The Princess and the Goblin

The Princess and the Goblin


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Eight-year-old Princess Irene lives a lonely life in a castle in a wild, desolate, mountainous kingdom, with only her nursemaid "Lootie" for company. Her father the king is normally absent, and her mother is dead. Unknown to her, the nearby mines are inhabited by a race of goblins, long banished from the kingdom and now anxious to take revenge on their human neighbors. One rainy day, the princess explores the castle and discovers a beautiful, mysterious lady, who identifies herself as Irene's namesake and great-great-grandmother. The next day, Princess Irene persuades her nursemaid to take her outside. After dark they are chased by goblins and rescued by the young miner 'Curdie', whom Irene befriends. At work with the rest of the miners, Curdie overhears the goblins talking, and their conversation reveals to Curdie the secret weakness of goblin anatomy: they have very soft, vulnerable feet. Curdie sneaks into the Great Hall of the goblin palace to eavesdrop on their general meeting, and hears that the goblins intend to flood the mine if a certain other part of their plan should fail. He later conveys this news to his father. In the palace, Princess Irene injures her hand, which her great-great-grandmother heals. A week later Irene is about to see her great-great-grandmother again, but is frightened by a long-legged cat and escapes up the mountain; whereupon the light from her great-great-grandmother's tower leads her home, where her great-great-grandmother gives Irene a ring attached to a thread invisible except to herself, which thereafter connects her constantly to home.

When Curdie explores the goblins' domain, he is discovered by the goblins and stamps on their feet with great success; but when he tries to stamp on the Queen's feet she is uninjured due to her stone shoes. The goblins imprison Curdie, thinking he will die of starvation; but Irene's magic thread leads her to his rescue, and Curdie steals one of the goblin queen's stone shoes. Irene takes Curdie to see her great-great-grandmother and be introduced; but she is only visible to Irene. Curdie later learns that the goblins are digging a tunnel in the mines towards the king's palace, where they plan to abduct the Princess and marry her to goblin prince Harelip. Curdie warns the palace guards about this, but is imprisoned instead and contracts a fever through a wound in his leg, until Irene's great-great-grandmother heals the wound. Meanwhile, the goblins break through the palace floor and come to abduct the princess; but Curdie escapes from his prison room and stamps on the goblins' feet. Upon the goblins' retreat, Irene is believed a captive; but Curdie follows the magic thread to her refuge at his own house, and restores her to the king. When the goblins flood the mines, the water enters the palace, and Curdie warns the others; but the goblins are drowned. The king asks him to serve as a bodyguard; but Curdie refuses, saying he cannot leave his mother and father, and instead accepts a new red petticoat for his mother, as a reward.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780141332482
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date: 06/09/2011
Series: Puffin Classics Series
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 23,610
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 6.90(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range: 10 Years

About the Author

Ursula Le Guin was born in Berkley, California, in 1929, daughter of the writer Theodora Krober and the anthropologist Alfred Krober. Her published work includes twenty-one novels, eleven volumes of short stories, three collections of essays, twelve books for children, six volumes of poetry and four of translation. Among her novels are the The Left Hand of Darkness and The Dispossessed, both winners of the Nebula and Hugo awards, Always Coming Home, winner of the 1985 Kafka Award, and Four Ways to Forgiveness. In 2009 she won her sixth Nebula award for Powers. Penguin/Puffin published the first volume of the Earthsea books, A Wizard of Earthsea, in 1971. The Earthsea books have been translated into many languages around the world and are global bestsellers.

Read an Excerpt


Excerpted from "The Princess and the Goblin"
by .
Copyright © 2011 George MacDonald.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Young Readers Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

I. Why the Princess Has a Story About Her
2. The Princess Loses Herself
3. The Princess and-We Shall See Who
4. What the Nurse Thought of It
5. The Princess Lets Well Alone
6. The Little Miner
7. The Mines
8. The Goblins
9. The Hall of the Goblin Palace
10. The Princess's King-Papa
II. The Old Lady's Bedroom
12. A Short Chapter About Curdie
13. The Cobs' Creatures
14. That Night Week
15. Woven and Then Spun
16. The Ring
17. Springtime
18. Curdie's Clue
19. Goblin Counsels
20. Irene's Clue
2l. The Escape
22. The Old Lady and Curdie
23. Curdie and His Mother
24. Irene Behaves like a Princess
25. Curdie Comes to Grief
26. The Goblin-Miners
27. The Goblins in the King's House
28. Curdie's Guide
29. Masonwork
30. The King and the Kiss
3l. The Subterranean Waters
32. The Last Chapter

