TITLE: Adventures in shadow-land
Table of Contents
Eva's Adventures in Shadow-Land. Chapter I: What Eva Saw in the Pond
Chapter II: Eva's First Adventures
Chapter III: The Gift of the Fountain
Chapter IV: The First Moonrise
Chapter V: What Aster Was
Chapter VI: The Beginning of the Search
Chapter VII: Aster's Misfortunes
Chapter VIII: What Aster Did
Chapter IX: The Door in the Wall
Chapter X: The Valley of Rest
Chapter XI: The Magic Boat
Chapter XII: Down the Brook
Chapter XIII: The Enchanted River
Chapter XIV: The Green Frog
Chapter XV: In the Grotto
Chapter XVI: Aster's Story
Chapter XVII: The Last of Shadow-Land
Table of Contents
The Merman and the Figure-Head. Chapter I: The Sea-Nymph
Chapter II: The Sea Kingdom
Chapter III: The Figure-Head
Chapter IV: The Bewitched Lover
Chapter V: The Sea-Nymphs
Chapter VI: Lucy Peabody's Dream
The Baldwin Library
â€œThe Toad Woman stopped fanning and looked at her.â€
Frontispiece.| Page 125.
Evaâ€™s ADVENTURES IN SHADOW-LAND.
By MARY D. NAUMAN.
THE MERMAN AND THE FIGURE-HEAD. -
By CLARA F., GUERNSEY.
' TWO VOLUMES IN ONE.
J. B. LIPPINCOTT & CO.
Entered according to, Act of Congress, in the year 1873, by
j. B. LIPPINCQTT & CO,,
In the office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.
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IN SHADOW-LAND. Â»
WHAT EVA SAW IN THE POND.
GHE had been reading fairy-tales, after her
lessons were done, all the morning; and
now that dinner was over, her father gone
to his office, the baby asleep, and her mother sit-
ting quietly sewing in the cool parlor, Eva thought
that she would go down across the field to the old
mill-pond ; and sit in the grass, and make a fairy-
tale for herself.
. There was nothing that Eva liked better than to
go and sit in the tall grass; grass so tall that when
the child, in her white dress, looped on her plump
white shoulders with blue ribbons, her bright
golden curls brushed back from her fair brow, and
â€˜to Eva's Adventures in Shadow-Land.
her blue eyes sparkling, sat down in it, you could
not see her until you were near her, and then it
was just as if you had found a picture of a little
girl in a frame, or rather a nest of soft, green grass.
All through this tall, wavy grass, down to the
very edge of the pond, grew many flowers,â€”
violets,.and buttercups, and dandelions, like little
golden suns. â€˜And as Eva sat there in the grass,
she filled her lap with the purple and yellow
flowers; and all around her the bees buzzed as
though they wished to light upon the flowers in
her lap; on which, at last,â€”so quietly did she sit,
â€”two black-and-golden butterflies alighted ; while
a great brown beetle, with long black feelers,
climbed up a tall grass-stalk in front of her, which,
_ bending slightly under his weight, swung to.and
fro in the gentle breeze which barely stirred Evaâ€™s
golden curls; and the field-crickets chirped, and
even a snail put his horns out of his shell to look
at the little girl, sitting so quietly in the grass
among the flowers, for Eva was gentle, and neither
bee, nor butterfly, beetle, cricket, or snail were
afraid-of her. And this is what Eva called mak-
ing a fairy-tale for herself.
What Eva. saw tn the Pond. IL
But sitting so quietly and watching theâ€™ insects,
and hearing their low hum around her, at last
made Eva feel drowsy; and she would have gone
to sleep, as she often did, if all of a sudden there
had not sounded, just at her feet, so that it startled
her, a loud
Croak ! croak!
But it frightened the two butterflies; for away
they went, floating off on their black-and-golden
wings; and the brown beetle was in so much of a
hurry to run away that he tumbled off the grass-
stalk on which he had been swinging, and as soonâ€™
as he could regain his legs, crept, as fast as they
could carry him, under a friendly mullein-leaf
which grew near, and hid himself; and the crickets
were silent; and the bees all flew away to their .
hive; and the snail drew himself and his horns
into his house, so that he looked like nothing in
the world but a shell; for when beetles, and but-
terflies, and crickets, and bees, and snails hear
this croak ! croak! they know that it is time
for â€˜them to get out of the way.
And when Eva looked down, there, just at her
feet, sat a great green toad.
12 Eva's Adventures in Shadow-Land,
She gave him a little push with her foot to make
him go away; but instead of that he only hopped
the nearer, and again cameâ€”
He was entirely too near now for comfort, so
the little girl jumped up, dropping all the flowers
she had gathered 3 and as she stood still for a mo-
ment she thought that she heard the green toad
Â«Go to the pond! Go to the pond !â€™â€™
It seemed so funny to Eva to hear a toad talk
that she stood as still as a mouse looking at him ; 3
and as she looked at him, she heard him say again,
as plain as possible:
â€œâ€˜Go to the pond! Go to the pond !â€â€™
And then Eva did just exactly what either you
or I would have done if we had heard a great
green toad talking tous. She went slowly through
the tall grass down to the very edge of the pond. -
But instead of the fishes which used to swim .
about in the pretty clear water, and which would
come to eat the crumbs of bread she always threw
to them, and the funny, croaking frogs which used
to jump and splash in the water, she saw nothing
What Eva saw tn the Pond. 13
but the same great green toad, which had hopped
down faster than she had walked, and which was
now sitting on a mossy stone near the bank. And
when Eva would have turned away he, croaked
â€œStay by the pond! Stay by the pond !â€™â€™
And whether Eva wished it or not, she stood by
the pondâ€”for she really could not help itâ€”and
looked. And it seemed to her that the sky grew
dark and the water black, as it always does before
arain; and then the child grew frightened, and
would -thave run away, but that just then, in the
. very blackest part of the pond, she saw shining
and looking up at her a little round full moon,
with a face in it; and it seemed to her, strange
though you may think it, that the eyes of the face
in the moon winked at her; and then it was gone.
And again Eva would have left the pond, but
the green toad, which she thought had suddenly
grown larger, croaked more loudly:
â€œStay by the pond! Stay by the pond!â€
And Eva obeyed, as indeed she could not help
doing; and then again, in the pond, there came
and_ went the little moon-face, only that this time
it was larger, and the eyes winked longer.
14 LÂ£vaâ€™s Adventures in Shadow-Land.
For the third time the child would have turned
away, frightened at all these strange doings in the
pond; but for the third time the green toad, larger
than ever, croaked:
â€˜Stay by the pond! Stay by the pond !â€™â€™
So, for the third time, Eva looked at the pond ;
and there, for the third time, was the shining
moon-face, as large now as a real full moon, though,
when Eva looked up, there was no moon shining
in the sky to be reflected in the pond; and then
the eyes in the moon-face looked harder at her,
and the toad winked at her; and then the toad
was the moon and the moon was the toad, and
both seemed to change places with each other ; and:
at last both of them shone and winked so that Eva
could not tell them apart; and before she knew
what she was doing she lay down quietly in the
tall grass, and the moon in the pond and the green
_toad winked at her until she fell asleep.
Then the moon-eyes closed and the shining
face faded ; and the green toad slipped quietly off
his stone into the water; and still Eva slept
, And that was what Eva saw in the pond.
EVA'S FIRST ADVENTURE.
OW long she lay there asleep the child
val did not know. It might only have been
for a few minutes; it might have been
for hours. Yet, when she did awake, and think
it was time for her to go home, she did not under-
stand where she could be. The place seemed the
same, yet not the same,â€”as though some wonder-
ful change had come over it during her sleep.
There was the pond, to be sure, but was it the
same pond? Tall trees grew round it, yet their
branches were bare and leafless. A little brook
ran into the pond, which she was sure that she
never had seen there before. Was she still asleep?
No. She was: wide awake. She sprang to her
feet and looked around. The green toad was
gone, so was the moon-face; her fatherâ€™s house
16 Eva's Adventures in Shadow-Land.
was nowhere to be seen; there was no sun, but it -
was not dark, for a light seemed to come from the
earth, and yet the earth itself did not shine;
mountains rose in the distance; but, strangest of
all, these mountains sometimes bore. one shape,
sometimes another; at times they were like great
crouching beasts, then again like castles or palaces,
then, as you looked, they were mountains again.
. Strange shadows passed over the pond, strangey
shapes flitted among the trees.
Eva did not know how the change had bee
made, still less did she guess that she was now
Yet it was all so singular that, as she looked
upon the changing mountain forms, and_ the
quaint shadows, a sudden longing camie over her,
with a desire to go home, and she turned away
from the pond. And as she did so, a little fra-
grant purple violet, the last that was left of all
the flowers which she had gathered, and which
had been tangled in her curls, fell to the ground;
melting into fragrance as it did so; and as it fell,
there passed from Evaâ€™s mind all recollection of
father, mother, home, and the little brother coo-
Livaâ€™s First Adventure. 17
ing in his cradle: the changing mountain forms
seemed strafÂ¥e no longer; she forgot to wonder
at the singular earth-light, and at the absence of
the sun; and noticing for the first time that she
was standing in a little path which ran along the
pond, and then followed the course of the little
brook, whose waters seemed singing the words,
â€œÂ¢ Follow, follow me!â€™â€™ Eva wondered no longer,
but first stooping to pick up a little stick, in shape
like a boyâ€™s cane, with a knob at one end, just
like a roughly carved head, and which was â€˜lying
just at her feet, she walked along the little path,
which seemed made expressly for her to walk in.
She walked on and on, as she thought, for
hours, yet there came neither sunset nor moon-
rise, and there were no stars in the sky, which
seemed nearer the earth than she had ever seen it
before. \-There were clouds, to be sure, of shapes
as strange as those of the mountains, which passed
and repassed each other, although there was no
wind to moye them. Everything was silent.
Even the trees, swaying, as they did, to and fro,
moved noiselessly; the only sound, save Eva's
light steps, which broke the stillness was the
18 -- Evaâ€™s Adventures in Shadow-Land.
silvery ripple of the brook, which kept company
with the path Eva trod, and whose waters mur-
mured, gently, â€˜â€˜ Follow, follow me!â€™â€™
And Eva followed the murmuring brook, which
seemed to her like a pleasant companion in this
silent land, where, even as there was no sound,
there was no sign of life; nothing like the real
world which the child had left, and of which,
with the fall of the little violet from her.curls, she
had lost all recollection; even as though that
world had never existed for her. Once or twice,
as she went on, holding her little stick in her
hand, she imagined that she saw child-figures
beckoning to her; but, upon going up to them,
she always found that either a rock, or a low,
leafless shrub, or else a rising wreath of mist, had
- Yet, though she was alone, with no one near
her, not even a bird to flit merrily from tree to
tree, nor an insect to buzz across her path, Eva
felt and knew no fear, and not for a-moment did
she care that she was alone. The silvery ripple
of the little brook, along which her path lay,
sounded like a pleasant voice in her ears; when
Lva's First Adventure. 19
thirsty, she drank of its waters, which seemed to
serve alike as food and drink; when tired, she
would lie fearlessly down upon its grassy margin,
and sleep, as she would imagine, only for a few
minutes, for there would be no change in the
strange sky nor in the earth-light when she
would awake from what it had been when she
lay down; and yet in reality she would sleep as
long as she would have done in her little bed at
For two whole days, which yet seemed as only
a few hours, the child followed the brook. Dur-
ing this time she had felt no desire to leave the
path; she had unhesitatingly obeyed the rippling
voice of the brook, which seemed to say, â€˜â€˜ Fol-
low, follow me But now there was a change:
the water, at times, encroached upon. the path,
and rocks obstructed the current, around. which
little waves broke and dashed, while strange little
flames, which yet did not burn, and gave no heat,
started from the waves, dancing on them; and
misty shapes, more definite than those she had first
seen, beckoned to her to come to them. Now,
Eva felt an irresistible longing to leave the brook,
20 Â«Â© Eva's Adventures in Shadow-Land.
and wander away; far, far into the deep forest,
away from the dancing flames and the beckoning
And once or twice she did leave the path, and
turn her back upon the brook. But every time
that she stepped off the beaten track, faint though
it was, her feet grew heavy, and clung to the
earth, so that she could scarcely move; and the
waves of the brook leaped higher and higher;
and the dancing flames grew brighter; and the
silvery voice, louder and clearer than ever, would
call, â€˜Follow, follow me!â€™â€™ till the child was al-
ways glad to return to the path, and then once
again the way would grow easy to her feet, and
the water would resume its former tranquillity.
On, on she went, still following the course of
the brook. But at last a new sound mingled,
though but faintly, with its musical ripple,â€”the
distant voice of falling waters. And when first
this new tone reached Evaâ€™s ears, a few signs of
life began to show themselves,â€”a .sad -colored.
moth flitted lazily across the path into the forest,
â€”a slow-crawling worm or hairy caterpillar hid
itself under a stone as Eva passed,â€”the bright
Eva's First Adventure. ar
â€˜eyes of a mouse would peep out at her from under
the shelter of a leaf, or else a toad would leap
hastily from the path into the waters of the
Still Eva walked onward, more eagerly than
ever, for though the â€˜Follow, follow me!â€™â€™ of
the brook was now silent, she heard the voice
of the other waters, and at every turn in the path
she looked forward eagerly for the little joyous
cascade she expected to see. For it she looked,
yet in vain: though the sound of the waters grew
louder, she saw nothing, till at last a sudden gleam
of golden light, from a long opening in the forest,
fell across the now placid waters of the brook;
and Eva looked up to see, far away in this open-
ing, a fountain playing in clouds of golden spray,
amid which danced sparkles of light ; and the
path, parting abruptly from the brook which it
had followed so long, led down the opening in
the forest directly to this play of waters, whose
voice Eva had heard and followed.
And as she turned away from the little brook,
whose course and her own had so long been the
same, it seemed to her that even the silvery ripple
22 LÂ£tvaâ€™s Adventures in Shadow-Land.
of its waters died away into silence; and, looking
back once more, after she had taken a few steps,
upon the way by which she had come, lo! the
brook and its waters had wholly disappeared, and
an impenetrable forest had already closed up the
path behind her,
THE GIFT OF THE FOUNTAIN.
HAVE said that Eva wondered at no-
thing which came to pass in this land
through which she was wandering; no-
thing surprised her, but the most singular occur-
rences appeared natural; and so it did not seem
at all strange to her that the path and the brook
should be swallowed up, as it were, by the dark,
hungry, impenetrable forest; and it was almost
with a feeling of pleasure at the change that after
the one hurried glance she gave to the path by
which she had come, and which was now no
longer to be seen, that she went, still holding
the little stick in her hand, up the opening be-
tween the trees to the beautiful fountain.
And as she drew near, the bright waters.of the
fountain played higher and higher, and sparkled
24. Â£va's Adventures in Shadow-Land.
and glistened in golden beauty ; and rainbows of
many colors surrounded it, so that Eva longed to
dip her hands in its joyous flow, while the wa-
ters as they fell tinkled merrily like silvery fairy
bells ; and she came nearer and nearer, thinking
she had never heard such sweet music as _ this
water made, till she was within a few feet of the
But when there she paused., For, out of the
earth,â€”all round and even under the dropping
spray and the falling waters,â€”sprang myriads of
little rainbow-colored flames, which danced +o
and fro among and under the water-drops,â€”like a
circle of tiny, fiery sentinels, guarding the fount-
ain. And Eva, afraid to cross this circle of
flames, for which she was unprepared, would not
â€˜have ventured nearer, but that at this very mo-
ment the little stick which she held turned in her
hand, and pointed downward ; and then Eva saw
that it pointed to a little path, like that by which
she had come, which ran. around the fountain ;
and .the child followed the path, until she had
walked once, twice, thrice, around the playing
waters, and yet, though she looked for it, found
Lhe Gift of the Fountain. 25
no spot where the little flame-sentinels, like faith-
ful soldiers on duty, would permit her to pass.
And then she would have turned away from the
beautiful water,â€”her foot, indeed, had left the
path,â€”when she heard a voice, even sweeter
and more silvery than the voice of the brook,
coming from the very midst of the fountain, and
â€œEva! Eva! have no fear,
To the fountainâ€™s brink come near,â€
And hearing these words, Eva stood still in
surprise, yet without obeying them. But, after
a momentâ€™s pause, the voice repeated the words.
Then, for the first time since her wanderings
had begun, Eva spoke, and her voice sounded
strange in her own ears, low though it was:
â€œ* How can I cross the fire ?â€™â€™
A little, low, melodious laugh, like that of a
merry child, answered her; and when Eva looked
to see whence it came, she saw that the little knot
upon the end of her cane was a real head, that
the lips were laughing, and that from the queer
eyes. came two funny little blue flames; and as
26 Eva's Adventures in Shadow-Land.
Eva looked at it, very much tempted to throw it
away, the head laughed again, and then the lips
parted and said:
â€œFlames, like these, of shadow birth,
May not harm a child of earth.â€
Then the voice was silent. But a thousand Â°
rainbow-colored bubbles glowed at once all over
the waters of the fountain ; and on each bubble
there stood and danced a tiny elf, clad in bright
colors; shapes so light and airy that their frail
supports never failed them; and the tiny flames
grew brighter, and then, as Eva still hesitated,
fearing yet to cross them, the lips of the little
head spoke once more:
â€œNeath thy step they will expireâ€”
Fear not, Eva; cross the fire,â€
Hearing this, Eva stepped forward. As she -
did so, the little stick dropped or slipped from
her hand, and, rolling into the fountain, disap-
peared in its waters; and at every step she took
she saw that the little flames died away, as the
voice had said, under her feet; till, when she
The Gift of the Fountain. 27
reached the fountainâ€™s brink, they were all gone,
and no trace of them was left. As she looked at
the waters, they seemed to become solid, and
shape themselves into an image carved as it were
out of pure, shining gold, yet glowing with many
colors; and then, slowly, slowly, with a sound
like distant music, the beautiful, wonderful thing
began to sink into the earth; and Eva, her tiny
hands clasped, her fair cheeks flushed, her soft
blue eyes sparkling, stood in silence and looked.
And just as the magic fountain, which, when the
child first came up to it, had been so high that
its waters played far above her head, had sunk so
low that Eva, had she wished, might have laid
her hand upon its summit, she saw, cradled as it
were, on the very crest of what had been the
golden water, a tiny figure; not like one of the
elves which had danced on the rainbow-bubbles,
but like a sleeping child, which Eva thought, at
first, was only a doll lying there,-in its green-
and-scarlet velvet dress; and for a moment the
slow, descending motion of the fountain stopped,
and Eva heard these words, in the same voice
which had spoken before through the lips of the
28 Eva's Adventures in Shadow-Land.
little head, though this time it came from the
. fountain: ;
â€œTake it, Eva, tis thy fate,
See, for thee the waters wait.â€
Obedient to the voice, the child stretched forth
her hand, and as her slight fingers. closed upon
the little, motionless form, a bright and dazzling
crimson light seemed to flash everywhere, and the
water, losing its solidity, began once more to
gleam and sparkle, and.to sink again into the
earth; and in another moment it was gone, and
in the place where the fountain had played there
was now a bed of soft, green moss, through and
around which was twined a vine, whose leaves
were mingled with clusters of bright scarlet ber-
ries. .Then for the first time she missed her little
stick ; and she looked for it, but it was nowhere
to be found.
And then the sky grew dark, as the glorious
crimson light slowly faded away, and one by one
stars peeped out from the sky; and Eva, still
clasping the little figure which had come so
strangely to her,.to her heart, lay down quietly
upon the soft, green moss, which seemed to have
The Gift of the Fountain. 29
sprung up there expressly as a bed for her, and
before many minutes had passed she was asleep.
But while she slept; there hovered over her
two fair white forms, who looked at her and
smiled, and then one of them whispered to the
other, in the silvery voice of the brook:
â€œÂ¢The worst is over.â€â€™
â€˜Â¢No,â€â€™ the other replied. â€˜â€˜ Although the boy
is safe, for a time, in the hands of his protector,
his punishment is not yet over. Love must teach
him obedience,â€”that alone can appease and work
out the will of Fate.â€
Â«Â¢ And we can do no more for him !â€™â€™
â€˜We can only wait, and hope.â€™â€™
A moment later, and the two bright forms
were gone. And, watched by the twinkling stars,
lulled by the low murmur of the gentle breeze
playing among the trees of the great forest, the
fair child slept, holding clasped to her innocent
breast the helpless figure which had come to her
as the gift of the fountain.
THE FIRST MOONRISE.
â€œWl atime Eva awoke. And when she first
= sat up, and looked around her, she could
not pda enc for a moment, how it could be
that everything was so changed; why the brook
should be gone, and its voice silenced; the path
no more to be seen; and how she should be
sitting on this soft bed of velvety-green moss,
with the little figure lying in her lap. Then, all
"at once, she remembered all that had happened
the day before,â€”and as she thought it over,
like a pleasant, yet indistinct dream, she recalled
the two fair forms which had hovered over her
sleep,â€”faintly conscious of their presence, though
unaware of the words which they had spoken.
Whether they were real, ar only a dream, Eva did
The First Moonrise. 31
not know; she only recalled them mistily ; for, in
this strange, silent land, through which she was
wandering, she never knew what was real or what
unreal,â€”it was all alike to her.
And as nothing that happened astonished her,
so never for one moment did her thoughts go
back to the father and mother she had left, or to
the little baby-brother cooing in his cradle. It
was as though they never had existed, so com-
pletely were they forgotten. The Present, such
as it was, had effaced all memory of that Past.
Sitting on her soft, mossy bed, still holding
in her little hands the motionless little figure
which the fountain had left her, and which, Eva
knew,â€”though how she knew it she could not
tell,â€”was something to be cared for and guarded,
as being more helpless than herself. Eva thought
over all the adventures of the day before, .and
while she wondered what would come next, she
wished she could once more hear the pleasant
murmur of the brook which had guided her, for
what purpose she knew not, to this spot.
Only a few moments had passed since the child
awoke, when a low, musical chime rang through
32 LÂ£va's Adventures in Shadow-Land.
the forest. It died away and then returned ; and
then came again and again, in tones so marvel-
lously sweet that Eva, who had just taken the
little figure into her hands, dropped him into her
lap, and pushed her long golden curls away from
her face, the better to listen to the melody.
Once more it came, and once more died away
into silence. And then there was a low, rushing i
sound, and, far in the distance, Eva saw arise, as it
were from out of the earth, among the trees, the
tiny silver crescent of a young new moon,â€”and as
she looked at it, it rose higher and. higher, and
faster and faster, till it reached, in a few minutes,
the very centre of the sky, the childâ€™s blue eyes
still following it ;:and when once there it paused,
and floated among the strange, gleaming clouds,
which surrounded it, like a little shining boat.
With a sudden impulse Eva bent down and
kissed the little figure lying in_her lap; and then
she looked up at the crescent of the moon, as
upon the face of an old friend; and she would
have sat there longer watching it, but that all at
once a little, weak voice said:
â€˜Â¢T am awake again, and there is my home.â€
â€˜â€œâ€˜_taking off the plumed hat which he wore, he made her
a very low bow.â€
The First Moonrise. 33
Then there came a hurried exclamation of sur-
prise, and Eva looked down from the moonâ€™s
crescent to see that the little figure which she had
taken from the crest of the fountain had suddenly,
as it were, been gifted by her kiss, with life, mo-
tion, and speech, and that he was now standing in
her lap, evidently as much astonished at seeing her
as she was at the change which had come over
But their mutual surprise did not last; for the
little mannikin began to laugh as Evaâ€™s blue eyes
grew larger and rounder, and when at last she
asked, â€˜â€˜ Who are you?â€™â€™ he put his head to one
side, in the most comical manner, and, taking off
the plumed cap which he wore, he made her a
very low bow.
â€˜â€˜T know now who you are,â€™â€™ he said. â€˜â€˜ You
are Eva, and you will have to take care of me,â€”
that is all you were sent here for.â€™â€™
Eva laughed. â€˜Suppose I should not want to
take care of such a little thing as you are?â€
â€œYou will not have any choice in the matter,â€”
you cannot help yourself.â€
34. Lvaâ€™s Adventures itn Shadow-Land.
â€œÂ«Because THEY have said it.â€™â€™
â€œI may not choose to do it.â€™â€™
Â«Â© What is the use of talking,â€™â€™ the boy went on,
â€œwhen you know that you will?â€â€™
And such were the answers that he persisted in
giving to all her inquiries.
