The Guardian of the Threshold in 19th century Literature


This is a story called ‘The Princess and Curdie’, written by George Macdonald in the 19th century (one of my faves growing up).

In the story, the hero (Curdie) goes on a quest to save the Princess’s father, the King. He is very ill, due to unknowingly being poisoned by his political adversaries on a daily basis. It’s up to Curdie to save the Kingdom from these malefactors.

So the Fairy Queen casts a spell on Curdie’s eyes, and a Beast appears before him of crocodilian/reptilian/canine dimensions, a horrid creature that Curdie detests at first but comes to love when the creature proves itself useful more than one time during the quest.

At the end of the story, when Curdie fulfills his quest, the Fairy Queen casts Curdie’s beast into the Fire, and the fire purifies the Beast, who transforms first into a lovely lady before disappearing into the Light.

Macdonald was unfamiliar with any kind of esoterism, but he was an inspired man. In this sense, I believe Curdie’s beast is symbolic of the lower guardian of the threshold.

I wonder if this is what happens when we meet the actual living spiritual being known as the guardian. Does he follow us around all day, just like Curdie’s beast followed him around? And will our own personal guardian help us out in our quests?

I certainly hope so. I wouldn’t mind hanging around a horrid beast all day if it could prove itself useful

Oh, and Curdie’s beast had a name, as well. All of God’s creatures should have names, including our own personal Beasts.

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