The Baldwin Library
WAT E R BABIES 1L5- ece
fafir galt for a lanb.-abl.
THE REV. CHARLES KINGSLEY.
WITH TWO ILLUSTRATIONS BY J. NOEL PATON, R.S A.
obonbn anb Cambribg:
Tht Rlgt qf Translatho and Rtoduction ist vrrwd.
PRINTED BY R. CLAY, SON, AND TAYLOR,
BREAD STREET HILL
TO MY YOUNGEST SON,
ALL OTHER GOOD LITTLE BOYS.
COME, READ ME MY RIDDLE, EACH GOOD LITTLE MAN:
IF YOU CANNOT READ IT, NO GROWN-UP FOLK CAN.
A FAIRY TALE FOR A LAND-BABY.
"I HEARD a thousand blended notes,
While in a grove I sate reclined;
In that sweet mood when pleasant thoughts
Bring sad thoughts to the mind.
To her fair works did Nature link
The human soul that through me ran;
And much it grieved my heart to think,
What man has made of man."
NCE upon a time there was
a little chimney-sweep, and
his name was Tom. That
is a short name, and you
have heard it before, so you
Swill not have much trouble
in remembering it. He lived in a great town in the
North country, where there were plenty of chimneys
to sweep, and plenty of money for Tom to earn and
his master to spend. He could not read nor write,
and did not care to do either; and he never washed
himself, for there was no water up the court where
he lived. He had never been taught to say his
prayers. He never had heard of God, or of Christ,
except in words which you never have heard, and
which it would have been well if he had never
heard. He cried half his time, and laughed the
other half. He cried when he had to climb the
dark flues, rubbing his poor knees and elbows raw,;
and when the soot got into his eyes, which it
did every day in the week; and when his master
beat him, which he did every day in the week; and
when he had not enough to eat, which happened
every day in the week likewise. And he laughed
the other half of the day, when he was tossing half-
pennies with the other boys, or playing leap-frog
over the posts, or bowling stones at the horses'
legs as they trotted by, which last was excellent
fun, when there was a wall at hand behind which
to hide. As for chimney-sweeping, and being
A Fairy Tale for a Land-Baby.
hungry, and being beaten, he took all that for
the way of the world, like the rain and snow and
thunder, and stood manfully with his back to it
till it was over, as his old donkey did to a hail-
storm; and then shook his ears and was as jolly
as ever; and thought of the fine times coming,
when he would be a man, and a master sweep, and
sit in the public-house with a quart of beer and
a long pipe, and play cards for silver money, and
wear velveteens and ankle-jacks, and keep a white
bull-dog with one grey ear, and carry her puppies
in his pocket, just like a man. And he would
have apprentices, one, two, three, if he could.
How he would bully them, and knock them about,
just as his master did to him; and make them
carry home the soot sacks, while he rode before
them on his donkey, with a pipe in his mouth and
a flower in his button-hole, like a king at the head
of his army. Yes, there were good times coming;
and, when his master let him have a pull at the
leavings of his beer, Tom was the jolliest boy in
the whole town.
One day a smart little groom rode into the
court where Tom lived. Tom was just hiding
behind a wall, to heave half a brick at his horse's
legs, as is the custom of that country when they
welcome strangers; but the groom saw him, and
halloed to him to know where Mr. Grimes, the
chimney-sweep, lived. Now, Mr. Grimes was
Tom's own master, and Tom was a good man of
business, and always civil to customers, so he put
the half-brick down quietly behind the wall, and
proceeded to take orders.
Mr. Grimes was to come up next morning to
Sir John Harthover's, at the Place, for his old
chimney-sweep was gone to prison, and the chimneys
wanted sweeping. And so he rode away, not
giving Tom time to ask what the sweep had gone
to prison for, which was a matter of interest to
Tom, as he had been in prison once or twice
himself. Moreover, the groom looked so very
neat and clean, with his drab gaiters, drab breeches,
drab jacket, snow-white tie with a smart pin in it,
and clean round ruddy face, that Tom was offended
A Fairy Tale for a Land-Baby.
and disgusted at his appearance, and considered
him a stuck-up fellow, who gave himself airs
because he wore smart clothes, and other people
paid for them ; and went behind the wall to fetch
the half-brick after all: but did not, remembering
that he had come in the way of business, and was,
as it were, under a flag of truce.
His master was so delighted at his new customer
that he knocked Tom down out of hand, and
drank more beer that night than he usually did in
two, in order to be sure of getting up in time next
morning; for the more a man's head aches when
he wakes, the more glad he is to turn out, and
have a breath of fresh air. And, when he did get
up at four the next morning, he knocked Tom
down again, in order to teach him (as young'
gentlemen used to be taught at public schools)
that he must be an extra good boy that day, as
they were going to a very great house, and might
make a very good thing of it, if they could but
And Tom thought so likewise, and, indeed,
would have done and behaved his best, even with-
out being knocked down. For, of all places upon
earth, Harthover Place (which he had never seen)
was the most wonderful; and, of all men on earth,
Sir John (whom he had seen, having been sent to
gaol by him twice) was the most awful.
Harthover Place was really a grand place, even for
the rich North country ; with a house so large that
in the frame-breaking riots, which Tom could just
remember, the Duke of Wellington, with ten thou-
sand soldiers to match, were easily housed therein;
at least, so Tom believed; with a park full of
deer, which Tom believed to be monsters who
were in the habit of eating children; with miles of
game-preserves, in which Mr. Grimes and the
collier-lads poached at times, on which occasions
Tom saw pheasants, and wondered what they
tasted like; with a noble salmon-river, in which
Mr. Grimes and his friends would have liked to
poach; but then they must have got into cold
water, and that they did riot like at all. In short,
Harthover was a grand place, and Sir John a
A Fairy ale for a Land-Baby. 9
grand old man, whom even Mr. Grimes respected,
for not only could he send Mr. Grimes to prison
when he deserved it, as he did once or twice a
week; not only did he own all the land about
for miles; not only was he a jolly, honest, sensible
squire as ever kept a pack of hounds, who would
do what he thought right by his neighbours, as
well as get what he thought right for himself, but,
what was more, he weighed full fifteen stone, was
nobody knew how many inches round the chest,
and could have thrashed Mr. Grimes himself in
fair fight, which very few folk round there could
do, and which, my dear little boy, would not have
been right for him to do, as a great many things
are not which one both can do, and would like
very much to do. So Mr. Grimes touched his
hat to him when he rode through the town, and
called him a buirdly awd chap," and his young
ladies "gradely lasses," which are two high com-
pliments in the North country; and thought that
that made up for his poaching Sir John's pheasants;
whereby you may perceive that Mr. Grimes had
not been to a properly-inspected Government
Now, I dare say, you never got up at three
o'clock on a midsummer morning. Some people
get up then because they want to catch salmon;
and some, because they want to climb Alps; and
a great many more, because they must, like Tom.
But, I assure you, that three o'clock on a mid-
summer morning is the pleasantest time of all the
twenty-four hours, and all the three hundred and
sixty-five days; and why every one does not get
up then, I never could tell, save that they are all
determined to spoil their nerves and their com-
plexions, by doing all night, what they might just
as well do all day. But Tom, instead of going
out to dinner at half-past eight at night, and to
a ball at ten, and finishing off somewhere between
twelve and four, went to bed at seven, when his
master went to the public-house, and slept like a
dead pig: for which reason he was as piert as a
game-cock (who always gets up early to wake
the maids), and just ready to get up when the
A Fairy f'ale for a Land-Baby. 11
fine gentlemen and ladies were just ready to go
So he and his master set out; Grimes rode the
donkey in front, and Tom and the brushes walked
behind; out of the court, and up the street, past
the closed window-shutters, and the winking weary
policemen, and the roofs all shining grey in the
They passed through the pitmen's village, all
shut up and silent now; and through the turn-
pike; and then they were out in the real country,
and plodding along the black dusty road, between
black slag walls, with no sound but the groaning
and thumping of the pit-engine in the next field.
But soon the road grew white, and the walls like-
wise; and at the wall's foot grew long grass and
gay flowers, all drenched with dew; and instead
of the groaning of the pit-engine, they heard the
skylark saying his matins high up in the air, and
the pit-bird warbling in the sedges, as he had
warbled all night long.
All else was silent. For old Mrs. Earth was
fhe Water- Babies :
still fast asleep; and, like many pretty people, she
looked still prettier asleep than awake. The great
elm-trees in the gold-green meadows were fast
asleep above, and the cows fast asleep beneath
them; nay, the few clouds which were about were
fast asleep likewise, and so tired that they had lain
down on the earth to rest, in long white flakes and
bars, among the stems of the elm-trees, and along
the tops of the alders by the stream, waiting for
the sun to bid them rise and go about their day's
business in the clear blue overhead.
On they went; and Tom looked, and looked,
for he never had been so far into the country
before; and longed to get over a gate, and pick
buttercups, and look for birds' nests in the hedge;
but Mr. Grimes was a man of business, and would
not have heard of that.
Soon they came up with a poor Irishwoman,
trudging along with a bundle at her back. She
had a grey shawl over her head, and a crimson
madder petticoat; so you may be sure she came
from Galway. She had neither shoes nor stockings,
A Fairy Tale for a Land-Baby.
and limped along as if she were tired and footsore:
but she was a very tall handsome woman, with
bright grey eyes, and heavy black hair hanging
about her cheeks. And she took Mr. Grimes's
fancy so much, that when he came alongside he
called out to her:
This is a hard road for a gradely foot like that.
Will ye up, lass, and ride behind me ?"
But, perhaps, she did not admire Mr. Grimes's
look and voice; for she answered quietly:
"No, thank you; I'd sooner walk with your
little lad here."
"You may please yourself," growled Grimes,
and went on smoking.
So she walked beside Tom, and talked to him,
and asked him where he lived, and what he knew,
and all about himself, till Tom thought he had
never met such a pleasant spoken woman. And
she asked him, at last, whether he said his prayers;
and seemed sad when he told her that he knew no
prayers to say.