â€œÂ¢ You said you knew who I was,â€™â€™ Eva went on;
â€œâ€˜but how did you know it?â€
Â«THEY told me.â€â€™
Â«Â¢ Who are THEY ?â€â€™
Â«Â¢THry led you here to me, and for: me. You
must not ask so many questiohs.â€â€™
â€œMay I not even ask your name?â€
â€œYou ought to know that without my telling
you. But, as you donâ€™t, I will answer you. It is
â€œ Aster? Aster?â€™â€™? Eva slowly repeated; â€˜â€˜it
seems to me that I have heard that name before.â€™
â€œ* You never did,â€™â€™ was the somewhat sullen an-
swer ; Â«for no one but myself has any right to it.â€™â€™
â€œYet I am very sure that I have heard it be-
fore, at â€˜
â€˜â€˜Hush! hush! You must never say that here,â€â€™
said the miniature boy, climbing up on Evaâ€™s |
The First Moonrise. 35
shoulder, and laying his hand upon her lips. â€˜* You
know as well as I do that you never heard my
name before.â€™â€™ .
â€˜*T thought I had,â€™â€™ Eva said, looking lovingly
at the little figure nestling among her golden
curls; â€œbut I now know that I never did. Still, I
would like to know who youare. Are youa fairy?â€
*â€˜T am not a fairy, but you are all mine,â€™â€™ Aster
said, gayly. â€˜But you must be careful with me,
and never lose me, or elseâ€”â€”â€â€™ ,
â€œT donot knows TueEy are watching us.â€â€™
Who â€˜THEvâ€™â€™ were, Eva could not induce him
_tosay. For even when he did try to explain, his
words were all so confused that Eva could not
understand at all what he meant, although he
seemed to speak plainly ; and the only thing that
she could really learn from him was this,â€”that she
must not ask questions, and that THEY were THEY. Â©
Which is all very strange to us; but it appears
that Eva was at last satisfied, because Aster seemed
to think that she should understand it just as he
did, and that nothing further need, consequently,
be said on the subject.
WHAT ASTER WAS.
GOR several days the two, Eva and Aster,
wandered through the forest with no
object in view, and returned every even-
ing to rest upon the soft, mossy bed which now
covered the place where the golden fountain had
once played. The scarlet berries of the-vine sur-
rounding it gave them food. The young moon,
floating in the sky, gave them light; for while she
shone, it was their day; when, suddenly as she
arose, she would drop from the centre of the sky,
then came their night; and the hours of her
absence were spent in sleep.
So, at stated intervals, the moon sprang sud-
denly from the earth, shone there, replacing the
faint earth-light which, during her absence, had
guided Eva, and which still shone when she was
not to be seen; then, after her hours were over,
What Aster was. 37
she as suddenly descended; and her rising and
her setting were alike accompanied by the same
weird music which had heralded her first coming,
though its notes were fainter than those which had
hailed the rising of the young new moon.
But every time that the moon returned it
seemed to Eva that she grew brighter and larger,
and that she shed more light upon the earth. And
as the light grew brighter, pale white flowers
began here and there to bloom, flowers which
drooped and closed their petals as soon as the
moon fell from the sky; flowers which, as Eva
thought; murmured a low song as she passed them,
yet a song. whose words she never could distin-
guish. And at last she noticed that, as the silver
crescent of the moon broadened, the slight form
of Aster seemed to grow and to expand, so that
he was no longer the tiny doll-like figure which |
she had taken from the fountainâ€™s crest, but more
like a boy of four years old.
Yet this change, although it was singular, was
only a source of pleasure to the child. It gave
her a companion, not merely a plaything, for
until now she had looked upon Aster in that light, â€”
38 Lva's Adventures in Shadow-Land.
something which, though it could talk, walk,
sleep, and eat, was only a new toy, to be taken care
of and prized as such. She never had looked
upon Aster otherwise. -
At last, when the moon had reached her first
quarter, and the two, enjoying her pure light, sat
on their mossy bed, Eva asked the boy the same
question she had asked him the day her first kiss
had awakened him:
â€˜Â¢Tell me who you are.â€â€™
â€œâ€˜T am Aster.â€â€™
â€œâ€˜T know that,â€™â€™ Eva said, laying her hand on
the boyâ€™s shoulder ; â€˜â€˜ but that is only your name.â€™â€™
â€œâ€˜T shall be as large as you are, soon,â€™â€™ Aster
said, raising his star-like eyes to the moon as he
spoke. â€˜â€˜ When she is round, I shall be as tall as
you are, Eva.â€â€™
Eva laughed. â€˜ How do you know?â€â€™
â€œYou are Aster,â€™â€™ Eva said, slowly, â€˜â€œâ€˜and I
know how you came to me; but why did you
â€œYou will know then.â€â€™.
Â«Â¢ When ?â€â€™
What Aster was. 39
â€˜Â¢ When the moon is round.â€
â€˜Why not now?â€
â€˜*THeEy will not let you.â€
And with this answer Eva was forced to be
content. But every day they would stand side by
side, and every day Aster grew taller and taller ;
and every day the moon grew broader and brighter.
At last she rose, a round, perfect orb, to her
station in the sky; and as Eva, awakened by the
loud music which told of her coming, sat up to
see and wonder at the bright light she cast, Aster
came quietly behind her, and, laying his hands on
her shoulders, said ;
â€œLook at me, Eva. The day has come, and
I am as tall as you are.â€â€™
Eva sprang to her feet. As she did so, Aster
put his arm around her, and she saw that there
was now no difference in their height,â€”they were
exactly the same size. And, strange to say, his
clothes had grown with him, and their rich, soft
velvet fitted him now as perfectly as it had done
when Eva first took him, small and helpless, from
the crest of the golden fountain,
â€œT can tell you now who I am,â€â€™â€™ the beautiful
40 Â£vaâ€™s Adventures in Shadow-Land.
boy said, â€˜â€˜for to-day THEY cannot silence me; |
this one day when I can be my own self again.
You ought to know, Eva, without my telling you,
and you would know, if you were like me; but you
are not as I am.â€â€™ 5
â€˜Â¢ Why not?â€™â€™ Eva asked, in surprise.
â€˜Â¢ Because you are only a little earth-maiden.â€â€™
Eva laughed. â€˜â€˜ What is that?â€™â€™ She had wholly,
as we know, forgotten the past. :
*Â¢T cannot tell you,â€™â€™ Aster said, slowly. â€œI
only know what THEY have told me about you.â€™â€™
â€˜Â¢ And that ?â€â€™
â€œ*Â¥ do not know. But you are not like me,
Eva. Weare very different. Look at your dress,
and then at mine.â€â€™ f
In truth, every here and there upon the rich
velvet of Asterâ€™s dress were soils and stains, while
not a spot discolored the pure white Eva wore.
â€˜*Now do you see?â€™â€™ Aster asked. â€˜You
know that we are in Shadow-Land, and it can
only affect things which are like itself; it cannot
harm you or deceive you.â€â€™
â€œDo you belong here?â€
â€˜â€œâ€˜No,â€™â€™ Aster said. â€˜I came from there,â€™â€™
What Aster was. 41
pointing to the round full moon above their heads.
â€˜JT wish I was there again.â€â€™
â€˜â€˜Why donâ€™t you go back, then?â€™ .
â€œT canâ€™t, unless you help me. THEY who sent
me here say so.â€
Â«Â¢ Why did they send you here ?â€â€™
â€˜Because up there,â€™â€™ pointing to the moon,
â€œI lost my flower, and everything which is lost
there falls into Shadow-Land, as everything which
â€œis lost in Fairy-Land falls into the Enchanted
River; and so they sent me here to find it again,
because a prince cannot live there without his
flower; and I cannot find it unless you help me.
Now you know who I am, Eva,â€”the moon-
â€˜Â¢ Then must I say Prince Aster ?â€â€™
â€˜Â¢No; to you I am only Aster. And I know
that it will be hard for you to find the flower, for
I cannot help you, or tell you what it is like. I
know that the Green Frog has hidden it, and you
are the only person who can help me to find it,
and then you must give it to me. THEY say we
shall have trouble.â€™â€™
â€˜*But we will find it at last?â€™
42 Eva's Adventures in Shadow-Land.
â€˜*When my punishment for losing it is over.
To-morrow we must leave this place, for after this
moon the moss will be gone.â€â€™
*Â¢ You know where to go, then?â€â€™
*Â¢No; I can only follow you. I have no power
here ; you will have to take care of me.â€â€™
â€˜And then Aster began to sing, and this was
the song which he sung:
Till my flower bloom again,
â€˜We may seek, yet seek in vain.
Till â€˜tis plucked by Eva's hand,
â€˜We must roam through Shadow-Land,
Only this does Aster know,
Through hard trials he must go;
Eva's hand must guide him on
Till his flower again be won,
She must wander far and near,
Led by songs he may not hear;
Should she lose me from her hand,
Worse my fate in Shadow-Land.
Then Aster threw himself down on the soft
moss at Evaâ€™s feet. But when she asked. him
where he had learned the words of his song, he
What Aster was. 43
could not tell her. Just then a cloud came over
the face of the moon, hiding her from their sight;
and as the darkness came over everything, only
leaving for a moment the pale earth-light, it
seemed to Eva that there were faces looking at
her, peeping from behind every tree; and then
a light breeze sprang up, just moving the flowers,
and from the bell of one of them seemed to come
these words, all in verse, for in Fairy-Land and in
Shadow-Land people seldom speak in plain prose
Oâ€™er this spot do THEY have power,
Not here groweth Asterâ€™s flower.
Wander, Eva, wander on
Till thy hand the prize hath won.
Then the breeze died away, and the voice was
silent; and Eva saw that Aster was asleep, and,
frightened at the faces which made grimaces and
mocked at her, more angrily, she thought, on ac-
count of the warning the flower had sung, she
touched him to awaken him; and as she did so
the cloud passed from the face of the moon, and
as once more her pure, clear light returned,
the ugly, threatening faces vanished, and Aster
44 Â£vaâ€™s Adventures in Shadow-Land.
awoke. But when Eva tried to tell him of what
she had seen and heard during his short sleep,
she could only say these words:
Moss shall harden into stone,
Faces mock you oâ€™er the sand;
Leading Aster by the hand,
From this spot ye must be gone.
_ Then Aster laughed, because Eva declared that
these were not the words which the flower had
spoken; yet every time that she tried to recollect
and repeat them, she could only say the same
thing over. Then she began to try and tell him
about the faces, and when she began to speak of
them, suddenly the full moon sank from the sky,
and all was dark; and then a strange drowsiness
came over the children, and Eva and Aster,
nestled in each otherâ€™s arms, lay down to sleep
upon the soft, green moss, knowing that with the
next moonrise they must go forth in search. of
Asterâ€™s lost flower.
THE BEGINNING OF THE SEARCH.
EN the two children, after their sleep,
awoke to see the moon rise to her sta-
tion in the sky, they were not surprised
â€˜to find that her fair, round proportions were al-
ready changed. But when Eva turned to Aster,
she saw that he, too, was smaller than when they
had lain down to rest; and she knew at once,
almost as if she had been told, that the Moon-
Prince would in future wax and wane as did the
orb from which he had been banished ; that this
was part of his punishment; and now she under-
stood why it was that Aster had said she would
have to take care of him. But as she stood, think-
ing of this, Aster suddenly touched her hand, and
directly over the mossy bed on which they had
46 Eva's Adventures in Shadow-Land.
slept, and which had never been crushed by their
weight, but was always fresh, Eva saw again the
mocking faces which had disturbed her the night
before; but only for a moment, and then they
were gone. And even as she looked, she saw
that the soft green moss began to shrivel, dry up,
and crumble away, as though in a fire; and a
moment later it was all gone, and in its place
was a heap of rough sand and stone, instead of
the velvety moss and the vine with its scarlet
â€˜The faces have done it,â€™â€™ Eva said, clasping
Asterâ€™s hand tightly, as she watched the rapid
â€˜â€˜The faces!â€™â€™ Aster said, scornfully. â€˜Eva,
you are dreaming ; there were no faces there.â€â€™
â€œâ€˜T saw them,â€™â€™ Eva began; but Aster inter-
â€œâ€˜T tell you, Eva, you saw no faces, there was
nothing there. I told you that the moss would
be gone the next time that the moon rose; and
you see I told you the truth. We must leave this
â€˜â€œWhere shall we go?â€™â€™
The Beginning of the Search. 47
*â€˜I donâ€™t know. We cannot stay here. What
did the flower say to you, Eva?
â€˜When soft moss shall change to stone,
From this spot ye must be gone.â€
Even as Aster spoke, Eva saw a faint little path
at her feet, like that which she had first followed.
Looking back, wishing it might lead her again to
the pleasant little brook, and that she might re-
turn to it, instead of going on into the forest, she
saw that the sand and stone had grown into a
huge wall, or rather a mound, over which she
never could have climbed, and which would pre-
vent her return. As if Aster had read her
thoughts, he said to her,â€”
â€œThere is no going back, Eva; we can only
Asterâ€™s words were true. The wall of stone,
which a few moments had been enough to build
up behind them, seemed to come closer and
closer, as though to shut them out from the place
where they had been; and, clasping Asterâ€™s hand
tightly, Eva and the boy walked slowly on, in the
little path which lay before them.
48 Eva's Adventures in Shadow-Land,
For days the two went on, walking while the
moon shone, and sleeping when her light was hid.
At each moonrise they were awakened by the |
strains of music, which, as the moon waned, grew
sadder and more mournful; while that accom-
panying her setting became at last a low, sad
moaning, and each day she grew smaller, and,
in sympathy with her, Aster seemed to dwindle
and wane, and he became more and more help-
less, till at last, when the moon was reduced to a
thin crescent, the little prince was once more as
small as he was when Eva first received him.
Yet, through all these changes, the two went
slowly on through the dark forest, which opened
on either side of the path to let them pass, and
closed again behind them. Were they thirsty,
they were sure to find some tiny spring, issuing
as at a wish from the earth; were they hungry,
some wild fruit or berry was always to be found.
But not once did Eva leave the path. What it
was that kept her in it, she could not tell,â€”
except that every time she felt the slightest desire
to go into the forest, she saw the same hateful
faces which had peeped at her for the first time
Lhe Beginning of the Search. 49
when the cloud had passed over the face of the full
moon, and which had mocked at her from above
the soft mossy bed when it had been turned
into the stony wall which had forced them to go
forward, and she thought they forbade her to go
near them. But Aster, in spite of all her efforts
to detain him in the path, would sometimes run
away from her, saying he saw some beautiful
flower which he must gather, or else some sweet
child-face which smiled upon him; but each time
that he did this, he was sure to hasten back to
Eva, saying that either thorns had pierced or else
nettles stung him; and then he would hide his
face in the folds of Evaâ€™s white dress, trembling,
aad saying that THEY were there, and had fright-
Still, Eva could never find out from the boy
who THEY were.. For Aster, though he some-
times tried, could not tell her; it seemed as if he
was not allowed to speak, and the child began to
think that the faces which haunted her, and THEY
of whom Aster so often spoke, were only different
manifestations of the same power, which seemed
to follow them wherever they went, seeking an
50 6. E-vaâ€™s Adventures in Shadow-Land.
opportunity to hurt them, although as yet no harm
had been done.
Once, before Aster grew so small, Eva asked
him why it was that they were thus followed.
â€œIt is not you that THEY are following; THEY
would do me harm if I were to fall into their
hands; but I am safe while you keep me. You
are beyond their reach.â€™â€™
But, though Aster knew this, it seemed to Eva
that he dared, and tried, to put himself in the
power of THEY, whom he seemed to dread,â€”for
it was only when the faces looked at her from
behind tree or shrub that Aster desired to leave
her, and only then that he spoke of THEY who
always frightened him back to her side. He
never alluded to the flower they sought; only
once, when Eva asked him what it was like,
he said to her:
â€œâ€˜T cannot describe it to you; you will know
it when you see it.â€â€™
â€˜Â¢ How shall I know it ?â€™â€™ Eva asked.
*Â¢ You will know it when the time comes.â€â€™
But, though Eva looked carefully for the flower,
she never saw it. There were flowers enough
The Beginning of the Search. 51
along the path, but the right one was not to be
seen. She did not knowâ€”how could she ?â€”that
the search was only begun, and that not till after
long wanderings and many troubles to Aster
would she be able to find for him the flower which
he had lost, and without which he could never
regain his home.
T last, even the thin crescent of the
moon disappeared, and once more Aster
lay motionless, and, as it were, without
life, the same tiny, helpless thing which Eva had
taken from the crest of the fountain. Once more
she wandered, alone,â€”for what companionship
could she find m the senseless little figure which
she carrie about with her ?â€”through the strange,
dream-like country in which she now found her-
self. But, wherever she went, a feeling she could
not explain nor understand made her hold the
helpless little prince close, never for a moment
letting him pass from her loving clasp.
Once more, too, the faint earth-light shone, in-
stead of the vanished moon. And Eva thought
that while Aster lay helpless, there were fewer
â€œAs day by day the path led them on into the forest, the
trees altered their shape.â€
Asterâ€™s Misfortunes. 53
difficulties in her path; the faces no longer
appeared to torment and harass her; the way
seemed easier to her feet; more and brighter
flowers bloomed along the path; and the misty,
shadowy shapes which were to be seen at inter-
vals passing among the close-set trunks of the
trees were fair and lovely to look upon.
But this quiet was not to last. Again, after a
time, the music rang triumphantly through the
forest; and again, as the young moon sprang to
her station overhead, Aster awoke, to all appear-
ance unconscious of the time he had slept, and of
the distance which Eva had carried him. As he
grew, with the moon, it seemed to her that he
was changed; that he was no longer the gentle,
loving boy who had wandered with her when the
first moon shone: something elfish, imp-like, and
changeable had come over him.
Then, too, as day by day the path led them on
into the forest, which seemed endless, the trees
altered their shape. Sometimes they were circled
with huge, twining snakes, which Eva thought
seemed coiled there, ready to seize her as she
passed, though when near them they proved to be
54 Â£va's Adventures in Shadow-Land.
nothing but huge vines climbing up the trees.
Here and there in the path lay huge stones, which
you might think at first sight were insurmountable,
obstructing their further progress; yet, if either
Evaâ€™s foot touched them, or the hem of her white
dress brushed ever so lightly against them, they
would always fade away, like a shadow, into utter
nothingness, or else would roll slowly away to one
side, leaving the path clear. But when Aster saw
the stones he would cry, and say that they would
crush him if he passed them, and the only way in
which Eva could soothe him was by taking him
up in her arms and carrying him past the stones,
while he hid his face, so as not to see them, in
her long, golden curls.
Every now and then, in spite of what he had
often told Eva,â€”that she, and she only, could
find and give him the flower which he had lost, â€”
Aster would declare to her that he saw it bloom-
ing in places where she saw nothing but nettles or
ugly weeds, but which he would always insist were
beds of the most beautiful flowers. These flowers,
he said, called to him to come and gather them ;
while Eva thought that warning voices bade her
Asters Misfortunes. 55
pass them by, and that she saw over or else among
them shadows of the same hateful faces which she
dreaded. But it was useless to try and convince
Aster of this; she soon learned that nothing ever
presented the same appearance to him that it did
In consequence, whenever Aster insisted upon
leaving the path, as he often did, Eva watched
him with a kind of terror, and never felt he was
safe unless she led him by the hand. Placed, as
he was, under her care, she felt sure that when
with her no danger could come near him, nothing
harm him. Still, if he had enemies in this great.
forest, he had friends, too; for once, when he
stooped to gather a flower which bloomed near
the path, she heard it say:
â€œ Guard thou well thy charge to-day,
There is danger in the way.â€
But Aster, laughed joyfully, as he looked up
without gathering the flower, and said:
*Â¢ Did you hear what the flower told me, Eva?
That was the reason why I did not pick it, for it
said that I should have much pleasure to-day.â€
56 Lvaâ€™s Adventures in Shadow-Land.
Eva only smiled; she said nothing; she had
learned that Aster would not bear being contra-
dicted. But she quietly resolved to be more
watchful than ever; for, from what she had heard
the flower say, she thought that efforts would be
made to take the little prince from her.
She was wrong, however, for the day passed,
the moon disappeared, and, as nothing had hap-
pened to disturb them, she began to think that
perhaps she had been mistaken, and that Aster
had been right regarding the words which the
flower had spoken ; for he had, all that day, been
cheerful and gentle. But, that night, she was
awakened from her sleep by Asterâ€™s talking, as |
though to himself, in a rambling, disconnected
manner, of THEY whom he seemed to fear; and
this being the first time for daysâ€”not since he
had awakened from the stupor into which the dis-
appearance of the moon had thrown himâ€”that he
had mentioned or even appeared to think of these
nameless yet formidable beings, she guessed, â€˜
seeing that Asterâ€™s words were spoken, as it were,
in a dream, and unconsciously to himself, that
the coming day contained more danger to him
than any of the preceding ones. -
Asters Misfortunes. 57
It was, notwithstanding, with a feeling of relief
that Eva at last saw the moon arise, and once
more she and Aster set out on their journey. He
never referred to the words which had awakened
her. No strange sights or sounds came to disturb
them. There was utter stillness all around; and
as hour after hour passed, and Aster walked quietly
by her side, Eva began to think that her anxiety
had all been for nothing, and she relaxed a little
of her watchfulness.
At last they came to a place where every plant
along the path was hung with filmy, gossamer,
delicate webs, and in each web sat a spider. And
every spider was different,â€”no two of them being
alike. And, as they passed these patient spinners,
Aster clung closely to Evaâ€™s hand, saying that he
was afraid of being entangled among their webs,
or else stung by them ; although to her it appeared
as though the spiders did not even notice them as
they passed. Then all of a sudden the webs and
the insects were gone; and the children saw crawl-
ing slowly in the path, as if it was afraid of them
and wanted to get out of their way, a spider larger
than any of those they had seen; a spider whose
58 Lva's Adventures in Shadow-Land.
body was ringed with scarlet and gold, whose long,
slender black legs shone like polished jet, and
whose eyes were like bright-green emeralds; a
spider handsome enough to be the king of all the
And while Eva was admiring the beautiful colors
of the insect, Aster let go her hand, and, stooping
down, passed his finger gently over its gold and
scarlet back. Then the spider raised its head, and
looked at Eva with its bright-green eyes, which,
as Eva gazed at them, appeared to grow larger and
brighter, and dazzled her own; and then a mist
seemed to come over them, and everything began
to fade slowly away ; and she never noticed how
Aster went, slowly, nearer and nearer to the in-
sect, crouching down into the path as he did so,
nor how the spider, by degrees, began to grow
larger, and moved towards the side of the path,
till a sudden cry from Aster, â€˜Eva! Eva! help
me!â€™â€™ roused her from the trance in which she
stood, in which she saw nothing but the emerald
eyes, like two gleaming lights; and then she saw
that the beautiful spider had enveloped Aster in a
large web which it had spun around him, and was
Asters Misfortunes. 59
dragging him off the path, to carry him away
with it. â€”
But Eva was not going to lose her charge.
Springing forward, she threw her arms around
him. And as her dress touched the web, it fell
off, releasing him; and the spider, unfolding a
pair of blue wings, flew into the forest with a loud
cry of disappointment; and as it flew away, its
shape changed, and Eva, looking after it, with her
arms still around Aster, saw that it had one of the
terrible faces which she had seen so often before.
Then it disappeared, and the twoâ€™ went on, or
rather tried to go on, for Aster complained that
his feet were fastened to the ground; and then
Eva saw that they were still tangled in some of the
spiderâ€™s web; and both Eva and Aster tried in
vain to break it. But Eva was nearly in despair,
when, as she stooped, one of her long golden
curls brushed against the web, and then it melted
away and vanished like smoke.
Then, and not till then, were they able to go
on, But Aster walked forward unwillingly, and
complained that he was tired, and began to insist
upon Evaâ€™s stopping to rest. But she felt that
60 Eva's Adventures in Shadow-Land.
they would not be safe until after the moon was
gone, and so they went on. At every mossy
stone, every fair cluster of flowers, Aster would
insist upon stopping, but Eva would not listen to
him, for she always heard, at these places, a
friendly voice which said, â€˜â€˜Go on, go on;â€â€™ and
so they went on. ;
But at last Aster, who did nothing but complain
of weariness, told Eva that he could and would go
no farther. Seeing a great, velvety, green mush-
room growing in the path, he ran and sat down
upon it, saying that it was a seat which had been
made and put there for him, and that Eva should
not share it.
