The Golden Key - by George MacDonald
Touted by The Horn Book as the “most beautiful of allegorical fairy tales,” this story is sure to open your child’s imagination to entirely new possibilities. This is an ideal fairy tale uniquely revealing an atmosphere of spiritual peace. It is the story of a boy and a girl who live on the edge of Fairyland. The boy has been told that there is a golden key at the end of the rainbow, and this key is not to be sold and no one knows the door it can open--only that this door leads somewhere marvelous. When he finally sees a rainbow he follows it across the border into Fairyland and finds the golden key. During this time the girl, who is very much ill-treated, wanders into the Fairyland forest while following a mysterious owl-like flying fish. On this ramble she meets an attractive ageless woman and discovers that she will be journeying with the boy in search of the keyhole the key will fit. The trek is long and remarkable as they meet some wise old men and distinctive sights until, at last, they find the keyhole. The ending is a surprise, but the poet W.H. Auden recommends that the reader should just allow himself to be enthralled by these charming, haunting symbols.