In bed attempting to recover from mono, I began reading the sequel to The Princess and the Goblin, The Princess and Curdie. Only a few pages in, I found a quote that has intrigued me. I am writing it down here so that I don't forget to contemplate it over the next week or so.
"As Curdie grew, he grew at this time faster in body than in mind--with the usual consequence, that he was getting rather stupid--one of the chief signs of which was that he believed less and less in things he had never seen. At the same time I do not think he was ever so stupid as to imagine that that was a sign of superior faculty and strength of mind. Still, he was becoming more and more a miner, and less and less a man of the upper world where the wind blew. On his way to and from the mine he took less and less notice of bees and butterflies, moths and dragonflies, the flowers and the brooks and the clouds. He was gradually changing into a commonplace man.
"There is this difference between the growth of some human beings and that of others: in the one case it is a continuous dying, in the other a continuous resurrection. One of the latter sort comes at length to know at once whether a thing is true the moment it comes before him; one of the former class grows more and more afraid of being taken in, so afraid of it that he takes himself in altogether, and comes at length to believe in nothing but his dinner: to be sure of a thing with him is to have it between his teeth" (MacDonald).
The quote is quite long, and I'm not going to pretend I understand it fully by writing shallow interpretations. It is what it is, and I will continue to contemplate it. Maybe I'll share what I discover, maybe not.
What do you think about it?
Also, if you don't have an iPod Touch or Kindle, you can read MacDonald's works online for free, including The Princess and the Goblin and The Princess and Curdie. I highly recommend it.
UPDATE: One more intriguing thought from MacDonald, "The boy should enclose and keep, as his life, the old child at the heart of him, and never let it go... The child is not meant to die, but to be forever fresh born."