He had scarcely said this, had scarcely seated
himself, when the mushroom changed into a great
green frog, which, with Aster seated astride upon
its back, began to hop nimbly away in the direc-
tion of the forest. But Eva, whose eyes had never
for a moment left the boy, sprang forward, and
before Asterâ€”pleased at the motion of the frogâ€”
could say a word, she had dragged him off his
strange steed, which turned and snapped at her,
but, instead of touching her, caught the skirt of
Asters Misfortunes. 61
Asterâ€™s coat in his mouth and held on to it till
Evaâ€™s efforts tore it from him, leaving, however, a
small piece of the velvet in the frogâ€™s mouth.
Even then he tried to seize Aster again, and it was
- not till Evaâ€™s dress touched him that he turned to
leave them, still holding in his mouth the scrap
torn from Asterâ€™s coat, and as he hopped off the
path he faded away just like a shadow.
Then, too, the moon sank from the sky, and
the two children, completely worn out, lay down
and slept, and Eva knew that for a little while, at
least, Aster was safe, because as she lay down she
heard a little song which said:
Tranquil be your sleep,
Peaceful be your rest,
We a watch will keep,
Naught shall you molest;
Sleep, Eva, sleep,
Where our light may shine,
â€˜Where we weave our charm,
In our magic line,
Naught may cause you harm;
Sleep, Aster, sleep.
Then all was still. But though Eva, trusting to
this song, was not afraid to lie down and sleep,
62 Lvaâ€™s Adventures in Shadow-Land.
she never knew that while they did sleep a circle
of tiny shining lamps, like fairy-lamps, gleamed
all around them,â€”a magic circle which nothing
could pass. And although both the spider and
the green frog returned, bringing with them the
piece of Asterâ€™s coat, by means of which they
hoped to steal him away from Eva while he was
asleep, they could not pass the circle which the
Light Elves had drawn around the sleeping pair,
and, after many vain efforts to cross it, they van-
And the grateful elves had watched and saved
Aster because Eva, thatâ€™ morning, seeing a shape-
less, helpless worm lying near a stone, which was
about to fall and crush it, had tenderly picked up
the worm, and laid it carefully on a cool, green
leaf, out of danger. The grateful Light Elf,â€”for
such she was,â€”being compelled to wear the form
of a worm while the moonlight lasted, had come
with her companions to return what service she
could and give Eva a peaceful rest.
So, as ever, Good overcomes Evil, and no ser-
vice, no matter how small or how trifling it may
seem, is ever wasted or thrown away.
WHAT ASTER DID.
HE farther the progress which the children
made into the forest, the wilder and more
singular became the country through
which they passed. Shadows cast by no visible
forms went before them in the path,â€”shadows
which shook, moved, and trembled ; which seemed
as if they might all at once become real forms;
shadows which had something dreadful about them,
so that Eva was glad they were always in advance of
her, and that her foot never had to touch the ground
on which they lay. The color of the moonâ€™s light
was changed. She shone with a pale greenish lustre.
No green plants, no beautiful flowers, grew in the
stony, rocky soil through which their path now
lay. It produced things like sticks full of thorns.
Under the stones lay hidden long, slender lizards,
Â°64 Eva's Adventures in Shadow-Land.
or coiled-up serpents with forked and fiery-red
tongues; things like dry twigs, which would sud-
denly display many legs and run away. Slow-
crawling, hairy caterpillars, and round, fat, slimy
worms, lay everywhere. Things like insects,
which yet had no life, grew, instead â€˜of flowers,
on the thorny sticks which stood among the
stones. One of these things, in shape like a drag-
on-fly, Aster picked; but he immediately dropped
it, and said that it had stung him; and from that
time Eva thought that he became more and more
perverse, and that he was every day less like the
gentle, affectionate boy she had been so glad to
receive asacompanion. She saw, too, that, while
~her own dress retained its spotless whiteness which
nothing seemed to affect, his became every day
more and more soiled and stained.
She missed, too, the low, sweet songs which had
been sung by the flowers. To be sure, she had
not always been able to distinguish their words,
but they had been friendly, and had warned her
of every danger before it came; but this was all
over, Every night, as soon as the moon was gone,
creatures like bats, with shining heads, came in
What Aster did. 65
great numbers, flying around, and moaning in a
sad, mournful way which was most pitiful to hear.
As the moon neared the full, stranger shadows
and shapes came near. Yet the two went on, fol-
lowing the path, though Eva sometimes imagined
that the inhabitants of this strange country were
opposed to their passing through it. The music
which had been always heard at the rising and set-
ting of the moon grew fainter and fainter, till at
last her ascent and fall came in perfect silence. Â©
Then the strange shadows disappeared, but the
path led through a stonier and more rocky coun-
try, where all was wild and barren, and where,
after the moon was gone, little, dancing flames
played on the stones. Sometimes it was hard, in-
deed almost impossible, for the two children to
climb over the rough places in their path; and
Aster was very often discouraged ; but Eva perse-
vered, for she felt that the flower they sought could
never be found in this barren and dreary land.
I have said that Aster became every day more
obstinate and perverse. Sometimes Eva thought
that the strange flower, like a dragon-fly, which
he had picked,.and which he said stung him, had
66 Lva's Adventures in Shadow-Land.
changed him, and that was the: reason why he
tried to annoy her in every possible way. He
knew how uneasy she was when he was not with
her; yet, knowing this, it was his greatest delight
to hide himself behind some large stone, and after
she had looked for him for a long time without
finding him, afraid that his enemies had carried
him off, he would jump out upon her with a loud
mocking cry; he would pull her hair, he would
try to soil her white dress, by throwing mud and
dirt upon it, to make it, as he said, like his own,
which was all stained and soiled, and then, when
he found that he could not discolor its whiteness,
he would throw himself down on the ground, and
kick and scream, and tell Eva that he hated her,
and that he wished THEY would come and carry
One day, when Aster had been worse than ever,
and the way had been stonier and harder than it
had ever been before, Eva began to think that it
was of no use to go on, or to look for the flower lost
so long ago by the imp-like boy, whose powers
of annoying her seemed to increase as he grew
smaller with the moon. She sat down upon one
What Aster did. 67
of the rough stones, and great tears gathered in
her eyes. And as, one by one, they rolled down
her cheeks and fell to the ground, everything
around her seemed to grow vague and dim; and
at her feet, just where the tear-drops fell, there
_ came a bed of round green leaves, under whose
shelter bloomed and nodded a multitude of tiny
purple flowers; violets, whose sweet fragrance,
rising, made a misty cloud, through which Eva
caught faint glimpses of a pond, and a house
near it, and then the house seemed to change
into a cosy parlor. And by the window of this
parlor a lady was sitting sewing, and rocking a
cradle with her foot, and singing to a baby boy
who was kicking and crowing in the cradle; and
then the child heard her motherâ€™s voice calling,
softly, â€˜â€˜Eva, Eva But before these memories
came fully back, Aster came up, and angrily
crushed-and trampled the sweet violets under his
-feet ; and as he did so the cloud and its pictures
disappeared, and Eva forgot them; only she was
very sorry for the dear little flowers that Aster
Poor little flowers, which tried to do her good!
68 Eva's Adventures in Shadow-Land.
For it seemed to her that with their last breath
of perfume there came a low voice, which whis-
pered, â€˜â€˜Beware of the stones,â€™â€™â€”-and that was
all. And then she asked Aster why he had de-
stroyed the harmless flowers, which had only come
to warn them.
â€˜â€˜They only came to do me harm,â€™â€™ Aster said,
angrily. â€˜They would have taken you away from
me, and I should never have seen you again. You
shall not go away from me yet, for I can never
get home without you; after I have done with
you, why, then you may go.â€
â€˜Â© Where?â€™â€™ Eva asked, pained at this selfish
â€œInto what is to be,â€”out of Shadow-Land into
what is to come, but is not yet.â€â€™
â€œâ€˜T do not understand you.â€â€™
â€œâ€˜You will know when the time comes. I
crushed the flowers because they were.part of
what is to come ; they had no right here.â€
Nothing more was said ; .but Aster seemed rest-
less and uneasy until they left the place where
the violets had bloomed. Yet nothing disturbed
them, and on they went, till Eva began to wonder
What Aster did. 69
where the stones could be of which the voice had
said, â€˜â€˜ Beware !â€™â€™
At last, when there was only a tiny crescent of
the moon, like a faint silver line, floating in the
sky, and Asterâ€™s figure, like it, was once more
reduced to its smallest dimensions, the forest
through which they had wandered for so long
ended; and as they passed from it, a low cry of
surprise from Aster made Eva look down, as she
saw that his eyes were fixed upon the earth; and
then she saw with equal surprise that, while she
walked along the rough, stony path without leav-
ing any impression, every step that Aster took
left a deep, plain track, and that in each of these
tracks there was either a frog or a spider, which
would disappear while she looked at them.
Then a sudden turn in the path brought them
to a place where a huge pile of rocks, like an im-
mense stone wall built by giants, rose up before
them. A faint breath of violets seemed to come,
and then pass away, and as it did, Eva knew that
thÃ©se were the stones of which she had been
At that very moment there was a flash of
70 Â© Eva's Adventures in Shadow-Land.
light, and a star fell from the sky, near the
â€œâ€˜A falling star, how pretty it is!â€™â€™ Eva said, as
she watched the bright thing, which seemed to
fall behind the stone wall. â€˜Did you see it,
Aster ?â€â€™ ;
â€œYou donâ€™t know anything, Eva,â€™â€™ was his re-
ply. â€˜â€˜Itold you once before that everything
which was lost in the moon fell into Shadow-
Land, and that was something bright which fell
But this had nothing to do with the wall, which
must be climbed. How, Eva did not know. She
was almost afraid to try it; and so she stood,
looking at it, when Aster, who, ever since he had
crushed the violets, had followed her in silence,
except when he had spoken of the shooting star,
with his eyes bent on the ground, suddenly ran
forward to the wall, and began to look eagerly
into every crevice between the stones.
â€˜Â¢ What are you looking for?â€™â€™ Eva asked him.
â€œCome back to me, Aster; it is not safe for you
there without me.â€™â€™
â€œI will look,â€™â€™ Aster said. â€˜â€˜The bright thing
What Aster did. n
you called a star was my flower. It is here, and
I am going to find it.â€™â€™
*â€˜Donâ€™t!â€™â€™ Eva said, imploringly, as the boy
tried to creep into one of the crevices between
the stones. â€˜â€˜Remember, Aster, that the moon
is nearly gone, and if she should disappear, you
will go to sleep, and then you will have to stay in
there until she returns.â€â€™
**T donâ€™t care!â€™â€™ Aster said, crossly. â€˜If, as
I know I shall, I find my flower in here, the moon
will have no more power over me, for I shall then
be myself; and you may go on alone into what
will come. Besides, the piece which was torn off
my coat is in there, and I am going to get it. If
I do go to sleep, I can lie down in here, and rest ;
you can mark the place and wait for me, if you
choose. I donâ€™t intend to obey you any longer ;
you are nothing but a little girl, and I am a
â€™ Evaâ€™s hand was on Asterâ€™s shoulder, and when
he found she would not.remove it, he raised his
own, and struck her. Not till then did the child
unwillingly release him, seeing that all her efforts
to detain him would be in vain. Then, without
72 Eva's Adventures in Shadow-Land.
saying another word, Aster crept slowly into the
crevice. And Eva, picking up a white stone
which lay at her feet, made a mark over the
place with it. As she did this, the faint silver
light of the moon faded from the sky; there was
a loud croaking as of frogs, and then she heard
the shrill cry of the spider which had spun the
web around Aster; and then it grew very dark,
and a sudden drowsiness came over her, which
she could not resist; and, lying down upon a
stone under the crevice into which Aster had
crept, Eva fell asleep.
THE DOOR dN THE WALL.
T was with a start that, after the dark-
ness had gone, Eva awoke from the dull,
+ heavy sleep into which she had fallen;
and for a moment she could not recollect how it
was that she should be lying upon a stone at the
foot of this huge rocky wall, or why she should
be alone, without Aster near her. She looked for
him, thinking that perhaps he might have hidden
himself, only to tease her; but he was nowhere
to be found. She called him, hoping that he
might hear and answer her; but there was no
teply,â€”only the rocks echoed back the sound
of her own voice, which said, â€˜â€˜Aster, Aster!
where are you?â€™â€™ and then another echo seerned
to answer, mockingly, â€˜â€˜ Where?â€™â€™
74 Eva's Adventures in Shadow-Land.
But all this only lasted for a few moments.
Then all at once Eva remembered the falling
star; the warning which the violets had given her;
the blow, which, coming as it did from Asterâ€™s
hand, had so deeply grieved her; her efforts to
detain him at her side, which had all proved
useless; and how, after the boy had crept into
one of the crevices of the wall, declaring he went
there in search of his flower, she had picked up a
stone, which she now found she still held in her
hand, and marked the place. Then she felt re-
lieved, for she knew that this was the time when
Aster would be asleep, as he always was when the
moon was absent, and consequently he could not
move from the place into which he had crept.
She thought, therefore, that, whenever she chose,
she would find him, and, taking him again under
her care, carry him away from this barren and
Encouraged and relieved by this thought, she
did not look for Aster any longer, but went to a
little spring bubbling up bÃ©tween two rough
stones, and which was the only pleasant thing she
could see in this rocky place. She knelt down
The Door in the Wall. 15
by it, for she was thirsty, to drink from its cool
and sparkling waters, and then to wash her face
and hands in them ;. and as she dipped her hands
in the spring, the little ripples they made whis-
pered, softly, â€˜â€˜ Over yonder! over yonder !â€™â€™ but
Eva was not sure if she really had heard these
words, or only imagined them.
Refreshed by the cool water, she went back to
the great, rough, stone wall, intending to secure her
charge, and then try to go on. But what was her
surprise, on returning, as she thought, to the same
stone on which she had slept, to see that there
were so many stones just exactly like it, that she
" could not find the one she wanted ! and, what was
still stranger, she saw that over every little hole,
every tiny cavity in the stone, there was a white
mark exactly like the one which she had made
over the crevice into which Aster had crept, and
she could not say which of them all was hers,
She was in despair for a moment. How was
she to find, among all these holes, each with the
same white mark over it, the one in which Aster
was asleep? Then she remembered that standing
still and looking at the wall would do no good;
76 Lvaâ€™s Adventures in Shadow-Land.
that if she wanted to find Aster she must look for
him ; and Eva determined to examine every hole
she saw, in hopes that with patience and perse-
verance she might at last succeed in finding her
lost charge, of whom, in spite of all the trouble he
had given her, she had grown very fond.
But if she had been surprised at seeing a white
mark over every hole, instead of the one she had
made, she was still more astonished when she
saw that in every cranny which she examined
there sat either a large black-legged spider, with
a gold and scarlet back, and eyes which shone in
the dark like little bright stars, or else there
squatted snugly in it a huge green frog, with
a wide mouth and projecting black eyes; while
just beyond her reach there would flutter every
now and then a little green flag, like the scrap of
velvet, as Eva thought, which the teeth of the
frog had torn from Asterâ€™s coat.
Yet the child climbed slowly up the wall, fear-
less of the spiders and the frogs, which she knew
had no power to harm her, even if they had
wished it. But seeing them, and knowing, as she
did, that these two creatures, in the forest through
The Door in the Wall. 17
which they had passed, had tried to get possession
of Aster, Eva began to fear that by creeping into
the hole he had put himself in their power, and
that she would never be able to find him again.
She went on, however, looking carefully into
â€œevery tiny cavity, but always with the same result.
No Aster was to be seen: only huge spiders and
squatting frogs stared at her from every cranny.
And, as she climbed up higher and higher, â€˜she
found that the rocky wall was like a giant stair-
case; and when she looked back, noticing that
the stones she displaced, as she climbed up, only
rolled a short time and then made no noise as
â€˜they fell, and thinking that after her search was
over she would return to the little spring and-
wait there patiently until the moon rose again,
when, as she hoped, Aster, if she did not find him
now, would wake up and come back to her, she
saw that she could never return to the spring,
For the steps by which she had come were gone,
melting one by one into the face of the rock,
changing into a steep precipice behind her; and
at its foot were curling mists and vapors, among
which she saw dimly the hateful, mocking faces
48 vaâ€™s Adventures in Shadow-Land.
â€œshe had seen before. Go back she could not, for
every step, as she passed it, melted into the preci-
pice ; to look back made her dizzy. She must go .
For the first time since she had begun to climb
the wall, which had changed, as she climbed, into:
steps, and then into a precipice, Eva was afraid.
But there was no choice left for her; go on she
must ; and, accordingly, on she went, till she came
to a place where the rock rose, so high that she
could not see its top, in a smooth, unbroken wall,
over which she could not possibly climb, and a
narrow path ran along its base; and as yet she had
not seen nor heard anything of the truant Aster. -
_ She walked slowly along the foot of the great
blank wall, tired and discouraged. What to
do now, she did not know. She could not go
back, for there was the frightful precipice; in
front was the wall, along which she was walking.
Poor Eva was almost ready to cry, when all
of a. sudden she saw a door, cut in the stone,
and the door was shut. But she heard, behind
this door, the silvery voices and ringing laughter
of children, and then a great longing came over
The Door in the Wall. 19
her to go in and. join them, and she thought that
perhaps Aster might be with them.
Yet, although she tried, she could not open
the door. She heard the merry voices of the
children, and, hearing them as plainly as she did,
she thought it was strange that they did not hear
her and open the door to her; for, try as she
would, she could not open it. And then she
grew tired of trying, and would have gone on,
when, looking once more at the door to see if
there was any way of opening it which she could
possibly have neglected, she saw cut across the
door, in deep, old-fashioned, moss-grown letters,
Then, gathering courage, Eva raised her tiny
hand, and knocked. Once, and no answer came.
Again, and with the same result. A third time,
and then the merry voices of the children, and
their gay laughter, ceased, and Eva hoped that ~
her appeal was heard.
THE VALLEY OF REST.
m=alVA waited for a moment, with as much
patience as she could, in hopes that the
door might now be opened for her. Vain
hopes, for the ringing laughter and the merry
voices began again; and once more Eva would
have been discouraged, if the thought had not
come that perhaps her gentle knocking had not
been heard, and once more she tapped, louder
this time, at the door.
A voice within immediately asked, â€˜â€˜ Who
â€˜[â€”Eva,â€™â€™ was the childâ€™s reply.
â€˜Â¢ Eva may enter.â€™â€™ :
Poor child! She thought the permission was
useless, for the door remained as tightly shut as
The Valley of Rest. 81
â€˜Â¢Why do you not come in?â€™â€™ the same voice
asked, after a pause. â€˜â€˜ You are permitted.â€â€™
â€œâ€˜T cannot come in, because the door is shut,â€™â€™
â€˜Â¢ Take the key and unlock it.â€â€™
But Eva, after looking around carefully, could
see no key, and so she said, â€˜â€˜I do not know where
the key can be.â€â€™
â€˜Â¢Look under your right foot,â€™â€™ said the voice
within ; and Eva, stepping to one side, saw lying,
just where her foot had been, a queer little key,
which she picked up ; and seeing a key-hole among
the quaint letters of the inscription, she found the |
little key just fitted it; and on turning it, the door
flew open, and, as it did, a band of beautiful chil- Â°
dren came forward to meet her, though not one
of them crossed the threshold of the door, and
they bade her welcome. But when Eva would
have gone in, it seemed to her that invisible hands
. prevented her entrance; and then one of the
children, seeing that she still held in her hand the
white stone she had picked up near the spring,
and with which she had made the mark over Asterâ€™s
hiding-place, told her to throw it away, for that
82 Eva's Adventures in Shadow-Land.
nothing from Shadow-Land could be brought into
their valley; and then to be careful and not
touch the threshold of the door, but to step over.
it: And Eva did as they told her; but when she
threw the white stone over the precipice, it changed
into a large white moth as it left her hand; and -
Eva, watching it, saw one of the faces rise from
out of the curling mists to meet it, and then the
moth changed into a face like the one she had
first seen, and then both disappeared among the
mists and vapors. And the moment she passed
through the door, it closed suddenly behind her,
and could not be told from the solid rock; and
Eva saw that she was in a place totally different
from anything she had ever seen before in her
She found that she was now in a large, grassy
valley, in the midst of which was built a beautiful
rose-colored palace, shining like a star. Flowers
of the gayest hues bloomed all through the grass;
fountains of musical water, surrounded with rain-
bows, played here and there ; birds and butterflies
of brilliant colors flew among the flowers, and
were so tame that they would alight on the chil-
The Valley of Rest. 83
drenâ€™s hands, and the birds were so wise that they
could talk, and tell the most interesting stories,
which you never grew tired of hearing. A little
brook ran sparkling through the valley, and groups
of beautiful children were playing on its banks,
among whom Eva lookedâ€”but looked in vainâ€”
The children gathered around her, asking where
she came from, if she was the Queen who was to
reign over them, and if she was not going to live
always with them. And when Eva tried to explain
how she had come, and asked them if they knew
where Aster was, they joined hands and danced in
a circle around her to their own singing, and then
one of them gave her the leaves of a flower to eat.
Now the leaves of this flower were delicious, and
as sweet as honey to the taste, and one never
wearied of eating them; and as Eva ate them, all
memory of Shadow-Land and of Aster faded from
her mind, and she was content to remain in the
valley with the children.
_ It was a pleasant life that she led in this peace-
ful valley, surrounded, as it was, and shut in by
high, insurmountable, and steep rocks, over which
84 Evaâ€™s Adventures in Shadow-Land.
nothing without wings could go; in which the
children dwelt, and where there was neither sun
nor moon, but only a soft, rosy light, which never
hurt or dazzled the eyes, and where nothing ever
happened which could disturb the peace of the
place. To chase the brilliant butterflies, to listen
to the songs and stories of the birds, to dance on
the soft green grass, and gather flowers to make
fragrant wreaths and garlands with which to deco-
rate.the beautiful palace in which, when darkness
came over the valley, they all assembled, and
where tables, spread with the most delicious fruits,
always stood ready for them,â€”such was the life
that Eva and the children led in the Valley of
But at last a day came when the children. told
Eva that, as their custom was, they must leave the
valley and carry baskets of flowers and fruit tothe _
Queen for whom they had at first taken her. She
could not go with them now, they said, but the
next time that they went they would take her with
them. They would be gone the next morning
before she was awake, and she would be alone for -
that day in the valley; but then they would return;
The Valley of Rest. $s
and the only favor they asked of her was this, â€”
that she would not go near the brook, nor play
upon its banks, while they were absent.
Eva willingly promised this. Such a little thing
as it was to promise, when she would have the
whole fair valley to herself, to go where she pleased,
and to do what she pleased! It would be very
easy to keep away from the brook.
But when once more the soft, rosy light came,
and the darkness was gone, and Eva awoke to
find herself lying, all alone, on her little bed in
the palace, and to know that all the children were
indeed gone, though only for a time, a strange
restlessness came over her, and she felt that she
could not stay all alone in the palace. She would
go out of it into the valley. But she was no better
off there. She gathered flowers and made beauti-
ful wreaths and bouquets, but there was no one to
admire them when they were made. The rain-
bows around the fountains were less brilliant ; the
birds were all gone with the children, so that she
could not listen to their songs or the stories they
might have told her. She might play and dance,
but what fun was there in that, when she had no
86 Eva's Adventures tn Shadow-Land.
companions to dance and play with her? Eva
thought she neverâ€™ had spent such a stupid, long, -
dull day in all her life; and she wished it was
over. The only thing which seemed as merry. as
ever was the little brook, which she had promised
to avoid, yet which rippled along so joyously that
it was as much as Eva could do to keep away
But she remembered her promise to the children,
and turning her back upon the brook, she went
and sat down near one of the fountains. She had
only been there- for a few. moments, when she felt
something pull her dress; and looking round to
see what it was,â€”wondering if the children could
possibly have returned,â€”she saw, to her great sur-
prise, a huge green toad, which had hold of her
dress, and which, when she leoked at it, said:
â€œ'Croak! croak !â€™â€™
Then Eva knew that she had seen the toad
before, and she began to wonder how it had
gotten into the Valley of Rest, where she never
had seen anything like it. But she did not have
much time for wonder; for the toad, giving her
dress another pull, said to her, â€˜â€˜Come to the
The Valley of Rest. 87
brook! Come to the brook!â€™â€™ And then it
began to hop towards the brook just as fast as it
She forgot her promise to the children, and,
just exactly as she had done once before, she
obeyed the toad, and went down to the brook.
