The Return of the King
Pippin looked out from under the shelter of Gandalf’s cloak.
“Well, I’m back,” he said.
The Good Earth
It was Wang Lung’s marriage day.
But over the old man’s head they looked at each other and smiled.
The Last Battle
In the last days of Narnia, far up to the west beyond Lantern Waste and close beside the great waterfall, there lived an Ape.
All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.
Memoirs of a Geisha
Suppose that you and I were sitting in a quiet room overlooking a garden, chatting and sipping at our cups of green tea while we talked about something that had happened a long while ago, and I said to you, “That afternoon when I met so-and-so…was the very best afternoon of my life, and also the very worst afternoon.”
Whatever our struggles and triumphs, however we may suffer them, all too soon they bleed into a wash, just like watery ink on paper.
The Legend of the King
Sir Dinadan of Camelot, knight of the Fellowship of Arthur’s Round Table, emissary of Emperor Alis of Constantinople to the Seljuk Turks, sniffed cautiously at his left armpit. (It smelled very bad.)
As for Dinadan, he and Palomides rode the length and breadth of England—and every other nation—singing the tales of Arthur and his knights to everyone who would listen, in every language they could learn, for as long as they both lived.
North and South
“Edith!” said Margaret, gently, “Edith!”
“Hush!” said Margaret, “or I shall try and show you your mother’s indignant tones as she says, ‘That woman!’”
The High King
Under a chill, gray sky, two riders jogged across the turf.
And, in time, only the bards knew the truth of it.
The Dark is Rising
“Too many!” James shouted, and slammed the door behind him.
And in a great blaze of yellow-white light, the sun rose over Hunter’s Combe and the valley of the Thames.
The Empty House
It was in the spring of the year 1894 that all London was interested, and the fashionable world dismayed, but the murder of the Honorable Ronald Adair, under most unusual and inexplicable circumstances.
“Meanwhile, come what may, Colonel Moran will trouble us no more, the famous air-gun of Von Herder will embellish the Scotland Yard Museum, and once again Mr. Sherlock Holmes is free to devote his life to examining those interesting little problems which the complex life of London so plentifully presents.”
To Kill a Mockingbird
When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow.
He would be there all night, and he would be there when Jem waked up in the morning.
Out of all of these openings and closings, words that for me conquer up memories of some of my favorite stories and characters, my favorite pair is the opening and closing lines from “The Last Battle”. The opening is simple, yet it introduces the story so completely, and the ending is so beautiful it always makes me cry, for the end is not the end—it is only the beginning of something greater.