Then he asked her where she lived; and she
~tk Water-Babies :
said far away by the sea. And Tom asked her
about the sea; and she told him how it rolled and
roared over the rocks in winter nights, and lay still
in the bright summer days, for the children to
bathe and play in it; and many a story more, till
Tom longed to go and see the sea, and bathe in it
At last, at the bottom of a hill, they came to a
spring: not such a spring as you see here, which
soaks up out of a white gravel in the bog, among
red fly-catchers, and pink bottle-heath, and sweet
white orchis; nor such a one as you may see, too,
here, which bubbles up under the warm sand-bank
in the hollow lane, by the great tuft of lady ferns,
and makes the sand dance reels at the bottom, day
and night, all the year round; not such a spring
as either of those: but a real North country lime-
stone fountain, like one of those in Sicily or
Greece, where the old heathen fancied the nymphs
sat cooling themselves the hot summer's day, while
the shepherds peeped at them from behind the
bushes. Out of a low cave of rock, at the foot
A Fairy 'ale for a Land-Baby.
of a limestone crag, the great fountain rose,
quelling, and bubbling, and gurgling, so clear
that you could not tell where the water ended
and the air began; and ran away under the road,
a stream large enough to turn a mill; among blue
geranium, and golden globe-flower, and wild rasp-
berry, and the bird-cherry with its tassels of snow.
And there Grimes stopped, and looked; and
Tom looked too. Tom was wondering whether
anything lived in that dark cave, and came out at
night to fly in the meadows. But Grimes was not
wondering at all. Without a word, he got off his
donkey, and clambered over the low road wall,
and knelt down, and began dipping his ugly head
into the spring-and very dirty he made it.
Tom was picking the flowers as fast as he
could. The Irishwoman helped him, and showed
him how to tie them up; and a very pretty nose-
gay they had made between them. But when he
saw Grimes actually wash, he stopped, quite
astonished; and when Grimes had finished, and
began shaking his ears to dry them, he said:
he Water-Babies :
"Why, master, I never saw you do that
"Nor will again, most likely. 'Twasn't for
cleanliness I did it, but for coolness. I'd be
ashamed to want washing every week or so, like
any smutty collier-lad."
I wish I might go and dip my head in," said
poor little Tom. It must be as good as putting
it under the town-pump; and there is no beadle
here to drive a chap away."
"Thou come along," said Grimes, what dost
want with washing thyself? Thou did not drink
half a gallon of beer last night, like me."
I don't care for you," said naughty Tom, and
ran down to the stream, and began washing his face.
Grimes was very sulky, because the woman
preferred Tom's company to his; so he dashed
at him with horrid words, and tore him up from
his knees, and began beating him. But Tom was
accustomed to that, and got his head safe between
Mr. Grimes's legs, and kicked his shins with all
A Fairy 'ale for a Land-Baby.
"Are you not ashamed of yourself, Thomas
Grimes?" cried the Irishwoman over the wall.
Grimes looked up, startled at her knowing his
name; but all he answered was, No: nor never
was yet;" and went on beating Tom.
True for you. If you ever had been ashamed
of yourself, you would have gone over into Ven-
dale long ago."
c What do you know about Vendale ?" shouted
Grimes; but he left off beating Tom.
I know about Vendale, and about you, too.
I know, for instance, what happened in Aldermire
Copse, by night, two years ago come Martinmas."
You do ?" shouted Grimes; and leaving
Tom, climbed up over the wall, and faced the
woman. Tom thought he was going to strike
her; but she looked him too full and fierce in
the face for that.
"Yes; I was there," said the Irishwoman,
"You are no Irishwoman, by your speech,"
said Grimes, after many bad words.
"Never mind who I am. I saw what I saw;
and if you strike that boy again, I can tell what I
Grimes seemed quite cowed, and got on his
donkey without another word.
Stop !" said the Irishwoman. "I have one
more word for you both; for you will both see me
again, before all is over. Those that wish to be
clean, clean they will be; and those that wish to
be foul, foul they will be. Remember."
And she turned away, and through a gate into
the meadow. Grimes stood still a moment, like a
man who had been stunned. Then he rushed after
her, shouting You come back." But when he
got into the meadow the woman was not there.
Had she hidden away? There was no place to
hide in. But Grimes looked about, and Tom
also, for he was as puzzled as Grimes himself, at
her disappearing so suddenly; but look where they
would, she was not there.
Grimes came back again, as silent as a post, for
he was a little frightened; and getting on his
A Fairy Tale for a Land-Baby.
donkey, filled a fresh .pipe, and smoked away,
leaving Tom in peace.
And now they had gone three miles and more,
and came to Sir John's lodge-gates.
Very grand lodges they were, with very grand
iron gates, and stone gate-posts, and on the top of
each a most dreadful bogy, all teeth, horns, and
tail, which was the crest which Sir John's ancestors
wore in the Wars of the Roses; and very prudent
men they were to wear it, for all their enemies
must have run for their lives at the very first sight
Grimes rang at the gate, and out came a keeper
on the spot, and opened.
"I was told to expect thee," he said. Now,
thou'lt be so good as to keep to the main avenue,
and not let me find a hare or a rabbit on thee
when thou comest back. I shall look sharp for
one, I tell thee."
Not if it's in the bottom of the soot-bag,"
quoth Grimes, and at that he laughed; and the
keeper laughed and said-
If that's thy sort, I may as well walk up with
thee.to the hall."
"I think thou best had. It's thy business to
see after thy game, man, and not mine."
So the keeper went with them; and to Tom's
surprise, he and Grimes chatted together all the
way quite pleasantly. He did not know that a
keeper is only a poacher turned outside in, and a
poacher a keeper turned inside out.
They walked up a great lime avenue, a full
mile long, and between their stems Tom peeped
trembling at the horns of the sleeping deer,
which stood up among the ferns. Tom had
never seen such enormous trees, and as he
looked up he fancied that the blue sky rested
on their heads. But he was puzzled very much
by a strange murmuring noise, which followed
them all the way. So much puzzled, that at
last he took courage to ask the keeper what it
He spoke very civilly; and called him Sir, for
he was horribly afraid of him, which pleased the
A Fairy Tale for a Land-Baby.
keeper, and he told him that they were the bees
about the lime-flowers.
"What are bees? asked Tom.
"What make honey."
What is honey ?" asked Tom.
"Thou hold thy noise," said Grimes.
"Let the boy be," said the keeper. "He's a
civil young chap now, and that's more than he'll
be long, if he bides with thee."
Grimes laughed, for he took that for a com-
I wish I were a keeper," said Tom, "to live
in such a beautiful place, and wear green velve-
teens, and have a real dog-whistle at my button,
The keeper laughed; he was a kind-hearted
"Let well alone, lad, and ill too, at times.
Thy life's safer than mine at all events, eh, Mr.
And Grimes laughed again, and then the two
men began talking quite low. Tom could hear,
'Th Water-Babies :
though, that it was about some poaching fight-
and-at last Grimes said surlily-
Hast thou anything against me ?"
Then don't ask me any questions till thou
hast, for I am a man of honour."
And at that they both laughed again, and
thought it a very good joke.
And by this time they were come up to the
great iron gates in front of the house; and Tom
stared through them at the rhododendrons and
azaleas, which were all in flower; and then at the
house itself, and wondered how many chimneys
there were in it, and how long ago it was built,
and what was the man's name that built it, and
whether he got much money for his job ?
These last were very difficult questions to
answer. For Harthover had been built at ninety
different times, and in nineteen different styles,
and looked as if somebody had built a whole
street of houses of every imaginable shape, and
then stirred them together with a spoon.
A Fairy Tale for a Laud-Baby.
For the attics were Anglo-Saxon.
The third-floor Norman.
The second Cinque-cento.
The first-floor Elizabethan.
The right wing Pure Doric.
The centre Early English, with a huge portico
copied from the Parthenon.
The left wing Pure Baeotian, which the country
folk admired most of all, because it was just like the
new barracks in the town, only three times as big.
The grand staircase was copied from the Cata-
combs at Rome.
The back staircase from the Tajmahal at Agra.
This was built by Sir John's great-great-great-
uncle, who won, in Lord Clive's Indian wars,
plenty of money, plenty of wounds, and no more
taste than his betters.
The cellars were copied from the caves of Ele-
The offices from the Pavilion at Brighton.
And the rest from nothing in heaven, or earth,
or under the earth.
'he Water-Babies :
So that Harthover House was a great puzzle to
antiquarians, and a thorough Naboth's vineyard to
critics, and architects, and all persons who like
meddling with other men's business, and spending
other men's money. So they were all setting upon
poor Sir John, year after year, and trying to talk
him into spending a hundred thousand pounds or
so, in building to please them and not himself.
But he always put them off, like a canny North-
countryman as he was. One wanted him to build
a Gothic house, but he said he was no Goth; and
another to build an Elizabethan, but he said he
lived under good Queen Victoria, and not good
Queen Bess; and another was bold enough to tell
him that his house was ugly, but he said he lived
inside it, and not outside; and another, that there
was no unity in it; but he said that that was just
why he liked the old place. For he liked to see
how each Sir John, and Sir Hugh, and Sir Ralph,
and Sir Randal, had left his mark upon the place,
each after his own taste; and he had no more
notion of disturbing his ancestors' work than of
A Fairy tale for a Land-Baby.
disturbing their graves. For now the house
looked like a real live house, that had a history,
and had grown and grown as the world grew; and
that it was only an upstart fellow who did not
know who his own grandfather was, who would
change it for some spick and span new Gothic or
Elizabethan thing, which looked as if it had been
all spawned in a night, as mushrooms are. From
which you may collect (if you have wit enough),
that Sir John was a very sound-headed, sound-
hearted squire, and just the man to keep the
country side in order, and show-good sport with
But Tom and his master did not go in through
the great iron gates, as if they had been Dukes or
Bishops, but round the back way, and a very long
way round it was; and into a little back-door,
where the ash-boy let them in, yawning horribly;
and then in a passage the housekeeper met them,
in such a flowered chintz dressing-gown, that Tom
mistook her for My Lady herself, and she gave
Grimes solemn orders about You will take care
7Th Water-Babies :
of this, and take care of that," as if he was going
up the chimneys, and not Tom. And Grimes
listened, and said every now and then, under his
voice, You'll mind that, you little beggar ?" and
Tom did mind, all at least that he could. And
then the housekeeper turned them into a grand
room, all covered up in sheets of brown paper,
and bade them begin, in a lofty and tremendous
voice; and so after a whimper or two, and a kick
from his master, into the grate Tom went, and up
the chimney, while a housemaid stayed in the room
to watch the furniture; to whom Mr. Grimes paid
many playful and chivalrous compliments, but met
with very slight encouragement in return.
