The Light Princess

by George MacDonald

The Light Princess

A princess is cursed to have no gravity.

Source: MacDonald, G. (1864). The Light Princess. London, England: Hurst and Blackett.

Story 1: “What! No Children?”
A king and queen have no children. The king becomes very upset with the queen and finally she gives him a beautiful daughter.
Story 2: “Won’t I Just?”
The king forgets to invite his sister to the christening of his new child. She becomes very angry and puts a curse on the little princess.
Story 3: “She Can’t Be Ours!”
The king and queen discover the princess has been bewitched when she appears weightless and floats when they release her.
Story 4: “Where Is She?”
An anecdote about the young princess. She floats out of the open window as she sleeps and causes a panic among the inhabitants of the castle.
Story 5: “What Is to Be Done?”
The king and the queen quarrel about what is to be done about the curse on their princess. The king tries to apologize to his sister, but she tells him to mend his ways and be patient.
Story 6: “She Laughs Too Much”
The princess grows normally even though she is weightless. She never sees the seriousness of situations and can only laugh, although she never smiles.
Story 7: “Try Metaphysics”
The king and queen continue to worry about her condition and consult two Chinese philosophers. However, they decide not to subject her to their crazy solutions.
Story 8: “Try a Drop of Water”
It is discovered that the princess gains gravity in water. Therefore, the two Chinese philosophers determine that she may be cured if she should cry because it is a deeper source of water.
Story 9: “Put Me in Again!”
The princess meets a very selective prince. He immediately falls in love with her quirky personality and surreal condition as they swim in the lake beside the palace.
Story 10: “Look at the Moon”
The prince and princess grow closer as they swim together in the lake. He speaks to her about love, and although she laughs, she becomes more like a modest maiden.
Story 11: “Hiss!”
When the princess goes swimming, she realizes the lake is draining away. The witch-princess who cursed her is ensuring her misery by taking away the lake that was her only joy.
Story 12: “Where Is the Prince?”
As the lake drains away, the princess becomes more and more flighty. She becomes sickly and cannot remember the prince or her mother and father. The only solution is for a man to willingly give his life to stop the hole in the lake.
Story 13: “Here I Am!”
The prince decides to offer himself as the sacrifice for the princess and her lake.
Story 14: “This Is Very Kind of You”
The prince wedges himself in the hole and is nearly drowned and unconscious when the princess saves him from his dark fate.
Story 15: “Look at the Rain!”
The princess sobs over her prince and with that, she falls for the first time. It begins to rain outside and the lake fills as she gains her gravity. The princess learns to walk and she married the prince. They live happily ever after.
  • Year Published: 1864
  • Language: English
  • Country of Origin: Scotland
  • Readability:
    • Flesch–Kincaid Level: 5.4
  • Word Count: 16,012
  • Genre: Fairy Tale/Folk Tale
  • Keywords: 19th century literature, british literature, children's literature, childrenõs literature, fairy tales, the light princess
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