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The Princess and the Goblin 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 618 reviews.
kaseysimba More than 1 year ago
Please read this book! It was absolutely charming. I used to love the cartoon when I was really young, so I wanted to read the book. I remember loving how Irene found a mysterious area of her house where she met her great-great-grandmother, and this book definitely captured that same feeling, only it was about a million times better.
darthlaurie More than 1 year ago
When I was a baby my parents bought this Colliers collection of books that had a ton of different stories and poems. A lot of those books were lost by the time I was five or six. The Fairy Tales and Legends book wasn't lost and I read it from cover to cover when I was in third grade. One of my favorite stories was the first chapter of The Princess and the Goblin. It was enchanting. I didn't realize back then that it was only the first chapter of a wonderful book. A couple years later I discovered MacDonald's The Light Princess and I loved it just as much, not realizing that both tales were written by the same author. It wasn't until I started working at a university library many years later and had a hankering for reading The Light Princess again that I connected the two stories. I thumbed through The Princess and the Goblin and realized it was the story of Princess Irene. George MacDonald was a brilliant writer. He has a soothing omnipotent grandfatherly voice that shines through his stories. You know that Princess Irene and Curdy will be okay in their adventures. The stories are well written and fun to read. I think they're timeless and if I had chosen to have children, they would be well acquainted with George MacDonald's fairy tales. If you're looking for a fairy tale that hasn't been Disneyfied and told too often, check out The Princess and the Goblin or The Light Princess. Curdy also has his own adventures and they're every bit as delightful as the other books.
HomeSchoolBookReview More than 1 year ago
Eight-year-old Princess Irene resides in a remote castle with her nurse Lootie and several other servants while her papa-king travels all over his kingdom. The reason that the Princess lives in seclusion is that the goblins who dwell under the mountain have sworn revenge on the king’s family. In addition, she has a mysterious and magical great-great-grandmother who is watching over her but who is seen by nobody else besides her. Also, she becomes friends with a twelve-year-old boy named Curdie who is the son of a local miner. When Irene and Lootie get lost after dark while on a walk in the mountains and are chased by goblins, they first meet Curdie who protects them from the goblins and helps to get them home safely. He pledges himself to guard the Princess. The goblins have hatched a double plot in which they plan to steal Irene to become the wife of their Prince Harelip and to use the mines to flood the castle. While working in the mines, Curdie overhears part of their plans but is captured and imprisoned by the goblins. However, Irene’s grandmother gives her a special thread by which she is led to rescue Curdie and get both of them back home again. Curdie sneaks onto the castle grounds one night to see if he can learn more about the goblins’ plans but is mistaken for a prowler by the king’s guards and shot with an arrow. He not only is imprisoned but also becomes quite sick with a fever. It is during this very time that the goblins mount their attack. Will they be successful? Will the Princess be saved or will she become the bride of Harelip? And what will happen to Curdie? Scottish-born author George MacDonald (1824-1905), though theologically considered a heretic, was a masterful storyteller who is often credited with inventing the genre of children’s fantasy literature and influenced such later youth fantasy writers as J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, and Madeline L’Engle. MacDonald began his literary career by telling fairy stories to his eleven children and then putting onplays for the poor in his neighborhood with his large family as the cast. His first such novel was At the Back of the North Wind published in 1871. The Princess and the Goblin was serialized in a journal called Good Words for the Young between 1870 and 1871 and then published in book form the following year. To be honest, this is one of the most fascinating and enjoyable books that I have ever read. The story of the Princess Irene and her friend Curdie continues in a sequel, The Princess and Curdie. I guess that I’ll just have to read it too.
Dane_R_Trumbore More than 1 year ago
The Princess and the Goblin is an enchanting tale about the most delightful little girl to spark our imaginations! The only pitty is that the character isn't real! Of all the C.S. Lewis books that I enjoyed, including his Chronicles of Narnia series, I have to say that The Princess and the Goblin captured my heart the most, and that George Macdonald is the great father and originator of litterary fantasy.
TinselHair More than 1 year ago