How many chimneys he swept I cannot say:
but he swept so many that he got quite tired, and
puzzled too, for they were not like the town flues
to which he was accustomed, but such as you
would find-if you would only get up them and
look, which perhaps you would not like to do-
in old country-houses, large and crooked chimneys,
which had been altered again and again, till they
A Fairy Ial for a Land-Baby.
ran one into another, anastomosing (as Professor
Owen would say) considerably. So Tom fairly
lost his way in them; not that he cared much
for that, though he was in pitchy darkness, for
he was as much at home in a chimney as a mole
is underground; but at last, coming down as he
thought the right chimney, he came down the
wrong one, and found himself standing on the
hearthrug in a room the like of which he had
never seen before.
Tom had never seen the like. He had never
been in gentlefolks' rooms but when the carpets
were all up, and the curtains down, and the fur-
niture huddled together under a cloth, and the
pictures covered with aprons and dusters; and
he had often enough wondered what the rooms
were like when they were all ready for the quality
to sit in. And now he saw, and he thought the
sight very pretty.
The room was all dressed in white; white
window curtains, white bed curtains, white fur-
niture, and white walls, with just a few lines of
'rhe Water-Bahies :
pink here and there. The carpet was all over
gay little flowers; and the walls were hung with
pictures in gilt frames, which amused Tom very
much. There were pictures of ladies and gentle-
men, and pictures of horses and dogs. The horses
he liked; but the dogs he did not care for much,
for there were no bull-dogs among them, not even
a terrier. But the two pictures which took his
fancy most were, one a man in long garments,
with little children and their mothers round him,
who was laying his hand upon the children's heads.
That was a very pretty picture, Tom thought, to
hang in a lady's room. For he could see that it
was a lady's room by the dresses which lay about.
The other picture was that of a man nailed to
a cross, which surprised Tom much. He fancied
that he had seen something like it in a shop
window. But why was it there ? Poor man,"
thought Tom, and he looks so kind and quiet.
But why should the lady have such a sad picture
as that in her room ? Perhaps it was some kins-
man of hers, who had been murdered by the
A Fairy Tale for a Land-Baby.
savages in foreign parts, and she kept it there for
a remembrance." And Tom felt sad, and awed,
and turned to look at something else.
The next thing he saw, and that too puzzled
him, was a washing-stand, with ewers and basons,
and soap and brushes, and towels; and a large
bath, full of clean' water-what a heap of things
all for washing! She must be a very dirty
lady," thought Tom, by my master's rule, to
want as much scrubbing as all that. But she
must be very cunning to put the dirt out of the
way so well afterwards, for I don't see a speck
about the room, not even on the very towels."
And then, looking toward the bed, he saw that
dirty lady, and held his breath with astonishment.
Under the snow-white coverlet, upon the snow-
white pillow, lay the most beautiful little girl that
Tom had ever seen. Her cheeks were almost as
white as the pillow, and her hair was like threads
of gold spread all about over the bed. She might
have been as old as Tom, or maybe a year or two
older; but Tom did not think of that. He
thought only of her delicate skin and golden hair,
and wondered whether she were a real live person,
or one of the wax dolls he had seen in the shops.
But when he saw her breathe, he made up his
mind that she was alive, and stood staring at her,
as if she had been an angel out of heaven.
No. She cannot be dirty. She never could
have been dirty, thought Tom to himself. And
then he thought, "And are all people like that
when they are washed?" And he looked at his
own wrist, and tried to rub the soot off, and won-
dered whether it ever would come off. Certainly
I should look much prettier then, if I grew at all
And looking round, he suddenly saw, standing
close to him, a little ugly, black, ragged figure,
with bleared eyes and grinning white teeth. He
turned on it angrily. What did such a little black
ape want in that sweet young lady's room ? And
behold, it was himself, reflected in a great mirror,
the like of which Tom had-never seen before.
And Tom, for the first time in his life, found
A Fairy Tale for a Land-Baby.
out that he was dirty; and burst into tears with
shame and anger; and turned to sneak up the
chimney again and hide, and upset the fender,
and threw the fire-irons down, with a noise as of
ten thousand tin kettles tied to ten thousand mad
Up jumped the little white lady in her bed,
and, seeing Tom, screamed as shrill as any pea-
cock. In rushed a stout old nurse from the next
room, and seeing Tom likewise, made up her mind
that he had come to rob, plunder, destroy, and
burn; and dashed at him, as he lay over the
fender, so fast that she caught him by the jacket.
But she did not hold him. Tom had been in
a policeman's hands many a time, and out of
them too, what is more; and he would have been
ashamed to face his friends for ever if he had been
stupid enough to be caught by an old woman: so
he doubled under the good lady's arm, across the
room, and out of the window in a moment.
He did not need to drop out, though he would
have done so bravely enough. Nor even to let
himself down a spout, which would have been an
old game to him; for once he got up by a spout
to the church roof, he said to take jackdaws' eggs,
but the policeman said to steal lead; and when
he was seen on high, sat there till the sun got too
hot, and came down by another spout, leaving the
policemen to go back to the station-house and eat
But all under the window spread a tree, with
great leaves, and sweet white flowers, almost as
big as his head. It was a magnolia, I suppose;
but Tom knew nothing about that, and cared less;
for down the tree he went, like a cat, and across
the garden lawn, and over the iron-railings, and up
the park towards the wood, leaving the old nurse
to scream murder and fire at the window.
The under gardener, mowing, saw Tom, and
threw down his scythe; caught his leg in it, and
cut his shin open, whereby he kept his bed for a
week: but in his hurry he never knew it, and
gave chase to poor Tom. -The dairymaid heard
the noise, got the churn between her knees, and
A Fairy Talk for a Land-Baby.
tumbled over it, spilling all the cream; and yet
she jumped up, and gave chase to Tom. A
groom cleaning Sir John's hack at the stables let
him go loose, whereby he kicked himself lame in
five minutes; but he ran out, and gave chase to
Tom. Grimes upset the soot-sack in the new-
gravelled yard, and spoilt it all utterly; but, he
ran out and gave chase to Tom. The old steward
opened the park gate in such a hurry, that he hung
up his pony's chin upon the spikes, and for aught
I know it hangs there still; but he jumped off,
and gave chase to Tom. The ploughman left
his horses at the headland, and one jumped over
the fence, and pulled the other into the ditch,
plough and all; but he ran on, and gave chase
to Tom. The keeper, who was taking a stoat
out of a trap, let the stoat go, and caught his
own finger; but he jumped up and ran after
Tom, and considering what he said, and how he
looked, I should have been sorry for Tom if he
had caught him. Sir John looked out of his
study window (for he was an early old gentle-
man), and up at the nurse, and a marten dropt
mud in his eye, so that he had at last to send for
the doctor; and yet he ran out and gave chase to
Tom. The Irishwoman, too, was walking up to
the house to beg-she must have got round by
some byway: but she threw away her bundle, and
gave chase to Tom likewise. Only my lady did
not give chase; for when she had put her head
out of the window, her night-wig fell into the
garden, and she had to ring up her lady's-maid,
and send her down for it privately; which quite
put her out of the running, so that she came in
nowhere, and is consequently not placed.
In a word, never was there heard at Hall Place,
not even when the fox was killed in the conserva-
tory, among acres of broken glass, and tons of
smashed flower-pots, such a noise, row, hubbub,
babel, shindy, hullabaloo, stramash, charivari, and
total contempt of dignity, repose, and order, as
that day, when Grimes, gardener, the groom, the
dairymaid, Sir John, the steward, the ploughman,
the keeper, and the Irishwoman, all ran up the
A Fairy fale for a Land-Baby.
park, shouting "Stop thief," in the belief that
Tom had at least a thousand pounds' worth of
jewels in his empty pockets; and the very mag-
pies and jays followed Tom up, screaking and
screaming, as if he were a hunted fox, beginning
to droop his brush.
And all the while poor Tom paddled up the
park with his little bare feet, like a small black
gorilla fleeing to the forest. Alas for him! there
was no big father gorilla therein to take his part;
to scratch out the gardener's inside with one paw,
toss the dairymaid into a tree with another, and
wrench off Sir John's head with a third, while he
cracked the keeper's scull with his teeth, as easily
as if it had been a cocoa-nut or a paving-stone.
However, Tom did not remember ever having
had a father; so he did not look for one, and ex-
pected to have to take care of himself; while as
for running, he could keep up for a couple of
miles with any stage-coach, if there was the chance
of a copper or a cigar-end, and turn coach wheels
on his hands and feet ten times following, which is
more than you can do. Wherefore his pursuers
found it very difficult to catch him; and we will
hope that they did not catch him at all.
Tom, of course, made for the woods. He had
never been in a wood in his life: but he was sharp
enough to know that he might hide in a bush, or
swarm up a tree, and, altogether, had more chance
there than in the open. If he had not known
that, he would have been foolisher than a mouse
or a minnow.
