonsensical behavior of the mysterious, omniscient God in whom he believes through the character, North Wind, who must do her work, because it "feels" right to her, despite the violence and tragedy she sometimes wreaks. such as, for example, her "work" is to sink a ship, in which scene, where she grows from a lovely lady to a giantress, she sets the innocent little Curdie, who has "come along for the ride" with her, as it were, down from where he is hiding amid the wild, wavy tresses of her hair, as she flies through the air, so that Curdie will be spared hearing the cries and screams of the drowning passengers of the ship. Believe it or not, MacDonald manages to pull off this literary feat in a way that is not only entertaining,, but downright humorous, in the course of the "argument" between Curdie and the North Wind as to the wisdom of this gratuitous act of violence..
As an avid reader since the age of six, and who spent much of her childhood and formative years lost in one book or another, after I read this book, I felt sad that I hadn't encountered it earlier. Having a degree in English, I was fed a great number of books to read prior to graduation in 2007, many of which I could have done without. I don't regret my education, but I DO harbor a strong feeling of dismay that so few of the books offered a hopeful or positive outlook that one could take with one with optimism on the road of life.
George MacDonald is a brilliant writer, who C. S. Lewis and Tolkien both admired and emulated in their own special ways with their fantasy tales that quietly introduced Christian values within the texts. Since there is no mention of the Christian bible, perhaps it is my own background that chose to interpret the tale within that context, but in any case, it is a beautifully rendered tale of an innocent child who experiences many hardships in life. I leave it to you, Potential Gentle Reader, to buy it for yourself and decide, as I did, how the world today needs books like these more than ever before. Jessie Wilcox Smith's illustrations only add to the joy of this beautiful book. I cannot recommend it highly enough--for children and those, like me, who have the heart of a child.
I was a little confused at first...until I figured out that there were two Diamonds, Diamond the horse and Diamond the boy. After I got that cleared up, the story was great. George Macdonald writes so that I feel that I am there sharing all the adventures with Diamond and going along with him on his windy rides. The writer portrayed many different types of people: rich, poor, drunken, mothers, fathers, neighbors...I was thinking about going back and taking some quotes. I guess when you want to to that then the story is good. I give it a four because it was a bit confusing at times and there were a lot of poems that I felt when on and on.