I thought it would be neat to read a fairy tale written in 1872 and found both the tale and manner of speech delightful. The author writes as if he is addressing a live audience and the tale, while slow in parts, is interesting enough to want to hear more. I look forward to reading more about the main characters in "The Princess and Curdie." It's a chance to see how fairy tales were written 150 years ago, how different they were, and how little some things have changed. (I also like the Nook feature that lets me look up a word on the spot - this story has more than a few unfamiliar words.)
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of my favorite books. I couldn't put it down after I started it. Anybody who enjoys fantasy or fairy tales will love this book. It is an amazing adventure that you can't wait to read more of. Anybody who reads this should then read The Princess and Curdie.
mberg on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
George MacDonald's The Princess and the Goblin while quite obviously not a fairy tale (as the story is over 200 pages) nonetheless has that fairy tale feel to it. This charming story was first published in book form in 1871. It is considered to be "the first truly successful combination of entertainment with moral instruction in children's literature" (Peter Glassman) but the moral instruction is so well hidden you could miss it completely. It also strongly influenced many authors including Rubyard Kipling and J.R.R. Tolkien.Princess Irene lives in a little castle set against a mountain range with only a small set of servants. The story begins with Princes Irene losing her way within her little castle and discovering her mysterious great grandmother who lives in the attic. Next the reader is introduced to Curdie, a boy who works in the mines where the goblins live. As the story continues Curdie tries to discover what the goblins are up to and what it has to do with Princess Irene. From this story come many surprises including a magical fire, a thread that guides a person to safety but that seems to be near invisible, and the biggest surprise of all the Queen Goblin who has six toes! This is a story about the battle between good and evil but also a story about faith, as Irene tells Curdie when he can't see her huge great grandmother "you must believe without seeing". The writing at times is a little awkward but that is only because of when it was written. Overall this is a marvelous book that I would recommend to anyone young or old.
1morechapter on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a delightful story about eight year old Princess Irene, her great-great-great-great grandmother, and a miner boy named Curdie. Together they fight to foil the goblins' sinister schemes. Little Irene is a true princess and acts like a little lady, while Curdy is a very brave and heroic boy.Highly recommended for all ages. I will try to read the sequel, The Princess and Curdie, sometime this year as well. I am also set to read Phantastes by MacDonald for the Fantasy Challenge. I can't wait to get to this more "adult" fantasy tale. I really enjoyed MacDonald's writing, and I am not at all surprised that he was an inspiration to both Lewis and Tolkien.
ncgraham on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It is probably inaccurate to refer to George MacDonald as an ¿acquired taste.¿ On reflection, I don¿t think you can acquire a taste for his books¿it¿s more like something you have to be born with. There is something weird and fantastical to his writing that some will thrill to, finding a responding call in their own hearts, while to others its mysteries will remain impenetrable. The Princess and the Goblin (which really should have been The Princess and the Goblins) is one of his more straightforward books, and probably would be a good one to start with, especially if you are reading aloud to children.The story is set in, under, and around a mountain in a far-away kingdom. There is a great manor-house halfway up (¿half castle, half farmhouse¿) where the king leaves his little daughter, the Princess Irene, while he rides about the land. One rainy day Irene sets out to explore the manor, and comes across a mysterious old lady in a tower room who turns out to be her great-great-grandmother. While Irene tries to convince herself and her nurse of this lady¿s existence, whom apparently only she is allowed to see, the miner boy Curdie is hard at work within the mountain, spying on the hideous goblins who live under it and seem to be up to some great mischief.An friend once commented that there was something ¿disconnected¿ at the heart of this story. In a way, this is true, and I can very much understand how it could be off-putting at times. But I think it also hints at what makes MacDonald unique as an early fantasy author. In all of his books, there are things beneath the surface¿a wildness, a remoteness, a sadness, a danger¿that we may only catch glimpses of. In this simple children¿s book, there is more of the sadness and less of the danger.I can see this merely in the setting. The wild, bare mountainside where the princess lives in her manor-house, the fact that the king must be away from her, all the abandoned passageways between the princess¿ nursery