And when she got there, she could not imagine
why the toad wanted her to go there, for he was
nowhere to be seen, and the brook looked just as
it always did. But she sat down by it, and watched
the merry water as it rippled along over its pebbly
bed. Then, soothed by the low murmur it made,
she lay down on the grass and fell asleep. And
while she was asleep she had a dream; and this is
what she dreamed:
She saw Aster, his dress torn, dirty, and ragged,
his long curls tangled ; tired and sad, and com-
pelled to carry burdens of stone too heavy for
him to lift. And when he wanted to rest, two
figures, with the faces which Eva had seen in the
forest and among the curling mists and vapors at
the foot of the precipice, beat him with rods full
of thorns, And then a huge red-and-black spider
would sting him in the foot, or a great green frog,
88 Eva's Adventures in Shadow-Land.
with prominent black eyes, would threaten to
swallow him; and then the boy would cry, and
call for Eva to come and help him.
Then the frog would say:
â€œâ€˜Why did you let me tear your coat?â€™â€™
And the faces would ask:
â€˜Â¢Why did you lose your flower ?â€â€™
And then the spider would say:
â€˜Â¢Why did you creep into the rock ?â€â€™
And to all this Aster would only answer with
the cry, â€˜â€˜Eva! Eva! help me!â€â€™
Then one of the faces said, angrily:
â€˜Â©We shall punish you here until three things
are done, because through three things you fell
into our power. First. Eva must find your coat.
Second. She must get the piece to mend it with.
Third. She must find you. But you need not call
her, because she cannot hear you; for she is in
the Valley of Rest with the Happy Children, who
are the Dawn Fairies, and she has forgotten you.
And there are many dangers to pass in Shadow-
Land before.she can come to you; and she will
not come, unless she hears you call.â€™â€™
Then they would beat him again; and Aster
The Valley of Rest. 89
would cry, louder than ever, â€˜â€˜Eva! Eva! help
And then the dream passed away, and Eva
awoke. And it seemed to her that Asterâ€™s voice
mingled with the rippling of the water, and it
â€˜cried, piteously, â€˜Eva! Eva! help me!â€
And then Eva knew why it was that the children
had begged her not to go near the brook while
they were gone; because its voice would bring
back to her all that she had forgotten. For now,
as she sat by it, she remembered everything that
the leaves of the flower which she had eaten had
made her forget; and she sprang to her feet, de-
termined to follow the course of the brook, and
let it lead her to where Aster was.
She went all through the fair valley, along the
margin of the brook with whose waters Asterâ€™s
voice still seemed to mingle. It led her at last to
the high rocks, which, like a steep wall, surrounded
the valley, and where a low cavern, the roof of
which was only a few inches above the surface
of the water, received the brook. Eva could not
enter it, neither could she climb the steep preci-
pice-like wall; and, with Asterâ€™s voice still sound-
90 ' Lvaâ€™s Adventures in Shadow-Land.
ing piteously in her ears, with a heavy heart, after
several fruitless efforts to climb the rocks, she
went back to the palace, determined to wait for
the return of the children; for, although she had ~
been very happy while with them, and was un-
willing to leave them, she intended to ask them
how she could leave the peaceful Valley of Rest,
and if they would provide her with the means of
continuing her search for Aster.
Had Eva consulted her own wishes, and been
able to carry them out, she would not have waited
one moment, but would have gone at once out
into Shadow-Land, which she now knew lay all
around the valley. â€œShe knew, too, that the little
brook running through the valley, and which had
brought her Asterâ€™s cry for help, was the same
whose â€˜â€˜ Follow, follow me!â€™â€™ had led her to the
golden fountain from whose crest she had re-
ceived her little charge. But how to leave the
valley she did not know. She could do nothing
by herself,â€”she must wait till the return of the
children,â€”so that she could scarcely be patient till
the hours of darkness came, knowing that during
The Valley of Rest. 91
them, and before the soft, rosy light could dawn
again, that they would be with her.
There was nothing for it, however, but pa-
tience, and at last, after a day which had seemed
at least a year long, darkness covered the valley;
and although Eva had fully intended to keep
awake until the childrenâ€™s return, her eyes, try
and resolve as she might, would not stay open,
and she slept. ee
THE MAGIC BOAT.
FORNING came, and Eva awoke, to find
that she was all alone in the palace, and
to wonder at the utter stillness around
her. There was no song of birds to be heard,â€”
no fall of musical waters,â€”no merry childrenâ€™s
ringing laughter and sweet voices. To all in-
tents and purposes the palace seemed as deserted
as it had been the day before. And wondering
at all this, Eva rose, and went out of the palace
to look for her companions.
They had returned; but when she saw them
she understood why everything was so still. For,
instead of the merry songs and joyous games and
dances with which they had been accustomed to
begin the day, they were gathered in little groups,
and every face wore a sad and mournful expres-
The Magie Boat. 93
sion. They seemed troubled, and every now and
then one of them would point to the brook, and
then shake her head; and Eva was going to ask
them what could possibly have happened, and
what the matter was, when they saw her; and
then the whole crowd came around her, and be-
fore she could say a word, they exclaimed, with
â€˜Â¢Oh, Eva! Eva! what have youdone? You
forgot your promise ; you went to the brook, and
you heard its story ?â€â€™
Then it came into Evaâ€™s mind that she must
leave the children, who seemed so sorry for what
she had done, and she hung her head and said,
â€œ*T could not help it.â€â€™
â€œTt is true, and only what we feared,â€™â€™ one of
them said,â€”the same one who had spoken to Eva
through the door. â€˜We knew how it would be
before we left you. You could not help it, for it
was Fate, and no promise can bar the power, no
wishes change the will, of Fate.â€™
Then Eva began to tell them her story. And
they all listened, and when she told them how the
94 LÂ£vaâ€™s Adventures in Shadow-Land.
green toad had pulled her dress, another of the
children spoke and told Eva that the green toad
was Asterâ€™s friend, and would do all it could to
help him. That, just before she came to the
valley, it had been there and told them she was
coming. And then Eva finished her story, and
. begged them to let her go.
â€˜â€œWe cannot keep you,â€™â€™ they said to her,
â€œeven if we wished it. We would like to keep
you with us, but the green toad has commanded
us to help you, so far as lies in our power. But
we cannot save you from the dangers of the way.
TuHEy, who are more powerful than our Queen,
have forbidden it, and will not allow us to tell you
what these dangers are, or how you can avoid
them or escape them. That you will learn on
the Enchanted River, down which you will have
to go, and we must, if you ask us, furnish you
with the means of reaching it. You cannot
go there unless we help you, and we cannot keep
you here if we would.â€â€™
*Â¢ Will I find Aster ?â€™â€™ Eva asked.
â€˜Â¢ That will depend upon yourself,â€™â€™ one of the
children said, exactlv as if she was telling a story
The Magic Boat. 95
she had heard. â€˜â€˜If Aster had obeyed you, as he
should have done, and as he was expected to do,
your journey would have ended here, in this
Valley of Rest, and we, who are the Dawn
Fairies, would have been able to take his flower
from the Night and Shadow Elves; but the loss
of part of his coat gave them power over him, be-
cause Darkness always swallows up Light when-
ever it can; and so, just at the entrance of this
place, on the verge between Shadow and Dawn,
they succeeded in luring him away from you.â€â€™
Then they told Eva that for a certain time,
which had now expired, Asterâ€™s enemies had been
able to prevent her seeking for him. â€˜â€˜ During
that time,â€™â€™ they went on, â€œâ€˜ we were permitted to
receive you; but then since Asterâ€™s friends have .
been able to speak to you by means of the brook,
though they can do nothing to rescue or to help
him, for you are the only person who can release
him from the power of the Elves of Shadow-
Land; and since you have heard the voice, and
are willing to follow it, we can only, much as we
would like to keep you with us,-help you, and let
96 Lvaâ€™s Adventures in Shadow-Land.
â€˜Â« Has she no choice?â€™â€™ another asked. â€˜â€˜ Could
she not, if she chose, remain with us, instead of
exposing herself to the dangers through which she
must pass ?â€â€™
â€œI would rather go,â€™â€™ Eva began, â€˜â€˜if I may
â€˜Â¢ You are right,â€™â€™ the first one who had spoken
went on. â€˜It is your fate, and,â€ using, as Eva
remembered, words that Aster had spoken long
before, and which seemed to be a proverb among
the elves and fairies, â€˜â€˜it will be, because it must
And then Eva heard, above the voices of the
children and mingling with them, the words
which had come to her along the waters of the
brook, but spoken this time more plaintively than
â€˜Â¢Eva! Eval help me1!â€™â€™
And the children heard, for they said:
â€˜You will not hear those words after you leave
our valley. For, in the region through which
you must pass, Asterâ€™s friends have no power;
you will have to depend wholly upon yourself.
Andâ€™?â€™â€”as the waters of the little brook, by whose
The Magie Boat. . 97
margin they were standing, began to ripple along
faster, and murmur louder, while the musical
fountains began to play, and the birds to singâ€”
â€˜and now you must leave us: everything is in
readiness, and the time has come.â€â€™
Then, with Eva in their midst, the children.
began to walk slowly along the brook, which no
longer brought Asterâ€™s voice with it. On they
went, through the calm valley; not, however, as
Eva had expected, to the door in the rock through
which she had entered, and which she had never
been able to find again,â€”though she had looked
for it the day befere, but in the opposite direc-
tion,â€”towards the cavern in which the waters of
the brook disappeared. She asked why she was
not to be allowed to seek for Aster among the
rocky, stony wastes in which he had disappeared.
â€˜â€˜Because that is all over, and you cannot go
back into the Past,â€™â€™ was the reply. â€˜â€˜ Nothing,
which has once happened there, or been seen
there, remains in Shadow-Land.â€â€™
They had come, by this time, to the cavern,
and Eva saw that its roof was higher above the
98 Lvaâ€™s Adventures in Shadow-Land.
brook than it had been the day before; and that,
floating on the water, which was here as smooth
and still as glass, there were a great many pure
white lilies, and that every now and then a
speckled trout would jump from the water, and
send a shower of crystal drops to sparkle on the
green leaves around the white lilies.
â€œâ€˜There lies your way,â€™â€™ the children said,
pointing to the cavern and the brook. â€˜â€˜ But
we must give you the means of going down the
brook to the place where it meets the Enchanted
River. Beyond that we cannot help you. We
can only send you, in our boat, down the
At these words Eva looked up in great sur-
prise, for no boat was to be seen, and she could
not imagine where one was to come from. But
then one of the children clapped her hands, and,
as she did so, a lily-bud slowly rose from the
water, and then opened, till it was larger and
whiter than any of the other lilies. And then,
while all looked on in silence, the pure white
leaves of the lily fell into the water and melted
away in it like snow; and then another waved
The Magic Boat. 99
her hands in the air, and immediately, on the
stalk from which the lily-petals had fallen, there
grew a pod. And when the pod had stopped
growing, a third, stooping by the brook, dipped
her hands into the water, and the lily-pod de-
tached itself from its stem, and came floating to
the bank. ;
Then the one who had clapped her hands took
the pod out of the water and laid it on the bank.
The second opened it and taking from out of it
six round speckled seeds, laid them in the hands
of the third. Then the third threw these six
seeds, one by one, into the water, and as each
seed touched the water it changed into a beauti-
ful, large speckled trout; and one by one the six
trout, gently moving their fins, ranged them-
selves in a line, their heads to the bank, and re-
mained there, waiting.
Then the three children, lifting up the empty
lily-pod, placed it gently upon the brook, and Eva
saw that, as it lay on the smooth waters, it had
become a little boat. And then the six trout,
one by one, swam from the line which they had
formed, and ranged themselves around it, one at
100 Â§6Â©=6- Eevaâ€™s Adventures in Shadow-Land.
the bow and one at the stern, and two on each
side ;.and while she looked at the tiny boat it
grew longer and broader, and at either end it rose
in a graceful curve, finished at bow and stern
with an open lily-cup ; and then the calm surface
of the water broke into a thousand little ripples,
rocking the lilies to and fro, which bent as
though they were saluting the little vessel, along
whose sides the tiny waves flowed caressingly.
The children then told Eva that everything
was ready, and that it was time for her to enter
the boat which they had prepared for her, and
which the six Fish Fairies would guide down the
brook. But Eva hesitated, for the boat, she
thought, was too small for her. One of the
children, seeing that Eva hesitated, told her not
to be afraid, for the boat was built in such a way,
being a magic boat, that it would hold any one
for whom it was made. So Eva did as she was
told, and, stepping lightly into the boat, she
found that it was just the right size for her;
though she did not exactly know if it was she
that had grown smaller or the boat whichâ€™ had
The Magic Boat. Lot
As she sat down, the children told her to be
careful and eat nothing except what the trout,
who were to guide the boat, would bring her;
and in return she was to take care of them, and
let no one molest them, for the Fish Fairies are *
the weakest of all the fairies, though they can go
where the others dare not even be seen. When
the boat had taken her as far as it could, it would
leave her, and return to the Valley of Rest.
Then, all joining hands, the children began to
sing.; and this is what they sung:
With your sweet freight laden ;
May not harm
Eva, the earth-maiden,
On her way,
Night and day,
Bear her onward ever;
Till she land
On the strand
Of thâ€™ Enchanted River.
102 Lvaâ€™s Adventures in Shadow-Iand.
On this spot
â€˜Tis the appointed hour!
Led by magic power.
As the last words were sung, the boat, ap-
parently of its own accord, moved into the centre.
of the brook, its bow pointing to the cavern.
Then it paused for a moment, till the six speckled
trout could come and take their places around it.
And then, with a smooth, gliding motion, it went
towards the entrance of the cavern, which sud-
denly raised its arch so as to admit the magic
boat. When it was just under the arch, the boat
stopped for a moment, and as Eva looked back,
she saw that the children were already going back
to the palace, singing as they went,â€”the bright,
rosy light, and the rainbow-surrounded fountains,
and the beautiful birds, seemed more charming
than ever in contrast with the Dark Unknown
into which she was going.
Then the boat shot forward again, and the
arch of the cavern, which had been raised to
The Magic Boat. 103
allow the boat to enter, dropped behind her like
a curtain, shutting out the Valley of Rest from
The rest she had enjoyed there was over,â€”her
wanderings had again begun.
DOWN THE BROOK.
allâ€™ was not without a momentâ€™s fear that
Eva saw the arch of the cavern close be-
hind her, shutting her into silence; and
surrounding her with a darkness which could not
only be seen, but which was almost to be felt.
At least so it seemed in contrast with the bright
valley which she had left; but before many min-
utes had passed, or the boat had gone very far,
her eyes became accustomed to the change, the
intense blackness which surrounded her softened
into a pale, dim gray; and then Eva saw that she
was in a low arched place, like a long tunnel cut
in the solid rock. Every now and then a drop
of water would fall splashing into the brook from
the roof, or else a little wave would break, rip-
Down the Brook. Tog
pling against the wall; but those were the only
sounds to be heard.
Even the boat glided along noiselessly, with a
smooth, uniform motion,â€”and the tiny waves,
which occasionally ruffled the surface of the dark,
still water, passed under her without Evaâ€™s noticing
them, Leaning over the side, Eva could just see
in the water the dim outlines of the trout, which
swam along noiselessly in their respective places.
Then all at once it grew lighter, and in the two
cups of the lilies in which the curved prow and
stern of the boat ended, she saw that a pale, blue
flame was burning, and she knew then that from
these blue flames came all the dim gray light which
illumined the cavern. And presently, without
thinking, she dipped her hand into the brook,
and right away the water all around it was full
of bright sparkles, and yet these little sparkles did
not burn her; and then one of the six speckled
trout came and rubbed his head softly against
Evaâ€™s hand, and asked her what she wanted.
Eva stroked the troutâ€™s back, and said,â€”
â€˜* Well, when you do want anything,â€™â€™ the trout
106 Â§6Â©Evaâ€™s Advehtures in Shadow-Land.
said to her, â€˜â€˜just dip your hand into the water,
and one of us will come to you. Then you must
ask for what you want, and if we can get it for
you we will; and when you are hungry we will
bring you something to eat.â€â€™
Eva thanked the trout, and said she would be
sure to ask when she wanted anything. And then
she took her hand out of the water, and the trout
went back to his place, and Eva lay down quietly
in the bottom of the boat, for she was tired of
sitting up, and looked at the roof of the cavern.
It was all rough and uneven, high above the water
in some places and near it in others, with bright
stones set here and there in it, which shone
and sparkled like diamonds or little stars when-
ever the boat passed under them, or the light from
the flames burning in the lily-cups, which Eva
called her lamps, fell upon them. But there was
no sign of life in the cavern, except that every
now and then things like bats, frightened by the
light, would fly out of holes in the wall away
back into the darkness.
The boat went on and on, though there seemed
no current in the water over which it glided, till,
Down the Brook. 107
as Eva thought, they must have travelled for days.
Sometimes she would sleep, and the boat went on
just the same; when she was hungry, she would
dip her hand into the water, and the trout would
bring â€˜her a basket filled with the fruit which grew
in the Valley of Rest. But Eva began to be very
tired of the long journey through the cavern; and
she was wondering to herself how much farther
they would have to go, when all of a sudden the
little blue flames burning in the lily-cups flickered
for a moment, and then, seemingly gathering
themselves together, shot up to the roof of the
cavern and disappeared, leaving everything again
in total darkness; and Eva was just going to ask
the trout what this meant, when she saw, far away
in the distance before her, what looked to her
like a tiny, yet beautiful blue star shining.
This little star, which was yet far away, seemed
so fair and lovely that Eva said, without intend-
ing to speak, â€˜â€˜O little boat, if only you would
sail faster, and go near the pretty star!â€™â€™ And,
just as if the boat had heard and understood the
words, it began to move faster,â€”or was it the star
which grew larger and larger, and came to meet
108 LÂ£vaâ€™s Adventures in Shadow-Land.
them? No! it surely was no star, for the blue
spot became larger and still larger, and then the
cavern grew lighter and lighter, till, when she was
near enough, Eva saw that what she had taken for
a star was the arched entrance into the rock, and
the light it shed was the pure light of day pouring
into the darkness of the cavern.
But it did not look so very inviting when the
boat came nearer. Beyond the arch the air was
full of curling mists and vapors, like those which
Eva had seen at the foot of the precipice, and
through these mists and vapors she caught dim
glimpses of the same old hateful faces she had
seen so often before. Just before the boat
reached the arch, one of the six trout, putting his
head above the water, said to her:
â€˜Â¢ Stop the boat.â€â€™
â€˜Â¢ How can I?â€â€™ Eva asked, in surprise.
â€˜Â¢ Speak to her ; she will obey you.â€™â€™
And, to Evaâ€™s great astonishment, as soon as
the words, spoken very doubtingly, â€˜â€˜ Little boat,
wait,â€™â€™ passed her lips, the little vessel stopped,
and lay without moving on the water.
Then the same trout which had spoken to her
Down the Brook. 109
previously put his head again out of the water and
â€˜* Before we go on, among the mists and
vapors which lie beyond the cavern, it is well to
tell you to be prepared. You must be on your
guard, for THEY who dwell on the margin of the
Brook of Mists will do everything in their power
to prevent your reaching the Enchanted River,
You will have to be careful, not only for yourself
but for us, and no matter what they whom we
meet may ask you to do, you must refuse, however
trifling it may seem. Beyond the cavern we have
no power to warn you; you must judge for your-
More than this, the trout went on, they were
not permitted to say to her. So Eva thanked
them, and promised to remember what they had
told her; and then she told the little boat to go
on, and once more the little vessel glided forward
with each trout in its own place.
They proceeded slowly; the curling mists and
vapors always before them,â€”and, as Eva noticed,
always behind them, although they were never
close to the boat,â€”just as if she carried a free
tio Lva's Adventures in Shadow-Land.
space along with her, and that the mists were not
_ allowed to come within a certain distance of her.
So, for a time, they went quietly down the
brook. And Eva, seeing that nothing happened,
began to wonder why the trout had told her to be
careful ; and she was looking over the side of the
boat at her own face reflected in the clear water,.
in which not a fish was to be seen, except those
with her, when suddenly the boat began to
rock to and fro, as she never had done before ;
and when Eva turned round to a&certain the
cause of this rocking, there, perched on the side ~
of the boat, was a great black jackdaw.
But, oh! what a very queer-looking jackdaw he
was, to be sure! Every here and there he had
peacock feathers stuck in among his plumage,
and it was easy to see that they were only put in
for show. It was as much as Eva could do to
keep from laughing when she looked at him.
â€œ Caw | caw!â€™ cried the jackdaw, with his head
to one side, just as if he thought himself the finest
bird in the world. â€˜I am hungry, little girl, for
I have flown a long way to-day, and I want to
know if you wonâ€™t give me something to eat.â€â€™
Down the Brook. 111
*Â¢T would, with pleasure,â€ Eva said, â€œif Thad
any corn with me, for that is what jackdaws eat.â€™â€
The jackdaw tossed his head at this.
â€œ*Pooh! you are silly; canâ€™t you see Iâ€™m a pea-
cock? Just look at my fine feathers, and tell me
what you suppose I. want with corn? If you
really are willing to give me something to eat,
why, Iâ€™ll take one of those fine, fat fish swim-
ming near the boat.â€â€™
â€œThat I cannot let you do,â€™â€™ Eva said. â€˜I
know who you.are, now: you are the bird who
stole the peacockâ€™s feathers; I saw a picture of
you in a little book I once read.â€â€ i
â€œÂ¢Found out! Found out!â€™â€™ cawed the jack-
daw; and, with that, off he flew; and he was in
such a hurry to be gone that he dropped two of
the long feathers which had been in his tail, and
Eva picked them up and stuck them into the side
of the boat.
Then one of the trout, after the jackdaw
was gone, put his head up out of the water and
â€˜It is a good thing for all of us that you said
â€˜noâ€™ to the bird. For, if you had said he might
112. Eva's Adventures in Shadow-Land.
take one of us, he would not have touched us, but
would have pecked a hole in the boat, and she
would have sunk to the-bottom of the brook. We
should have had to leave you, and then you never
could have reached the Enchanted River.â€™â€™
â€˜* Where is the Enchanted River?â€™â€™ Eva asked â€”
the trout. :
He answered, â€˜â€˜ It runs through Shadow-Land.â€â€™
*Â¢ And where are we?â€â€™
â€˜* We are on the Brook of Mists, which empties
into the Enchanted River. You came out of
Shadow-Land when you entered the Valley of
Then the boat went on quietly again. Only
for a time, however, and presently Eva heard a
voice, in a squeaky tone, calling to her:
â€˜Â¢Stop, little girl, and take me in.â€â€™
And there, apparently crawling along the sur-
face of the water, was a queer little dwarf. He
had a large head, with round, green eyes; a fat,
round body; and he was dressed in a yellow coat
with scarlet facings, and his legs were so long
and thin that they bent under him as he walked.
And when he came up to the boat and laid his
â€˜Stop, little girl, and take me in.â€
Down the Brook. 113
hand upon it, Eva saw that it was not a hand, but
only a sharp black claw.
â€œâ€˜ Take me in!â€™â€™ â€œhe repeated.
Eva peeped at the trout over the side of the
boat before she answered him, but they were
taking no notice of the dwarf, and were swim-
ming along as quietly as ever.
â€œâ€˜Take me in!â€™â€™ he squeaked again.
â€˜â€œ*No,â€â€™ Eva said; â€˜the boat is too small to
hold us both.â€™â€™
â€œThen give me one of those peacock feathers
to fan myself with.â€™â€™
â€˜â€˜T must refuse you,â€™â€™ Eva went on; â€˜but
perhaps the jackdaw, who was here not long since,
might supply you, as he did me.â€
â€œYou are very unkind,â€™â€™ the dwarf said.
â€œÂ¢ Come, now, I will give you such a pretty flower
if you will only let me go a little way with you; a
star-flower. Aster meansâ€”a star.â€â€™
Eva shook her head. â€˜I cannot.â€
6 Why ?â€â€
*Â¢ Because I think I saw you in the forest.â€™â€™
And just as Eva said these words, a change
came over the dwarf; he was the same, yet not
114. Eva's Adventures in Shadow-Land.
the same, and she saw that he was nothing but a
huge spider, and that instead of walking on the
water, as she had supposed, he had come to the
boat on a web stretched across the brook, on which
he was now running away just as fast as he could.
