From The Princess and Curdie by George MacDonald:

‘But if you want me to know you again, ma’am, for certain sure,’ said Curdie, ‘could you not give me some sign, or tell me something about you that never changes – or some other way to know you, or thing to know you by?’

‘No, Curdie; that would be to keep you from knowing me. You must know me in quite another way from that. It would not be the least use to you or me either if I were to make you know me in that way. It would be but to know the sign of Me – not to know me myself. it would be no better than if I were to take this emerald out of my crown and give it to you to take home with you, and you were to call it me, and talk to it as if it heard and saw and loved you. Much good that would do you, Curdie! No; you must do what you can to know me, and if you do, you will. You shall see me again in very different circumstances from these, and, I will tell you so much, it may be in a very different shape. But come now, I will lead you out of this cavern; my good Joan will be getting too anxious about you. One word more: you will allow that the men knew little what they were talking about this morning, when they told all those tales of Old Mother Wotherwop; but did it occur to you to think how it was they fell to talking about me at all? It was because I came to them; I was beside them all the time they were talking about me, though they were far enough from knowing it, and had very little besides foolishness to say.’

It was precisely this kind of allegory that led Tolkien, C.S. Lewis and others to draw inspiration from George MacDonald’s works.
Posted also at Whistling in the Light
Advertisements