The Neverending Story by a 12 year old

The Neverending Story is a semi-fantasy, semi-non-fiction book written by author Michael Ende.​

Bastian Balthazar Bux is a fat, timid, young boy who lives an unhappy life with his father and school. He often gets teased and chased around by other kids who shout all sorts of things at him, but thanks to those small, nasty actions…the entire story begins.

One rainy day, Bastian, as usually, was running away from the mean boys. Rain was draining down all over his body, but he somehow had to find a place to stop and hide. Destiny brought him to come across a small book store, and so he cautiously entered the shop. There stood a man submerged in reading a big book, bound in copper-colored, shimmering silk, with two snakes, one light and one dark, biting each other’s tail. The boy read the title: The Neverending Story. Bastian got ever so attracted by that mysterious book that when the old man, Mr. Coreander left it lying there in front of the boy’s eager eyes, he decided to steal it and a moment later, he was dashing down the road towards the school. That book was what he was longing for such a long time…a story that never ended!

As Bastian approached the place, the desire of starting to read that book, made him not want to go to the classrooms, he wouldn’t have ever liked that anyway, so he found his way to the school attic. It wasn’t such a welcoming space, but he didn’t care. After making himself comfortable, he opened the book and started to read.

 

In the world of Fantastica, where the Childlike Empress reigns, there live many creatures and other inhabitants who cannot be listed, as they are countless. Even cities and towns, smaller kingdoms, forests, deserts, mountains, villages and dangers are all very much diverse, and they range between tiny to enormous. But two of the few things they have in common are the respect, and often, the love, they bound for their Empress, who has limitless power over her reign. Unfortunately, there is something that no one or nothing from Fantastica can stop: ‘The terrifying Nothing’, which swallows down every part of the land, slowly, but horrifyingly and unexpectedly. At the moment, the Childlike Empress is terribly ill, and without her, Fantastica will come to an end, but no cure seems to be found. Except one.

The Childlike Empress has decided to send a ‘Greenskin’ boy, Atreyuwhom she truthfully trusts, to attempt the Great Quest, if he is willing to. So Atreyu, the destined hero, agrees to accomplish the mission, which is to find a cure for the Empress and save Fantastica from ‘The Nothing’. He is the boy the Empress relies on, the boy who all Fantastica relies on. Atreyu is now going to leave everything behind, and with the help of AURYN, the Gem who will protect him and guide him without interference, and of his white horse, Artax, he will have to be brave and live sacrifices, danger, sorrow, and the most adventurous adventure of them all.

 

In the meanwhile, Bastian got so fascinated by the story that he didn’t bother about the time passing in the school attic, his hunger, or his father…he just couldn’t stop his eyes from scanning through the pages of ‘The Neverending Story’. No other book had impressed him the way that story did, and so he had to keep on reading. And how he longed to meet Atreyu and be part of the story!

 

As Atreyu galloped through the landscapes of Fantastica, he had no idea of what he was going to experience, how much suffering he’ll have to bear, how successful he’ll be or what great exploit was awaiting him. He was an excellent hunter, but would he make it through? And why did the Childlike Empress decide to send him for the Great Quest? Why would everybody want to rely on him? He didn’t know.

After traveling for about a week without success, in a place called Swamps of Sadness, where the ground, which is not solid can sink your whole body in, Artax,Ateyu’s horse doesn’t manage to cross over, slowly disappears in the mud, and the boy now has to find his way all alone. Before this unpleasant event, Atreyu had dreamed about a huge, purple buffalo who wanted to help him, by telling him where to go. The buffalo said to see Morla the Aged One, who lives in Tortoise Shell Mountain, in the Swamps of Sadness. And so Atreyu headed towards the mountain. When he met that giant, old creature, he discovered the key to his mission. Morla informed him that the Childlike Empress needs a new name, and that no one in Fantastica can give her one, soAtreyu has to find the one human child who is willing to help and give her a new name.

