Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Day Boy and the Night Girl” as Want to Read:
The Day Boy and the Night Girl
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Day Boy and the Night Girl

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  1,255 ratings  ·  172 reviews
The hero of the sun-drenched hours he looks godlike with his golden hair aglow in the sun as he hunts the wild beasts of field and wood. Yet as the light flees at the onset of evening his self-assurance and bravado fade with the light . . . and he finds himself beset by terrors he cannot reign. Then he discovers solace in that terrifying night -- for within the depths of h ...more
Paperback, 128 pages
Published April 1st 2008 by Aegypan (first published 1882)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Day Boy and the Night Girl, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Day Boy and the Night Girl

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.19  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,255 ratings  ·  172 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Day Boy and the Night Girl
Deborah O'Carroll
Re-read February 20, 2018

I still love this one, so much! ^_^

Old mini review:
Okay, so I ADORE this story. It’s an original fairytale sort of story, about this evil lady who raised this boy to be awake in the daytime and fear the night, and this girl to be awake at night and fear the day, and how they end up meeting and having to guide each other through the day or night, whichever is their element and not the other’s and… I don’t know, it’s just AWESOME and I love it. The illustrations are perfec
Jul 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, classics
Gorgeous, and a beautiful parable of the sexes with so many wonderful layers of meaning. Naturally I have been meaning to read this for many years, but it got bumped to the top of my to-read list because a friend is about to release a retelling! Please feast your eyes upon this GORGEOUS THING:

ackpeth hurgleblarg
Feb 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, fantasy
I was reminded almost immediately the parallel between Plato's Allegory of the Cave and this story, in particular the character Nycteris, raised from birth in a dark dungeon with nothing but a single dim lamp to light her tiny world. In contrast the boy Photogen is raised exclusively in the day while also having the freedom to roam. Much like in Plato's allegory Nycteris comes out of her dark seclusion and attempts to understand the world she discovers but only does so with the limited knowledg ...more
Read more reviews @ The Bibliosanctum

MacDonald has been credited with being the inspiration for other “Christian Mythmakers” such as Tolkien and L’Engle. Thid story in particular is seen as some of his best work. Despite the publisher, this is not a book that is about religion (but you can catch some religious themes as with the works with all the authors mentioned). The Day Boy and the Night Girl is a fairy tale of sorts, and I’ve heard that this is quoted in Ann Aguirre’s Enclave. Two women, a
Lenore .
One of my brightest memories from primary school is a teacher squinting at the title of the book I'm reading, and remarking I shouldn't read The Prince and the Pauper at such a young age, at which I raise my head and say in a matter-of-fact voice: "This isn't The Prince and the Pauper, it's The Princess and the Goblin!"

While I can't say that The Princess and the Goblin got me into fantasy - the honor is all The Neverending Story's - it was one of the first books I ever read of this genre, and on
Jesse Broussard
Mar 11, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Now this was just plain fun. An evil witch, good king (with a bit part), "orphaned" children, beautiful girl with giant eyes and strong, naive twit of a boy. After reading the first chapter, you know the arc of every one to follow, but it is such a delight to simply allow yourself to get whisked away and lost in MacDonald's mellifluous voice.

Simple plot overview: a wicked(ish) witch, about whom MacDonald has some delightful opinions, manages to acquire a boy to be raised only in light, never se
A beautiful little fairy tale about two children who are victims in an experiment by a wicked witch, that steals them from their unknowing mothers at birth. The witch raises them according to her designs, and so the girl, Nycteris, grew up in the dark and can't live in the sunlight, and the boy, Photogen, grew up in the light and gets sick in the night.

As all plans must, the witch's idea doesn't go as well as planned. Nycteris and Photogen meet by accident, resulting in them scheming to free the
Apr 23, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
The Day Boy and Night Girl is about two children who help each other through their weaknesses.

The story starts with an evil witch who wants to know everything. She has two visitors, a queen and a poor blind widow. The queen has a boy with blond hair and dark eyes; the widow has a daughter with black hair and light blue eyes. The widow dies and the witch makes the queen think that her child is dead and sends her away. The witch keeps both of the children away from each other. One knows only the
Jun 03, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I chose this book because excerpts were in a recent YA dystopian book I read (The Enclave) and I was curious to read more.
Dec 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really lovely little tale.
Mar 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Bethany by: Jenessa Liang
I have not once been able to describe aptly the effect that Macdonald's writing has on me. I shall try, though here, to say that it seems to fill me with life and joy and light and understanding. It is life-bringing! Its clearness and grace charm a beauty into my soul that no other writing ever has.

Simple. Beautiful. This was a wonderful story about light and dark and fear and grace and curiosity, and true strength.

To all readers, enjoy!

Also, this story is also named The History of Photogen and
Jan 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Today I've read this old tale by the Scottish author George MacDonald. I decided to use it for my uni project this semester and can't wait to work with it after reading it.

First of all, I love every story with two opposites, especially day and night! ;)
That's what got me into this story in the first place. Also, while reading some parts reminded me of Snowwhite and the Huntsman and others of Hansel and Gretel by the Brothers Grimm. I love these kinds of children's tales. ;)

Lastly, I enjoyed this
David Gregg
This wonderful work is a perfect example of why it is a crime of the highest order that the maestro of "fairytales", George MacDonald, is not better known in our day. A beautiful and extremely creative story of fantasy, romance, and deep allegory.