But when he got into the wood, he found it a
very different sort of place from what he had
fancied. He pushed into a thick cover of rhodo-
dendrons, and found himself at once caught in a
trap. The boughs laid hold of his legs and arms,
poked him in his face and his stomach, made him
shut his eyes tight (though that was no great loss,
for he could not see at best a yard before his nose);
and when he got through the rhododendrons, the
hassock-grass and sedges tumbled him over, and
cut his poor little fingers afterwards most spitefully;
the birches birched him as soundly as if he had
A Fairy Tale for a Land-Baby.
been a nobleman at Eton, and over the face too
(which is not fair swishing, as- all brave boys will
agree); and the lawyers tripped him up, and tore
his shins as if they had sharks' teeth-which lawyers
are likely enough to have.
I must get out of this," thought Tom, < or I
shall stay here till somebody comes to help me-
which is just what I don't want."
But how to get out was the difficult matter.
And indeed I don't think he would ever have got
out at all, but have staid there till the cock-robins
covered him with leaves, if he had not suddenly
run his head against a wall.
Now running your head against a wall is not
pleasant, especially if it is a loose wall, with the
stones all set on edge, and a sharp-cornered one
hits you between the eyes, and makes you see all
manner of beautiful stars. The stars are very
beautiful, certainly: but unfortunately they go in
the twenty-thousandth part of a split second, and
the pain which comes after them does not. And
so Tom hurt his head; but he was a brave boy,
and did not mind that a penny. He guessed that
over the wall the cover would end; and up it he
went, and over like a squirrel.
And there he was, out on the great grouse-
moors, which the country folk called Harthover
Fell-heather and bog and rock, stretching away
and up, up to the very sky.
Now, Tom was a cunning little fellow-as cun-
ning as an old Exmoor stag. Why not? Though
he was but ten years old, he had lived longer than
most stags, and had more wits to start with into
He knew as well as a stag, that if he backed
he might throw the hounds out. So the first thing
he did when he was over the wall, was to make the
neatest double sharp to his right, and run along
under the wall for nearly half a mile.
Whereby Sir John, and the keeper, and the
steward, and the gardener, and the ploughman,
and the dairymaid, and all the hue-and-cry together,
went on ahead half a mile in the very opposite
direction, and inside the wall, leaving him a mile
A Fairy 'alk for a Land-Baby.
off on the outside, while Tom heard their shouts
die away in the wood, and chuckled to himself
At last he came to a dip in the land, and went
to the bottom of it, and then he turned bravely
away from the wall, and up the moor; for he
knew that had pot a hill between him and his
enemies, and could go on without their seeing
But the Irishwoman, alone of them all, had seen
which way Tom went. She had kept ahead of
every one the whole time: and yet she neither
walked or ran. She went along quite smoothly
and gracefully, while her feet twinkled past each
other so fast, that you could not see which was
foremost; till every one asked the other who the
strange woman was ? and all agreed, for want of
anything better to say, that she must be in league
But when she came to the plantation they lost
sight of her; and they could do no less. For
she went quietly over the wall after Tom, and
followed him wherever he went. Sir John and
the rest saw no more of her; and out of sight was
out of mind.
And now Tom was right away into the heather,
over just such a moor as those in which you have
been bred, except that there were rocks and stones
lying about everywhere; and that instead of the
moor growing flat as he went upwards, it grew
more and more broken and hilly: but not so rough
but that little Tom could jog along well enough,
and find time, too, to stare about at the strange
place, which was like a new world to him.
He saw great spiders there, with crowns and
crosses marked on their backs, who sat in the
middle of their webs, and when they saw Tom
coming, shook them so fast that they became
invisible. Then he saw lizards, brown, and grey,
and green, and thought they were snakes, and
would sting him: but they were as much fright-
ened as he, and shot away into the heath. And
then, under a rock, he saw a pretty sight-a great
brown sharpnosed creature, with a white tag to her
A Fairy Tale for a Land-Bay. 41
brush, and round her, four or five smutty little
cubs, the funniest fellows Tom ever saw. She lay
on her back, rolling about, and stretching out her
legs, and head, and tail in the bright sunshine;
and the cubs jumped over her, and ran round her,
and nibbled her paws, and lugged her about by
the tail; and she' seemed to enjoy it mightily.
But one selfish little fellow stole away from the
rest to a dead crow close by, and dragged it off to
hide it, though it was nearly as big as he was.
Whereat all his little brothers set off after him in
full cry, and saw Tom; and then all ran back, and
up jumped Mrs. Vixen, and caught one up in her
mouth, and the rest toddled after her, and into a
dark crack in the rocks; and there was an. end of
And next he had a fright; for as he scrambled
up a sandy brow-whirr-poof-poof-cock-cock-kick
-something went off in his face, with a most
horrid noise. He thought the ground had blown
up, and the end of the world come.
And when he opened his eyes (for he shut them
very tight), it was only an old cock-grouse, who
had been washing himself in sand, like an Arab,
for want of water; and who, when Tom had all
but trodden on him, jumped up, with a noise like
the express train, leaving his wife and children to
shift for themselves, like an old coward, and went
off, screaming Cur-ru-u-uck, cur-ru-u-uck-
murder, thieves, fire-cur-u-uck-cock-kick-the
end of the world is come-kick-kick-cock-kick."
He was always fancying that the end of the world
was come, when anything happened which was
farther off than the end of his own nose. But
the end of the world was not come, any more than
the twelfth of August was; though the old grouse-
cock was quite certain of it.
So the old grouse came back to his wife and
family an hour afterwards, and said solemnly,
" Cock-cock-kick; my dears, the end of the world
is not quite come; but I assure you it is coming
the day after to-morrow-cock." But his wife had
heard that so often, that she knew all about it, and
a little more. And, beside, she was the mother of
A Fairy Tal for a Land-Bay.
a family, and had seven little poults to wash and
feed every day; and that made her very practical,
and a little sharp-tempered; so all she answered
was: "Kick-kick-kick-go and catch spiders, go
and catch spiders-kick."
So Tom went on, and on, he hardly knew why:
but he liked the great, wide, strange place, and the
cool, fresh, bracing air. But he went more and
more slowly as he got higher up the hill; for now
the ground grew very bad indeed. Instead of soft
turf and springy heather, he met great patches of
flat limestone rock, just like ill-made pavements,
with deep cracks between the stones and ledges,
filled with ferns; so he had to hop from stone to
stone, and now and then he slipped in between,
and hurt his little bare toes, though they were
tolerably tough ones: but still he would go on and
up, he could not tell why.
What would Tom have said, if he had seen,
walking over the moor behind him, the very same
Irishwoman who had taken his part upon the
road ? But whether it was that he looked too
44 he Water-Babies:
little behind him, or whether it was that she kept
out of sight behind the rocks and knolls, he never
saw her, though she saw him.
And now he began to get a little hungry, and
very thirsty; for he had run a long way, and the
sun had risen high in heaven, and the rock was as
hot as an oven, and the air danced reels over it,
as it does over a limekiln, till everything round
seemed quivering and melting in the glare.
But he could see nothing to eat anywhere, and
still less to drink.
The heath was full of bilberries and whim-
berries: but they were only in flower yet, for it
was June. And as for water, who can find that
on the top of a limestone rock ? Now and then
he passed by a deep dark swallow-hole, going
down into the earth, as if it was the chimney of
some dwarfs house underground; and more than
once, as he passed, he could hear water falling,
trickling, tinkling, many many feet below. How
he longed to get down to it, and cool his poor
baked lips! But, brave little chimney-sweep as
A Fairy Tale for a Land-Baby.
he was, he dared not climb down such chimneys as
So he went on, and on, till his head spun round
with the heat, and he thought he heard church-
bells ringing, a long way off.
"Ah !" he thought, where there is a church,
there will be houses and people; and, perhaps,
some one will give me a bit and a sup." So he
set off again, to look for the church; for he was
sure that he heard the bells quite plain.
And in a minute more, when he looked round,
he stopped again, and said, Why, what a big
place the world is !"
And so it was; for, from the top of the moun-
tain, he could see-what could he not see ?
Behind him, far below, was Harthover, and the
dark woods, and the shining salmon river; and on
his left, far below, was the town, and the smoking
chimneys of the collieries; and far, far away,
the river widened to the shining sea; and little
white specks, which were ships, lay on its bosom.
Before him lay, spread out like a map, great
plains, and farms, and villages, amid dark knots
of trees. They all seemed at his very feet; but
he had sense to see that they were long miles away.
And to his right rose moor after moor, hill after
hill, till they faded away, blue into blue sky. But
between him and those moors, and really at his
very feet, lay something, to which, as soon as
Tom saw it, he determined to go, for that was the
place for him.
A deep, deep green and rocky valley, very
narrow, and filled with wood: but through the
wood, hundreds of feet below him, he could see a
clear stream glance. Oh, if he could but get
down to that stream! Then, by the stream,
he saw the roof of a little cottage, and a little
garden, set out in squares and beds. And there
was a tiny little red thing moving in the garden,
no bigger than a fly. As Tom looked down, he
saw that it was a woman in a red petticoat. Ah!
perhaps she would give him something to eat.
And there were the church-bells ringing again.
Surely there must be a village down there. Well,
A Fairy Tak for a Land-Bay.
nobody would know him, or what had happened at
the Place. The news could not have got there
yet, even if Sir John had set all the policemen
in the county after him; and he could get down
there in five minutes.
Tom was quite right about the hue-and-cry not
having got thither; for he had come, without
knowing it, the best part of ten miles from Hart-
hover; but he was wrong about getting down in
five minutes, for the cottage was more than a mile
off, and a good thousand feet below.
However, down he went, like a brave little man
as he was, though he was very footsore, and tired,
and hungry, and thirsty; while the church-bells
rang so loud, he began to think that they must
be inside his own head, and the river chimed and
tinkled far below; and this was the song which it
Clear and cool, clear and cool,
By laughing shallow, and dreaming pool;
Cool and clear, cool and clear,
By shining shingle, and foaming wear;
Under the crag where the ouzel sings,
And the ivied wall where the church-bell rings,
Undefiled, for the undefiled;
Play by me, bathe in me, mother and child.