Then another of the trout put up his head, and
â€˜â€œâ€˜You did well to refuse him, for if he had
gotten into the boat, or if you had given him the
feather, he would have put a bandage over your
eyes, so that you could not see, and then would _
have spun a web around you and the boat, and
nobody knows how you ever would have got out
â€œÂ¢He could not do it in the forest,â€™â€™ Eva said ;
**how could he do it here ?â€â€™
â€˜Because first you were only brought into
Shadow-Land; this time you came into it. Such
as he can only control those who allow him. He
could only have power over you by your own act
and deed.â€™â€™ i
And once more the boat went on. But after
awhile she was hailed again,â€”and Eva bade her
Down the Brook. 115
This time Eva was surprised to see that the call
came from a little old woman crouched upon a
stone which rose above the water. A very ugly
old woman she was, too; for she had a very wide
mouth and a pair of prominent, staring black eyes,
and she was wrapped in a green shawl, and talked
in an odd little croaking voice.
â€˜Â¢ Where are you going?â€™ she asked Eva. Eva
only smiled, for she could not tell the old woman
what she did not know herself.
â€œâ€˜T know,â€™â€™ the old woman said, nodding her
head, and without waiting for a reply, â€˜â€˜ you are
looking for Aster and his coat.â€™â€™
â€˜*How do you know?â€â€™ Eva began; but the
old woman interrupted her :
Â«*Never you mind how I know it; it is enough
for you that I do know it. And if you really
want to find Aster, I can tell you where he is,
and put you in the way of finding him.â€â€™
â€˜If you only would,â€™â€™ Eva said, eagerly.
â€œYou must first take me into the boat, and
then give me one of your curls.â€â€™
â€˜*No,â€™â€™ Eva said, remembering what the trout
had told her; â€˜â€˜ that I cannot do.â€â€™
116 Lvaâ€™s Adventures in Shadow-Land.
Then the old woman grew angry, and she
jumped off the stone, as if she wanted to get into
the boat. But as she jumped, Eva spoke to the
boat, and she moved on ; and then the old woman
fell into the water. And Eva saw that the old
woman, changing her shape as soon as she touched
the water, was nothing but the same great green
frog she had seen before; and that her shawl was
the piece torn from Asterâ€™s coat which it was part
of her business to find.
The third trout popped his head up out of the
â€˜Tf you only could have known, and had given
us the curl that the Green Frog asked you for, we
would have made a net of it, in which we could
have caught the frog, and then the hardest part
of your task would have been over ; for then you
could have taken the piece of Asterâ€™s coat away
â€œIf you only had told me,â€™â€™ Eva said. â€˜But it
seems that you can only speak when it is too late.â€™â€â€™
â€˜*Because when higher powers are present we
must be silent. We are never allowed to speak
till after they have spoken, and are gone.â€â€™
Down the Brook. 117
â€˜Then, how could you have caught the frog ?â€™â€™
â€˜Â¢ Through the power you would have given us,
But nothing can stop us or molest us now.â€™â€™
Then the boat went on, down the brook, and
nothing more happened to stop her progress, On
she went, till at last, all of a sudden, the mists
and vapors before her vanished, and Eva saw, just
in front of her, what seemed the open mouth of a
huge serpent ready to devour them. But the boat
went on until it came near the terrible jaws, and
then Eva saw that they were only two great rocks,
one on each side of the brook,â€”and the boat
passed unhurt between them. And just beyond
them the water stopped short; and then the boat
came to a pause, and nothing that Eva could say
or do would move her one inch.
And then another of the trout put up his head,
and told Eva she should bid the boat go to the
shore; which she did; and the boat obeyed,
and then stopped again, her bow resting on the
â€œ*We can do no more for you,â€™â€™ the trout then
told her. â€˜â€˜We must now go home, for there,
where the brook stops, the Enchanted River runs.
118 Lvaâ€™s Adventures in Shadow-Land.
On it our boat cannot go, and in it we cannot
live; so, though we would like to help you, we
Then Eva thanked them for what they had
done, and taking one of her long bright curls, she
tied part of it round each troutâ€™s neck, where it
shone like a collar of gold. And they told her
that she should keep the rest of the curl, and if
at any time she was in trouble from which she
could not escape, and was near water, and thought
that they could help her, she should throw the rest
of the curl into the water, and they would come
Then, holding in her hand the two feathers the
jackdaw had dropped, which the trout told her
might be useful, Eva bade the trout farewell, and
stepped on shore. And as her foot touched the
ground, the boat moved off into the stream, and
And presently Eva said, â€˜Go home, little
boat,â€™â€™ and the boat immediately, with the trout,
began to go up the brook. She watched it till
it was out of sight, and then the child stood alone
on the banks of the Enchanted River.
THE ENCHANTED RIVER.
â€aiVA had heard so much about this won-
| derful stream that, as she stood upon
== its banks, she could scarcely realize that
she had at last reached it. And it looked quiet
enough, now that she had come to it. It had
seemed to her that the waters of the Brook of
Mists had ended in nothing; but now, as she stood
upon the river-bank, and looked back, she could
see no water. The curling mists and vapors had
spread over and covered all the way by which she
had come, and the only things left to show the
place of the brook were the two black rocks, half
hid, half revealed, by the mists playing around
them. But to remain there, Jooking back, would,
as Eva well knew, never do. Her way lay down
the river, and she might as well go boldly forward.
So, slowly and carefully, she began to walk along
120 Eva's Adventures in Shadow-Land.
Quiet as the river had at first seemed, it was
not very long before Eva found that it deserved
its name. What she thought was land would very
often prove to be water; and then again places
which seemed to be a broad expanse of river
would afford her a firm foothold. Here and
there were sheets of what Eva thought at first
was ice, so smooth and glassy did it look, yet
it would not be cold to the touch. The river
had no perceptible banks,â€”it was almost impossi-
ble to tell where earth ended and water began.
Yet, walking along, sometimes with the water
splashing above her ankles, Evaâ€™s feet were never
wet. The trees along the river seemed to walk
on, and little green flames, tipped with orange,
danced among them. Once one of these little
flames fell on Evaâ€™s dress, and when, fearing it
might burn her, she brushed it off, she found that
it was nothing but a harmless green leaf, with a
golden tip, which had dropped from a tree hangs
ing over the river. ;
Many wonderful things, too, lay on the bottom
of the river. Eva saw them, and remembered
dimly what they were as she caught sight of them
The Enchanted River. 12
through the clear water, though she could not tell
where she ever had heard of them. An old lamp,
rusty and cracked, she knew was Aladdinâ€™s won-
derful lamp; near it lay Cinderellaâ€™s little glass
slippers; not far off was Blue Beardâ€™s key; and
the next thing that she saw was Jackâ€™s famous
bean-stalk. Seeing these things, and many more,
she began to wonder if the flower which Aster
had lost could possibly be among them, or if the
piece of his coat was there; when she suddenly
remembered that she had seen the latter in the
possession of the Green Frog.
On she went, meeting no one and with no
hindrance in her way. Then she saw a tiny
worm, writhing, as if in pain, and trying to
crawl away from a twig which lay on it and
seemed to hold it. And pitying the feeble creat-
ure, even more helpless than she was, Eva stooped
and took it from under the twig, and laid it gently
down again. The twig immediately put forth
many legs and ran away, and the worm crept into
a hole near by. And a few minutes later Eva
saw an old woman sitting in the water and warm-
ing her hands over a fire built upon a stone, and
122 Eva's Adventures in Shadow-Land.
the child went up to her, and asked her if she
would tell her where Aster was. But the old
woman would not even look at her; she only
shook her head and mumbled something which
sounded like â€˜*Ask my sister,â€™â€™ and then she
seemed, as Eva stood by her, to fall apart and
melt away, and then there was nothing left of
her except a little vapor, and the child saw that
the fire was only a little heap of the same green
leaves which she had seen among the trees.
And Eva went on, eager to leave a place where
such strange things as this happened. Then the
river seemed to disappear, and only a number of
little pools of water were left. Picking her way
carefully among them, in one she saw a poor,
half-drowned mouse struggling, unable to get
out ; and when Eva saw it she took the little ani-
mal in her hand and laid it on dry land. It
never even looked at her, but crept shyly away, as
if it was afraid of her, and~hiding itself under a
leaf, Eva saw it no more.
Weary and tired, the child went slowly on-
ward. At last the pools of water were all gone,
and the river flowed on as before, but its waters
The Enchanted River. 123
were now white like milk. Tall, shadowy forms
every now and then rose from it, and made
threatening gestures; yet they always vanished
before she came up to them. The banks of the
river became high and steep, and Eva was com-
pelled to walk in its bed; at times these rocky
sides were so close together that it looked as if
it would be almost impossible to pass between
them; then again it would spread out into
a vast expanse, with no visible limit, or else the
water would run, not down, but up a rocky slope;
it would smoke, and yet the water would be
freezingly cold; masses of something as clear as
ice would float in this smoking water, which
were so warm that Eva could scarcely bear her
hand upon them; on one of these masses lay a
bird, like a robin, worn and exhausted, its
feathers all wet and ruffled. Eva took it up ten-
derly, smoothed and dried its plumage, and held
it till it was warm. And then the bird, seem-
ingly impatient of her gentle hold, struggled to
get free, and Eva released it, and in another mo-
ment it was gone too.
And then she came to where another old
124 Â£vaâ€™s Adventures tn Shadow-Land.
woman sat on a rock, around which the milky
waters were foaming, and mists and vapors rose
above and behind her. To this old woman she
also spoke, and asked her the same question
which she had asked before,â€”where Aster was.
And in reply she was told that still farther down
the river, at the Cascade of Rocks, was where the
Toad-Woman lived, and that perhaps she might
tell Eva what it was that she wished to know.
â€˜* But,â€™â€™ the Mist-Woman added, â€˜â€˜ my sister will
not always answer those who speak to her, and I
cannot tell you how to make her.â€™â€™ And, as she
spoke, the vapors thickened and gathered around
her for a moment, and then melted away, and
the Mist-Woman had vanished with them, and
nothing was left except the bare rock.
The child began to think that the wonders of
the river would never cease, and that her journey
down it would be endless. Yet, tired as she was,
she persevered, and went on until all the water
was gone, and only stones and rocks lay in its
former bed. But, strange to say, as Eva walked
among the stones and rocks, she found they were
only shadows. Then, all at once, a loud noise,
The Enchanted River. 125
as of falling stones, met her ear, and on coming
to a sudden turn in the river, she saw that the
noise was caused by what she at once knew was
the Cascade of Rocks; for from a high precipice
crossing the riverâ€™s bed fell an endless stream of
huge stones, and seated in a sort of cavern, just
behind the fall, there was a third old woman,
with a head like that of a toad, fanning herself
with a fan made of peacockâ€™s feathers.
Eva was at first afraid to go near the woman,
lest the stones should fall and crush her. But at
last she ventured to go near, and she saw that at
her approach the stones parted, as though to
make room for her; and summoning all her
courage, she went close to the cascade, and find-
ing that none of the stones touched her, but rather
got out of her way, she walked into the grotto. :
The Toad-Woman stopped fanning and looked
at her. Then she took a pair of spectacles out of
her pocket and put them on, and Eva thought
she looked funnier than ever. And then she
â€˜What do you want ?â€™â€™.
And Eva answered, â€˜â€˜I am looking for Aster.â€™â€™
126 Eva's Adventures in Shadow-Land.
â€œ*Tâ€™ve not got him,â€™â€™ the old woman said.
â€œâ€˜T know,â€™â€™ Eva replied ; â€˜â€˜ but I was told that
you might be able to tell me where he was.â€â€™
â€œHum !â€â€™ the Toad-Woman said. â€˜â€˜ You have,
then, come down the Enchanted River, and seen
my sister, the Mist-Woman. But even that wonâ€™t
help you, though she did let you pass her, and
though the stones did not trouble you. I do
know where Aster is, but I promised my cousin
that I would only tell it to the person who would
bring me back the two feathers that her servant
the jackdaw stole out of my fan.â€â€™
' She held up her fan as she said this, and Eva
saw that two feathers out of it were gone. And
then the child remembered the two feathers
which the jackdaw had dropped in the boat, and
which, as the trout had advised. her, she had
brought with her from the brook. So she showed
them to the woman, and asked her if these were
not the same ones which she had lost. And the
Toad-Woman was very much astonished, for they
were the very feathers she had been talking about.
â€˜Â¢ Take a seat,â€™â€™ she said to Eva, â€˜â€˜and tel] me
how you got them.â€â€™
The Enchanted River. 127
And then a great big brown toad hopped out
of his hole when he heard his mistress say this,
bringing a three-legged stool on his back. He
put it down before Eva, and then went back to
his hole, and Eva sat down on the stool and
looked at the Toad-Woman.
â€˜â€œÂ¢Now, tell me about it,â€™â€™? said the Toad-
So Eva had to begin at the beginning and tell
the whole story. And every time that she said
anything about the green toad the old woman
would nod her head, as much as to say, â€˜â€˜I know
all about that.â€™â€™ But she never interrupted Eva;
only when she was done she said to her:
â€œÂ¢*T am the only person who can help you now,
and as you brought me back my feathers, I will
do what I can for you. The Green Frog, who
has done all this harm, is a distant cousin of
mine, but she delights in doing mischief, and we
have not been friends since her servant the jack-
daw stole the feathers out of my fan. She it is
who has got Aster, and you cannot find him until
you get his coat, and the piece of it. You will
have to work for them, for I cannot help you
128 Eva's Adventures in Shadow-Land.
there; all I can do for you will be to send you
where she lives.â€â€™ }
Then Eva thanked the Toad-Woman very
earnestly, who told her that she must be content
to remain with her for that night, and the next
morning that she would tell her where the Green
Frog lived, and what she should do when she got
So that night Eva slept in the grotto behind
the Cascade of Rocks. â€œThe Toad-Woman waked
her up very early in the morning. She had a
dress in her hand, just the color of mud, which
she told Eva to put on.
â€˜â€˜Leave your white dress here with me,â€™â€™ she
said. â€˜â€˜ Because you will have to deal with the
things and the inhabitants of Shadow-Land, and
it would, if it touched them, change them all into
mists and shadows. â€˜Then, too, you must not be
Then the Toad-Woman tied Evaâ€™s head up in
a cap, so as to hide all her golden curls, and made
her wash her face and hands in some water which
she gave her. Then she told her to go and look
at herself in a little pool of water which was just
The Enchanted Rivers 129
outside of the grotto, and Eva could not help
laughing when she saw herself, for face, hands,
cap, and dress were all the same color.
â€œâ€˜My cousin lives on the other side of the
Cascade of Rocks,â€™â€™ the Toad-Woman went on.
â€œGo to herâ€”one of my servants will show you
the wayâ€”and ask her to hire you. She will not
recognize you, but will take you, and will tell you
that if you do your work well you may name your
own wages at the end of each week. You will be
able to do any work she may give you, and at the
end of every week she will ask you what wages
you want. Tell her you cannot say without asking
your mother. Then she will tell you to go and
ask her, and you must then come to me, and I will
tell you what to say. In the mean time I will take
care of your dress till you need it again.â€™â€™
Eva listened attentively to all that the Toad-
Woman said to her, and thanked her for her
advice. And then the woman called her servant,
and the same big brown toad who had brought the
stool, and who, by the way, was just the color of
Evaâ€™s dress, hopped out of his hole, and his mistress
bade him take Eva to where the Green Frog lived.
THE GREEN FROG.
OLLOWING the toad, and saying good-
| bye to his mistress, Eva passed unhurt
through the falling stones, and picked
her way carefully among those which lay in the bed
of the river, till they came to the turn at which she
had first caught sight of the Cascade of Rocks.
There the toad hopped quickly on shore, and then
he hopped across a large plain of mud, in which
grew a multitude of toad-stools, and on every
toad-stool, or mushroom, there sat either a frog
or a toad, and in the mud at their feet were
countless numbers of snakes and lizards, their
long, shining bodies and tails coiled around the
stalks of the toad-stools.
It was almost impossible for Eva to make any
progress through the mud, over which the toad,
The Green Frog. 131
big as he was, hopped so lightly. Still, she suc-
ceeded â€˜in crossing the field after him, though
when they reached a firmer soil, Eva was fairly
ashamed of her dress, on which there was so much
mud ; and when they came to a little pool of clear
water, in which she saw herself reflected, she
wondered for a moment who that dirty little girl
could be; and then she laughed to think how
very different this little mud-stained figure was
from the white-robed maiden who had passed
without a soil or a spot on her dress through the
forests of Shadow-Land.
At last they came in sight of a little hut, built
of rough stones, with a huge toad-stool for a roof,
directly in the middle of a field, which was full of
little pools of water. The field was surrounded
by a strange fence, in which the posts were all
toad-stools, and the rails all spider-webs. On
each toad-stool a green frog was sitting, and in
every web there hung either a red or a black
spider, When they came to this fence, the toad,
after going up to one of the green frogs and
croaking something to him, turned round with-
out so much as saying â€˜â€˜good-byeâ€™â€™ to Eva, and
132 LÂ£vaâ€™s Adventures in Shadow-Land.
hopped away just as fast as he could go; and
then one of the toad-stools, with the web attached
to it, swung open as if it had been on a hinge,
so that Eva could enter the inclosure.
She went up to the door of the hut and
knocked. And the third time that she knocked
the door was opened by-a large jackdaw, which
Eva immediately recognized as the same bird
which she had seen on the brook, dressed in the
peacock feathers which he had stolen from the
Toad-Womanâ€™s fan; but although she knew him
in a moment, he evidently did not know her, she
was so very muddy, and so unlike her own self. In
the hut, on a toad-stool, which served as a chair,
sat the same Green Frog, with a little shawl over
her shoulders, she had seen before, which had
tried to carry Aster off, and had torn his coat ;
and it was with some little hesitation that Eva
went up to her, and curtsied to her. And then,
as she had been told, she asked the Frog if she
needed a servant.
The Green Frog inspected her from head to
â€œYou are pretty dirty,â€™â€™ she said to Eva, â€˜â€˜and
The Green Frog. | 133
I donâ€™t think that I ever saw you before. But
that donâ€™t matter. You will have to work out-of-
doors, and if you do your work properly, at the
end of the week you may ask for your own wages.
But if you donâ€™t work well, I will give you no-
thing, but I will turn you into a frog, and put you
on a toad-stool, as I have done with a great many
Eva thought to herself that perhaps the Frog
never before had a servant like herself, so she
told her that she was still willing to hire herself.
Then the Frog told the jackdaw to take the new
servant out and tell her what she was to do.
So the jackdaw hopped out, and Eva followed
him. And when he told her what her work for
that week was to be, she thought it was very
funny work. And then he told her she might
do as she pleased for the rest of that day, but the
next morning she must go to work. And Eva
amused herself by looking everywhere for Aster.
But he was not to pe seen. Only, just over the
back-door of the hut, there hung a little wire
cage, and in it there sat a little green bird, which
screamed whenever the jackdaw or the Frog even
134 LZvaâ€™s Adventures in Shadow-Land.
looked at it. And when it began to grow dark,
these two took the little bird out of his cage and
picked out his tail and wing-feathers, the bird
screaming and struggling all the time, and then
they put him back into the cage. And it was
just as much afraid of Eva as it was of the jack-
daw and the Frog.
There was neither sun nor moon in this place,â€”
as.in the forest, when the moon was gone, all the
light seemed to come from the earth. And every
morning Eva noticed that the tail and wing-
feathers of the little green bird had grown again,
though every evening either the Frog or the jack-
daw pulled them out.
I said that when Eva was told of the work she
would have to do she thought it was very queer
work. Every morning, when the light drove
away the darkness, she was to wipe off and dust
the tops of the toad-stools on which the frogs sat,
and she thought it would be very easy to do. So
she tried to do it, and the jackdaw stood on one
foot and cawed at her all the time,â€”and the more
she rubbed and wiped the top of the toad-stool
post the dirtier it became,â€”and she was nearly in
The Green Frog. 135
despair, when she heard one of the frogs whisper
to the other,â€”
â€œIf she would only catch the jackdaw and
sweep one off with his tail, she would have no
And Eva did as the frog had said, and though
the jackdaw screamed and struggled, and tried to
get away, it did him no good. But she found
that when she had swept one toad-stool off that
all the rest were as clean and nice as possible,
and there was nothing more to be done to any
of them. And every evening before the Green
Frog went to sleepâ€”she slept every night in a
little pond or pool in tha.corner of the hutâ€”Eva
had to walk around the inclosure and count the
spiders and see that their webs were whole. But
she never had any trouble,â€”the webs were always
whole; and one of the spiders was sure to tell
her how many of them there were.
_ So a whole week went by, and every morning
Eva caught the jackdaw and swept one toad-stool
off with his tail. Now, Mr. Jackdaw did not at
all approve of this, and in the morning, when he
saw Eva coming, he would run away and hide
136 Eva's Adventures in Shadow-Land.
himself. Then Eva would stoop down and pre-
tend to whisper to one of the frogs; and the jack-
daw, who was very inquisitive, would be so ter-
ribly afraid that something might be said that he
would like to hear, that he would come running
up in a great hurry, only to be caught and used
as a living duster.
And. when the week was over Eva presented
herself to the Green Frog, and asked for her
wages. And then the old Frog asked her what
she wanted. And Eva did as the Toad-Woman
had told her, and said_she would like to go and
consult htr mother. This she was allowed to do,
and Eva returned, by the same road by which the
brown toad had led her, to the grotto behind the
Cascade of Rocks.
There sat the Toad-Woman, fanning herself,
just as if she had never moved since Eva first saw
her. And she knew all abdut the work Eva had
to do without Evaâ€™s telling her. She told Eva
to ask for the little green coat which hung at the
head of her mistressâ€™s bed (if you can call a pool
of water a bed). â€˜â€˜She will refuse you,â€™â€™ the
woman went on, â€˜â€˜ but you must insist. You have
earned.it, and will get it in the end.â€â€™
The Green Frog. 137
Eva thanked her, and then returned to the hut.
And sitting in the door was the Frog; and she
said to her that she was ready for her wages.
â€˜Â¢What am I to give you?â€™â€™ croaked the Frog.
â€˜â€˜ Nothing but the little green coat which hangs
at the head of your bed.â€â€™
Then the Frog told her that she could not give
her that, and offered her all sorts of beautiful
things instead. But Eva insisted upon having
the little green coat; and as fairiesâ€”even when
they are bad fairiesâ€”are compelled to keep their
promises or else lose their power, the Frog had
to keep her word; and she told Eva that if she
could find the little coat she might have it.
So Eva went into the hut and looked over the
pool in which the Frog slept; and hanging against
the wall were little green coats innumerable,
which surprised Eva, for she never had seen any-
thing hanging there before; and they all looked
so much alike that she did not know which to
choose. Then it seemed to her that a mist
gathered in her eyes, and she raised her hand
to rub it away, and then she saw, sitting on one
of the little green coats, a beautiful, pure white
138 LÂ£vaâ€™s Adventures in Shadow-Land.
moth; and then Eva saw that the other coats
were only shadows, and the one on which the
white moth sat was Asterâ€™s coat. So she took
it down, and the moth never moved,â€”and then
â€œ*Do you remember the tiny worm that you
saved from the crawling twig? I was that worm;
and this is the first opportunity I have had to
thank you for saving my life, and the best service
I could render you was this.â€™â€™
And without waiting to be thanked, the white
moth spread her wings and was gone.
The Green Frog was angry enough when she
saw that Eva had chosen rightly. But there was
nothing to be done, only she grumbled to herself
and said,â€”she did not know that Eva heard her:
â€˜Â¢ The coat .is useless without the piece.â€
However, she hired Eva on the same terms for .
another week. For she thought that if the new
servant failed this time she would not only
change her into a frog, but get the little coat
back. And the work Eva had to do this week
was to empty, and then refill with fresh water
every morning, the pool in which the Frog slept,
The Green Frog. 139
and they gave her a pail with no bottom to do
And Eva would have been in a sad way if she
had not heard the jackdaw say, as he stood by the
â€˜Our new servant is caught at last; for, if she
did take me for a broom last week, she will never
have sense enough to know that if she shakes her
pail over the pool and says â€˜Water, go,â€™ it will
empty itself, and then â€˜Water, come,â€™ and she
will have no more trouble.â€
And then out hopped the jackdaw, and never
knew that Eva heard him. And she found he
was right; and she noticed, too, that this week
they only pulled out the little green birdâ€™s wing-
feathers, and never touched his tail.
She did her work this time without any trouble.
At the end of the week it was the same thing over
again about the wages, and again Eva went to the
Toad-Woman, and was told what she should do.