and her great-great-grandmother¿s tower room¿there¿s a profound sense of loneliness here, even if none of the characters ever evinces that emotion. And then there is the scene between Irene and her ¿king-papa,¿ where his grief at losing his wife is touched on briefly but touchingly. The king is my favorite character in the book; he seems to represent the cares and concerns of an adult world.MacDonald is often referred to as a precursor to C. S. Lewis, but perhaps it would be better to think of him as a successor to Hans Christian Anderson, who wrote fairytales that were also sadder than one might expect them to be. For The Princess and the Goblin is really more like a fairytale than a contemporary fantasy novel.I will say this: MacDonald is no prose master. There¿s a certain awkwardness that I noticed when I was reading aloud. Words seemed often to be misplaced, though I¿m convinced that in a few cases these were merely typos. Also, MacDonald¿s characters don¿t always act like real people, and the children certainly don¿t act their age.Another friend, upon learning I was reading this, referred to it as an ¿allegory.¿ I confess, I never thought of it that way as a child, but now I¿m older I can definitely see it. The thing is, sometimes MacDonald is so obscure that I can¿t see what he¿s getting at. At other times he is didactic to the point that the story begins to lose its mystique. When Irene¿s great-great-grandmother tells her that the ability to see her lamp is a gift that she hopes everybody will have someday, I suddenly knew that MacDonald was talking about the ¿doctrine¿ of universal salvation. This was a major turn-off for me, and I had to set the book aside for several days as a result.I do think I have the inborn taste for MacDonald. There¿s certainly a reason I¿ve come back to this book, and I¿m sure I will do so again. But this time around was frustrating for me, as I found the book both like and unlike my childh
fyrefly98 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Summary: Princess Irene lives a happy life in her father's castle, but she is never allowed outside after dark. She doesn't know it, but the mountain on which she lives is not only mined by humans, but also by a colony of goblins. One afternoon, Irene finds a secret staircase leading up from her nursery to the magical-seeming rooms of her great-great-etc-grandmother, and that is just the beginning of her adventures. Because a young miner boy named Curdie has stumbled across a plot of the Goblins - a plot that might involve the Princess!Review: This was a charming little story, with a very classic fairy-tale feel yet with an original plot. If I'd come across it when I was seven or eight, I probably would have absolutely loved it. As an adult, I still enjoyed it quite a bit, although there were a few parts that didn't entirely work for me. For one, the title suggests that there's going to be a Goblin as a main character, but no goblins show up in-person (in-goblin?) until well into the book, and Irene never actually meets one. (The title "The Princess and the Goblins" might have been more accurate.) This discrepancy, plus the fact that Irene spends most of the time interacting with her great-grandmother, occasionally made me confused as to the direction and point of the story. The narration is also a bit inconsistent, occasionally speaking directly to the reader, but ignoring or forgetting this device for long swaths at a time. I also thought some of the vocabulary and sentence constructions might be unfamiliar and a little challenging for a modern child, although not prohibitively so. So, overall, while this book had some issues, and those issues may be at the root of why it's not as well-known and widely-read as some of its contemporaries, it was a charming story, and I'll most likely read the sequel... especially since it promises more Curdie. 3.5 out of 5 stars.Recommendation: I'd recommend this to people who like classic children's lit, as well as to kids and adults that like fairy tales with princesses and fairy godmothers and such, although I don't know that I'd put it at the very top of the list.
Caroline_mlis on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I haven't read this book since I was a child but I do remember loving this charming story. The description of the goblins is so vivid! This children's book was first written in the 1870s, but I think it will still charm children of all ages. It is a classic like Alice in Wonderland or Peter Pan; it is just not as famous!
atimco on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
