Last modified on 3 August 2014, at 17:04

The Neverending Story

The Childlike Empress — as her title indicates — was looked upon as the ruler over all the innumerable provinces of the Fantastican Empire, but in reality she was far more than a ruler; she was something entirely different.

Die Unendliche Geschichte (1979) is a fantasy novel by Michael Ende which was translated into English by Ralph Manheim as The Neverending Story (1983).

See also: The NeverEnding Story (film)

The Neverending StoryEdit

Everyone in Fantastica knew what the medallion meant… Everyone knew its name… But many, who feared to pronounce the name, called it the "Gem" or the "Glory".
You may only search and inquire, never judge. Always remember that, Atreyu!
Luckdragons are among the strangest animals in Fantastica...
Then he let the amulet go.
In that moment AURYN, the golden Gem, became so bright, so radiant that he had to close his eyes as though dazzled by the sun.
I am the Water of Life,
Out of myself I grow.
The more you drink of me,
The fuller I will flow.
There are people that can't go to Fantastica. There are those who can but never return. And there are just a few who go to Fantastica and come back. And they make both worlds well again.
There are many doors to Fantastica. There are other such magical books. A lot of people read them without noticing. It all depends on who lays hands on the book.
  • Human passions have mysterious ways, in children as well as grown-ups. Those affected by them can't explain them, and those who haven't known them have no understanding of them at all. Some people risk their lives to conquer a mountain peak. No one, not even they themselves, can really explain why. Others ruin themselves trying to win the heart of a certain person who wants nothing to do with them. Still others are destroyed by their devotion to the pleasures of the table. Some are so bent on winning a game of chance that they lose everything they own, and some sacrifice every thing for a dream that can never come true. Some think their only hope of happiness lies in being somewhere else, and spend their whole lives traveling from place to place. And some find no rest until they have become powerful. In short, there are as many different passions as there are people.
    • Prologue
  • The Childlike Empress — as her title indicates — was looked upon as the ruler over all the innumerable provinces of the Fantastican Empire, but in reality she was far more than a ruler; she was something entirely different.
    She didn't rule, she had never used force or made use of her power. She never issued commands and she never judged anyone.
    She never interfered with anyone and never had to defend herself against any assailant; for no one would have thought of rebelling against her or of harming her in any way. In her eyes all her subjects were equal.
    She was simply there in a special way. She was the center of all life in Fantastica.
    And every creature, whether good or bad, beautiful or ugly, merry or solemn, foolish or wise — all owed their existence to her existence. Without her, nothing could have lived, any more than a human body can live if it has lost its heart.
    All knew this to be so, though no one fully understood her secret. Thus she was respected by all the creatures of the Empire, and her health was of equal concern to them all. For her death would have meant the end of them all, the end of the boundless Fantastican realm.
  • Everyone in Fantastica knew what the medallion meant. It was the badge of one acting on orders from the Childlike Empress, acting in her name as though she herself were present.
    It was said to give the bearer mysterious powers, though no one knew exactly what these powers were. Everyone knew its name: AURYN.
    But many, who feared to pronounce the name, called it the "Gem" or the "Glory".
    • Ch. II : Atreyu's Mission
  • It's doubtful whether even the greatest, most experienced of heroes could carry out this mission ... and you! ... She's sending you into the unfathomable to look for the unknown. ... No one can help you, no one can advise you, no one can foresee what will befall you. And yet you must decide at once, immediately, whether or not you accept the mission. There's not a moment to be lost.
    • Cairon to Atreyu in Ch. II : Atreyu's Mission
  • AURYN gives you great power ... but you must not make use of it. For the Childlike Empress herself never makes use of her power. AURYN will protect you and guide you, but whatever comes your way you must never interfere, because from this moment on your own opinion ceases to count. For that same reason you must go unarmed. You must let what happens happen. Everything must be equal in your eyes, good and evil, beautiful and ugly, foolish and wise, just as it is in the eyes of the Childlike Empress. You may only search and inquire, never judge. Always remember that, Atreyu!
    • Cairon to Atreyu in Ch. II : Atreyu's Mission
  • Your life is short, son. Ours is long. Much too long. But we both live in time. You a short time. We a long time. The Childlike Empress has always been there. But she's not old. She has always been young. She still is. Her life isn't measured by time, but by names. She needs a new name. She keeps needing new names.
    • Morla, in Ch. III : Morla the Aged One
  • What I've started I must finish. I've gone too far to turn back. Regardless of what may happen, I have to go forward.
  • Luckdragons are among the strangest animals in Fantastica. They bear no resemblance to ordinary dragons, which look like loathsome snakes and live in deep caves, diffusing a noxious stench and guarding some real or imaginary treasure. Such spawn of chaos are usually wicked or ill-tempered, they have batlike wings with which they can rise clumsily and noisily into the air, and they spew fire and smoke. Luckdragons are creatures of air, warmth, and pure joy. Despite their great size, they are as light as a summer cloud, and consequently need no wings for flying. They swim in the air of heaven as fish swim in water. Seen from the earth, they look like slow lightning flashes. The most amazing thing about them is their song. Their voice sounds like the golden note of a large bell, and when they speak softly the bell seems to be ringing in the distance. Anyone who has heard this sound will remember it as long as he lives and tell his grandchildren about it.
    • Ch. IV : Ygramul the Many
  • The sphinxes shut their eyes for some travelers and let them through. The question that no one has answered up until now is this: Why one traveler and not another? Because you mustn't suppose they let wise, brave, or good people through, and keep the stupid, cowardly, and wicked out. Not a bit of it! With my own eyes I've seen them admit stupid fools and treacherous knaves, while decent, sensible people have given up after being kept waiting for months. And it seems to make no difference whether a person has some serious reason for consulting the Oracle, or whether he's just come for the fun of it.
    • Engywook, in Ch. VI : The Three Magic Gates
  • If no one has told you who or what Uyulala is, there must be a reason. And before I know what that reason is, I can't decide whether someone who hasn't seen her with his own eyes has a right to know.
    • Atreyu, in Ch. VI : The Three Magic Gates
  • Oh, nothing can happen more than once,
    But all things must happen one day

