The King of the Golden River: The Black Brothers: A Legend of Stiria

The King of the Golden River: The Black Brothers: A Legend of Stiria

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The King of the Golden River or The Black Brothers: A Legend of Stiria by John Ruskin.

Illustrated by Richard Doyle.

The King of the Golden River or The Black Brothers: A Legend of Stiria by John Ruskin was originally written in 1841 for the twelve-year-old Effie (Euphemia) Gray, whom Ruskin later married. It was published in book form in 1851, and became an early Victorian classic which sold out three editions. In the "Advertisement to the First Edition," which prefaces it, it is called a fairy tale, one, it might be added, that illustrates the triumph of love, kindness, and goodness over evil; however, it could also be characterized as a fable, a fabricated aetiological myth or etiology, and a parable. It was illustrated with 22 illustrations by Richard Doyle (1824-83).

The richness of the Treasure Valley, high in the mountains of Stiria or Styria, southeastern Austria, is lost through the evil of the owners, the two elder, "Black Brothers," Hans and Schwartz, who in their foolishness mistreat Southwest Wind, Esquire, who in turn floods their valley, washing away their "liquid assets," and turning their valley into a dead valley of red sand.

This personified wind has the power to keep things this way through his influence with other winds that had caused the valley's unique fertility. Forced into a trade other than farming Hans and Schwartz become goldsmiths. They cruelly melt their younger brother Gluck's prize heirloom, a golden mug, which consists of the head of a golden bearded man. This action releases the King of the Golden River for Gluck to pour out of the crucible as a finely dressed little golden dwarf. The Golden River is one of the high mountain cataracts, that surround the Treasure Valley. Gluck fancies that it would be good if that high majestic river would actually be what it appears in the setting sun, a river of gold. The dwarfish king disagrees with Gluck, but offers a proposition: if someone were to climb up to the source of the river and throw into it at least three drops of "holy water," it would become for that person only a river of gold. That person must do it on his first and only attempt or be overwhelmed by the river to become a black stone.

Hans and Schwartz desire to take the challenge, duel each other with the result that Schwartz is thrown into jail for disturbing the peace. Hans, who had the good sense to hide from the constable, steals holy water from the church and climbs up the mountains to the Golden River. He has a hard time of it on a glacier and gets away without his provisions and only his flask of holy water. Overcome with thirst Hans is forced to drink from this flask, knowing that only three drops are all that's needed. Along the path, Hans comes across three prostrate individuals dying of thirst, a puppy, a fair child, and an old man. Hans satisfies his own thirst while denying the three needy individuals.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781500619855
Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date: 07/23/2014
Series: Top 100 Classic Childrens Stories
Pages: 42
Sales rank: 512,352
Product dimensions: 7.00(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.09(d)
Lexile: 1160L (what's this?)
Age Range: 9 - 12 Years

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