Best of Series,  Fairy Tales,  Show Notes

Episode 168: The “Best of” Series – Witches, Wizards, and Magic, Oh My!!, Ep. 104

This week on The Literary Life Podcast we are pleased to bring you another “Best Of” series replay of one of our most popular episodes. Today our hosts Angelina Stanford, Cindy Rollins and Thomas Banks tackle the tough questions so many people ask about reading stories dealing with magic. First off, Angelina affirms the need to discernment and the desire to steer clear of that which would be a stumbling block for our children. Cindy shares a little about her own concern when her children were very young. Then they set the groundwork by defining some terms and considering the kinds of questions we need to ask, beginning with Scripture and the church fathers. Be sure to listen to the end when Angelina, Cindy and Thomas suggest some criteria for evaluating magic elements in books before handing them to their students.

Listen to The Literary Life:

Commonplace Quotes:

I am not conscious of having ever bought a book from a motive of ostentation.

Edward Gibbon

There is no language and no knowledge without symbol and metaphor. Two consequences arise from this: one is that we require imagination both to make and to interpret symbols, and the other is that symbols themselves beckon us through language to that which is beyond language. In other words, symbols are energized between the two poles (as Coleridge would say) of immanence and transcendence.

Malcolm Guite

Incidentally, we do not know of a single healthy and powerful book used to educate people (and that includes the Bible) in which such delicate matters do not actually appear to an even greater extent. Proper usage sees no evil here, but finds, as an attractive saying has it, a document of our hearts. Children can read the stars without fear, while others, so superstition has it, insult angels by doing the same thing.

Wilhelm Grimm

The Queen Mab Speech

by William Shakespeare

O, then I see Queen Mab hath been with you.
She is the fairies’ midwife, and she comes
In shape no bigger than an agate stone
On the forefinger of an alderman,
Drawn with a team of little atomies
Over men’s noses as they lie asleep;
Her wagon spokes made of long spinners’ legs,
The cover, of the wings of grasshoppers;
Her traces, of the smallest spider web;
Her collars, of the moonshine’s wat’ry beams;
Her whip, of cricket’s bone; the lash, of film;
Her wagoner, a small grey-coated gnat,
Not half so big as a round little worm
Pricked from the lazy finger of a maid;
Her chariot is an empty hazelnut,
Made by the joiner squirrel or old grub,
Time out o’ mind the fairies’ coachmakers.
And in this state she gallops night by night
Through lovers’ brains, and then they dream of love;
O’er courtiers’ knees, that dream on curtsies straight;
O’er lawyers’ fingers, who straight dream on fees;
O’er ladies’ lips, who straight on kisses dream,
Which oft the angry Mab with blisters plagues,
Because their breaths with sweetmeats tainted are.
Sometimes she gallops o’er a courtier’s nose,
And then dreams he of smelling out a suit;
And sometimes comes she with a tithe-pig’s tail
Tickling a parson’s nose as ‘a lies asleep,
Then dreams he of another benefice.
Sometimes she driveth o’er a soldier’s neck,
And then dreams he of cutting foreign throats,
Of breaches, ambuscades, Spanish blades,
Of healths five fathom deep; and then anon
Drums in his ear, at which he starts and wakes,
And being thus frighted, swears a prayer or two
And sleeps again. This is that very Mab
That plats the manes of horses in the night
And bakes the elflocks in foul sluttish hairs,
Which once untangled much misfortune bodes.
This is the hag, when maids lie on their backs,
That presses them and learns them first to bear,
Making them women of good carriage.
This is she!

Book List:

Memoirs of My Life by Edward Gibbon

Faith, Hope, and Poetry by Malcolm Guite

Wings and the Child by Edith Nesbit

Support The Literary Life:

Become a patron of The Literary Life podcast as part of the “Friends and Fellows Community” on Patreon, and get some amazing bonus content! Thanks for your support!

Connect with Us:

You can find Angelina and Thomas at, on Instagram @angelinastanford, and on Facebook at

Find Cindy at, on Instagram @cindyordoamoris and on Facebook at Check out Cindy’s own Patreon page also!

Follow The Literary Life on Instagram, and jump into our private Facebook group, The Literary Life Discussion Group, and let’s get the book talk going!

Subscribe to The Lit Life:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *