fall into

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Vacskamati

Senior Member
Hungarian
Dear All,

here is a sentence I've come across with in Catherine Fisher's Sapphique:
"There was a forest and he fell from his horse into it."
The context: one of the protagonists, Finn, the king's son, gets abducted at some point of the story. He falls off his horse, loses his consciousness and when he wakes up, he remembers nothing, he doesn't know who he is. Later on, however, he sometimes has "visions" about his past. The above sentence is one of such instances. My question is whether it is possible that "fall into" here might have some idiomatic meaning here as well, such as for example "disappear".

Thank you very much in advance for your comments.
 
  • Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    This sentence sounds strange to me. "Fell into" has an idiomatic meaning of "entered by accident," as in "He fell into his career as a landscape designer after his mother asked him where she should plant a rose bush." However, the phrase "from his horse" comes between "fell" and "into" in this sentence. That suggests to me that Fisher intends the literal meaning, though one wouldn't usually fall off a horse into a forest. One would usually fall onto the ground, or whatever other surface the horse is on. One could fall off a horse into a river or another body of water, but that's not what we have.
     

    rhitagawr

    Senior Member
    British English
    The only word "it" can refer to is "forest". The idea of falling into a forest sounds odd to me. It makes the forest sound like a pond or a mound of hay. You can fall from your horse on to the forest floor. I don't think the phrase has any idiomatic meaning. I suppose if you're on top of a hill and the forest is just below you, you could fall into the forest if you rolled downhill, although even this sounds odd.
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    It sounds like the author is evoking falling into water and/or falling into a deep sleep. (Oddly, the idiom with sleep is limited: you don't fall into sleep, or into a sleep, or into a doze, or into a dream, but we do say you fall into a deep sleep.) These then carry the ideas of going into a dream, or another world, or a dream-world, which fits what you've indicated of later parts.
     

    redgiant

    Senior Member
    Cantonese, Hong Kong
    If the guy was galloping towards the forest a few feet away from him, and the momentum was strong enough to propel him into the forest, would it make more sense to use "throw" (He was thrown off the horse into the forest)?
     

    Vacskamati

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    Unfortunately there is no implication of the possibility that the horse was flying (sorry, Myridon, though it was an excellent guess :)), and the wider context suggests that the character was already in the forest when he fell from his horse, so I assume entangledbank's suggestion is probably the closest to what the case might be.
    Thank you all for your comments.
     
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