'Here I am, my Bastian.'
'Is it you, Moonchild?'
She laughed in a strangely lilting way.
'Who else would I be? Why you've just given me my lovely new name.
Thank you for it. Welcome, my savior and my hero.'
'Where are we, Moonchild?'
'I am with you, and you are with me.'
Dream words. Yet Bastian knew for sure he was awake and not dreaming.
'Moonchild,' he whispered. 'Is this the end?'
'No,' she replied, 'it's the beginning.'
'Why is it so dark, Moonchild?' he asked.
'The beginning is always dark, my Bastian.'
'I'd awfully like to see you again, Moonchild.
The way you were when you looked at me.'
Again he heard a soft, lilting laugh.
'Why are you laughing?'
'Because I'm happy.'
'You've just made your first wish.'
'Will you make it come true?'
'Auryn is the door that Bastian has been looking for. He carried it with him from the start. But, it says, the snakes won't let anything belonging to Fantasia cross the threshold. Bastian must therefore give up everything The Childlike Empress gave him. Otherwise he cannot drink of The Water of Life.'
'But we are in her sign!' cried Atreyu. 'Isn't she herself here?'
'It says that Moonchild's power ends here. She is the only one who can never set foot in this place. She cannot penetrate to the center of Auryn because she cannot cast off her own self.' Atreyu was too bewildered to speak. 'Now,' said Falkor, 'it's asking whether Bastian is ready.'
At that moment, the enormous black snake's head began to move very slowly without releasing the white snake's tail. The gigantic bodies arched until they formed a gate, one half of which was black and the other white.
Atreyu took Bastian by the hand and led him through the terrible gate toward the fountain, which now lay before them in all its grandeur. Falkor followed. As they advanced, one after another Bastian's Fantasian gifts fell away from him. The strong, handsome, fearless hero became again the small, fat, timid boy. Even his clothing, which had been reduced to rags in the Minroud Mine, vanished and dissolved into nothingness. In the end, he stood naked before the great golden bowl, at the center of which The Water of Life leapt high into the air like a crystal tree.
In this last moment, when he no longer possessed any of the Fantasian gifts, but had not yet recovered his memory of his own world and himself, he was in a state of utter uncertainty, not knowing which world he belonged to or whether he really existed.
But then he jumped into the crystal-clear water. He splashed and sputtered and let the sparkling rain fall in his mouth. He drank until his thirst was quenched. And joy filled him from head to foot, the joy of living and the joy of being himself. He was newborn. And the best part of it was that he was now the very person he wanted to be. If he had been free to chose, he would have chosen to be no one else. Because now he knew that there were thousands and thousands of forms of joy in the world, but that all were essentially one and the same, namely, the joy of being able to love.
And much later, long after Bastian had returned to the real world, in his maturity and even in his old age, this joy never left him entirely. Even in the hardest moments of his life he preserved a light heartedness that made him smile and that comforted others.
~ The Neverending Story by Michael Ende
This brilliant masterpiece and modern classic has captivated millions of readers worldwide since it was published three decades ago. It was adapted for the screen in the 80's, but the film was before its time and didn't serve the book justice, which includes a beautiful finale at The Fountain of The Water of Life.
The Neverending Story begins with a boy named Bastian who reads the same book and becomes the hero of it by giving The Childlike Empress of Fantasia a new name before The Nothing destroys it. Bastian enters Fantasia where Moonchild grants him a wish, but all his realities become fantasies and he must cross the threshold at The Fountain of The Water of Life to return to the real world.
I.M. Pei is the architect of both the pyramid at the Louvre in Paris and Javits Convention Center in New York City where I am looking for a producer for The Neverending Story on stage. Both an opera and ballet score have been composed by Siegfried Matthus. And along with the Kennedy/Marshall Co. and Appian Way, Warner Bros. Pictures is producing The Neverending Story as a modern feature film with an original soundtrack.
"We have not even to risk the adventure alone. For the heroes of all time have gone before us. The labyrinth is thoroughly known. We have only to follow the thread of the hero path. And where we had thought to find an abomination, we shall find a god. Where we had thought to slay another, we shall slay ourselves. Where we had thought to travel outward, we shall come to the center of our own existence. Where we had thought to be alone,
we shall be with all the world."
~ Joseph Campbell
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Can save us from the evil spell.
For we are figures in a book -
We do what we are invented for.
But we can fashion nothing new
And cannot change from what we are.
But there's a realm outside Fantasia.
The outer world is its name.
The people who live there are rich indeed
And not at all the same.
Born of the world, the children of man,
Or humans as they're sometimes called,
Have had the gift of giving names
Ever since our worlds began.
In every age it's they who gave
The Childlike Empress life.
For wondrous new names
Have the power to save.
But now for many and many a day,
No human has visited Fantasia
For they no longer know the way.
They have forgotten how real we are.
They don't believe in us anymore.
Oh, if only one child of man would come,
Oh, then at last the thing would be done.
If only one could hear our plea.
For them it is near, but for us too far.
Never can we go out to them
For theirs is the world of reality.
But tell me, my hero, you so young,
Will you remember what I have sung?
~ The Neverending Story by Michael Ende