Read from the author C.S. Lewis called his literary "master"--the man who inspired and fathered the renowned Inklings, the small group of authors including such men as C.S. Lewis, J.R.R Tolkien, Charles Williams, Owen Barfield, and others.
Elizabeth Davie
As someone who grew up reading Tolkien and CS Lewis, and gaining exposure to Walt Whitman and Lewis Carroll as I grew older, I was shocked that these great writers were contemporaries of or greatly influenced by an author I had never heard of or read. This was an easy read, a quick little fable, but the wording is beautiful, and it is easy to see how MacDonald's writing influenced so many. I will be seeking out more of his work. ...more
May 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I first came across this in another book I was reading called Enclave by Ann Aguirre. Before multiple chapters in her book she would have a quote from The Day Boy and The Night Girl. After finishing the series through which the quotes were spread, I wanted to read the book itself. I had originally thought it would be a large book, so I was shocked to see it was as simple as children’s fairytale from the late 1800s. It didn’t take me very long to read it, but once I was finished I was glad I did
Feb 08, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: readers of children's classics
Recommended to Judy by: Cheryl
Not having read George MacDonald since my teenage years, the transport back into his world of fantasy and myth charmed me. The "day boy", aptly named, Photogen, lives only in a world of daylight. The "night girl", Nycteris, lives only in a world of soft darkness. Photogen is a brave hunter and fearless in the daytime. Nycteris knows how to avoid the terrors of the night and glories in the nighttime. The story tells of meeting of the two and their escape from the evil sorceress, Watho, who kept t ...more
Megan (ReadingRover)
I learned about this story because it is mentioned in the book Enclave by Ann Aguirre. The idea of it fascinated me as do most fairytales so I decided to get it from the library.
The book is about a witch who experimentally keeps two children locked up in her castle. One is a boy who is only allowed to see the sun and never know of darkness and the other is a girl who is kept underground in darkness with no more than a dim single lamp. Each knows nothing of the other. Eventually they discover the
Jun 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the most imaginative and moving stories about learning to see the world and relationships that I've read. For a review of mine on this book with more depth, see ...more
Jan 14, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An amusing children's tale written in educated prose, The Day Boy and the Night Girl incorporates the usual character types in faerie and exploits them to produce a genuinely original story. As a master communicator, MacDonald aptly relates subtle themes throughout the broader narrative structure. ...more
Feb 24, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016-rc, 2016
I read this book after falling in love with the razorland series....This book is probably the worst book I've read in the last few years. I just was not impressed! it took me close to 2 days to read 42 pages -.- ...more
Deanna Joan
Dec 01, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novellas
This was adorable!
I loved seeing the parallels between this story and the Razorland trilogy!
I just couldn't stand reading about a child locked in the dark her whole life. ...more
Jan 31, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a fairy tale like short story. It was read well (audio book) and a fun quick listen. Predictable but nice.... 3.5 stars
Dec 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Such a lovely old story about to opposites becoming one. :)

This book is for anyone who still believes in the magic of fairytales. ;)
Jul 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gorgeous and multilayered writing, and this particular edition had beautiful illustrations.
Lee Hudson
Nov 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As some may know, George MacDonald was one of CS Lewis’ favorite authors and influenced him significantly.

This is a short, precious story of of a young boy and young girl discovering the world around them. At the same time learning who they are, the ways they’re different and the same.
Oct 01, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love George Macdonalds books. This one was a bit harder to follow but it was still beautiful.
Tim Littleford
Jan 16, 2020 rated it liked it
Feels unfinished but fun, intriguing and quirky. Enjoyed reading it with my boy.
Reading Through the Lists
There's something perennially fascinating about the idea of a boy who dwells only in the daylight, and a beautiful girl who knows only darkness- but has a soul thirsting for light. MacDonald's is a simple story, more concerned with the thoughts and reasonings of Photogen and Nycteris than with any action or adventure they might share. But like all fairy tales, it feels less dissatisfying as unexplored- the potential for a great and glorious full-blown story is lurking beneath the simple tale: ab ...more
Courtney Kleefeld
Jul 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned
The book is short and the story is intriguing. A boy who has no idea there is such a thing as night, and a girl who has no idea there is such a thing as the sun (but she is portrayed as braver than the boy later in the story). What happens is funny and very like a fairy tale or mythology. George Macdonald writes it like a fairy tale, sort of like the Snow Queen (Hans Christian Andersen), but with his own voice that I know from reading the Princess and Curdie books. He uses simple language in a w ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Third Ingredient
  • The Hungry Stones
  • A Porta no Muro
  • The Löwensköld Ring
  • Rappaccini's Daughter
  • A aventura do Carbúnculo Azul
  • O Sonho da Sultana/O Bebê de Desirée
  • Amor na Loja de Chocolates
  • A Noiva da Caveira e outras histórias antigas
  • Os 47 Rônins
  • Conectadas
  • Lailai
  • Enciclopédia Do Incrível Ao Bizarro
  • The Water Babies
  • Elmer
  • I Love You Through and Through
  • Handa's Surprise: Read and Share
  • Little Bear's Trousers
See similar books…
See top shelves…
George MacDonald was a Scottish author, poet, and Christian minister.

He was educated at Aberdeen University and after a short and stormy career as a minister at Arundel, where his unorthodox views led to his dismissal, he turned to fiction as a means of earning a living. He wrote over 50 books.

Known particularly for his poignant fairy tales and fantasy novels, MacDonald inspired many authors, such

Related Articles

Trying to bust a reading slump? No time to sink into a long novel? Prefer plots that can be contained in a handful of pages? Then a short story...
71 likes · 7 comments
“Her heart - like every heart, if only its fallen sides were cleared away - was an inexhaustible fountain of love: she loved everything she saw. ” 223 likes
“You must learn to be strong in the dark as well as in the day, else you will always be only half brave.” 98 likes
More quotes…