We envied the princesses and the younger princes particularly. They were allowed to stay in Windsor most of the year. Court gossip said that the Queen, being foreign, had threatened to go back to Denmark unless she was allowed to stay in one place. Everyone pitied the Queen rather for not understanding that the King had to travel about in order to keep the realm healthy. Some said that the whole magic of the Islands of Blest -- or maybe the entire world of Blest -- depended on the King's constantly moving about and visiting every acre of England.
I asked my grandfather Hyde about this. He is a Magid and knows about the magics of countries and worlds and so on. And he said that there might be something in this, but he thought people were overstating the case. The magic of Blest was very important for all sorts of reasons, he said, but it was the Merlin who was really entrusted with keeping it healthy.
The foregoing is excerpted from The Merlin Conspiracy by Diana Wynne Jones. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced without written permission from HarperCollins Publishers, 10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022.
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