Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Fountain of Youth

Legendary youth-restoring spring (see also Elixir of Life). The 16th-century Spanish conquistador Juan Ponce de León (1460-1521) supposedly disappeared in the Americas while seeking the FOY and Eldorado. Peter Lambourn Wilson's Time Fantasy "Fountain of Time" (1986 Interzone) sees de León washed up by the tides of time in a modern Florida Everglades bar; his cognate "Ponce da Quirm" in Terry Pratchett's Eric (1990) actually drinks at the FOY, fatally, because – an unwise tourist – he neglects to boil it first. Tim Powers's Pirate novel On Stranger Tides (1987) includes a FOY Quest episode in 18th-century Florida. In some Breton traditions, Merlin is finally reduced to a babbling infant by the FOY in the Forest of Broceliande, entrapped by the local "lady of the fountain" Vivian or Nimuë. Such FOY-induced infancy reappears as a Plot Device in Thorne Smith's The Glorious Pool (1934), Piers Anthony's Dragon on a Pedestal (1983) and Tim Powers' On Stranger Tides (1987). [JH/DRL]

This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.