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The Lost Princess: A Double Story

4.25  ·  Rating Details ·  660 Ratings  ·  61 Reviews
An enchanting, unforgettable fairy tale about two spoiled girls—a princess and a shepherd's daughter—and their magical encounters with a mysterious wise woman. This new edition, with Bernhard Oberdieck's dark, romantic images, perfectly brings to life this fiercely compelling fairy tale. — Maurice Sendak.
Hardcover, 144 pages
Published by William B. Eerdmans Publishing (first published 1875)
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Feb 13, 2009 Sharilyn rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s
This is one of my favorite books. I find it very convicting on the heart level. Through a 'fairy tale' MacDonald gently (and sometimes not so gently) points out sins of selfishness, pride, laziness, etc. Those kinds of sins which are subtle and easily glossed over or hidden. But he does it in such a palatable way that the book is a joy to read even while it is convicting you.
I've read it several times as has my daughter (now 12, but read it on her own for the first time when she was 8 or 9).
Billy Barefeet
Jul 17, 2013 Billy Barefeet rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Life changing read. (Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?)

Macdonald says,"And that is all my double story. How double it is, if you care to know, you must find out."

If you have little people in your life read them this parable and if the have they the ears to hear, you help will set them on the road to freedom from self. There is no mystery surrounding George Macdonald's motivation for writing what he does. Jesus is the theme of his lif

This book is amazing!!! A must read for every child and parent. A WONDERFUL read-aloud!! One of the best books on "parenting" and "child-raising" I have ever read. And it is all a fictional story that draws you and the child in. Very funny and very wise, this book will change the life of anyone who reads it/hears it!!! It takes you through the life of a Princess and how she is shown her true wretched (dare I say sinful) self and learns what it means to be a true princess. I cannot recommend thi
Kelly Mize
Apr 13, 2015 Kelly Mize rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A mysterious, black-cloaked wise woman snatches two very naughty little girls from their homes and puts them through experiences uniquely contrived for each girl's particular variety of wickedness, progressively purging the depravity from their souls. In one case, the treatment results in humble submission and gratitude. The other case proves more difficult, with indeterminate results. This little book is excellent for parenting, grandparenting, and self-reflection. No wonder that C.S. Lewis hel ...more
Lisa Rathbun
Aug 11, 2011 Lisa Rathbun rated it it was amazing
I love this book! At one point when reading this for the first time, I felt so convicted that I had to stop and confess sin to the Lord. My favorite of MacDonald's.
Amy Edwards
This was my second time to read The Wise Woman, a parable that ought to be read and re-read on a regular basis, I have decided. Many of the truths made plain in this story are not new truths, but they penetrate more deeply and carry more meaning in the form of a parable. This is the story of Rosamond and Agnes, one a princess and one a shepherd's daughter, but both depraved and wretched in their own ways. Rosamond is a slave to her selfish temper and moods; Agnes is hardened by arrogant vanity. ...more
Sep 19, 2007 Jessica rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
Here's a summary that I found (since I haven't read it in several years...)

There are two girls born: Rosamond, the daughter of a King and a Queen, takes it for granted that she is something special. As Rosamond grows up, she becomes worse, for she never tries to grow better. She becomes more and more peevish and fretful every day. The other girl born is called Agnes. Her parents are poor shepherds but still consider Agnes extraordinary.
Those people are not a bit wiser than the King and the Queen
Dec 15, 2012 David rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012
I came across this title in an attempt to acquaint myself with 19th century children's literature that I'd previously overlooked. Also included on this discovery was Charles Kingsley's "The Water Babies", a classic that has endured even if with diminished popularity over the decades. I did not like "The Water Babies" at all. Its efforts at teaching a moral lesson to Victorian children comes off as propaganda. There was also a very bigotry tone as the author reflected a dislike of Americans, Iris ...more
Laura Fischer
Jul 27, 2013 Laura Fischer rated it it was amazing
Of all of George MacDonald's very fine stories, this is, in my opinion, the finest. Deep enough for adults but accessible for children, and this edition is beautifully illustrated. I have read it to myself, to my siblings, to children I babysat, and to kids at church, and I intend to keep reading it to nieces and nephews and maybe grandchildren someday.