So she said to the Green Frog, â€˜â€˜ My coat is
useless as long as it has a hole in it. You can
give me the jackdawâ€™s best cravat to mend it
140 Eva's Adventures in Shadow-Land.
The Frog laughed at this, and told Eva to go
and get it. She did not know that the jackdaw,
being fond of dress, and a thief, had stolen the
piece of Asterâ€™s coat for that purpose. However,
she found it out soon enough, and when Eva
went to look for it,â€”behold! a great spider had
sptin a web around it,â€”a web so strong that she
could not break it. And after trying a long time,
she was nearly in despair, when she saw a little
gray mouse come out of a hole, and, climbing up
to the: web, gnaw and bite at it with its sharp
teeth till it cut it all through; and then it brought
and laid in her hand the same piece of velvet
which had been torn out of Asterâ€™s coat. Then
the little mouse said to her:
â€œÂ¢You saved me from being drowned, and I am
not ungrateful.â€™â€™ And then it crept back into its
But when the Green Frog saw what Eva had,
she was very angry, and determined to give her
something which was harder to do than anything
she had yet tried. So for the third week Evaâ€™s
work was to wash and keep the shawl clean which
the Frog wore when she went out. And the first
The Green Frog. 141
time that Eva tried to wash it she found that
the harder she rubbed it, and the more she tried
to clean it, the dirtier it became. But late in
the day she heard the Green Frog say to the
â€œâ€˜Tâ€™ll get my coat back, and you shall have
your cravat again, for the servant is such a dunce
that she will never learn that the only way to
clean my shawl is to lay it on a toad-stool, and
to walk around it three times, and say every
time, â€˜Shawl, be clean.â€™ â€™â€™
But Evaâ€™s ears were given to her for use, and,
consequently, every night the shawl was like new.
And this week she saw that they only plucked one
of the little birdâ€™s wings. The end of the week
came, and Eva, instructed by the Toad-Woman,
asked for her wages.
â€˜Â¢ What is it this time?â€
â€œÂ¢T want the little green bird that hangs in the
cage over the back-door.â€™â€™
â€˜*No,â€™â€™ said the Frog, â€˜â€˜I cannot give him to
*Â¢You cannot help it,â€™â€™ Eva said, quietly ; â€˜you
promised to pay me, and I have earned my wages.â€™
142 LÂ£vaâ€™s Adventures in Shadow-Land.
â€œWho told you anything about the little green
bird,â€™â€â€™ the Frog went on. â€˜â€˜He wonâ€™t sing for
you, and you had better let me give you a purse
full of gold.â€
But no, Eva would take nothing but the bird,
and at last the Frog told her to go and take him,
if she could find him. And then she went into
the hut, grumbling and talking to herself.
Eva went to the back of the house to look for
the little green bird. When she got there she
did not know what to do, for there were at least
fifty cages there, and in each cage was a little
green bird, and cages and birds were all exactly
alike,â€”there was no telling them apart,â€”and
which the one she wanted could be Eva did not
know. And if she chose the wrong one, all her
work would be lost.
Yet, look as she might, she could not tell
which was the right one. Then there was a flutter
of wings in the air, and then she felt something
pull her dress, and there at her feet was a beauti-
ful bird, holding her dress in its beak, and it led
her round and round the cages, and every cage
that her dress touched melted away and disap-
The Green Frog. 143
peared, till there was only one cage and one bird
left, and then the new bird never hesitated, but lit
on the top of this cage, and then he said to Eva:
*Â¢ This is Aster, who was changed by the Green
Frog into this form. He cannot regain his own
shape without you, and the Toad-Woman will
tell you what you are to do. As soon as the
Frog misses him she will know who you are,
which she does not yet know, and she will do
her best to get him away from you. Go at once,
and without any delay, to the Cascade of Rocks.
Your friend there will help you. And remember
that a kind action never goes unrewarded.â€â€™
And then the bird was gone, and Eva was
alone. She tried to open the cage and take the
little green bird out, but there was no such thing
as opening it. So she took the cage, and the coat,
which she had mended, and the piece had grown
into the velvet, so that you never could tell that it
had been torn, and without going again into the
hut or telling the Frog she had found the bird,
she went, for the last time, by the same road by
which she had come, to the grotto of the Toad-
144 Â£uvaâ€™s Adventures in Shadow-Land.
But she had not been gone many minutes
before the Green Frog, wondering that her ser-
vant did: not return to hire herself again, went in
search of her. And the moment she saw that the
bird was gone she knew who Eva was, and that
she had discovered Aster; and, angry at herself
for her own stupidity, she immediately set off in
pursuit, hoping it was not yet too late to regain
the prizes she had lost.
IN THE GROTTO,
wT was with a light heart that Eva passed
over the muddy way which lay between
the hut and the cascade. As rapidly as
she could, she went along. The little bird
screamed and cried incessantly, and Eva feared,
that hearing him, the frogs inhabiting this region
might, by their croakings, give the alarm, and
bring their powerful mistress on her track before
she reached the grotto. But the frogs were all,
or else seemed to be, asleep, and she passed them
In avery short time, which yet seemed to Eva
like hours, she reached the grotto. Here she felt
comparatively safe, and she would gladly have
rested, but the Toad-Woman, telling her she had
no time to lose, for the Green Frog knew of her
escape, and that she herself was well aware of all
N 10 (145 )
146 LÂ£vaâ€™s Adventures in Shadow-Land.
that had- happened at the hut, bade her change
her dress, i
Now, what Eva most wanted was to see Aster
restored to his original shape. But, without a
word, she obeyed the woman, and put on her
own white dress again. It was so nice to get rid
of that horrid, mud-colored thing she had been
wearing, to shake down her long curls, instead of
having them tied up in a little plain cap, and to
have the ugly brown dye come off her face and
hands. Eva was more than glad,â€”she enjoyed
â€œâ€œNow we will help Aster,â€™â€™ said the Toad-
Woman. But the question was, how to open the
cage and to get the bird out. For the cage had
no door, and the bird flew round and round it,
screaming and pecking at Evaâ€™s hands, till the
child was nearly ready to cry. â€˜â€˜The Frog has
still power, through her enchantments, over him,â€â€™
the woman said. â€˜â€˜ Give me the cage, and let me
see what I can do.â€â€™
So she took up the cage and said some words
which Eva did not understand, and then drew a
circle in the air over it with her hand ; and then,
â€œSo the old woman at the head, and Eva at the tail,
pulled, and pulled.â€
Ln the Grotto. 147
to Evaâ€™s great amazement, a door in the cage
opened and the woman put her hand in it and
took out the bird, which screamed louder and
pecked harder than ever.
â€œÂ¢Now,â€™â€™ said the Toad-Woman, â€˜â€˜we must
make all the haste we can. We must find Aster
before the Frog gets here. I'll hold the birdâ€™s
head, and you take his tail, and then pull,â€”pull
as hard as you can.â€â€™
All this was so queer to Eva, who thought they
had found Aster, that she could not understand
it. But the old woman saw her trouble, and,
without getting angry or impatient, as some
fairies would have done, she said to Eva:
â€˜â€˜ Aster is sewed up in the birdâ€™s skin. And
we can only get him out by tearing it apart.
Make haste, there is no time to be lost.â€™â€™
So the old woman at the head, and Eva at the
tail, pulled, and pulled, and pulled. And the
harder they pulled, the more the bird screamed
and cried, till Eva pitied him so that she could
scarcely bear to hurt him. But whenever she
would want to stop the Toad-Woman would tell
her to pull harder.
148 LÂ£vaâ€™s Adventures tn Shadow-Land.
Such a tough skin as it was, to be sure! There
seemed to be no such thing as tearing it, and the
Toad-Woman said that Aster must have been very
naughty before he fell into the- Green Frogâ€™s
hands. And Eva, much as she loved Aster, could
not contradict this.
But at last the bird left off screaming, and hung
between them as if it was dead. And then, as
the two pulled, it got larger and longer, and -the
feathers were farther apart, and then all of a
sudden the skin gave way and vanished, where, Eva
did not know, and from it there dropped, just in
time for Eva to save it from falling to the floor of
the grotto, Asterâ€™s tiny figure, motionless, and as
it were, asleep, and just like what he had been
when Eva first received him, except that his coat
was in her hands; and the Toad-Woman had
only time enough to tell her to put it on him,
and Eva had just obeyed, and was stooping to
kiss the little prince as he lay in her lap, when
they heard a loud croak, and with a long leap
the Green Frog was in the grotto.
But as soon as she saw Eva, standing there in
her spotless white robe, holding the unconscious
In the Grotto. "149
little prince, she knew how it was that he had
been taken from her, and that her power over
him was nearly gone. Yet she knew that if she
could once again obtain possession of him that
no one could rescue him; and as Eva had once
submitted to her, she had no power of herself,
as she before possessed, to protect him. And
without even looking at the Toad-Woman, she
was going to leap upon Aster, and try and snatch
him from Evaâ€™s arms, when the Toad-Woman,
taking from her pocket a curl, which even in that
moment Eva recognized as part of the one which
she had cut to give to the trout, and which had
lain, forgotten ever since, in the pocket of her
own white dress, dropped it on the ground, And
as the hair touched the ground a spring of clear
water came bubbling up, and in it Eva saw her
friends, the six trout, whom she recognized by
the golden collars they wore; and the Green Frog
was so surprised that she stopped to look, and
then the water covered her, and before she could
move, the trout, as they had once said they could
do, swam up to her and enveloped her in a net
made of these golden hairs, which the Frog could
150 LZvaâ€™s Adventures in Shadow-Land.
not break, and then, in spite of all her efforts to
escape, and her loud croakings, the floor of the
grotto opened, and spring, trout, and Frog were
gone in a moment.
It all passed in less time than can be told, and
once more Eva and the Toad-Woman were alone.
â€œ* Your hardest work is over,â€™â€™ the woman said to
_ her, â€˜The three tasks are done; you have found
Aster, his coat, and its piece. Here you cannot stay
any longer. When the moon is full again Asterâ€™s
long-lost flower will bloom, and you will find it.â€™
And then a sudden darkness came over every-
thing, and when, a moment later, the light re-
turned, nothing was as it had been. The Toad-
Woman, her grotto, and the Cascade of Rocks
were gone, and when Eva heard the music which
heralded the coming of the moon, and saw the
silver crescent rise to its place, and Aster once
more woke from his sleep, she could scarcely
realize that she was again in the old, familiar
forest, and the past seemed like a dream.
For in that moment of darkness, the Enchanted
River had disappeared, and Eva knew that the
search in truth was nearly over.
ASTER S STORY.
INCE more Eva and Aster, hand in hand,
wandered, as they both had feared they
would never again be allowed to do,
through the forest, by the light of the fair young
moon, â€˜which looked down upon them from the
sky. And nothing came now to disturb them;
no hideous faces mocked at them from behind
shrub or tree; no hostile beings, in shape of
spider or of frog, strove to take Aster from his
young guardian. Nor were they limited, as
before, to the narrow path which had _pre-
viously confined their steps; but they might
wander, unmolested, as their fancy led them,
through the forest. Shadows still surrounded
them, yet these shadows were fair and lovely
152 va's Adventures in Shadow-Land.
to look upon: groups of sweet child-figures at
play, or fair faces which smiled on the two as
they passed. , ;
Flowers, too, more brilliant and beautiful in
hue than any they had yet found, bloomed
wherever they looked. Not the pale, scentless
blossoms they had seen before, but flowers which
greeted them with rich perfume, and whose bells
and chalice-like cups, touched lightly by the dress
of the children as they passed, rang forth in
bright and joyous melody. In the bells of the
flowers sat and swung tiny and beautiful shapes,
which Aster told Eva were the Flower Fairies,
the gentlest of the race, whose sole duty was to
carry perfume to, and color the flowers. Some
bathed in the dewdrops on the leaves, others
rode,. seated on beautiful butterflies, but all
seemed gay and happy.
The light shed by the growing crescent of the
moon seemed brighter 5 the soft music which
hailed her coming more joyous and triumphant ;
the clouds, reflecting the moonâ€™s light, wore a
rich, rosy tint, reminding Eva of the light in the
Valley of Rest; the grass was green, and soft as
Aster's Story. 153
velvet,â€”the little sparkling brooks which they
occasionally crossed all sung the same song:
When will Eva's task be done?
â€˜When will Asterâ€™s flow'r be won?
When his robes from stains are free,â€”
When the moonâ€™s orb round shall be,â€”
Then the trial will be done,
Then shall Asterâ€™s flowâ€™r be won.
For a few days, however, Eva noticed that
Aster seemed dull and spiritless. He scarcely
ever spoke, but walked quietly by her side.
Nothing seemed to attract his attention, nothing
made him smile; but every now and then, when
they would cross one of the little brooks, and it
would sing its song, he would look down upon
his dress, and say, sadly:
â€œTt will never be bright again !â€™â€™
Yet Eva noticed that he was careful never to
trample on the flowers, or to hurt anything in
their path. And as, day after day, the moon
brightened and broadened, and Aster grew with
her increase, Eva saw that the sad, mournful ex-
pression in his eyes vanished, and they regained
their former starlike brilliancy. By slow de-
154 Lvaâ€™s Adventures in Shadow-Land.
grees the spots and the stains upon his dress dis-
appeared ; and, as they faded away, Aster became
once more his own playful and happy self. Never
before had he been as gentle or as docile and
affectionate as he now was, though he was very
silent; and Eva thought, could he only be always
as he was now she would be content never to
leave him; and she began to think, almost with
dread, of their approaching separation.
On and on they went, till they came to a
place where a tiny spring, bright as a living
diamond, gushed up joyously, singing to itself for
very gladness. Soft green mosses and pure white
flowers grew around it; and when Aster saw it,
he sprang forward with a joyous cry, and seating
himself near it, he beckoned to Eva to follow his
Then, for the first time since the two had been
together, for he had never before mentioned the
past, so that Eva almost thought he had forgotten
it, Aster asked her to tell him how she ever had
found him again.
And once more Eva told the story,â€”this time
to an interested listener,â€”how, after she missed
Asters Story. 155
him, she had sought him, but in vain, among the
marked holes, and, seeking him, had climbed the
rock to the door of the Valley of Rest; how she
had been admitted, and had dwelt among the
Happy Children till, the day of their absence,
the little brook had brought her the piteous cry,
â€˜â€œâ€˜Eva! Eval help me!â€™â€™ How this cry had re-
called all she had forgotten, how the Dawn Fairies
had given her the magic boat, in which she had
gone through the cavern and down the Brook of
Mists,â€”and then, leaving the boat, had gone, all
alone, up the Enchanted River to the grotto of
the Toad-Woman behind the Cascade of Rocks;
how the woman had advised her, and how she
had served the Green Frog; what the moth, the
mouse, and the bird had done for her; how the
skin covering the little green bird had been torn;
and how, after the Frog was carried away by
the friendly Fish Fairies, she had known that the
worst was over, and the search nearly done.
Aster listened, and when Eva paused, he be-
gan; and it seemed to her that, as he told his
story, he spoke as he had never. before spoken,â€”
as if he was older, and more matured.
156 Eva's Adventures in Shadow-Land.
â€œâ€˜T can tell you now,â€™â€™ he said, â€˜â€˜ now that it is
all nearly over, who THEY were of whom you used
to wonder that I spoke. The Green Frog and
her servants were the visible forms of THEY to
whom my punishment was committed. Yet, had
I obeyed you,â€”which was part of my trial,â€”you,
under whose care my friends, who advised you in
the shape of the toad and the Toad-Woman, were
allowed to place me, but little of this trouble
would have come upon me. If I failed in obedi-
ence to you,â€”-such was the condition, â€”if THEY
gained the slightest hold upon me,â€”I must fall
wholly into their power, and then only, if you
really wished it, could your Love have power to
overcome their Hate. And you know, Eva, how
I fell into their hands.â€â€™
â€œâ€˜Yes, I know,â€™â€™ Eva said; â€˜â€˜but I do not yet
see why you crept into the crevice in the rock.â€
â€œÂ¢ How could I help it?â€™â€™ Aster asked. â€˜â€œâ€˜ After
all I had done, and all that had happened before!
Because what must be, will be, and THEY made me.â€â€™
â€œâ€˜And then, after you went into the rock?â€ Eva
asked, eagerly. â€˜â€˜ Remember, I know nothing of
Asters Story. 157
Then Aster told her how, in the crevice of the
rock, he had found that the Green Frog lay in wait
for him. How she and her servants had taken
him, bound and tied with the same spiderâ€™s web
from which Eva had, once before, in the forest,
released him, to her hut in the field of mud.
And how, when there, he had to lie in the mud,
as a footstool for the Frog,â€”and that every night
she made him stand before her, and would laugh
at him, and ask him why Eva and his friends did
not come to help him.
to call for you. I thought I should, by myself, be
able to escape. I tried, but the power of THEY
who kept me was too great for me, and I never
once succeeded even in passing the strange fence
around the hut.
Â«But all the time, Eva, I knewâ€”and it was
part of my punishmentâ€”that an appeal to you
.could be heard, and that you would come to help Â©
me, But that JI, a prince,â€”powerful at home,
and only weak now because I had lost such a tri-
fling thing as a flower, should be compelled to ask
help of one who was able to help me only because
158 LÂ£vaâ€™s Adventures in Shadow-Land.
she was gentler and kinder than I was,â€”I could
not do it. Meantime, the Green Frog laughed
at my efforts to escape. Yet, do what she would
to me, I never called for you. She might hang
me up in the spiderâ€™s web,â€”she might threaten to
crush me,â€”I was silent.
â€œAt last I could stand it no longer. I must
help to carry heavy stones, and when their weight
nearly crushed me,â€”for though only shadows to
you, they were realities toâ€™me,â€”I would have
rested, the spider would sting me and scorch me
with his poisonous breath,â€”the jackdaw peck me,
â€”and the Green Frog would threaten to swallow
me, and tell me that now you never would come
to me, for the Dawn Fairies had made you forget
me. And not till then, when they told me you
had forgotten me, did I speak; and the only
words that I said were these, â€˜Eva! Eva! help
â€œ*Yes,â€â€™ Eva said, â€˜â€œâ€˜those are the same words
that the brook brought me.â€™â€™ And then she told
Aster about her dream: how the faces had asked
why he lost his flower; and the frog had spoken
of his coat; and the spider asked why he crept
Asters Story. 159
into the rock; and how, between it all, had come
the wailing cry of â€˜â€˜Eva! Eva! help me!â€â€™
Then, too, Aster told her how they had spoken
of what she must do, and that they thought she
never would do it, or know what was to be done.
And then he went on:
â€œBut at last the Green Frog grew angry, when
she found that, no matter what she said or did, I
only answered, â€˜Eva! Eva! help me!â€™ For
then, making her sÃ©rvants strip off my coat, she
touched me with a stick, and said to me:
â€œâ€˜Â¢ Vou shall never let Eva hear you. I will
*Â« And, as she spoke, I was changed all at once
into the little green bird in whose shape you
found me. And then the Frog, putting me ina
â€œÂ«Â¢You can never get out till your friend gets
the piece of your coat, the coat itself, and then
finds you. If she does these things, you may be
free ; but these things she cannot do unless others
help her; and not till after all these things are
done can she hope to find your flower again.â€™
â€œâ€˜The rest, Eva, you know.â€™â€™
160 Eva's Adventures in Shadow-Land.
As Aster spoke, Eva looked at him. And she
saw that, on the rich, green velvet of his dress,
only a few tiny spots and stains were left; and
then she began to wonder what would happen
when the moon would again be full, and the
flower they had sought so long should bloom and
be found. Would Aster then return to his home ?
and, as for herself, what would become of her?
But she did not wonder long, for the soft music
which attended the disappearance of the moon
thrilled through the forest, and Eva and Aster,
by the side of the spring, lay down and slept.
And, once more, as on the first night that Eva,
holding the tiny form of Aster to her heart, had
slept on the mossy bed where once the golden
fountain had played, the two fair white forms
bent over the sleeping childrey, and one said:
â€˜Â¢ The punishment is over.â€â€™
â€˜Â¢Yes,â€™â€™? was the otherâ€™s reply, â€˜â€˜ Love has
overcome Hate, and Aster has been led back,
through its gentle influences, to his true self once
Yet, even as they spoke, two figures, with the
hateful faces Eva had seen, crept slowly up
Asterâ€™s Story. 161
through the darkness to where the children lay.
But the white forms, hovering over their sleep,
** Go back, oh, evil fairies! to the dark shadows
among which ye dwell! Here your power is
over, and our Prince is a prince once more.â€â€™
And, with a low cry of disappointment and
rage, the two, turning away from the bright
forms, shrank into the darkness, and were seen
no more. Then, with a smile on their beautiful
faces, the two bright forms bent caressingly over
the sleepers; and a moment later they, too, were
gone, and Eva and Aster were alone.
THE LAST OF SHADOW-LAND,
M|NCE again there rang through the forest
a strain of rich and gleeful music. Once
more the moon rose, a bright, unbroken
circle, to her station in the sky. A soft, rosy
light lingered everywhere ; flowers of rarer beauty
than ever, bloomed in profusion; the murmur of
the spring was sweeter than ever, and as Eva
awoke, and looked at Aster, she saw that neither
spot nor stain defaced his rich dress, but that it
was as unsullied as her own. And as she looked
upon her young companion, now as tall as herself,
and with something in his bearing Eva had never
been conscious of before,â€”something noble and
princelike,â€”she heard a voice from the spring
murmuring, in soft, melodious tones:
( 162 )
The Last of Shadow-Land. 163
â€œ*Tis the hour!
Here shall bloom !â€"
And oh! what a sweet smile curved Asterâ€™s lips
as he heard these words! Yet, when Eva would
have spoken, he laid his hand gently upon her
mouth, as though to command silence; and the
child, feeling that their positions, somehow, were
strangely reversed,â€”that it was now Asterâ€™s turn
to command and hers to obey,â€”was silent.
The two stood, looking into the clear water of
the spring. Then Aster seated himself on the
moss, in silence, and beckoned to Eva to do the
same, and without hesitating she followed his
They sat, not a word passing: between them,
and on each fair face was a different expression.
. On Asterâ€™s was all joyous expectation, all smiles
and happiness ; on Evaâ€™s there was a serious look,
almost amounting to mournfulness. It pained
her, more than she was willing to confess, to
think that, after sll she had borne and done for
Aster, he should welcome their separation so
gladly ; for, however much they might wish to
164 Eva's Adventures tn Shadow-Land.
remain together, the finding of the flower would
be the signal for their parting; and the toil
and trouble through which Eva had passed for
Asterâ€™s sake had only the more endeared him
to her. He seemed already far, far away from
her, and Eva knew she was no longer necessary
And as Eva, sitting by Asterâ€™s side, thought
of all this, somehow the place where they sat
seemed to grow more familiar; another and a well-
known sound mingled with the other sounds of
the forest,â€”the voice of falling waters. And then,
as Asterâ€™s face grew brighter and more expectant,
and his starlike eyes sparkled, Eva felt a sudden
dimness gather in her own, and first one large
tear and then another rolled down her cheeks,
and dropped, as she bent over it, into the waters
of the little spring.
But she was wholly unprepared for what fol-
lowed. Aster sprang to his feet, and the words,
â€œâ€˜Look, Eva, look!â€™â€™ passed his lips. And as
Eva, her hand now clasped in his, looked, the
spring bubbled and foamed, and then, its waters
parting, up rose from its bosom the Golden
The Last of Shadow-Land. 165
Fountain, with its clouds of glistening, golden
spray ; its rainbow sparkles of colored light; its
musical fall, and its dancing elves, as she had
long since seen it.
Nor was this all. For, even as the children
gazed, there appeared in the calm water at the foot
of the fountain a bud, folded in soft, green leaves ;
and, by slow degrees, as Eva looked, the bud rose
from the encircling foliage, and its stem grew
higher and higher, and then, slowly and grace-
fully, its pure white petals opened, like a fair and
stainless ivory cup enfolding a golden torch, and
it breathed forth the fragrance of many violets:
and, as Eva looked, she knew that the search was
over, and the pure white lily before them was
Asterâ€™s flower, won at last.
Then Evaâ€™s blue eyes shone with joy, and her
fair cheeks flushed, and she turned to Aster:
â€œAster, be glad; for your flower is won, and
all that remains is for you to pluck it.â€™â€™
â€œ*No,â€™â€™ he said, slowly; â€˜that is not for me to
do. Ican only receive it as your gift, Eva; I am
not worthy to gather it,â€”that can only be done
by your hand.â€â€™
166 Lvaâ€™s Adventures in Shadow-Land.
And Eva, bending over the water, plucked the
beautiful lily, with its long stem, and laid it in
Asterâ€™s hand. And, as his fingers clasped the
gift, a swell of music thrilled through the air, and
Eva saw, hovering over them, the two fair, white
forms which had come before, and which she at
once knew had, under the shapes of the toad and
the Toad-Woman, led and advised her, and she
pointed them out to Aster. And, as Aster raised
his eyes to them, they beckoned to him, and
smiled upon Eva; and she knew that all was
over, and the moment had come for them to
Still, not a word passed between them. Evaâ€™s
eyes were fixed upon Aster,â€”his were raised to
the bright hovering forms. Then, holding the
lily in his hand, he turned to Eva and pressed
his lips to her brow.