Dank and foul, dank and foul,
By the smoky town in its murky cowl;
Foul and dank, foul and dank,
By wharf and sewer and slimy bank;
Darker and darker the further I go,
Baser and baser the richer I grow;
Who dare sport with the sin-defiled ?
Shrink from me, turn from me, mother and child.
Strong and free, strong and free,
The floodgates are open, away to the sea,
Free and strong, ?ree and strong,
Cleansing my streams as I hurry along,
To the golden sands, and the leaping bar,
And the taintless tide that awaits me afar,
As I lose myself in the infinite main,
Like a soul that has sinned and is pardoned again.
Undefiled, for the undefiled,
Play by me, bathe in me, mother and child,
So Tom went down; and all the while he never
saw the Irishwoman going down behind him.
A Fairy Zak for a Laud-BaO.
"AND is there care in heaven? and is there love
In heavenly spirits to these creatures base
That may compassion of their evils move ?
There is :-else much more wretched were the case
Of men than beasts: But oh! the exceeding grace
Of Highest God that loves His creatures so,
And all His works with mercy doth embrace,
That blessed Angels He sends to and fro,
To serve to wicked man, to serve His wicked foe I"
MILE off, and a thousand
I feet down. So Tom found
S it; though it seemed as if he
Could have chucked a pebble
on to the back of the woman
in the red petticoat who was
weeding in the garden, or even across the dale to
the rocks beyond.
For the bottom of the valley was just one field
broad, and on the other side ran the stream; and
above it, grey crag, grey down, grey stair, grey
moor, walled up to heaven.
A quiet, silent, rich, happy place; a narrow
crack cut deep into the earth; so deep, and so out
of the way, that the bad bogies can hardly find
it out. The name of the place is Vendale; and
if you want to see it for yourself, you must go up
into the High Craven, and search from Bolland
Forest north by Ingleborough, to the Nine Stan-
dards and Cross Fell; and if you have not found
it, you must turn south, and search the Lake
Mountains, down to Scaw Fell and the sea; and
then if you have not found it, you must go
northward again by merry Carlisle, and search
the Cheviots all across, from Annan Water to
Berwick Law; and then, whether you have found
Vendale or not, you will have found such a
country, and such a people, as ought to make
you proud of being a British boy.
So Tom went to go down; and first he went
A Fairy Tal for a La d-Baby.
down three hundred feet of steep heather, mixed
up with loose brown gritstone, as rough as a file;
which was not pleasant to his poor little heels, as
he came bump, stump, jump, down the steep.
And still he thought he could throw a stone into
Then he went down three hundred feet of lime-
stone terraces, one below the other, as straight as
if a carpenter had ruled them with his ruler and
then cut them out with his chisel. There was no
heath there, but-
First, a little grass slope, covered with the
prettiest flowers, rockrose and saxifrage, and
thyme and basil, and all sorts of sweet herbs.
Then bump down a two-foot step of limestone.
Then another bit of grass and flowers.
Then bump down a one-foot step.
Then another bit of grass and flowers for fifty
yards, as steep as the house-roof, where he had to
slide down on his dear little tail.
Then another step of stone, ten feet high; and
there he had to stop himself, and crawl along the
edge to find a crack; for if he had rolled over, lie
would have rolled right into the old woman's
garden, and frightened her out of her wits.
Then, when he had found a dark narrow crack,
full of green-stalked fern, such as hangs in the
basket in the drawing-room, and had crawled
down through it, with knees and elbows, as he
would down a chimney, there was another grass
slope, and another step, and so on, till-oh, dear
me! I wish it was all over; and so did he.
And yet he thought he could throw a stone into
the old woman's garden.
At last he came to a bank of beautiful shrubs;
whitebeam with its great silver-backed leaves, and
mountain-ash, and oak; and below them cliff and
crag, cliff and crag, with great beds of crown-ferns
and wood-sedge; while through the shrubs he could
see the stream sparkling, and hear it murmur on
the white pebbles. He did not know that it was
three hundred feet below.
You would have been giddy, perhaps, at looking
down: but Tom was not. He was a brave little
A Fairy Tale for a Land-Baby.
chimney-sweep; and when he found himself on the
top of a high cliff, instead of sitting down and
crying for his baba (though he never had had any
baba to cry for), he said-" Ah, this wil just suit
me !" though he was very tired; and down he went,
by stock and stone, sedge and ledge, bush and rush,
as if he had been born a jolly little black ape, with
four hands instead of two.
And all the while, he never saw the Irishwoman
coming down behind him.
But he was getting terribly tired now. The
burning sun on the fells had sucked him up; but
the damp heat of the woody crag sucked him up
still more; and the perspiration ran out of the ends
of his fingers and toes, and washed him cleaner than
he had been for a whole year. But, of course, he
dirtied everything terribly as he went. There has
been a great black smudge all down the crag ever
since. And there have been more black beetles in
Vendale since than ever were known before; all,
of course, owing to Tom's having blacked the
original papa of them all, just as he was setting
off to be married, with a sky-blue coat and scarlet
leggings, as smart as a gardener's dog with a
polyanthus in his mouth.
At last he got to the bottom. But, behold, it
was not the bottom-as people usually find when
they are coming down a mountain. For at the
foot of the crag were heaps and heaps of fallen
limestone of every size from that of your head to
that of a stage-waggon, with holes between them
full of sweet heath-fern; and before Tom got
through them, he was out in the bright sunshine
again; and then he felt, once for all and suddenly,
as people generally do, that he was b-e-a-t, beat.
You must expect to be beat a few times in your
life, little man, if you live such a life as a man
ought to live, let you be as strong and healthy as
you may: and when you are, you will find it a
very ugly feeling. I hope that that day you may
have a stout staunch friend by you who is not
beat; for if you have not, you had best lie where
you are, and wait for better times, as poor Tom
A Fairy Tal for a.Land-Ba y.
He could not get on. The sun was burning,,
and yet he felt chill all over, He was quite
empty, and yet he felt quite sick. There was but
two hundred yards of smooth pasture between him:
and the cottage, and yet he could not walk down
it. He could hear the stream murmuring only
one field beyond it, and yet it seemed to him as if
it was a hundred miles off.
He lay down on the grass till the beetles ran
over him, and the flies settled on his nose. I
don't know when he would have got up again, if
the gnats and the midges had not taken compassion
on him. But the gnats blew their trumpets so
loud in his ear, and the midges nibbled so at his
hands and face wherever they could find a place
free from soot, that at last he woke up, and
stumbled away, down over a low wall, and into
a narrow road, and up to the cottage door.
And a neat pretty cottage it was, with clipt yew.
hedges all round the garden, and yews inside too,
cut into peacocks and trumpets and teapots and all
kinds of queer shapes. And out of the open door
came a noise like that of the frogs on the Great-A,
when they know that. it is going to be scorching
hot to-morrow-and how they know that I don't
know, and you don't know, and nobody knows.
He came slowly up to the open door, which
was all hung round with clematis and roses; and
then peeped in, half afraid.
And there sat by the empty fire-place, which
was filled with a pot of sweet herbs, the nicest old
woman that ever was seen, in her red petticoat,
and short dimity bedgown, and clean white cap,
with a black silk handkerchief over it, tied under
her chin. At her feet sat the grandfather of all
the cats; and opposite her sat, on two benches,
twelve or fourteen neat rosy chubby little children,
learning their Chris-cross-row; and gabble enough
they made about it.
Such a pleasant cottage it was, with a shiny
clean stone floor, and curious old prints on the
walls, and an old black oak sideboard full of bright
pewter and brass dishes, and a cuckoo clock in the
corner, which began shouting as soon as Tom
A Fairy % for a Land-Bay.
appeared: not that it was frightened at Tom, but
that it was just eleven o'clock.
All the children started at Tom's dirty black
figure; the girls began to cry, and the boys began
to laugh, and all pointed at him rudely enough:
but Tom was too tired to care for that.
"What art thou, and what dost want?" cried
the old dame. A chimney-sweep! Away with
thee. I'll have no sweeps here."
Water," said poor little Tom, quite faint.
"Water? There's plenty i' the beck," she
said, quite sharply.
But I can't get there; I'm most clemmed with
hunger and drought." And Tom sank down upon
the door-step, and laid his head against the post.
And the old dame looked at him through her
spectacles one minute, and two, and three; and
then she said, "He's sick; and a bairn's a bairn,
sweep or none."
"Water," said Tom.
"God forgive me!" and she put by her spec-
tacles, and rose, and came to Tom. "Water's
58 he Water-Babies:
bad for thee; I'll give thee milk." And she
toddled off into the next room, and brought a
cup of milk and a bit of bread.
Tom drank the milk off at one draught, and
then looked up, revived.
Where didst come from ?" said the dame.
"Over Fell, there," said Tom, and pointed up
into the sky.
"Over Harthover? and down Lewthwaite
Crag? Art sure thou art not lying?"
Why should I?" said Tom, and leant his
head against the post.
"And how got ye up there?"
I came over from the Place," and Tom was so
tired and desperate he had no heart or time to think
of a story, so he told all the truth in a few words.
"Bless thy little heart! And thou hast not
been stealing, then ?"
Bless thy little heart! and I'll warrant not.
Why, God's guided 'the bairn, because he was
innocent! Away from the Place, and over
A Fairy ralk for a Laixd-Bah,.
Harthover Fell, and down Lewthwaite Crag!
Who ever heard the like, if God hadn't led him ?
Why dost not eat thy bread ?"
"It's good enough, for I made it myself."
"I can't," said Tom, and he laid his head on his
knees, and then asked-
Is it Sunday ?"
"No, then; why should it be ?"
Because I hear the church bells ringing so."
"Bless thy pretty heart! The bairn's sick.