George MacDonald is one of those authors I've long felt guilty for not reading more of. The only book of his that I had read before was The Wise Woman, given to me by a friend as a joke on my username. It was so-so, a bit too heavy on the moralizing for my taste, and ultimately very predictable (but aren't all morality stories that way?). So I never really understood why so many fellow readers praise MacDonald's fantasy stories so highly. After reading The Princess and the Goblin, I think I understand a bit better, though I will probably never have the same love for MacDonald as those who recommend him to me. He caught me too old; if I were younger I could have swallowed the coldness of the story probably without noticing it. Despite MacDonald's grandfatherly asides to his young readers, there is something disconnected at the core of the story, and it makes itself felt to me. Little things bother me... in the title, which goblin is being mentioned? Is it Harelip? Or is it the Goblin Queen? Or King? It just feels like MacDonald went with the coolest-sounding title without worrying overmuch about it making sense. But having made these complaints, I do have some good things to say for MacDonald. First off, thank goodness he wrote at all, because he influenced C. S. Lewis' creation of Narnia! I noticed some distinct resemblances. There is a scene where the Princess rescues Curdie from the Goblin dungeon without even meaning to find him; she was following the thread between the ring her grandmother had given her and her grandmother's rooms. Her grandmother even warned her that the thread might take her on what would seem a roundabout path, but she would never be led astray by it. But Curdie cannot see or feel the thread that the Princess is following so surely ¿ just like when Lucy compels the others to follow her as she follows the Aslan they cannot see in Prince Caspian.Another very similar scene occurs where the Princess takes Curdie to see her grandmother in the upper part of the castle, and Curdie can't see anything but a bare floor and walls ¿ while the Princess is reveling in the rich furnishings and wonderful presence of the old woman. This, and the conversation that Curdie has with his parents about it, reminds me so much of the part in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe when Lucy tries to take the others to see Narnia and they are confronted with the smooth blank panel of the back of the wardrobe. Later the Professor challenges their assumption that if things are real, they are there all the time. Big ideas for little heads! But the best children's authors always trust their audience. I don't know the extent of Lewis' debt to MacDonald, and of course I haven't read MacDonald's other books. I do know that Lewis actually uses MacDonald as a character in The Great Divorce, and his main purpose there is to talk about his belief that everyone will eventually be saved. Lewis comes to the incredibly unsatisfying conclusion that universalism is correct, but it doesn't do to speak of it much. Okay ¿ ? Perhaps it is this theological disconnect that leaves me cold to MacDonald in general.I remember reading some of MacDonald's historical romances as a young reader; they were lying around the house and when you can't get a ride to the library, you must make do with what you can find. I didn't care for them much at the time, thinking them sentimental and boring. Just yesterday I was helping catalog my church's library and was entering two of those when a friend swooped down and said she'd been bothered by them when she read them years ago. Apparently there was a bit more than sentimental nonsense going on in these books; MacDonald is using them to make a theological statement, attacking positions he didn't agree with. Unfortunately some of the doctrines he attacks are part of biblical Christianity, and as a biblical Christian, I can't go along with that. But I read The Princess and Curdie the
RRHowell on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A MacDonald book that I thoroughly enjoyed reading to my children. Not deep, but filled with a delight in goodness.
marti041 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
MacDonald created yet another Mythical Masterpiece in The Princess and the Goblin. I disagree with previous reviews. I found it neither long nor rambling. Everything in the story was necessary for the plot. It would have help my attention as a Child just as easily as it held it now. I plan on reading this book to my children when they arrive.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I chose to read The Princess And The Goblin because it was fantasy, and it looked really interesting. I thought the book would be about goblins that took the princess, and the princess had to get away. The book was mostly what i expected it to be. This book was really interesting, and it made me want to keep reading it. The princess’ name is Irene. Irene had a great great grandmother that was also named Irene. The grandmother helped Irene a lot. The princess had a nurse named Lootie. One day Lootie and Irene met a miner. His name was Curdie. Curdie followed the goblins, and got trapped. Irene had to get him, and they worked together to try to stop the goblins. This book is a fantasy book. The author is George MacDonald. I liked this book because it was very entertaining. I also liked this book because i wanted to keep reading, and i wanted to find out what happened next. In the book, it had a lot of adventure, and mysterious things that made it very interesting. I really liked the book The Princess And The Goblin. I think you should read this book. Especially if you like fantasy books. I think this book would be appropriate for every age.
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