The Phoenix and the Carpet
Edith Nesbit
Children
7:23 h
Level 4
The Phoenix and the Carpet is a fantasy novel for children, written by E. Nesbit and first published in 1904. It is the second in a trilogy of novels that begins with Five Children and It (1902), and follows the adventures of the same five children: Cyril, Anthea, Robert, Jane and the Lamb. Their mother buys the children a new carpet to replace one from the nursery that they have destroyed in an accidental fire. The children find an egg in the carpet, which hatches into a talking Phoenix. The Phoenix explains that the carpet is a magic one that will grant them three wishes a day. The five children go on many adventures, which eventually wear out their magic carpet. The adventures are continued and concluded in the third book of the trilogy, The Story of the Amulet (1906).

The Phoenix and the Carpet

by
E. Nesbit


To
My Dear Godson
Hubert Griffith
and his sister
Margaret

TO HUBERT

Dear Hubert, if I ever found
A wishing-carpet lying round,
I’d stand upon it, and I’d say:
‘Take me to Hubert, right away!’
And then we’d travel very far
To where the magic countries are
That you and I will never see,
And choose the loveliest gifts for you, from me.

But oh! alack! and well-a-day!
No wishing-carpets come my way.
I never found a Phoenix yet,
And Psammeads are so hard to get!
So I give you nothing fine —
Only this book your book and mine,
And hers, whose name by yours is set;
Your book, my book, the book of Margaret!

E. NESBIT
DYMCHURCH
September, 1904


Chapter 1. The Egg

It began with the day when it was almost the Fifth of November, and a doubt arose in some breast — Robert’s, I fancy — as to the quality of the fireworks laid in for the Guy Fawkes celebration.

‘They were jolly cheap,’ said whoever it was, and I think it was Robert, ‘and suppose they didn’t go off on the night? Those Prosser kids would have something to snigger about then.’

‘The ones I got are all right,’ Jane said; ‘I know they are, because the man at the shop said they were worth thribble the money — ’

‘I’m sure thribble isn’t grammar,’ Anthea said.

‘Of course it isn’t,’ said Cyril; ‘one word can’t be grammar all by itself, so you needn’t be so jolly clever.’

Anthea was rummaging in the corner-drawers of her mind for a very disagreeable answer, when she remembered what a wet day it was, and how the boys had been disappointed of that ride to London and back on the top of the tram, which their mother had promised them as a reward for not having once forgotten, for six whole days, to wipe their boots on the mat when they came home from school.

So Anthea only said, ‘Don’t be so jolly clever yourself, Squirrel. And the fireworks look all right, and you’ll have the eightpence that your tram fares didn’t cost to-day, to buy something more with. You ought to get a perfectly lovely Catharine wheel for eightpence.’

‘I daresay,’ said Cyril, coldly; ‘but it’s not your eightpence anyhow — ’

‘But look here,’ said Robert, ‘really now, about the fireworks. We don’t want to be disgraced before those kids next door. They think because they wear red plush on Sundays no one else is any good.’

‘I wouldn’t wear plush if it was ever so — unless it was black to be beheaded in, if I was Mary Queen of Scots,’ said Anthea, with scorn.

Robert stuck steadily to his point. One great point about Robert is the steadiness with which he can stick.

‘I think we ought to test them,’ he said.