I would have to write a very long review to truly do it justice, but I will let my words be few.

Most highly recommended.
Mar 17, 2013 JoAnn rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2013
I enjoyed this one until the end. I don't believe MacDonald gave the poor girl equal opportunity to repent and change as he did the princess. The unequal treatment of rich and poor suggests poor people are not as valuable as are the rich.
Apr 04, 2015 Melanie rated it it was amazing
As far as I remember, this is my first George MacDonald book. I read it because I thought I "should", but I really liked it. The allegory was convicting to me, especially the parts about controlling the will. I may add this to the read-aloud list to share with the girls.
Jun 21, 2012 Snafuzled rated it really liked it
My first MacDonald - won't be the last. A prime example of beautiful children's literature.
Elisha Andres
Jun 01, 2015 Elisha Andres rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Beautiful book! I enjoyed the lessons. :)
May 03, 2012 Phil rated it it was amazing
Shelves: life-changers
My favorite novella.
A symbolic exploration of sin and sanctification that at times sounds very much like a novelization of John Owen's Mortification of Sin. It also has greater clarity and focus than some his longer tales, especially Lilith.
Cindy VanWingerden
I thoroughly enjoyed his fantasy classic short story/novelette!!
Mar 08, 2017 Danelle rated it it was amazing
So good! My kids were begging be to keep going with every chapter and with George Macdonald you really can't go wrong!
Robby Charters
Dec 07, 2015 Robby Charters rated it it was amazing
He was an early influence on C.S.Lewis, Tolkien and the other Inklings, and one can readily spot the wellsprings when reading The Lost Princess. He begins in a lighthearted way, with a bit of tongue-in-cheek:

"There was a certain country where things used to go rather oddly. For instance, you could never tell whether it was going to rain or hail, or whether or not the milk was going to sour. It was impossible to say whether the next baby would be a boy, or a girl, or even, after he was a week old
Jul 21, 2016 TOM rated it liked it
Shelves: fairytales, english
Two young girls - one a thoroughly spoilt princess - the other an equally mollycoddled young shepherds daughter are taught a lesson by a mysterious wise woman in a magical black cape who spirits both of them away and tests them (mainly by simple household tasks) her seemingly filthy one room cottage. All is not as it seems however and the wise woman has many hidden powers, the house shifts in size and rooms appear - the room behind the grandfather clock is marble tiled and contains many grand pa ...more
Anne Hawn Smith
May 21, 2011 Anne Hawn Smith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
George MacDonald is one of my favorite authors. I love his imagination and his ability to tell a story that feels like a folk tale which has come down through the ages.

This tale is about two little girls, one a spoiled princess, and one a vain and selfish shepherdess. The Wise Woman steals them from their homes and attempts to teach them what their neglectful parents have not. While some would call the tale moralizing, it is totally appropriate for today's parents and children. Just about every
Evie Maiolo
Dec 21, 2011 Evie Maiolo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had read this originally in primary school, and this story definitely left an impression on me. Revisiting this book brought back many memories from when I read it as a young girl.

It is a fairytale of two young girls - a princess and a farm girl. Different in circumstance, but both spoilt by their parents, both girls have to learn many lessons about overcoming conceit and weakness of character - guided by a wise woman who tries to show them the path of self awareness and humility.

Not only an
Feb 11, 2016 Jacob rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An imaginative story (part allegory) about changing who we are, and how we see others (including the divine). Here's just a sample:

“But which is the real you?” asked Rosamond; “this or that?”

“Or a thousand others?” returned the wise woman. “But the one you have just seen is the likest to the real me that you are able to see just yet—but—. And that me you could not have seen a little while ago.—But, my darling child,” she went on, lifting her up and clasping her to her bosom, “you must not think,
Nathan C.
Nov 30, 2009 Nathan C. rated it really liked it
"For there is no fault that does not bring its brothers, and sisters, and cousins to live with it."