    Over hill and dale, over wood and stream,
    My dying voice will blow away...
    • Ch. VII : The Voice of Silence
  • There is in Fantastica a certain place from which one can go anywhere and which can be reached from anywhere. We call it the Temple of a Thousand Doors. No one has ever seen it from outside. The inside is a maze of doors. Anyone wishing to know it must dare to enter it.
    • Grograman, in Ch. XV : Grograman, the Many-Colored Death
  • Bastian had shown the lion the inscription on the reverse side of the Gem. "What do you suppose it means?" he asked. "'DO WHAT YOU WISH.' That must mean I can do anything I feel like. Don't you think so?"
    All at once Grograman's face looked alarmingly grave, and his eyes glowed.
    "No," he said in his deep, rumbling voice. "It means that you must do what you really and truly want. And nothing is more difficult."
    "What I really and truly want? What do you mean by that?"
    "It's your own deepest secret and you yourself don't know it."
    • Ch. XV : Grograman, the Many-Colored Death
  • Slowly the boy without a name reached for the gold chain around his neck and divested himself of AURYN. He bent down and carefully laid the Gem in the snow before Atreyu. As he did so, he took another look at the two snakes, the one light, the other dark, which were biting each other's tail and formed an oval. Then he let the amulet go.
    In that moment AURYN, the golden Gem, became so bright, so radiant that he had to close his eyes as though dazzled by the sun.
    When he opened them again, he saw that he was in a vaulted building, as large as the vault of the sky. It was built from blocks of golden light. And in the middle of this immeasurable space lay, as big as the ramparts of a town, the two snakes.
    • Ch. XXVI : The Water of Life
  • The motionless bodies of the snakes glistened like some unknown metal, the one black as night, the other silvery white. The havoc they could wreak was checked only because they held each other prisoner. If they let each other go, the world would end. That was certain.
    But while holding each other fast, they guarded the Water of Life.
    • Ch. XXVI : The Water of Life
  • I am the Water of Life,
    Out of myself I grow.
    The more you drink of me,
    The fuller I will flow.
    • The Water of Life, in Ch. XXVI : The Water of Life
  • There are people that can't go to Fantastica. There are those who can but never return. And there are just a few who go to Fantastica and come back. And they make both worlds well again.
  • There are many doors to Fantastica. There are other such magical books. A lot of people read them without noticing. It all depends on who lays hands on the book.
    • Mr. Coreander, in Ch. XXVI : The Water of Life

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