Come wi' me, and I'll hap thee up somewhere.
If thou wert a bit cleaner I'd put thee in my own
bed, for the Lord's sake. But come along here."
But when Tom tried to get up, he was so tired
and giddy that she had to help him and lead him.
She put him in an outhouse upon soft sweet
hay and an old rug, and bade him sleep off his
walk, and she would come to him when school
was over, in an hour's time.
And so she went in again, expecting Tom to
fall fast asleep at once.
But Tom did not fall asleep.
Instead of it he turned and tossed and kicked
about in the strangest way, and felt so hot all
over that he longed to get into the river and cool
himself; and then he fell half asleep, and dreamt
that he heard the little white lady crying to him,
" Oh, you're so dirty; go and be washed ;"and then
that he heard the Irishwoman saying, Those that
wish to be clean, clean they will be." And then
he heard the church bells ring so loud, close to
him, too, that he was sure it must be Sunday, in
spite of what the old dame had said; and he would
go to church, and see what a church was like
inside, for he had never been in one, poor little
fellow, in all his life. But the people would never
let him come in, all over soot and dirt like that.
He must go to the river and wash first. And he
said out loud again and again, though being half
asleep he did not know it, "I must be clean, I
must be clean."
And all of a sudden he found himself, not in
the outhouse on the hay, but in the middle of a
A Fairy Tlak for a Land-Bay.
meadow, over the road, with the stream just before
him, saying continually, "I must be clean, I must
be clean." He had got there on his own legs,
between sleep and awake, as children will often
get out of bed, and go about the room, when they
are not quite well. But he was not a bit surprised,
and went on to the bank of the brook, and lay
down on the grass, and looked into the clear clear
limestone water, with every pebble at the bottom
bright and clean, while the little silver trout dashed
about in fright at the sight of his black face; and
he dipped his hand in and found it so cool, cool,
cool; and he said, "I will be a fish; I will swim
in the water; I must be clean, I must be clean."
So he pulled off all his clothes in such haste that
he tore some of them, which was easy enough with
such ragged old things. And he put his poor hot
sore feet into the water; and then his legs; and
the further he went in, the more the church bells
rang in his head.
Ah," said Tom, I must be quick and wash
myself; the bells are ringing quite loud now: and
they will stop soon, and then the door will be shut,
and I shall never be able to get in at all."
Tom was mistaken: for in England the church
doors are left open all service time, for everybody
who likes to come in, Churchman or Dissenter;
ay, even if he were a Turk or a Heathen; and if
any man dared to turn him out, as long as he
behaved quietly, the good old English law would
punish that man, as he deserved, for ordering any
peaceable person out of God's house, which belongs
to all alike. But Tom did not know that, any
more than he knew a great deal more which
people ought to know.
And all the while he never saw the Irishwoman:
not behind him this time, but before.
For just before he came to the river side, she
had stept down into the cool clear water; and her
shawl and her petticoat floated off her, and the
green water-weeds floated round her sides, and the
white water-lilies floated round her head, and the
fairies of the stream came up from the bottom,
and bore her away and down upon their arms;
A Fairy rale for a Land-Baby.
for she was the Queen of them all; arid perhaps
of more besides.
Where have you been ?" they asked her.
"I have been smoothing sick folk's pillows, and
whispering sweet dreams into their ears; opening
cottage casements, to let out the stifling air;
coaxing little children away from gutters, and foul
pools where fever breeds; turning women from
the gin-shop door, and staying men's hands as
they were going to strike their wives; doing all
I can to help those who will not help themselves:
and little enough that is, and weary work for me.
But I have brought you a new little brother, and
watched him safe all the way here."
Then all the fairies laughed for joy at the
thought that they had a little brother coming.
But mind, maidens, he must not see you, or
know that you are here. He is but a savage now,
and like the beasts which perish; and from the
beasts which perish he must learn. So you must
not play with him, or speak t9 him, or let him see
you: but only keep him from being harmed."
Then the fairies were sad, because they could
not-play with their new brother, but they always
did what they were told.
And their Queen floated away down the river;
and whither she went, thither she came. But all
this Tom, of course, never saw or heard: and
perhaps if he had, it would have made little dif-
ference in the story; for he was so hot and thirsty,
and longed so to be clean for once, that he
tumbled himself as quick as he could into the
clear cool stream.
And he had not been in it two minutes before
he fell fast asleep, into the quietest, sunniest,
cosiest sleep that ever he had in his life; and he
dreamt about the green meadows by which he had
walked that morning, and the tall elm-trees, and
the sleeping cows; and after that he dreamt of
nothing at all.
The reason of his falling into such a delightful
sleep is very simple; and yet hardly any one has
found it out. It was merely that the fairies took
A Fairy Takl for a Land-Bab.
Some people think that there are no fairies.
Cousin Cramchild tells little folks so in his Con-
versations. Well, perhaps there are none-in
Boston, U.S., where he was raised. There are
only a clumsy lot of spirits there, who can't make
people hear without thumping on the table: but
they get their living thereby, and I suppose that is
all they want. And Aunt Agitate, in her Argu-
ments on political economy, says there are none.
Well, perhaps there are none-in her political
economy. But it is a wide world, my little man-
and thank heaven for it, for else, between crinolines
and theories, some of us would get squashed-and
plenty of room in it for fairies, without people
seeing them; unless, of course, they look in the
right place. The most wonderful and the strongest
things in the world, you know, are just the things
which no one can see. There is life in you; and
it is the life in you which makes you grow, and
move, and think: and yet you can't see it. And
there is steam in a steam engine; and that is what
makes it move: and yet you can't see it; and so
there may be fairies in the world, and they may
be just what makes the world go round to the old
"Cest 1'amour, 1'amour, I'amour
Qui fait la monde & la ronde:"
and yet no one may be able to see them except
those whose hearts are going round to that same
tune. At all events, we will make believe that
there are fairies in the world. It will not be the
last time by many a one that we shall have to
make believe. And yet, after all, there is no need
for that. There must be fairies; for this is a
fairy tale: and how can one have a fairy-tale if
there are no fairies ?
You don't see the logic of that? Perhaps not.
Then please not to see the logic of a great many
arguments exactly like it, which you will hear
before your beard is grey.
The kind old dame came back at twelve, when
school was over, to look at Tom: but there was
no Tom there. She looked about for his foot-
prints; but the ground was so hard that there was
A Fairy !ral for a Lantd-Baby.
no slot, as they say in dear old North Devon.
And if you grow up to be a brave healthy man,
you may know some day what no slot means, and
know, too, I hope, what a slot does mean-a
broad slot, with blunt claws, which makes a man
put out his cigar, and set his teeth, and tighten his
girths, when he sees it; and what his rights mean,
if he has them, brow, bay, tray, and points;
and see something worth seeing between Haddon
Wood and Countisbury Cliff, with good Mr. Palk
Collyns to show you the way, and mend your
bones as fast as you smash them. Only when that
jolly day comes, please don't break your neck:
stogged in a mire you never will be, I trust; for
you are a heath-cropper bred and born.
So the old dame went in again quite sulky, think-
ing that little Tom had tricked her with a false
story, and shammed ill, and then run away again.
But she altered her mind the next day. For,
when Sir John and the rest of them had run them-
selves out of breath, and lost Tom, they went
back again, looking very foolish.
And they looked more foolish still when Sir
John heard more of the story from the nurse;
and more foolish still, again, when they heard the
whole story from Miss Ellie, the little lady in
white. All she had seen was a poor little black
chimney-sweep, crying and sobbing, and going to
get up the chimney again. Of course, she was
very much frightened: and no wonder. But that
was all. The boy had taken nothing in the room;
by the mark of his little sooty feet, they could see
that he had never been off the hearth-rug till the
nurse caught hold of him. It was all a mistake.
So Sir John told Grimes to go home, and
promised him five shillings if he would bring
the boy quietly up to him, without beating him,
that he might be sure of the truth. For he took
for granted, and Grimes too, that Tom had made
his way home.
But no Tom came back to Mr. Grimes that
evening; and he went to the police-office, to tell
them to look out for the boy. But no Tom was
heard of. As for his having gone over those great
A Fairy Tale for a Land-Bay.
fells to Vendale, they no more dreamed of that
than of his having gone to the moon.
So Mr. Grimes came up to Harthover next day
with a very sour face; but when he got there, Sir
John was over the hills and far away; and Mr.
Grimes had to sit in the outer servants' hall all
day, and drink 'strong ale to wash away his
sorrows; and they were washed away, long before
Sir John came back.
For good Sir John had slept very badly that
night; and he said to his lady, "My dear, the boy
must have got over into the grouse-moors, and
lost himself; and he lies very heavily on my
conscience, poor little lad. But I know what I
So, at five the next morning up he got, and into
his bath, and into his shooting jacket and gaiters,
and into the stable-yard, like a fine old English
gentleman, with a face as red as a rose, and a hand
as hard as a table, and a back as broad as a bul-
lock's; and bade them bring his shooting pony,
and the keeper to come on his pony, and the
huntsman, and the first whip, and the second whip,
and the under-keeper with the bloodhound in a
leash-a great dog as tall as a calf, of the colour
of a gravel walk, with mahogany ears and nose,
and a throat like a church bell. They took him
up to the place where Tom had gone into the
wood; and there the hound lifted up his mighty
voice, and told them all he knew.
Then he took them to the place where Tom had
climbed the wall; and they shoved it down, and all
And then the wise dog took them over the
moor, and over the fells, step by step, very slowly;
for the scent was a day old, you know, and very
light from the heat and drought. But that was
why cunning old Sir John started at five in the
And at last he came to the top of Lewthwaite
Crag, and there he bayed, and looked up in their
faces, as much as to say, I tell you he is gone
down here !"
