Wednesday, August 12, 2009

“There are plenty of bad things that need killing”

I am well behind in posting on books we have read. I hope in the next few days to at least post some quotes from some books we have recently read. For tonight, here is a good quote from The Princess and Curdie, the sequel to The Princess and the Goblins. So far this sequel, has seemed better suited to boys than the first book.

The author has mentioned that Curdie has made himself a bow and arrows and with practice has become fairly proficient. Along the way he decided to shoot a white pigeon he had been admiring. Those who have read the first book know, as Curdie should, that these white pigeons belong to and work for Princess Irene’s great-great-grandmother. Curdie shot it anyway, and then, overcome with grief, ran to the castle to see if he could find the grandmother, repent and see if the bird could be healed. The grand old Princess does heal the bird and forgive Curdie, simply requiring of Curdie that he improve his ways and never again “kill anything without a good reason for it.” Curdie in excitement over his forgiveness promises to destroy his bow and arrows right away. The Princess’s response is classic and instructive:
“No, no, Curdie. Keep them, and practice with them every day, and grow a good shot. There are plenty of bad things that want [need] killing, and a day will come when they will prove useful.”
This is the real truth, but not very often told in children’s books today. We encourage not pacifism, but restraint and wisdom. For, we know there are bad things which need destroying. I intend to raise sons who can recognize such bad things and are able and willing properly to wield destructive force when necessary.

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