The Well at the World's End

Open Road Media
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The epic fantasy novel that defined the genre, now in one volume

As the youngest son of a king, Ralph of Upmeads is expected to forsake adventure for the safety of home. But the call of the Well at the World’s End is too powerful to resist, and Ralph disobeys his parents in order to seek out his true destiny in its magical waters. The journey is long and arduous as the well lies on the far side of a distant mountain range and the lands beyond Upmeads are full of treacherous characters. With the help of a beautiful maiden and an ancient hermit, Ralph completes his quest and raises the cup of immortality and wisdom to his lips. The question is, what will he do with his newfound powers?
Widely recognized as the forerunner to modern fantasy, The Well at the World’s End is a magnificent tale of romance and adventure and a major influence on the works of J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis.
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About the author

William Morris (1834–1896) was an English author, poet, and artist whose epic works of fantasy established the conventions of the genre and influenced J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis. 
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Additional Information

Open Road Media
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Published on
Aug 26, 2014
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Fiction / Classics
Fiction / Fantasy / Collections & Anthologies
Fiction / Fantasy / Epic
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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William Morris



Sometimes I am rewarded for fretting myself so much about present

matters by a quite unasked-for pleasant dream. I mean when I am

asleep. This dream is as it were a present of an architectural

peep-show. I see some beautiful and noble building new made, as

it were for the occasion, as clearly as if I were awake; not

vaguely or absurdly, as often happens in dreams, but with all the

detail clear and reasonable. Some Elizabethan house with its

scrap of earlier fourteenth-century building, and its later

degradations of Queen Anne and Silly Billy and Victoria,

marring but not destroying it, in an old village once a clearing

amid the sandy woodlands of Sussex. Or an old and unusually

curious church, much churchwardened, and beside it a fragment of

fifteenth-century domestic architecture amongst the not

unpicturesque lath and plaster of an Essex farm, and looking

natural enough among the sleepy elms and the meditative hens

scratching about in the litter of the farmyard, whose trodden

yellow straw comes up to the very jambs of the richly carved

Norman doorway of the church. Or sometimes 'tis a splendid

collegiate church, untouched by restoring parson and architect,

standing amid an island of shapely trees and flower-beset

cottages of thatched grey stone and cob, amidst the narrow

stretch of bright green water-meadows that wind between the

sweeping Wiltshire downs, so well beloved of William Cobbett. Or

some new-seen and yet familiar cluster of houses in a grey

village of the upper Thames overtopped by the delicate tracery

of a fourteenth-century church; or even sometimes the very

buildings of the past untouched by the degradation of the sordid

utilitarianism that cares not and knows not of beauty and

history: as once, when I was journeying (in a dream of the night)

down the well-remembered reaches of the Thames betwixt Streatley

and Wallingford, where the foothills of the White Horse fall back

from the broad stream, I came upon a clear-seen mediaeval town

standing up with roof and tower and spire within its walls, grey

and ancient, but untouched from the days of its builders of old.

All this I have seen in the dreams of the night clearer than I

can force myself to see them in dreams of the day. So that it

would have been nothing new to me the other night to fall into an

architectural dream if that were all, and yet I have to tell of

things strange and new that befell me after I had fallen asleep.

I had begun my sojourn in the Land of Nod by a very confused

attempt to conclude that it was all right for me to have an

engagement to lecture at Manchester and Mitcham Fair Green at

half-past eleven at night on one and the same Sunday, and that I

could manage pretty well. And then I had gone on to try to make

the best of addressing a large open-air audience in the costume I

was really then wearing--to wit, my night-shirt, reinforced for

the dream occasion by a pair of braceless trousers. The

consciousness of this fact so bothered me, that the earnest faces

of my audience--who would NOT notice it, but were clearly

preparing terrible anti-Socialist posers for me--began to fade

away and my dream grew thin, and I awoke (as I thought) to find

myself lying on a strip of wayside waste by an oak copse just

outside a country village.

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