They could hardly believe that Tom would have
A Faity sk for ba Land-Baby.
gone so far; and when they looked at that awful
cliff, they could never believe that he would have
dared to face it. But if the dog said so, it must
Heaven forgive us!" said Sir John. If we
find him at all, we shall find him lying at the
bottom." And he slapped his great hand upon
his great thigh, and said-
Who will go down over Lewthwaite Crag, and
see if that boy is alive ? Oh that I were twenty
years younger, and I would go down myself!"
And so he would have done, as well as any sweep
in the county. Then he said-
"Twenty pounds to the man who brings me
that boy alive! and as was his way, what he said
Now among the lot was a little groom-boy, a
very little groom indeed; and he was the same
who had ridden up the court, and told Tom to
come to the Hall; and he said-
Twenty pounds or none, I will go down over
Lewthwaite Crag, if it's only for the poor boy's
sake. For he was as civil a spoken little chap as
ever climbed a flue."
So down over Lewthwaite Crag he went: a very
smart groom he was at the top, and a very shabby
one at the bottom; for he tore his gaiters, and he
tore his breeches, and he tore his jacket, and he
burst his braces, and he burst his boots, and he
lost his hat, and what was worst of all, he lost his
shirt pin, which he prized very much, for it was
gold, and he had won it in a raffle at Malton, and
there was a figure at the top of it of t'ould mare,
noble old Beeswing herself, as natural as life; so it
was a really severe loss: but he never saw anything
And all the while Sir John and the rest were
riding round, full three miles to the right, and
back again, to get into Vendale, and to the foot
of the crag.
When they came to the old dame's school, all
the children came out to see. And the old dame
came out too; and when she saw Sir John she
curtsied very low, for she was a tenant of his.
A Fairy TraT for a Load-Baby.
Well, dame, and how are you?" said Sir
Blessings on you as broad as your back, Hart-
hover," says she-she didn't call him Sir John, but
only Harthover, for that is the fashion in the North
country-" and welcome into Vendale: but you're
no hunting the fox-this time of the year ?"
I am hunting, and strange game too," said he.
Blessings on your heart, and what makes you
look so sad the morn ?"
I'm looking for a lost child, a chimney-sweep,
that is run away."
"Oh Harthover, Harthover," says she, "ye
were always a just man and a merciful; and ye'll
no harm the poor little lad if I give you tidings of
Not I, not I, dame. I'm afraid we hunted
him out of the house all on a miserable mistake,
and the hound has brought him to the top of
Lewthwaite Crag, and-"
Whereat the old dame broke out crying, without
letting him finish his story.
"So he told me the truth after all, poor little
dear I Ah, first thoughts are best, and a body's
heart'll guide them right, if they will but hearken
to it." And then she told Sir John all.
Bring the dog here, and lay him on," said Sir
John, without another word, and he set his teeth
And the dog opened at once; and went away at
the back of the cottage, over the road, and over
the meadow, and through a bit of alder copse;
and there, upon an. alder stump, they saw Tom's
clothes lying. And then they knew as much about
it all as there was any need to know.
Ah, now comes the most wonderful part of this
wonderful story. Tom, when he woke, for of
course he woke-children always wake after they
have slept exactly as long as is good for them-
found himself swimming about in the stream, being
about four inches, or-that I may be accurate-
3'87902 inches long, and having round the parotid
region of his fauces a set of external gills (I hope
A Fairy Tale for a Land-Baby.
you understand all the big words) just like those
of a sucking eft, which he mistook for a lace frill,
till he pulled at them, found he hurt himself, and
made up his mind that they were part of himself,
and best left alone.
In fact, the fairies had turned him into a water-
A water-baby ? You never heard of a water-
baby. Perhaps not. That is the very reason
why this story was written. There are a great
many things in the world which you never heard
of; and a great many more which nobody ever
heard of; and a great many things, too, which
nobody will ever hear of, at least until the coming
of the Cocqcigrues, when man shall be the measure
of all things.
But there are no such things as water-babies."
How do you know that ? Have you been there
to see ? And if you had been there to see, and
had seen none, that would not prove that there
were none. If Mr. Garth does not find a fox in
Eversley Wood-as folks sometimes fear he never
will-that does not prove that there are no such
things as foxes. And as is Eversley Wood to all
the woods in England, so are the waters we know
to all the waters in the world. And no one has a
right to say that no water-babies exist, till they
have seen no water-babies existing; which is quite
a different thing, mind, from not seeing water-
babies; and a thing which nobody ever did, or
perhaps ever will do.
But surely if there were water-babies, some-
body would have caught one at least ?"
Well. How do you know that somebody has
"But they would have put it into spirits, or
into the Illustrated News, or perhaps cut it into
two halves, poor dear little thing, and sent one to
Professor Owen, and one to Professor Huxley, to
see what they would each say about it."
Ah, my dear little man! that does not follow at
all, as you will see before the end of the story.
But a water-baby is contrary to nature."
Well, but, my dear little man, you must learn
A Fairy Tak for a Land-Baby.
to talk about such things, when you grow older,
in a very different way from that. You must not
talk about "ain't" and can't" when you speak of
this great wonderful world round you, of which the
wisest man knows only the very smallest corner,
and is, as the great Sir Isaac Newton said, only a
child picking up pebbles on the shore of a bound-
You must not say that this cannot be, or that
that is contrary to nature. You do not know
what nature is, or what she can do; and nobody
knows; not even Sir Roderick Murchison, or Pro-
fessor Owen, or Professor Sedgwick, or Professor
Huxley, or Mr. Darwin, or Professor Faraday, or
Mr. Grove, or any other of the great men whom
good boys are taught to respect. They are very
wise men; and you must listen respectfully to all
they say: but even if they should say, which I am
sure they never would, That cannot exist. That
is contrary to nature," you must wait a little, and
see; for perhaps even they may be wrong. It is
only children who read Aunt Agitate's Arguments,
or Cousin Cramchild's Conversations; or lads who
go to popular lectures, and see a man pointing at a
few big ugly pictures on the wall, or making nasty
smells with bottles and squirts, for an hour or two,
and calling that anatomy or chemistry-who talk
about cannot exist," and contrary to nature."
Wise men are afraid to say that there is anything
contrary to nature, except what is contrary to
mathematical truth; for two and two cannot make
five, and two straight lines cannot join twice, and a
part cannot be as great as the whole, and so on (at
least, so it seems at present): but the wiser men
are, the less they talk about cannot." That is a
very rash, dangerous word, that cannot;" and
if people use it too often, the Queen of all the
Fairies, who makes the clouds thunder and the
fleas bite, and takes just as much trouble about
one as about the other, is apt to astonish them
suddenly by showing them, that though they say
she cannot, yet she can, and what is more, will,
whether they approve or not.
And therefore it is, that there are dozens and
A Fairy Tale for a Land-Baby.
hundreds of things in the world which we should
certainly have said were contrary to nature, if we
did not see them going on under our eyes all day
long. If people had never seen little seeds grow
into great plants and trees, of quite different shape
from themselves, and these trees again produce
fresh seeds, to gr6w into fresh trees, they would
have said, The thing cannot be; it is contrary to
nature." And they would have been quite as right
in saying so, as in saying that most other things
Or suppose again, that you had come, like M.
Du Chaillu, a traveller from unknown parts; and
that no human being had ever seen or heard of an
elephant. And suppose that you described him to
people, and said, "This is the shape, and plan,
and anatomy of the beast, and of his feet, and of
his trunk, and of his grinders, and of his tusks,
though they are not tusks at all, but two fore
teeth run mad; and this is the section of his skull,
more like a mushroom than a reasonable skull of
a reasonable or unreasonable beast; and so forth,
and so forth; and though the beast (which I assure
you I have seen and shot) is first cousin to the
little hairy coney of Scripture, second cousin to
a pig, and (I suspect) thirteenth or fourteenth
cousin to a rabbit, yet he is the wisest of all
beasts, and can do everything save read, write, and
cast accounts." People would surely have said,
"Nonsense; your elephant is contrary to nature;"
and have thought you were telling stories-as the
French thought of Le Vaillant when he came
back to Paris and said that he had shot a giraffe;
and as the king of the Cannibal Islands thought
of the English sailor, when he said that in his
country water turned to marble, and rain fell as
feathers. They would tell you, the more they
knew of science, "Your elephant is an impossible
monster, contrary to the laws of comparative
anatomy, as far as yet known." To which you
would answer the less, the more you thought.
Did not learned men, too, hold, till within the
last twenty-five years, that a flying dragon was an
impossible monster? And do we not now know
A Fairy Tale for a Land-Baby.
that there are hundreds of them found fossil up
and down the world? People call them Ptero-
dactyles: but that is only because they are ashamed
to call them flying dragons, after denying so long
that flying dragons could exist.
The truth is, that folks' fancy that such and
such things carinot be, simply because they have
not seen them, is worth no more than a savage's
fancy that there cannot be such a thing as a loco-
motive, because he never saw one running wild in
the forest. Wise men know that their business is
to examine what is, and not to settle what is not.
They know that there are elephants; they know
that there have been flying dragons; and the wiser
they are, the less inclined they will be to say posi-
tively that there are no water-babies.
No water-babies, indeed? Why, wise men of
old said that everything on earth had its double
in the water; and you may see that that is, if not
quite true, still quite as true as most other theories
which you are likely to hear for many a day.
There are land-babies-then why not water-babies ?
Are there not water-rats, water-flies, water-crickets,
water-crabs, water-tortoises, water-scorpions, water-
tigers and water-hogs, water-cats and water-dogs,
sea-lions and sea-bears, sea-horses and sea-elephants,
sea-mice and sea-urchins, sea-razors and sea-pens,
sea-combs and sea-fans; and of plants, are there
not water-grass, and water-crowfoot, water-milfoil,
and so on, without end?
But all these things are only nick-names; the
water things are not really akin to the land things."