â€œThat was the kiss with which you woke me,
Eva, given back to you,â€”this is because I love
He kissed her lips, and as he did so a bright
crimson light flashed suddenly around them, daz-
zling Evaâ€™s blue eyes, so that she involuntarily
The Last of Shadow-Land. 167
closed them, and then the sweet breath of violets
floated around them, and all was still.
Eva sat up, and rubbed her eyes. Tall, wavy
grass grew all around her, violets, dandelions, and
buttercups bloomed through it, and her lap was
full of the pretty field-flowers. Bees were buzzing
and collecting honey,â€”butterflies floated lazily
' about on their black-and-golden wings,â€”the
brown beetle, with his long black feelers, swung
on the tall grass-stalk,â€”the crickets chirped,â€”
the snail had put out his horns,â€”the old mill-
pond glistened and shone in the long, slanting
rays of the setting sun,â€”there was her fatherâ€™s
house, â€” everything was just as it used to be,
except the green toad, and that was a very im-
And while Eva was rubbing her eyes, and trying
to think where she could be. and what all this
meant, she heard the tea-bell ring, and as that
. was very easy to understand, she got up and went
to the house. She peeped through the window
before she went in, and everything seemed right
168 vaâ€™s Adventures in Shadow-Land.
in there. For her mother was just folding up her
work,â€”the baby was crowing and playing with
his rattle in the cradle,â€”-strawberries and cream
and sponge-cake were on the table; and when Eva
came quietly in, and slipped into her seat by her
father, he put his hand on her curls, and asked
her if she had had a nice time down by the pond
the whole afternoon.
â€œYes, papa,â€™â€™ was all Eva could say, and then
she paid very strict attention to her saucer of ripe
strawberries covered with cream.
_Presently her mother said:
â€œÂ« My little girl had a nice long nap this after-
noon. I called her once, and she only raised
her head for a minute, and then down it went
â€˜Â¢ Strawberries and cream waked her up at
And Eva never said a word.
But to this day she never sees a shooting-star
without wondering what has been lost in the
moon,â€”she never sees a toad without thinking
The Last of Shadow-Land. 169
it may be a fairy in disguise, and every lily re-
calls Aster and his flower.
For Eva believes in fairies. Why should she
not? She knows all about them. She has never
told any one,â€”not even papa, though he never
laughs at her; but if Eva should live to be an
old womanâ€”and I hope she may!â€”she will never
forget her :
ADVENTURES IN SHADOW-LAND.
â€œÂ« He gazed at the wooden creature with all his heart in his eyes.â€
THE SEA-NYMPH.......-ceesceceees eececccecsceses 7
THE SEA KINGDOM..........ceee0+ cence cecesesees 28
THE FIGURE-HEAD.......2c0csceseccccsccce eeeeee 52
THE BEWITCHED LOVER.....--cseeccceses sovcscccee Th
THE SEA-NYMPHS..........0Â¢seeee0 bia biecee bipivieieâ€™s 018 go
Lucy PEABODYâ€™S DREAM....+.e.++6 siete So e's sie elaine o- 103
Â«TI may be wrong, but I think it a pity
For a movable doll to be made so pretty.â€
SHALL call her the Sea-nymph,â€â€™â€™ said
Master Isaac Torrey.
â€œâ€˜Umph!â€™â€™ said his clerk, Ichabod
Sterns, looking over his spectacles at his master.
â€˜Â¢And why not The Sea-nymph, pray?â€™â€™ de-
manded Master Torrey. â€˜â€˜ Why, I say, should I
not call my fine new brig The Sea-nymph if it
pleases my fancy ?â€â€™
8 The Merman and the Figure-Head.
â€œâ€˜Fancy!â€™â€™ said Ichabod Sterns, putting his
head on one side. â€˜â€˜ Fancy! Umph!â€™â€™
Now this was most exasperating conduct on
Ichabodâ€™s part, and as such Master Torrey felt
â€œYes, if it pleases my fancy,â€™â€™ he repeated, de-
fiantly. â€˜â€˜What right have you, Ichabod Sterns,
to object to that, I should like to know? If I
chose to name her after the whole choir of all the
nymphs that ever swam in the seaâ€”Panope and
Melite, Arethusa, Leucothea, Thetis, Cymodoceâ€”
what have you to say against it? Isnâ€™t she to
swim the seas and make her living out of the winds
and waves? And what can you object to â€˜The
Sea-nymph?â€™ I'd like to hear. But itâ€™s your na-
ture to object, Ichabod Sterns. Iâ€™ve no doubt
that you came objecting into the world, and Iâ€™ve
no doubt that when your time comes you'll object
to dying. It would be just like you.â€â€™
â€˜And death will mind my objections no more
than you, Master Torrey,â€™â€™ said the old clerk,
smiling rather grimly as Master Torrey ceased his
pacing up and down the room and flung himself
into a chair.
The Sea-Nymph. 9
â€œâ€˜But what zs your objection to the name?â€™â€™
asked the merchant, calming down a little.
â€œ* Did I object ?â€™â€™ said Ichabod Sterns.
â€œâ€˜Didnâ€™t you? You were bristling all over.
with objections from the toe of your shoe to the
top of your wig.â€™â€™ Ichabod involuntarily put up
his hand to his wig. â€˜â€˜ Why isnâ€™t it a good name
for a ship?â€â€™
â€˜Â¢ Nay, I know naught against it, Master Tor-
rey, only it is a heathenish kind of name for a
ship that is to sail out of our decent Christian
town of Salem.â€â€™
â€œâ€˜Heathenish! Let me tell you, Master Icha-
bod, that this world owes a vast deal to the hea-
thenâ€”more than she does to some Christians I
Now this awful speech was enough to make the
very pig tails of many of Master Torreyâ€™s acquaint-
ance stand on end with horror and surprise. But
Ichabod was used to his masterâ€™s ways, so he did
not jump out of his chair, but only looked to the
door to be sure that no one had overheard the ter-
rible statement, for had such been the case there
is no telling what might have come to pass.
10 6. The Merman and the Figure-Head.
â€˜* How do you make that out, Master Torrey ?â€â€™
he said, composedly.
Â«â€˜Did you ever happen to hear of Socrates or
6* Yes, Iâ€™ve heard of â€™em,â€™â€™ said Ichabod.
** And did you ever hear of the Duke of Alva,
or Cardinal Pole, or Bloody Queen Mary, or
â€œÂ¢Yes, Iâ€™ve heard of â€™em,â€™â€™ returned Ichabod
again, a little fiercely.
*Â¢ And which was the better man, the Athenian
or the Christians who burnt their fellows at the
stake ?â€™â€™ said Master Torrey, triumphantly, as one
who had made a point.
â€˜Â¢Umph!â€™â€™ said Ichabod; â€˜Iâ€™m not a scholar
like you, Master Torrey, but Iâ€™d like you to tell
me whether they were Christians by name that
poisoned Socrates and murdered Cicero ?â€â€™
*Â¢ Well, no,â€™â€™ said the merchant.
â€œâ€˜Umph!â€â€™ said Ichabod Sterns again, leaning
back on his chair and rubbing his hands slowly
one over the other.
â€˜* Well, what of that?â€™â€™ said Master Torrey, a
little taken aback.
The Sea-Nymph. It
â€œOh, nothing, -sir,â€™â€™ said Ichabod; â€˜â€˜.we have
wandered a long way from the name of the new
â€œâ€˜She shall be The Sea-nymph,â€™â€™ said Master
Torrey with decision. â€˜What could be better ?â€â€™
*â€˜T thought, Master Torrey, you might have
liked to call her the Anna Jane,â€™â€™ said Icha-
bod, with a little cracked laugh like an amused
Master Torrey colored high, but not with dis-
**T wouldnâ€™t venture, Ichabod, I wouldnâ€™t dare.
Sheâ€™s too shy, too modest, to be pleased with such
an open compliment.â€â€™
â€˜â€œ*Umph !â€â€™ said the clerk again. It seemed to
be a way he had. â€˜â€˜But you are determined to
call her The Sea-nymph, Master Torrey ?â€â€™
â€˜Â¢ Ah, am I!â€™â€™ replied Torrey, who seemed by
no means disposed to pursue the subject of the
â€˜Â¢ inexpressive she,â€™â€™ whoever it might be. â€˜* And
she shall have the handsomest figure-head that Job
Chippit can carve ; and it shaâ€™nâ€™t be a mere head
and shoulders either, it shall be a full-length
12 Zhe Merman and the Figure-Head.
â€œIt will cost a good penny, master. Jobâ€™s
prices are high.â€â€™
â€˜Â¢ Thereâ€™s another objection! Who cares what
- it costs? Am Ia destitute person? Am I an ab-
' solute pauper? Am I like to apply to the select-
men to be supported by the town ?â€â€™
â€˜Â¢Not yet, master,â€™â€™ said Ichabod, gathering his
papers together. â€˜â€˜ But if we go to following our
Janciesâ€™â€™ â€”scornful emphasisâ€”â€˜â€˜ there is no telling
where we may end ;â€™â€™ and without giving his mas-
ter time to reply, Ichabod sped out of the count-
Now I am not going to tell you a long story.
about Master Torrey, though I might do-so if I
had not a tale to tell you about something elseâ€”
namely, this sea-nymph and the merman who
figure at the head of this story. I was once told
by a schoolmaster that in writing there was â€˜â€˜noth-
ing so important as a strict adherence to facts ;â€™â€™
â€˜faxâ€™? he called them. I treasured up this valu-
able precept in the inmost recesses of my mind,
and I mean to adhere to facts if I possibly can.
But I canâ€™t adhere to facts till I get them, and to
do that I donâ€™t see but I shall have to tell you a
The Sea-Nymph. 13
little about Master Isaac Torrey, merchant of
Salem, who was the means of putting this wonder-
ful figure-head in the mermanâ€™s way. He was a
merchant of Salem when Salem was a centre of
trade, and sent many a brave ship to the Indies
and the Mediterranean. He was thirty-four years
old, and looked ten years younger. He was a
man inclined to extravagance and luxury. He
wore the handsomest waistcoats and the finest lace
of any one in town. He had been educated in
the gravest, strictest fashion of those grave days.
His parents would have been horrified if they had
found him reading a novel or a play, but they
urged him on to study Virgil and Homer.
Now if you will promise, my young readers,
never to tell your respected instructors, I will let
you into a secret. The truth is that the poems of
Virgil and Homer are all full of stories as interest-
ing and charming as any boy or girl could desire.
But this is a circumstance which most school-
teachers make it their first object in life to con-
ceal, and they generally succeed so well that their
pupils for the most part go through their whole
course of education and never discover that their
14 Zhe Merman and the Figure-Head.
Virgils and Homers are anything but stupid school-
booksâ€”a sort of intellectual catacombs enshrining
the dryest bones of grammar and parsing.
Now and then, however, a boy or girl finds out
that there is food for the imagination in classic
poetry. Such had been the case with Isaac Tor-
rey, and the verses that he read with his tutor
took such a hold upon him that he became what
some of his friends called â€˜â€˜ half a heathen.â€™â€™ Not
but that an acquaintance with the classics was
thought becoming, nay, essential, to the character
of a gentleman. In the speeches and writings of
those days a due seasoning of allusions to the old
gods and a sprinkling of Latin quotations was
considered the proper thing. But this learning
was rather looked upon as solid and ponder-
ous furniture for the mindâ€”an instrument of
mental discipline. Fancy, imagination, amuse-
ment, were ideas much too light and frivolous to
be connected with anything so grave, solid and
respectable as the intellectual drill for which alone
Latin and Greek were intended. So when Isaac
Torrey talked about the old gods as if they had
been real existences, and spoke of Achilles, Hector
The Sea-Nymph. 15
and Andromache as though they had been live
creatures, he rather startled the excellent young
divinity student who was his tutor.
Once upon a time his father detecting a smell
of burning followed it up to Isaacâ€™s room, where
he found his son in the midst of a cloud of blue
smoke. He asked the cause, and was told that in
order to procure fair weather for the next dayâ€™s
fishing excursion he (Isaac) had been sacrificing a
paper bull to Jupiter.
Mr. Torrey senior was inexpressibly shocked
at the thought that his son should have been guilty
of such a heathenish performance. He gave the
boy a lecture of an hour long, ending with a whip-
ping. He called in the minister to talk to him.
That gentleman, on being informed of the act of
idolatry perpetrated in his parish, only took a pro-
digious pinch of snuff and said: â€˜â€˜ Pooh! pooh!
childâ€™s play! childâ€™s play! No use to talk about
it. Let the boy alone.â€™â€™ Mr. Torrey had the
highest respect for his clergyman, and the boy
was let alone accordingly, and was deeply grateful
to the Rev. Mr. Bartlett.
Isaac grew up tall and handsome, went to school
16 The Merman and the Figure-Head.
and to college, and in spite of numerous prophe-
cies that he would never be good for anything,
neither went into debt nor disgraced himself in
any way. In due course of time he succeeded to
his fatherâ€™s business, and astonished every one by
making money and being successful, in spite of
his tasteful dress, his â€˜â€˜ wild waysâ€™â€™ of talking and
a report that he actually wrote poetry.
At the present time he was devoted to Miss
Anna Jane Shuttleworth, a beautiful still image of
a girl, who was supposed to have a great fund of
good sense, propriety, prudence and piety, be-
cause she liked to sit still and sew from morning
to night, and hardly ever opened her lips. Icha-
bod Sterns was the old clerk of Isaacâ€™s father. He
and his young master exasperated each other in
many ways, but they were fond of each other for
all that.. ze
From the counting-house on the wharf and the
talk with Ichabod Sterns, Master Torrey went to
the workshop of Job Chippit, who in those days
was famous for his skill in the carving of figure-
In these times Job would probably have been a
The Sea-Nymph. 19
sculptor, have gone to Rome and been famous in
marble and bronze. But the idea of such a thing
had never entered his brain, and he went on from
year to year making his wooden figures without
any thought of a higher calling. He was a little
dried, brown old man, with bright eyes slightly
near-sighted. Year after year he carved Indian
chiefs, eagles and wooden maidens for the Sally
Anns and Susan Janes that sailed from the New
England ports, portraits of public men, likenesses -
of William and Mary. He had once made a full-
length figure of Oliver Cromwell for a certain stiff-
necked old merchant of Boston who called his
best ship after the great Protectorâ€”a statue which
every one thought his finest work. â€˜â€˜It was so
natural,â€™â€™ said the good folks of Salem, and really I
donâ€™t know that they could have said anything
better even if they had been art critics and had
written for the newspapers.
True it was that all Jobâ€™s works had a certain
_ live look to them that was almost startling some-
times. The Indians clenched their hatchets with
a savageness quite alarming; they looked as
though they might open their wooden lips and
18 The Merman and the Figure-Head.
whoop. His female figures had life and character.
Each governor, senator or general had his own
peculiar expression and style.
Job was an artist, and, what was more, he was a
well-paid artist. He quite appreciated his own
genius, and got almost any prices he liked to ask
for his signs and figure-heads. Job was the fash-
ion, and no ship of any pretension sailed from a
harbor along the coast but carried one of his mas-
terpieces on the bow.
As Master Torrey entered his shop he was just
putting the last touches of paint on an oaken
bust destined to adorn Captain Peabodyâ€™s little
schooner, The Flora. â€˜So you have nearly fin-
ished The Floraâ€™s figure-head,â€™â€™ said Master Tor-
rey, whose tastes led him to be a frequent visitor
at Jobâ€™s shop.
Â«* And a pretty creature she is,â€™â€™ said Job, sus-
pending his paint-brush full of the yellow-brown
pigment with which he was tinging the rippled
hair of the wooden lady, which was crowned
with a garland of flowers carved with no mean
â€˜Â¢And the flowers! Donâ€™t you think they are
The Sea-Nymph. 19
an improvement? What did Captain Peabody
say to them ?â€â€™
â€˜*He didnâ€™t jest like them at first,â€™â€™ replied Job,
continuing his work. â€˜I didnâ€™t myself, to begin
with, for you know the ship is called after his wife,
and nobody ever see old Misâ€™ Peabody going
round with flowers in her hair; but the captain,
sez he, â€˜Job, I want to have you make it some-
thinâ€™ like what. Misâ€™ Peabody was when she was a
young woman, ef you kin,â€™ sez he. â€˜She was a
most uncommon pretty girl when I went a-courting
in Salsbury.â€™ Well, I was kind of struck with the
idee, and the next day I went to meeting, and I
sot and sot, and kind of studied the old ladyâ€™s face
all through meetinâ€™-time ; and when they stood up
to sing, the choir sang â€˜Amsterdam.â€™ You know
itâ€™s a kind of livening sort of hymn. The old
lady, she kind of brightened up, and it seemed as
if I could see the young face sort of coming out be-
hind the old one. Thinks I, â€˜Job Chippit, youâ€™ve
got it,â€™ and when I come home, though it was the
Sabbath day, I couldnâ€™t hardly keep my hands off
the tools, and the minute the sun was down I went
at it. Then when you come in the next day and
20 Zhe Merman and the Figure-Head.
told me about the Flora them old folks used to
think took care of the flowers and the spring, it
seemed to suit so well with my notion of the old
lady when she was young I couldnâ€™t help stickinâ€™
the flowers onto her head, like a fool as I was, for
they waâ€™nâ€™t in he ee and I shaâ€™nâ€™t get no
extry pay for â€™em.â€™
â€˜Â¢And what did Captain Peabody & say ?â€™â€™ asked
Master Torrey, whose own nature found sympathy
in that of the artist.
Â«â€˜QOh, he was as tickled as could be when Iâ€™d
persuaded him about the flowers. Lucy Peabody,
sheâ€™s been to see it. She says she expects thatâ€™s
the way her motherâ€™ll look when she gets to heav-
en, and the flowers was like the crowns we read
about in the Revelations. Sheâ€™s an awful nice
girl, Lucy Peabody. Anna Jane Shuttleworth was
â€˜â€˜And what did she say?â€™â€™ asked Master Torrey,
â€˜Oh, nothing. Anna Jane donâ€™t never have
much to say for herself. I told her the wreath
was your notion, and she kind of smiled, but she
hadnâ€™t a word to say. But look here, Master Tor-
The Sea-Nymph. 21
rey, am Ito have the making of the figure-head
for your new ship, and what is it to be?â€â€™
â€œÂ« That's just what I have come to see you about,
Job,â€â€™ said Master Torrey. â€œIam going to call
her the Sea-nymph, and I want you to make the
most beautiful full-length figure of a sea-nymph
to stand on her bow and look across the water
when the brig goes sailing away into the South
â€˜A sea-nimp!â€™ said Job; â€˜â€˜and what sort of a
critter may that be ?â€™â€™
*Â¢ Did you never hear of them ?â€â€™
â€˜â€˜Never as I know of. Thereâ€™s more fish in
the sea than ever come out of it. I expect these
nimps of yourn are some of the kind that never
â€˜*You never were more mistaken in your life,
Job Chippit. They have been seen on the sur- .
face of the sea over and over again. We know
almost all their names, and how could they have
names if they were not real beings? Answer me
*Â¢Oh!â€™â€™ said Job, standing back to take a gene-
ral survey of his wooden Flora. â€˜â€˜Theyâ€™re some
22 Zhe Merman and the Figure-Head.
of them heathen young women your head is always
so full of, Master Torrey ?â€™â€™
â€˜â€œ*Young women! Why they were goddesses,
man, or asort of goddesses. Was there not the
white-footed Thetis, mother of Achilles? and did
she not come to him with all her attendant nymphs
â€”Melite, and Doris, and Galatea, and Panope?â€™â€™ |
â€˜*Tâ€™ve hearn tell of ev,â€™â€™ said Job, touching up
the wreath on Floraâ€™s head; â€˜â€˜ itâ€™s in Lycidas:
Â¢ The air was calm, and on the level brine
Stick Panope and all her sisters played.â€™
â€˜Â¢ Jest so; I kinder like to read that piece. It
donâ€™t seem to have so very much meaninâ€™ toâ€™t, I
must say, but I sort of like the sound of it. Them
nimps lived in the sea, or folks thought they did,
â€œYes, Job, as we live on the land. Iâ€™m by no
means sure that I havenâ€™t heard and seen Nereides
and Oceanides myself when Iâ€™ve been out by
moonlight on the bay or round the rocks.â€â€™
â€œ*T guess they never was any round these parts ;
itâ€™s too cold for â€™em. I knew an old sailor once
that said heâ€™d seen a mermaid, but I suppose you
The Sea-Nymph. 23
donâ€™t want me to stick a curly fishâ€™s tail on your
â€˜*No, indeed. Make her full length, like the
most beautiful woman you know.â€â€™
â€˜*Hevâ€™ you any idee how them young women â€”
used to dress, Master Torrey ?â€™â€™ asked the wood-
carver. â€˜â€˜Iâ€™d like to go as near the nature of the
critter as I could. I must say the notion takes my
fancy. It'll make kind of a variety, and itâ€™s a
pretty sort of an idee to name a ship after a thing
that has its life out the sea.â€™â€™
**T thought youâ€™d think so,â€™â€™ said Master Tor-
rey, gratified. â€˜â€˜Ichabod Sterns said it was a hea-
thenish name for a ship that was to sail out of
â€˜â€˜Well, you know Ichabod. He hainâ€™tâ€™ got
much notion of anything of that sort. But now
whatâ€™s your notion of these â€™ere water women?
Kinder cold-blooded critters they must have been,
Iâ€™m thinking.â€â€™? There was something in this last -
remark which seemed to grate on Master Torreyâ€™s
feelings, whatever they were.
â€˜Â¢Why so?â€â€™ he said, a little shortly.
â€˜Â¢Oh, because itâ€™s the naturâ€™ of all the things in
24 Zhe Merman and the Figure-Head.
the sea. It must have been but a damp, uncomfort-
able way to live for warm-blooded folks 3 but tell
me what they were like, or do you happen to have
a picture of one?â€â€™
â€˜Â«Tâ€™m sorry to say I have not.â€™â€™
â€œâ€˜Did they think they was like folks, or did
they live for ever ?â€™â€™
â€˜Some said they were immortal, others that
they were only very long-lived: Plutarch says
they lived more than nine thousand years.â€™â€™
â€˜â€˜Creation! What awful old maids they must
have been! Thatâ€™s more than old Mrs. Skinner,
who was eighty-six when she married John Dick-
enson, â€™cause she said she wasnâ€™t going to have
â€˜Missâ€™ on her tombstone if she could help it.â€™â€â€™
â€˜*But then they always remained young and
lovely, never grew old or changed. They used to
say that whoever looked on an unveiled nymph
â€˜Â¢ Waal, Iâ€™d risk that if I could see one. But
they was kind of onlucky sort of critters, then,
after all?â€™â€™ asked Job, who seemed to be inwardly
dwelling on some thought which he was keeping
out of the talk.
The Sea-Nymph. 25
**Yes, to those who approached them rashly,
but they were kind te those who worshiped them
with reverence and offered them the gifts they
â€˜Waal, they waâ€™nâ€™t very peculiar in that. The
most of women is capable of being coaxed if you
only go to work the right way. I donâ€™t know how
it might have been with gals in the sea, but it ainâ€™t
best to be too dreadful diffident with the land kind
always,â€™â€™ returned Job, with a sly smile. â€˜â€˜ But
about this figure ef ourn. I suppose it ought to
have some kind of a light gown on, and hadnâ€™t
theyâ€”them nimps?â€”got no emblem, nor nothing
of that sort, like Neptuneâ€™s trident? Iâ€™m going to
make a Neptune for aship Peleg Bragâ€™s got. Her
name was The Ann Eliza. But the young woman
she was named for, she up. and married Jonathan
Whitbeck, so Peleg, heâ€™s gont to call his ship The
Neptune now. Itâ€™s the only way he can think of
to take it out on Ann Eliza, and I donâ€™t expect
that'll kill her.; but didnâ€™t these zzmps have noth-
ing about them to show what they were?â€™â€™
<*Sometimes seaweeds, or coral and shells.