And so Atreyu made his way towards the place where he could find the destined hero. He approached a dark cave where he gets defeated by Ygramul the Many, a horrendous creature, and when he awakes from his unconsciousness, Atreyufinds himself laying with a pearl-colored luckdragon with ruby-red eyes snuggling around him, whom he remembers to have seen before and whom saved him fromYgramul. He also discovered that couple of gnomes were taking care of him, and when he arose, the male gnome brought him up to a cliff and showed him a grandiose gate with two golden sphinxes at the edges. If he wanted to find that one human being who will save Fantastica, the gnome told him, Atreyu would have to cross that gate to consult the Sothern Oracle who will help him in his mission, but it will be a great risk to take, for not many people make it through alive.

Soon after finishing to listen to the gnomes instructions, Atreyu, eager for adventure, left the place and headed towards the Great Riddle Gate (the one with the sphinxes), and heaven knows why, he had passed it alive, and the next thing which awaited him was the Magic Mirror Gate. There showed an image of a fat, pale boy,laying with covers, reading a book in a dark room. After that, he passed the No-Key Gate and as he was walking through a forest of columns, he heard a melodic voice, a soft, gentle lament, swirling around him. It was the Oracle singing poetically who was telling him that Fantastica was soon going to live an end, if no human child from the Outer World hears their plea.

Atreyu left with the pearly luckdragonFalkor, trying to reach the boarder of the realm of Fantastica and bring the hero to the Childlike Empress, before ‘The Nothing’ could destroy everything. He encountered ‘The outrageous Wind Giants’, fought against ‘The spooky werewolf, Gmork’ with no such thing as success. Everything seemed in vain, hopeless, because no Savior was found, and Falkor at last convincedAtreyu to head back to the Ivory Tower, where the Empress waited for his return. They would have had to experience a great failure, but exhaustion and shame weighed over both of them and dragged them slowly down to giving up

When he met the Childlike EmpressAtreyu buried his face in his hands, but she calmly lifted him up saying that what counts most is that he did it. She told him that she had seen the Savior, the fat, pale boy in the school attic reading a book as Atreyuentered the room.

 

And Bastian had seen the Childlike Empress too.

 

The Empress also said that the two worlds had come close enough to be able to see each other and so that meant that Atreyu had actually brought the hero with him. He’s still not there physically, but he is hopefully coming to save Fantastica because he has been hearing about everything that the realm has been going through and clearly knows the situation they’re living.

 

Bastian gave a start. He was quite sure that the Empress was referring to him, but how could he do this? How in the world will he, a timid, fat boy, be able to save such a great thing? Was he going to be the hero that Fantastica deeply needed? He just couldn’t do it.

But what would it be of the realm if didn’t? He just couldn’t crush such a fascinating world either! He would never want to do such thing! So, what was he supposed to do?

 

Finally, the Empress, as she saw that no Savior appeared, informed Atreyu that she would leave the tower and find the Old Man of Wandering Mountain, someone who will be able to make the hero, whom is already part of ‘the Neverending Story’.

When she arrived to the Old Man of Wandering Mountain,and everything he writes down happens in ‘the Neverending Story’, and  so the Empress asks him to tell her the whole story all over again, and that would have gone on for ever and ever…

 

And only Bastian could stop this and make a change.

“Moon Child, I’m coming!”

 

Several things seemed to have happened at once, for Bastian soon realized that he was in the darkness, smelling a sweet and comfortable. He had no idea of where he was and he kept on crying out to Moon Child.

After a while, she appeared, and the two started chatting away, and then she gently put a tiny grain of sand on his hand; the only thing that remained in all Fantastica. But Bastian could help restore Fantastica with his wishes, because he had Auryn, and so wish after wish, that world returned to be the fascinating and prosperous one that Bastian had known. So that grain of sand wasn’t a grain of sand: it was a luminousseed which started sprouting. And then, new seeds were formed, and yet, other various plants kept on growing, and at last, Perilin, the Night Forest was born.

