On the third day of Anodos' time in the palace, which the small boat has brought him to, he discovers a great library. He spends many hours there reading stories in which he finds "Mine was the whole story" [76]. One of these stories is about Cosmo, a man who purchases an old mirror in which he is able to see a woman when she appears there in the evenings.

Cosmo was now in a state of extravagant delight. Most men have a secret treasure somewhere. The miser has his golden hoard; the virtuoso his pet ring; the student his rare book; the poet his favourite haunt; the lover his secret drawer; but Cosmo had a mirror with a lovely lady in it. And now that he knew by the skeleton, that she was affected by the things around her, he had a new object in life: he would turn the bare chamber in the mirror into a room such as no lady need disdain to call her own. This he could effect only by furnishing and adorning his. And Cosmo was poor. Yet he possessed accomplishments that could be turned to account; although, hitherto, he had preferred living on his slender allowance, to increasing his means by what his pride considered unworthy of his rank. [93]


In MacDonald's listing of men and their secret treasures, he deviates from his list's structure when he describes Cosmo's treasure. Why does he set it apart? What makes Cosmo's treasure different from those of other men?

What is the effect of MacDonald's usage of one short sentence, "And Cosmo was poor" amidst a passage full of much longer sentences? Why does he choose to set this idea apart?

How can Cosmo's story be seen as Anodos'? Who in this story is most like Anodos?


MacDonald, George. Phantastes. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2000.

Last modified 7 February 2004