Online Study Guide: The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart - Book Summary|
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THE CRYSTAL CAVE: LITERARY CRITICISM / ONLINE NOTES
The pictures that fly before Merlin’s eyes in the globe where he hides
are foreshadowing of the power of the crystal cave. Later, whenever he
has a dream or is overcome by the Sight, he frequently imagines himself
or his vision within a crystal globe. Obviously, the vision of the crimson
dragon is one which foreshadows the rise of Ambrosius and Uther Pendragon.
The man who lives in the cave is dressed like a hermit with gray hair and a beard. Merlin jumps past him to escape, but when the man laughs, he stops short to look more closely. He has the characteristics of a hard-working, good man, so Merlin turns back when asked.
The man tells Merlin that he knew the boy would come some day and that he knew someone was there that day by the bats and maybe some other way, (he, too, has the Sight). His name is Galapas and he says he belongs to no man or no woman. Merlin wonders if he is a holy man, men who wandered around teaching their own version of the gods or of god. Merlin was never sure if there were many or only one. But Galapas tells him that he had to leave the wooden god outside his “due,” because it is never good to neglect the gods of any place. In the end, they are all one.
Galapas explains that he is a teacher who has come to the cave to study. He has been studying how the bats live. He shows Merlin his books, specifically one that shows the skeleton of a bat. That began his first lesson with Galapas.
Merlin asks to come again, but cautions Galapas that he never knows
when he can get free. Galapas assures him that he knows when he will come.
Merlin then begins to come to the cave for lessons from Galapas once or
twice a week. No one misses him and Cerdic and Demetrius never tell that
he is gone. He learns about Galapas’ travels, practical things, the beasts
and the birds, basic health care, and a few spells, like charming warts.
Galapas explains how to read a map and shows him Britain up to Hadrian’s
Wall. He even teaches him astronomy and helps him make a harp to play
music. Finally, when Merlin turns twelve, Galapas speaks of the crystal
Once again, Merlin meets up with someone who seems to know so much and have
so much to teach. Merlin himself will always believe he is being guided
by the gods. It’s as if the gods have sent Galapas to help prepare Merlin
for his fate. He, too, has the Sight and begins to help Merlin discover
the world and some of the power he possesses. Galapas is the way-star
that was guiding Merlin to the cave.
New names in this chapter: Galapas, a Seer and Teacher who mysteriously
appears when Merlin needs more understanding of his abilities than Demetrius
or any other tutor can give him.
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Clapsaddle, Diane. "TheBestNotes on The Crystal Cave".
. 09 May 2017