17 October 2010

Sun and Shadow: The Day Boy and The Night Girl

THERE was once a witch who desired to know everything. But the wiser a witch is, the harder she knocks her head against the wall when she comes to it. Her name was Watho, and she had a wolf in her mind. She cared for nothing in itself -- only for knowing it. She was not naturally cruel, but the wolf had made her cruel.

George MacDonald (1824-1905) was a Scottish author and poet best remembered for his fantasy novels and fairy tales. His last fairy tale "The Day Boy and the Night Girl" deals with polar opposites; the boy, Photogen has never seen the moon while the girl Nycteria has not been touched by the sun. It is Watho, the witch who keeps them apart but they eventually find each other and escape from her. MacDonald and his son Grenville were photographed by Lewis Carroll (1832-1898). Carroll along with C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien were influenced by the poignant writings. Pre-Rapahaelite artist Arthur Hughes (1832 -1915) who is shown in a self portrait illustrated "The Day Boy and the Night Girl". The fairy tale edited by Grenville is ultimately about two opposing worlds joining together; sun and shadow.

9 comments:

  1. Another quaint story and beautifully put together. I wonder if that's where the word 'photogenic' came from?

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  2. Thank you Alain, Photogen is from the Greek and means light maker. Photogenic in biology means producing or emitting light and a photogenic face looks good in a photograph. Best, Kendra

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  3. A charming and delightful and insightful story. When my son was young, he had a polar opposite friend. One day I commented about this difference and their special friendship. He shrugged it off with the comment, "You know what they mom, oddballs attract." Still makes me laugh

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  4. HBD, Children are very wise. I always think of the two Portuguese cousins that my mother grew up with; one was fair and the other dark, so the were called the sun and the moon. Best, Kendra

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  5. This is interesting and mysterious. I LOVE it!

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  6. Another fascinating posting! Love your blog!

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  7. I've just found your blog and I must say it is so inspiring and wonderful, full of dreamy material (don't know if it makes any sense in english sorry I'm french) for a 16-years-old like me ! I found it out because of my researchs on Misia Sert, I have to do a file on her at school :)
    And I'm actually gonna read "The Day Boy and the Night Girl" right away !

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  8. Phaedra~ Thank you so much, I wish my French were as good as your English. I read "The Day Boy and the Night Girl" when I was sixteen and as an adult I still love it. Misia Sert was quite a fascinating person usually remembered as a muse and model. A friend of mine owns two pairs of her miniature tree fantasies which show that she was also an artist. Best, Kendra

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  9. I love this, want to see the illustrations if the cover is any indication of loveliness.

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