Today, a passage from one of many books that my mother required me to read in moments when my behavior wasn’t the best. Actually, though–this isn’t from one of those books, but a book downstream in the series that she made me start with Book One. Funny how often those books she made me read were Book One…it’s like she knew what she was doing.
This is the closing two paragraphs from Lloyd Alexander’s The High King, itself the final volume in Alexander’s series The Prydain Chronicles, which was my gateway into epic fantasy and adventure stories. I suppose there are spoilers here, but these books have been around forever, so I make no apologies.
This ending is one of the most perfect endings I know. I hope I can end at least one story half so well as Alexander ended this one.
In the waiting throng beyond the cottage, Taran glimsed Hevydd, Llassar, the folk of the Commots, Gast and Goryon side by side near the farmer Aeddan, King Smoit towering above them, his beard bright as flame. But many were the well-loved faces he saw clearly only with his heart. A sudden burst of cheering voices greeted him as he took Eilonwy’s hand tightly in his own and stepped through the door.
And so they lived many happy years, and the promised tasks were accomplished. Yet long afterward, when all had passed away into distant memory, there were many who wondered whether King Taran, Queen Eilonwy, and their companions had indeed walked the earth, or whether they had been no more than dreams in a tale set down to beguile children. And, in time, only the bards knew the truth of it.