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The Phoenix and the Carpet

E. Nesbit

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Testo in en
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Dimensioni: 700,7 KB
  • EAN: 9788832529180
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The Phoenix and the Carpet is a fantasy novel for children, written by E. Nesbit and first published in 1904. It is the second in a trilogy of novels that begins with Five Children and It (1902), and follows the adventures of the same five children: Cyril, Anthea, Robert, Jane and the Lamb. Their mother buys the children a new carpet to replace one from the nursery that they have destroyed in an accidental fire. The children find an egg in the carpet, which hatches into a talking Phoenix. The Phoenix explains that the carpet is a magic one that will grant them three wishes a day. The five children go on many adventures, which eventually wears out their magic carpet. The adventures are continued and concluded in the third book of the trilogy, The Story of the Amulet (1906).

This middle volume of the trilogy that begins with Five Children and It and concludes with The Story of the Amulet, and deviates somewhat from the other two in that the Psammead is mentioned only briefly, and in this volume the five children live with both their parents in the family home in London. In both the other volumes, circumstances have forced the children to spend protracted periods away from their home and their father.

A continuing theme throughout The Phoenix and the Carpet is the ancient element of fire. The story begins shortly before 5 November, celebrated in Britain as Guy Fawkes Night. The four children have accumulated a small hoard of fireworks for the night, but they are too impatient to wait until 5 November to light them, so they set off a few samples in the nursery. This results in the fire that destroys the carpet. Their parents purchase a second-hand carpet which is found to contain an egg that emits a phosphorescent glow. The children accidentally knock this egg into the fire: it hatches, revealing a golden talking Phoenix.

It develops that this is a magic carpet that can transport the children anywhere they wish in the present time, although it is capable of satisfying only three wishes a day. Accompanied by the Phoenix, the children have exotic adventures. There is one moment of terror when the youngest, the baby known as the Lamb, crawls onto the carpet, babbles incoherently and vanishes, but it turns out that the Lamb only desires to be with his mother.

At a few points in the novel, the children find themselves in predicaments from which the Phoenix is unable to rescue them by himself, so he goes to find the Psammead and has a wish granted for the children's sake. In addition, at the end the carpet is sent to ask the Psammead to grant the Phoenix's wish. These offstage incidents are the only contributions made by the Psammead to this story.

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