100 Best Books for Children ~ Ruskin

King of the Golden River is a fairy tale by John Ruskin and is number 97 on the Hundred Best Books for Children found in The Book-Lover by Baldwin.

Ruskin was a prolific English writer in the Victorian age and likely a genius of sorts. He was one of those who amended culture through his writings on a vast number of subjects whether home security, industrial pollution, or economic materialism. His influence was said to have extended to the likes of Tolstoy and Gandhi.

The King of the Golden River was a fable written in 1841 when Ruskin was in his early 20s and published ten years later.

In the fairy tale, love and kindness transform a world made dark by those pursuing wealth:

Southwest Wind, Esquire, was as good as his word. After the momentous visit above related, he entered the Treasure Valley no more; and, what was worse, he had so much influence with his relations, the West Winds in general, and used it so effectually, that they all adopted a similar line of conduct. So no rain fell in the valley from one year’s end to another. Though everything remained green and flourishing in the plains below, the inheritance of the Three Brothers was a desert. What had once been the richest soil in the kingdom, became a shifting heap of red sand; and the brothers, unable longer to contend with the adverse skies, abandoned their valueless patrimony in despair, to seek some means of gaining a livelihood among the cities and people of the plains. All their money was gone, and they had nothing left but some curious, old-fashioned pieces of gold plate, the last remnants of their ill-gotten wealth.

The King of the Golden River

Good wins in the end. The fairy tale has become a timeless classic.

The two older brothers are very ugly…and so mean that they work their servants until they won’t work any more and then get rid of them without paying them any wages. The youngest brother is very handsome and kind. Because of the meanness of the two brothers, all three of them become impoverished and set off independently to find the treasures of the Golden River. As you might imagine, they achieve varying degrees of success.

The Book Tree
Free eBook
  • This is one of those books that begs to simply be read aloud and left alone for the student to think about without much commentary.
  • To encourage this, just let him/her tell you what he read. What did he like best? What stood out to her? What is difficult to understand?
  • You might also try one of our 30 narration ideas.

Additional Resources

The Pied Piper of Hamelin {Free eBook & Go-Alongs}
Famous poem with similar elements. You’ll find many of the activities and resources will work for The King of the Golden River.

Author Notebooking Pages {Free Download}
Use this free set to create an author notebook for our 100 Best Books for Children series.

The Hundred Best Books for Children ~ Introduction
The Hundred Best Books for Children

Create a website or blog at WordPress.com