While Leo fussed over his helm controls, Hazel and Frank relayed the story of the fish-centaurs and their training camp. 'Incredible, ' Jason said. 'These are really good brownies.' 'That's your only comment?' Piper demanded. He looked surprised. 'What? I heard the story. Fish-centaurs. Merpeople. Letter of intro to the Tiber River god. Got it. But these brownies-' 'I know, ' Frank said, his mouth full. 'Try them with Ester's peach preserves.' 'That, ' Hazel said, 'is incredibly disgusting.' 'Pass me the jar, man, ' Jason said. Hazel and Piper exchanged a look of total exasperation. Boys.
While Leo fussed over his helm controls, Hazel and Frank relayed the story of the fish-centaurs and their training camp. 'Incredible,' Jason said. 'These are really good brownies.' 'That's your only comment?' Piper demanded. He looked surprised. 'What? I heard the story. Fish-centaurs. Merpeople. Letter of intro to the Tiber River god. Got it. But these brownies--' 'I know,' Frank said, his mouth full. 'Try them with Ester's peach preserves.' 'That,' Hazel said, 'is incredibly disgusting.' 'Pass me the jar, man,' Jason said. Hazel and Piper exchanged a look of total exasperation. Boys.
At this slower pace the journey took a couple of days, and I fought off a few minor threats along the way --griffins, carnivorous plants, giant serpents, hostile centaurs, that sort of thing, purely routine --and I was beginning to get bored when at last the dusky towers of Castle Roogna hove into view.
Should a traveler, returning from a far country, bring us an account of men wholly different from any with whom we were ever acquainted, men who were entirely divested of avarice, ambition, or revenge, who knew no pleasure but friendship, generosity, and public spirit, we should immediately, from these circumstances, detect the falsehood and prove him a liar with the same certainty as if he had stuffed his narration with stories of centaurs and dragons, miracles and prodigies.
I don't believe him, ' said Hermione in a very unsteady voice, the moment they were out of earshot of Hagrid. 'I don't believe him. I really don't believe him... ' 'Calm down, ' said Harry. 'Calm down!' she said feverishly. 'A giant! A giant in the forest! And we're supposed to give him English lessons! Always assuming, of course, we can get past the herd of murderous centaurs on the way in and out! I - don't - believe - him!
My mother used to read to me every night when I was little. We got through most of the major fantasy books of that time. The Narnia books by C.S. Lewis were my favorites and, later, Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. I started making dolls to fill in the gaps of the dolls I had. Obviously we couldn't buy centaurs and fauns and elves and fairies, so I made them to play with the normal dolls I had. I must have been about six years old when I started making fantasy dolls.
For the first time, they were seeing the dream beneath the flesh. Karla stared at the pointed ears that had come from the Dea al Mon, the hands with sheathed claws that had come from the Tigre, the hooves peeking out from beneath the black gown that could have come from the centaurs or the horses or the unicorns. Most of all, she stared at the tiny spiral horn. The living myth. Dreams made flesh. But, oh, had any of them really thought about who the dreamers had been? No wonder the kindred love her. No wonder we've all loved her. Karla quietly cleared her throat to ask the question she suddenly hoped wouldn't be answered. "Who is going to war with Terreille?" "I am, " Witch said.
The pure, absolute quality and nature of each note in itself are only appreciated by the strummer. For some notes have all the sea in them, and some cathedral bells; others a woodland joyance and a smell of greenery; in some fauns dance to the merry reed, and even the grave centaurs peep out from their caves. Some bring moonlight, and some the deep crimson of a rose's heart; some are blue, some red, and others will tell of an army with silken standards and march-music. And throughout all the sequence of suggestion, up above the little white men leap and peep, and strive against the imprisoning wires; and all the big rosewood box hums as it were full of hiving bees.
Not long ago-incredible though it may seem-I heard a clerk of Oxford declare that he 'welcomed' the proximity of mass-production robot factories, and the roar of self-obstructive traffic, because it brought his university into 'contact with real life.' He may have meant that the way men were living and working in the twentieth century was increasing in barbarity at an alarming rate, and that the loud demonstration of this in the streets of Oxford might serve as a warning that it is not possible to preserve for long an oasis of sanity in a desert of unreason by mere fences, without actual offensive action (practical and intellectual). I fear he did not. In any case the expression 'real life' in this context seems to fall short of academic standards. The notion that motor-cars are more 'alive' than, say, centaurs or dragons is curious; that they are more 'real' than, say, horses is pathetically absurd. How real, how startlingly alive is a factory chimney compared with an elm tree: poor obsolete thing, insubstantial dream of an escapist!
For some reason, the sight of snow descending on fire always makes me think of the ancient world - legionaries in sheepskin warming themselves at a brazier: mountain altars where offerings glow between wintry pillars; centaurs with torches cantering beside a frozen sea - scattered, unco-ordinated shapes from a fabulous past, infinitely removed from life; and yet bringing with them memories of things real and imagined. These classical projections, and something in the physical attitudes of the men themselves as they turned from the fire, suddenly suggested Poussin's scene in which the Seasons, hand in hand and facing outward, tread in rhythm to the notes of the lyre that the winged and naked greybeard plays. The image of Time brought thoughts of mortality: of human beings, facing outwards like the Seasons, moving hand in hand in intricate measure: stepping slowly, methodically, sometimes a trifle awkwardly, in evolutions that take recognisable shape: or breaking into seeminly meaningless gyrations, while partners disappear only to reappear again, once more giving pattern to the spectacle: unable to control the melody, unable, perhaps, to control the steps of the dance.