Ivy is a young girl who lives near a forest, in the midst of which is a thicket. Her father has told her never to cross through the briar thicket and go to the other side. Only danger awaits there. She will die. One day a rabbit convinces Ivy she can go around the thicket without actually disobeying her father. She does, and the rabbit becomes a dragon. As soon as he sets to devour her, a handsome Prince from a castle in the air rescues Ivy. He places a golden chain in her hair. Ivy is to use the chain to call for him at anytime. Ivy faints as the Prince gives the instructions, so the chain sits in her hair unnoticed. Ivy goes back to her father, and repents of her sin. Her father forgives her. Ivy, however, wastes away desiring to have the Prince return, but not knowing how to have him do so. Just as she is about to die, her father finds the chain in her hair. In an instant the Prince in there and the story ends as all good fairy tales do, happily ever after.Leithart chose Prov. 13:12 as the moral: Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but desire fulfilled is a tree of life. This falls flat as a moral applied to a simple fairy tale, but Leithart does not intend it to be so. He writes, "[T]he First Last Adams are always lurking just beneath the surface." Therefore, regard how the students applied elements of the tale to the Catechism.
"She disobeyed her father.""What did her father do when she confessed her sin?"
"That’s the Fourth Commandment."
"He forgave her.""Who do you think the rabbit represents?"
'That's easy! He's Satan!""OK, Smarties, what is the golden chain all about?" Now they had to think. "What does Jesus give us to hold onto so we know He is with us always?"
"Yeah — and the Prince is Jesus."
"And the castle is heaven."
"Oh! I get it, Baptism!"Leithart is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church in America. What a blessedly iconic sacramental tale from a Presbyterian author — whether he intended it to be so or not. This is when Leithart's book shines. Each of his stories can be run through Christ. This is the value of such reading done by parents and teachers with children. Analogies fail at some point, and "Ivy and the Prince" is no exception. It is not the call of the church that causes Christ to come down; rather, Christ comes to His church according to His appointed Means of Grace. Therefore, a caution: read it to your children and discuss it with them. This book will provide many meaningful discussions.
"And His Word, His Absolution."
"And His Body and Blood."