That's not always true. They are, in millions
of cases, not only of the same family, but actually
the same individual creatures. Do not even you
know that a green drake, and an alder-fly, and a
dragon-fly, live under water till they change their
skins, just as Tom changed his? And if a water
animal can continually change into a land animal,
why should not a land animal sometimes change
into a water animal ? Don't be put down by any
of Cousin Cramchild's arguments, but stand up to
him like a man, and answer him (quite respect-
fully, of course) thus :-
A Fairy T'al for a Land-Baly.
If Cousin Cramchild says, that if there are
water-babies, they must grow into water men,
ask him how he knows that they do not? and
then, how he knows that they must, any more
than the Proteus of the Adelsberg caverns grows
into a perfect newt?
If he says that it is too strange a transformation
for a land-baby to turn into a water-baby, ask him
if he ever heard of the transformation of Syllis, or
the Distomas, or the common jelly-fish, of which
M. Quatref~ges says excellently well-" who would
not exclaim that a miracle had come to pass, if he
saw a reptile come out of the egg dropped by the
hen in his poultry-yard, and the reptile givebirth
at once to an indefinite number of fishes and birds ?
Yet the history of the jelly-fish is quite as wonder-
ful as that would be." Ask him if he knows about
all this; and if he does not, tell him to go and
look for himself; and advise him (very respect-
fully, of course) to settle no more what strange
things cannot happen, till he has seen what strange
things do happen every day.
The Water-Babies :
If he says that things cannot degrade, that is,
change downwards into lower forms, ask him, who
told him that water-babies were lower than land-
babies? But even if they were, does he know
about the strange degradation of the common
goose-barnacles, which one finds sticking on ships'
bottoms; or the still stranger degradation of some
cousins of theirs, of which one hardly likes to talk,
so shocking and ugly it is ?
And, lastly, if he says (as he most certainly
will) that these transformations only take place in
the lower animals, and not in the higher, say that
that seems to little boys, and to some grown people,
a very strange fancy. For if the changes of the
lower animals are so wonderful, and so difficult to
discover, why should not there be changes in the
higher animals far more wonderful, and far more
difficult to discover? And may not man, the
crown and flower of all things, undergo some
change as much more wonderful than all the rest,
as the Great Exhibition is more wonderful than a
rabbit-burrow ? Let him answer that. And if he
A Fairy Tale for a Land-Baby.
says (as he will) that not having seen such a
change in his experience, he is not bound to be-
lieve it, ask him respectfully where his microscope
has been ? Does not each of us, in coming into
this world, go through a transformation just as
wonderful as that of a sea-egg, or a butterfly?
and does not reason and analogy, as well as Scrip-
ture, tell us that that transformation is not the
last? and that, though what we shall be, we know
not, yet we are here but as the crawling caterpillar,
and shall be hereafter as the perfect fly. The old
Greeks, heathens as they were, saw as much as that
two thousand years ago; and I care very little for
Cousin Cramchild, if he sees even less than they.
And so forth, and so forth, till he is quite cross.
And then tell him that if there are no water-babies,
at least, there ought to be; and that, at least, he
And meanwhile, my dear little man, till you
know a great deal more about nature than Pro-
fessor Owen and Professor Huxley put together,
don't tell me about what cannot be, or fancy that
anything is too wonderful to be true. "We
are fearfully and wonderfully made," said old
David; and so we are; and so is every thing
around us, down to the very deal table. Yes;
much more fearfully and wonderfully made, al-
ready, is the table, as it stands now, nothing but a
piece of dead deal wood, than if, as foxes say, and
geese believe, spirits could make it dance, or talk
to you by rapping on it.
Am I in earnest? Oh dear no. Don't you
know that this is a fairy tale, and all fun and
pretence; and that you are not to believe one
word of it, even if it is true?
But at all events, so it happened to Tom.
And, therefore, the keeper, and the groom, and
Sir John, made a great mistake, and were very
unhappy (Sir John, at least) without any reason,
when they found a black thing in the water, and
said it was Tom's body, and that he had been
drowned. They were utterly mistaken. Tom
was quite alive; and cleaner, and merrier, than
he ever had been. The fairies had washed him,
A Fairy Tale for a Lad-Baby.
you see, in the swift river, so thoroughly, that not
only his dirt, but his whole husk and shell had
been washed quite off him, and the pretty little
real Tom was washed out of the inside of it, and
swam away, as a caddis does when its case of
stones and silk is bored through, and away it goes
on its back, piddling to the shore, there to split its
skin, and fly away as a caperer, on four fawn.
coloured wings, with long legs and horns. They
are foolish fellows, the caperers, and fly into the
candle at night, if you leave the door open. We
will hope Tom will be wiser, now he has got safe
out of his sooty old shell.
But good Sir John did not understand all this,
not being a fellow of the Linnaean Society; and
he took it into his head that Tom was drowned.
When they looked into the empty pockets of his
shell, and found no jewels there, nor money-
nothing but three marbles, and a brass button with
a string to it-then Sir John did something as like
crying as ever he did in his life, and blamed him-
self more bitterly than he need have done. So he
cried, and the groom-boy cried, and the huntsman
cried, and the dame cried, and the little girl cried,
and the dairymaid cried, and the old nurse cried
(for it was somewhat her fault), and my lady
cried, for though people have wigs, that is no
reason why they should not have hearts: but the
keeper did not cry, though he had been so good-
natured to Tom the morning before; for he was
so dried up with running after poachers, that you
could no more get tears out of him than milk out
of leather: and Grimes did not cry, for Sir John
gave him ten pounds, and he drank it all in a
week. Sir John sent, far and wide, to find Tom's
father and mother: but he might have looked till
Doomsday for them, for one was dead, and the
other was in Botany Bay. And the little girl
would not play with her dolls for a whole week,
and never forgot poor little Tom. And soon my
lady put a pretty little tombstone over Tom's shell
in the little churchyard in Vendale, where the old
dalesmen all sleep side by side between the lime-
stone crags. And the dame decked it with gar.
A Fairy 'tal for a Land-Baby.
lands every Sunday, till she grew so old that she
could not stir abroad; then the little children
decked it for her. And always she sung an old
old song, as she sat spinning what she called her
wedding-dress. The children could not understand
it, but they liked it none the less for that; for it
was very sweet, and very sad; and that was
enough for them. And these are the words of
WHEN all the world is young, lad,
And all the trees are green;
And every goose a swan, lad,
And every lass a queen;
Then hey for boot and horse, lad,
And round the world away;
Young blood must have its course, lad,
And every dog his day.
When all the world is old, lad,
And all the trees are brown;
And all the sport is stale, lad,
And all the wheels run down;
Creep home, and take your place there,
The spent and maimed among:
God grant you find one face there,
You loved when all was young.
Those are the words: but they are only the
body of it: the soul of the song was the dear old
90 The Water-Babies:
woman's sweet face, and sweet voice, and the sweet
old air to which she sang; and that, alas! one
cannot put on paper. And at last she grew so
stiff and lame, that the angels were forced to carry
her; and they helped her on with her wedding-
dress, and carried her up over Harthover Fells,
and a long way beyond that too; and there was
a new schoolmistress in Vendale, and we will hope
that she was not certificated.
And all the while Tom was swimming about in
the river, with a pretty little lace-collar of gills
about his neck, as lively as a grig, and as clean as
a fresh-run salmon.
Now if you don't like my story, then go to
the schoolroom and learn your multiplication-
table, and see if you like that better. Some
people, no doubt, would do so. So much the
better for us, if not for them. It takes all sorts,
they say, to make a world.
A Fairy Tal for a Land-Bay.
"HE prayeth well who loveth well,
Both men and bird and beast;
He prayeth best who loveth best,
All things both great and small:
For the dear God who loveth us,
He made and loveth alL"
OM was now quite amphi-
bious. You do not know
what that means ? You had
better, then, ask the nearest
who may possibly answer
you smartly enough, thus-
"Amphibious. Adjective, derived from two
Greek words, amphi, a fish, and bios, a beast.
An animal supposed by our ignorant ancestors to
be compounded of a fish and a beast; which there-
fore, like the hippopotamus, can't live on the land,
and dies in the water."
However that may be, Tom was amphibious;
and what is better still, he was clean. For the
first time in his life, he felt how comfortable it
was to have nothing on him but himself. But he
only enjoyed it: he did not know it, or think
about it; just as you enjoy life and health, and
yet never think about being alive and healthy:
and may it be long before you have to think
He did not remember having ever been dirty.
Indeed, he did not remember any of his old
troubles, being tired, or hungry, or beaten, or
sent up dark chimneys. Since that sweet sleep,
he had forgotten all about his master, and Hart-
hover Place, and the little white girl, and in a
word, all that had happened to him when he lived
before; and what was best of all, he had for-
gotten all the bad words which he had learnt from
Grimes, and the rude boys with whom he used
A Fairy .Tale for a Land-Baby. 93
That is not strange: for you know, when you
came into this world, and became a land-baby, you
remembered nothing. So why should he, when
he became a water-baby?
Then have you lived before ?
My dear child, who can tell ? One can only
tell that, by remembering something which hap-
pened where we lived before; and as we remember
nothing, we know nothing about it; and no book,
and no man, can ever tell us certainly.
There was a wise man once, a very wise man,
and a very good man, who wrote a poem about
the feelings which some children have about having
lived before; and this is what he said-
"Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting;
The soul that rises with us, our life's star,
Hath elsewhere had its setting,
And cometh from afar:
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory, do we come
From God, who is our home."
There, you can know no more than that. But
if I was you, I would believe that. For then the
great fairy Science, who is likely to be queen of
all the fairies for many a year to come, can only
do you good, and never do you harm; and instead
of fancying, with some people, that your body
makes your soul, as if a steam-engine could make
its own coke; or, with some other people, that
your soul has nothing to do with your body, but
is only stuck into it like a pin into a pincushion,
to fall out with the first shake;-you will believe
the one true,
doctrine of this wonderful fairy tale; which is,
that your soul makes your body, just as a snail
makes his shell. For the rest, it is enough for us
to be sure that whether or not we lived before, we