When Moon Child suddenly disappeared, all that was left in front of Bastian’s eyes was the AURYN, the Gem with the two snakes biting each other’s tail. So that meant that she trusted him, that he wasn’t that simple, shy boy anymore, he was the Savior of Fantastica! He did give the Empress a new name and she wasn’t ill anymore! And now, he could wish for anything he desires!

The next morning he woke up in his own forest, but soon watches his creation crumbling down into a desert of colors, where different colored dunes were formed in an astonishingly vast space! He didn’t know why that had happened, and he sure had to find a way out of that place. As he walked for a long time, he starts hearing a great roaring and far in the distance, he sees something like a large fire ball advancing with an incredible speed towards him.

It was Grograman, the Many-Colored Death and Lord of the Desert of Colors, a humongous wild lion, who frightened Bastian very much at start, but then seemed to treat him as his master. The lion obeyed to Bastian and brought him to his castle to host. They got to know each well, and last, Grograman gave Bastian an extremely efficient sword who was named Sikanda. Now, Bastian had to leave for his journey, because he wanted to exhibit his talents to others, become famous, for he was the new Savior ofFantastica. He was, at the moment, already a strong, handsome and brave boy who forgot all about how he was a timid and weak and fat, in his past world. But as he kept on wishing for new things, step by step, each memory of his past world vanished from his mind.

When he arrived to he Silver City of Amarganth, everybody was honored to greet him, and he even got the great chance to make up stories and share it, for even I library full of his books was made. There, he also met Atreyu and Falkor, and became their friend, and little by little, his fame expanded, until he was named one of the greatest Masters, Lords or Saviors of entire Fantastica. He became friends with the four knights, HynreckHysbaldHykrion, and Hydorn whom he had defeated earlier. Bastian also created new creatures with his stories!

As his journey continued, Bastian had formed his own army, because his traveling companions wanted to serve him and help him out on the way. Bastian had the power over all the inhabitants of Fantastica, and so he kept on wishing and wishing new things. He met the evil witch Xayide who soon became another one of his companions, met the Three Deep Thinkers who needed his help.

On the other hand, Atreyu and Falkor was starting to worry about Bastian, who had become reckless and fearless, because they knew that if he kept on wishing, he would soon forget all about his past world and won’t even be aware of who he truly is. So Atreyu ends up to be a rebellion against Bastian and wants to steel AURYN from him, or he will never find his way back to the world where he really belongs.

Xayide, noticing the increasing tension, decides to crown Bastian as the new Emperor of Fantastica. But soon, Atreyu’s army fights against Bastian, and with the help of Sikanda, Bastian wins once again.

But was left of him? All he knew was his own name! Now, one last wish was left for him, before every memory of his past leaves his mind: all he really longs for now is to be able to love! And all he knew was that he had to find his way back to the other world. As the boy without a name leaves everything behind, someone tells him to head towards the place where you can drink the Water of Life, which will help him find his way back.

During his journey, he encounters Dame Eyola and Yor, the man from the Picture Mine, and right when everything seemed in vain, Bastian finds himself standing in front of…Atreyu and Falkor. Once again, they learned to forgive each other, and the three of them approached the Fountain of the Water of Life. With the promise of finishing all his stories with luck, Atreyu and the luckdragon leave Bastian to return to his world.

Suddenly Bastian realized that he was in the school attic, but ‘the NeverendingStory’ wasn’t there anymore! Then, he dashed home and embraced his father who had tears in his eyes! How he had missed him! Even if their relationship wasn’t working out so well at start, things seemed to be getting better between the two!

When at the end Bastian decides to go to the shop from which he had stolen the book and to inform Mr. Coreander that he couldn’t find it anymore, the two started chatting away for even the owner had been to Fantastica once and told the boy that he would like to go back once. And indeed, Bastian did go back to that fascinating world, many other times.

 

I thought the author did an especially great job in elaborating an intricate and audacious plot where courage, sacrifice, friendship and love get swirled around in dangerous or pleasant, unexpected adventures. And I also liked how at the end, the story makes you understand how important it is to be able to love, and that it is something even more valuable then being rich and powerful.

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