In MacDonald's double story, two children are born on the same day--in such different surroundings that one wonders how they could both be the same kind of creature. One is born a princess, and one a humble shepherd's daughter; but they both learn that they are Somebody--and that is their tragedy.

Which is really the worst--to demand other's adoration, or to be content with self-worship? And is ther
Sep 11, 2015 Gretchen rated it really liked it
In terms of describing God's Way of intervening in the souls of His children, this fairy tale us enlightening to the highest degree. The insights into two manifestations of the same vice in two different girls are profound, causing introspection and evaluation. As a fairy tale alone, it is an extremely valuable contribution to the genre.

While I am still chewing on the clear connection with the Wise Woman and God, the process is so clearly communicated that the benefits far outweigh any confusion
Jan 14, 2017 Carrie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christian, kids, fantasy
I started to read this as a read-aloud with Mila, but she got distracted by other books and I wanted to finish it. I will definitely go back and read it aloud with both girls. It is a great fairy tale with so much truth about our selfish hearts. It illustrates well how left to ourselves, our selfishness and other terrible qualities only get worse. The wise woman intervenes - oh how we need intervention! I can't wait to read it again with my girls. It will bring up so many interesting discussions ...more
Apr 25, 2010 Carrie rated it liked it
I read this as a loyal devotee of George MacDonald, and I especially love his allegorical children's fairy tales. Although this one was not my favorite, it was a beautiful picture of how a person can be completely transformed by Christ's perfect balance of mercy and justice. Also quite interesting in how the nature of selfishness is explored in the context of a young child... how reflective of the deepest part of our hearts.
Dec 21, 2010 Maggie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
in this age of entitlement, we might ask ourselves if we aren't raising brats who think the world revolves around their needs. the best antidote to this imbalance would be to read more of george macdonald's children's stories. start with this one, a wise woman. but don't read it to today's youth. they aren't prepared for it. read it as a wise adult who wants to recall how to train up a child in consideration of others.
Oct 07, 2010 Aletheia rated it really liked it
I read this book a few years ago, and though it was in a fairy-tale style (or perhaps why that was it!), I really loved it, and felt like it touched my heart somewhere. I generally don't really enjoy the 'usual' fairytales, but this was.. different. You don't feel like the Moral Of The Story is pushed in your face, and it's really innocent and sweet.

Whether you're a precocious 5-year-old kid, or a 90-year-old grandmother, read it!
Easily my favorite of the few MacDonald books I've read so far. I feel as though he had looked into my own heart for much of the inspiration. So much of this I have thought about and dealt with in my own way, but not been able to put into words. Certainly not so simply and elegantly. MacDonald has a gift for seeing the internal struggles of humankind, and the Christian in particular.

I'm about halfway through a second listen as I write this.
Jan 09, 2014 Kate rated it it was amazing
Shelves: folklore, favorites
A childhood favorite that has stood the test of time, George MacDonald's fairy tale of two very different (but equally unhappy) little girls is beautifully illustrated here. If you haven't read this one, make sure to check it out. It is allegorical and can be enjoyed by people of many different ages.
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George MacDonald was a Scottish author, poet, and Christian minister.

Known particularly for his poignant fairy tales and fantasy novels, George MacDonald inspired many authors, such as G.K. Chesterton, W. H. Auden, J.R.R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, and Madeleine L'Engle. Lewis that wrote that he regarded MacDonald as his "master": "Picking up a copy of Phantastes one day at a train-station bookstall, I
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“But there are victories far worse than defeats; and to overcome an angel too gentle to put out all his strength, and ride away in triumph on the back of a devil, is one of the poorest.” 22 likes
“People are so ready to think themselves changed when it is only their mood that is changed. Those who are good-tempered because it is a fine day will be ill-tempered when it rains: their selves are just the same both days; only in one case the fine weather has got into them, in the other the rainy.” 2 likes
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