Sometimes they held a silver vase.â€™â€™
26 The Merman and the Kigure-Head.
â€˜Â¢ Waal, I reckon Iâ€™ll take the vase, if itâ€™s agree-
able to you, and make her holding it out, and put
some seaweed and shells and sich onto her head,
and let her hair fly loose, as if the wind blew it
back. She wonâ€™t want no shoes nor sandals, nor
nothing of that sort. What would be the use to a
critter that passes its life swimming round the
â€œ*T see you understand. You'll make her a
beauty, Job ?â€â€™
â€˜I'll do my best. You'll want her to be a light-
complected young woman, I guess.â€â€™
â€œThey say the Nereides had green hair, but
Virgil says Arethusaâ€™s was golden, so we may make
our nymphâ€™s that color,â€™â€™ said Master Torrey,
turning away to the window.
Jesâ€™ so; I'll go right to work. I must get
Lucy Peabody to put on a white gown and come
and let me look at her a little. She'll do it.
Sheâ€™s a real accommodating girl, is Lucy.â€
â€œBut Lucy is not fair.â€™â€™
â€˜*No more she ainâ€™t. Not white as milk, like
Anna Jane Shuttleworth, but sheâ€™s a nice, pretty
girl, and will be willing to oblige me. Iâ€™d never
The Sea-Nymph. 27
dare ask such a thing of old Colonel Shuttleworthâ€™s
Master Torrey smiled to himself as he thought
of the silent, stately Anna standing as a model in
the rude shop.
** But I'll give the figure a look like Anna Jane,
if I can,â€™â€™ pursued Job. â€˜â€˜To my mind, sheâ€™s a
great deal more like some such thing than she is
like a real flesh-and-blood woman.â€â€™
To this Master Torrey made no answer, but
smiled at the old manâ€™s folly, and passed into the
street without even asking what would be the price
of the wooden sea-nymph.
THE SEA KINGDOM.
TAKE it for granted that all my readers
have heard of mermen and mermaids.
~ But in case any oneâ€™s education should
have been neglected, I will just say that they are
like human beings, only that instead of legs they
have tails like dolphins, a fashion much more use-
ful in their element, and regarded by them as
much more ornamental, than the style in which
people are finished on land.
The merladies are very beautiful. They have
long, golden hair, and have often been seen sitting
on the rocks by the seaside, combing their locks
with their golden combs and holding a looking-
glass. They are also said to sing in the most
charming manner. I knew a Manx woman once
whose mother had seen a mermaid making her toi-
The Sea Kingdom. 29
lette. She described the sea lady as wonderfully
beautiful, and â€œsinging in a way that would rav-
* ish your heart.â€™â€™
Â«Â¢ But as soon as she saw that she was watched,â€™â€™
said Katy, â€˜â€˜she gave a scream like a sea eagle
and dived into the water. No one ever saw her
again, but Iâ€™ve heard the singing more than once
when I was young.â€â€™
Concerning the kingdoms of the sea and their
inhabitants Hans Anderson has written a pretty
story, which I hope you have all read. The full-
est account, however, that I know of the mer coun-
tries is in the Arabian Nights, Laneâ€™s translation,
where you will find the story of â€˜â€˜ Abdalla of the
Land and Abdalla of the Sea.â€™â€™ It is a pity that
the date and place of this interesting narration is
left so uncertain, for to some minds it throws an
air of improbability over the whole story; how-
ever, it is certainly the most authentic account of
the world under the waters. So far as I know,
â€˜* Abdalla of the Landâ€â€™ is the only person. who
has ever associated familiarly with mermen.
There was, to be sure, Gulnare of the Sea, who
married the King of Khorassan and introduced
30 The Merman and the Figure-Head.
her family to that monarch. But she was not a
proper merwoman, being destitute of their pecu-
liar appendage, and being, moreover, related to
the Genii and Afrites of those parts. Â©
But in the chronicle of Abdalla you will find
much that is curious and interesting. There you
may read concerning the â€˜â€˜dendan,â€™â€™ that tremen-
dous fish which is able to swallow an elephant
at a mouthful; and, by the way, if you wish to
descend into the sea undrowned, you have only to
anoint yourself with the fat of the dendan. But
the difficulty seems to be in catching this monster,
who eats mermen whenever he can find them.
You, however, are in no danger even if you hap-
pen to fall in his way, for he dies â€˜â€˜ whenever he
hears the voice of a son of Adam.â€™â€™ So if you
should fall in with a dendan, you have only to
scream at the top of your voice and be quite safe.
- But concerning these wonders and many more I
have no time to write, seeing that if you can get
the book you can read it for yourself.
Now there are just as many mermen and mer-
maids along the American coasts as there are any-
where else, though they very seldom show them-
The Sea Kingdom. 31
selves. I-heard, indeed, of a sailor who had seen
one in Passamaquoddy Bay, but I did not have the
pleasure of conversing with this mariner myself,
so Iam unable to state as an absolute fact that a
mermaid was seen.
If any of you are at the seaside in the summer,
- you can keep a sharp lookout, and there is no tell-
ing what you may see. You would find an alli-
ance with a mer-person very advantageous if we
may judge by the experience of Abdalla. Jewels
in the sea are as common as pebbles with us, and
in return for a little fruit a merman will give you
bushels of precious stones.
You must be a little careful, however, not to
offend them, for it would seem that some of them
are rather touchy and apt to be intolerant of other
peopleâ€™s opinion in matters of doctrine and prac-
Now, not far from the Massachusetts coast, out
beyond the bay, is a very beautiful sea country.
There are mountains as.big as Mount Washington,
whose tops, just covered by the sea, are bare rock,
but which are clothed around their base with the
most beautiful seaweed, golden green and purple
32 Lhe Merman and the Figure-Head.
and crimson. â€˜Through these seaweeds wander all
manner of strange creatures, such as human eyes
have never seen, for there is no truer proverb than
that â€˜â€˜ There are more fish in the sea than ever
came out of it.â€™â€ There are miles and miles of
gray-green weed and emerald moss where the sea
cows and sea horses find pasture. There, too, are
the cities and villages of the merpeople, and
many a pleasant home standing in the midst of the
beautiful sea gardens, blossoming with strange
flowers and bright with strange fruit.
The houses are grottoes and caves hollowed out
of the rock, and for the most part very hand-
somely furnished, for there is a great deal of
wealth among the sea people. They have not
only all the mineral wealth of the sea, but they
have all the treasures that have been lost in the
deep ever since men first began to sail the waters.
Their soft carpets are made of sea-green wool that
the sea people comb and weave, for they are skill-
ful in the arts and manufactures.
They have soft, lace-like fabrics woven of sea-
weed, silks and satins that the water does not hurt.
There is no coral on our Northern shores, but they
The Sea Kingdom. 33
import it, and pay in exchange with oysters and
looking-glasses. The sea ladies dress in the most
beautiful things you can imagine, that is, when
they dress at all, for in warm weather they gene-
rally make their appearance in a light suit of their
own hair with a zone and necklace of pearls or
This country that I am writing about has a re-
publican form of government, and is very prosper-
ous and comfortable. It is a long time since any
foreign power has made war upon it, and it has
had time to grow and develop its resources. But
at the time of which I write they had just finished
a seven_yearsâ€™ war with the king of a country lying
to the east who had tried to annex the sea repub-
lic to his own dominions. This monarch had
counted on a very easy conquest because the re-
public kept a very small army, not big enough
really to keep down the sharks. Moreover, there
was a large â€˜â€˜ Peace Societyâ€™â€™ in the country, every
member of which had maintained repeatedly, in
the most public manner, that it was the duty of
every member to be invaded and killed a dozen
times over rather than lift up his hand in war
34 Zhe Merman and the Figure-Head.
against any creature with mer blood in his veins.
The king thought this talk of theirs really meant
something, and I suppose they thought so them-
selves in peace-times, but when the annual meet-
ing came, about a week after the declaration of
war, only two members made their appearance,
and they told each other that all the men of -
the society had enlisted and all the women were
busy making their clothes and packing their
knapsacks. The king was very much surprised to
find that these peaceable soldiers fought harder
than any one else, and when he was at last forced
to conclude peace on the most humiliating terms,
it was the ex-President of the non-resistance soci-
ety that insisted on a surrender of his most import-
ant frontier fortress.
â€˜*I thought you believed in non-resistance,â€™â€™
said the king, greatly disgusted.
**So I do, your majesty, for other people,â€™â€™ said
the ex-President, respectfully, and the king had to
But this is not a chronicle of the politics and
history of the sea country, but only of one partic-
ular mermanâ€™s fortunes. Our merman was young
The Sea Kingdom. 35
and very handsome, and belonged to a very dis-
tinguished family in his own state. It was said
that they were in some way connected with that
' royal race to which belonged Gulnare of the
Seaâ€”she who married the King of Khorassan. It
was whispered that the family were descended from
a younger son of this pair, who had married a mer
lady, and displeased both her family and his to
such an extent by the marriage that they had left
the Eastern seas and emigrated to the English
waters, and from there into the new sea lands of
the West. =
All these things, if they were true, must have
happened centuries before my merman was born.
The legend was well known, and if it was founded
on fact, the family had human blood in their veins
and a cross of sea genii, for Gulnare was, as you
will remember, not quite a flesh-and-blood woman.
However, the humanity in them was at least royal
humanity, and the King of Khorassan, as the story
goes, was a very fine gentleman.
All the people of that.country were fair-haired,
big-boned people, with blue eyes, but the race I
am writing about were black haired and dark eyed,
36 Zhe Merman and the Figure-Head.
with slender hands. They were rather delicate
and slight in their appearance, and they had a pe-
culiarly graceful way of carrying their tails, a
manner quite indescribable in its elegance, but a
family mark. They were rather more intellectual
than their countrymen, and were fond of literary
pursuits and the study of magic, which in the sea
land is considered as a very essential part of a
gentlemanâ€™s education. It is taught only in the
higher schools and colleges.
Our mermanâ€™s old grandfather (his father was
dead) was Professor of Magic in the State Univer-
sity, and so expert in his own science that he could
turn himself into an oyster so perfect that you
could not tell him from the genuine article. It
was said that once while in that condition he had
been nearly swallowed by a member of the .Fresh-
man class. For this offence the young merman
was called up before the Faculty. He apologized
very humbly, and said his only motive had been
to see if he couldnâ€™t for once get the professor to
agree with him. He professed himself very peni-
tent, and was let off with a reprimand, but he said
afterward that his great mistake had been in wait-
The Sea Kingdom. 37
ing for the pepper and vinegar. After this acci-
dent the professor could never be induced to re-
peat the performance except in a small circle of
his intimate friends.
Now, there was one curious thing about this
family, and one which makes me think there was
some truth in the legend of their descent from
Gulnare and the King of Khorassan.
All the other merpeople have the greatest ob-
jection to human beings, and shun all inhabited
coasts, seaport towns and ships. But every once
in a while a member of this race would show the
oddest fancy for the shore and a kind of longing
after human societyâ€”a longing which of course
they never could gratify, for they could not live
out of the water, and if they had been able to de-
sert the sea, the forked ends of their long tails
would have been of no use on land.
A few years before the family left the English
coast, a younger son had actually married a human
girl who went back to her friends and deserted
him on the shamefully false pretence that she
wanted to go to church. The poor merman went
out of his wits and died, and was ever afterward
38 The Merman and the Figure-Head.
held up as an example to any of the younger ones
who showed any signs of similar weakness. To
care anything for human creatures is counted dis-
graceful in mer society, and the older members of
the family for the most part felt it their duty to
express the greatest possible animosity to the
whole human race. The old professor of magic
had once said that he would swim a hundred
miles to see a shipwreck if he were only sure the
people would all be drowned, but he was strongly
suspected of having saved a drunken sailor who
fell overboard from a Cape Cod schooner. The
professor himself used to deny this story with
great indignation, and say it was of a piece with
the slanderous invention about his familyâ€™s con-
nection with Gulnare of the sea and her misalli-
His grandson, however, if the story was hinted
at in his presence, would look grave and say that
he had never supposed the story was true, but if it
were, his grandfather had only obeyed the dictates
of mermanity. This was a shocking speech in the
ears of the merpeople. Our young merman,
however, had distinguished himself in the war,
The Sea Kingdom. 39
and no one cared to quarrel with him. So they
contented themselves with calling him â€˜â€œ queer,â€™â€™
and saying that â€˜â€œâ€˜ oddity ran in the family.â€
It was the summer vacation in the sea land. All
the commencements in the mer colleges were just
over. All the presidents of those institutions had
made their speeches in languages dead and alive,
and told all their classes what an enormous respon-
sibility rested upon them, how they were bound to
â€œÂ¢ go forward,â€™â€™ and â€˜â€˜ to conquer,â€™â€™ and to â€˜ build
themselves up,â€™â€™ and to â€˜â€˜develop themselves,â€™â€™
and be â€˜â€˜ leaders of their kind,â€™â€™ and, in short, do
something in proportion to the expense bestowed
on their education. This is a way they have in
sea land. But naturally in the sea they take
things cooler than we can on land, and you
wouldnâ€™t believe how very little difference the ad-
vent of all these expensively got up young mermen
made in the water world if you had not been there
to see. Now the old mer professor hadnâ€™t had a
very comfortable time. His class that year was
rather a stupid one, and with all the pains he
could take and all the â€˜â€˜coachesâ€™â€™ they could use
40 Zhe Merman and the Figure-Head.
they hadnâ€™t passed a very good examination in
magic. One young gentleman upon whom he
had thought he could certainly depend being told
to make himself invisible, which is a very difficult
problem, had made a mistake, used the wrong
formula, and by accident transformed the whole
Board of Examiners, who were not expecting any
such thing, into cuttle-fishes. There was dread-
ful confusion for a few minutes, for the student
couldnâ€™t remember how to turn them back again,
and as the spell could not be undone by any one
else, the members of the board got all tangled up
together, while the professor, in an awful temper,
was trying to teach the young man the right for-
But they were all undone at last, only there was
one immensely wealthy old merman who was never
quite sure in his mind that he had got back his
own proper curly fishâ€™s tail, and not that of some
other gentleman, so that all the rest of his life he
was in a puzzle as to at least half his personal iden-
tity. This incident so vexed him that he did not
give anything to the college funds, as he had fully
intended. This circumstance and a few other ac-
â€œâ€˜And by accident transformed the whole board of examiners into
cuttle-fishes.â€â€ Page 4o.
The Sea Kingdom. 41
cidents had so annoyed the professor that instead
of. going to the North Seas with his grandson he
shut himself up in the house and began to write a
book. The book was in opposition to a theory
put forth by a learned merman in the Baltic Sea Â©
that human beings were undeveloped mermen.
The professor, however, declared that they were
no such thing, but simply undeveloped walruses.
He began his first chapter by saying that, while he
had the highest respect for the Baltic mermanâ€™s
acquirements, intellect, penetration and general
infallibility, he nevertheless felt himself obliged
to declare that none but an idiot or a madman
could come to the conclusion of the learned man
aforesaid. He (the professor) wished to lay down
his platform in the beginning, and state that he
differed from the opinions of the learned author
on this and all other conceivable points.
â€˜Â¢Youâ€™d a good deal better go along with me,
. grandfather,â€™â€™ said the young merman, swimming
into the room where the professor was sitting with
his big books all about him. â€˜â€˜ Think how nice
and cool it will be among the icebergs this hot
weather. Hadnâ€™t you better come?â€™â€™
42 The Merman and the Figure-fHead.
â€˜Â¢T wonâ€™t,â€™â€™ said the old professor, snapping and
switching his tail angrily round in the water, for |
the houses there are full of water, as ours are of
â€˜Â¢T didnâ€™t say you would, sir,â€™â€™ said the young
merman ; â€˜â€˜I said you'd better.â€â€™
â€˜Did you ever know me say I would do a thing
â€˜when I did?â€™â€™ returned the professor, angrily.
â€œâ€˜T mean, did you ever know me say I did doa
thing when I would? Pooh! Pshaw! That
isnâ€™t what I mean.â€â€™
Â«Yes, sir!â€™â€™ said his grandson, respectfully.
â€œÂ¢What do you mean by that ?â€™â€™ said the profes-
sor, sharply. â€˜â€˜Thereâ€™s that catfish mewing at the
door. Get up and let her in, do, and make your-
self useful for once in your life.â€™â€™ :
The young merman got up and opened the door
for the catfish, which came swimming in, followed
by two little kitten fish. These, frisking playfully
around the room, soon overset the professorâ€™s ink-
â€˜Â¢ There !â€™â€™ said the professor to his grandson.
Â«Thatâ€™s all your fault! What did you let them
in for? Open the windows and let in some fresh
The Sea Kingdom. 43
water, do. Scat! scat! you little torments! I
donâ€™t believe the cook has given them their din-
ner; she never does unless I see to it myself; your |
sisters forget them. No, Iâ€™m not going to the
North Seas ; I canâ€™t spare the time.â€â€™
â€œâ€˜Donâ€™t you think you can, sir?â€™â€™ said the young
merman. â€˜â€˜ What odds does it make about those
forked creatures on land ?â€â€™
â€˜Do you know this fellow has the impudence
to pretend that they are undeveloped mermen,
that theyâ€™ll be just like ourselves after a series of
ages when their two legs grow into one, and that
our ancestors were actually of the same type as
those low creatures that go about in ships? But
perhaps you agree with him, sir?â€™â€™ said the old
professor, with a look that seemed to say that if
he did he might expect to be annihilated on the
â€œNot I, sir. For aught I know we mermen
may be undeveloped human beings. Iâ€™ve some-
times thought so, I have such a sort of longing
for the land.â€™â€™
â€˜â€˜How dare youâ€”?â€â€™ began the old gentleman in
44. The Merman and the Figure-Head,
â€˜â€œ*Come, come, grandfather,â€â€™
said the young
merman, smiling. â€˜You are not angry with
me I know; I presume youâ€™ve felt just so your-
The professor was silent, and swam thoughtfully
two or three times up and down the room. The
two little kitten fish went and sat on his head.
**T wonâ€™t say but I have,â€™â€™ he remarked at
length, â€˜â€˜ but itâ€™s best not to mention it. Where
do you mean to go for your vacation ?â€â€™
â€œÂ«T thought I should go North along the coast,â€™â€™
said the young merman. â€˜â€˜I canâ€™t help having
a curiosity about the land, and if I am in a way to
observe any human creatures, I may pick up some
facts to support your theory that they are undevel-
â€œÂ«Â« Any one can see that who has ever seen them
floundering about in the water,â€™â€™ said the old pro-
â€˜â€˜But the men drown and the walruses donâ€™t.â€™â€™
â€œÂ« Thatâ€™s because the men have not yet acquired
the habit of not being drowned,â€™â€™ said the pro-
fessor. â€˜Â¢ When are you going ?â€â€™
â€œTo-morrow, I thought.â€™â€™
The Sea Kingdom. 45
â€˜Very well,â€™â€™ said the professor. â€˜â€˜Swim away
with you now, and tell the cook to feed these kit-
tens; there they are nibbling the hair off my
The next day the young merman set off on his
travels. He bade good-bye to no one but his
grandfather and his two sisters. His best friend
was away as bearer of despatches to the secretary
â€œ1 wish he wouldnâ€™t go near the coast,â€™â€™ said
the older sister, wistfully.
**So do I,â€™ said the younger; â€˜â€˜Iâ€™m afraid for
him. But, sister, now honestly, donâ€™t you wish
you could see a human creature near enough to
speak to ?â€â€™
â€˜â€œÂ¢No, not I,â€™â€™ said the elder, who had less of
the family traits than any of her relations; â€˜â€˜I wish
you wouldnâ€™t say such silly things.â€â€™
Just as the young merman was going out of the
front door, he met a huge lobster coming into it,
and without ringing. The young merman felt
that this was a liberty in the lobster, and was sure
that his grandfather would not be pleased.
46 Zhe Merman and the Figure-Head.
â€œÂ¢Hadnâ€™t you better go round to the back door?â€™â€™
he said, quietly.
Now the lobster was no less than the old Witch
of the Sea in disguise.
â€˜Round to the back door indeed !â€™â€™ shrieked
the lobster. â€˜â€˜Do you know who I am, young
â€œTI beg your pardon,â€™â€™ said the young merman ;
â€˜Â¢T had no idea you were any one in particular.
The servant will admit you if you wish to see the
â€˜â€˜T do,â€™â€™ said the lobster, in a huff, â€˜but I
wonâ€™t;â€™â€™ and she turned round and swam away.
The professor saw her out of the window. He
knew who it was well enough, but he did not like
the Witch of the Sea. He thought females had no
business to study magic, and he said she practiced
her art in a most irregular manner. Moreover,
she could do two or three things which he couldnâ€™t,
so he naturally held her in contempt.
â€˜â€œâ€˜Ahrr! you old fool!â€™â€™ cried the lobster,
shaking her claw at him. :
But the professor pretended to take no notice.
â€˜Â¢Those low-bred people always call names,â€™â€™ he
The Sea Kingdom. 47
said to himself. â€˜â€˜What an old humbug she is,
and what idiots people are to go to her for advice!â€™
The merman went swimming on his way, but as
he swam he passed a garden. It was rather a
large garden, shut in by a hedge of sea flag and
tangle, with pink and white shells glittering here
and there among the leaves. Behind the garden
was a very lofty and spacious grotto, where lived
a family with whom the professorâ€™s household was
very intimate. The merman paused a minute, for
some one in the garden was singing. The singer
had a voice that would have made people on land
go wild to hear her. If you can imagine a wood-
thrush multiplied by fifty and singing articulate
music, you can have some idea of the mermaidâ€™s
voice. But in the sea every one can sing, and
they donâ€™t care much more for it than we do here
for public speaking. She was singing a silly little
song, but it was joined to a sweet air, and the
words were of no great consequence:
â€œâ€œMy goodman marchÃ©d down the street,
* Good-bye, my dear, good-bye,â€™ said he;
* Good-bye, my dear;â€™ it might be neâ€™er
Would he come back again to me.
The Merman and the Figure-Head.
Â«6 Good-bye, my love,â€™ I said aloud;
I kept my smile, I did not cry;
* Good-bye, my own,â€™ and he was gone,
And who was left so lone as I!
â€œIt was so long, so very long,
I kept myself so calm and still;
The days went on, the time was gone,
I lost my hope and I fell ill.
â€œTI could not rest, I could not sleep,
I hid myself from every eye;
And wearing care to dumb despair
Was changed, and yet I did not cry.
** My goodman came up the street,
And from the street he called to me:
â€˜Look out, my dear, for I am here,
And safe returned to comfort thee.â€™
â€œ* My tears fell down like summer rain,
I could not rise to ope the door,
Though once again, so firm and plain,
I heard his step upon the floor.
*T was so glad, so very glad,
I had to cry and so did he;
But wars are oâ€™er, and now no more
My goodman goes away from me.â€
The Sea Kingdom. 49
**Is that you?â€™â€™ called the merman when the
song was done.
Just over the hedge was a little arbor covered
with trailing sea-plants. As the merman spoke,
two little white hands parted the broad crimson
leaves of a dulse that hung over the door, then
there swam out one of the loveliest mermaids in
the whole sea. Her yellow hair shone like gold,
and was full two yards long as it trailed on the
water, for mermaids never wear their hair any
other way. Her complexion was like the inside
of a pink-and-white shell, and her eyes were like
two clear, still pools of water, they were so pure
and deep. As for the mer part of her, the dol-
phinâ€™s tail, I declare it was only an additional
beauty, she managed it so gracefully. I canâ€™t begin
to tell you how beautiful she was. She was a very
intimate friend of the mermanâ€™s sister, and he had
known her all his lifeâ€”ever since they used to
chase the fishes round the garden and in and out
- ef the rocks, and make baby-houses together.
*Â¢ Where are you going>â€â€™ said the mermaid to
â€œâ€˜Only North a little for my vacation trip.â€â€™
5 : D
50 The Merman and the Figure-Head.
â€œWithout saying good-bye?â€â€™ said the mermaid,
smiling as though she did not care a bit.
â€˜I didnâ€™t know youâ€™d come home till I heard
you singing. Ishaâ€™nâ€™t be gone long; what shall
I bring you â€
â€˜*A tame seal to play with, if you can remem-
ber it.â€™â€™ :
â€œTie a string round my finger,â€™â€™ said the mer-
â€œâ€˜ You can wear this,â€™â€™ she said, holding up a
seal ring of red carnelian. â€˜I found it in the
garden; I suppose it belonged te some human
It was a large seal ring, having two interlaced
triangles cut in the stone.
â€œÂ¢Thatâ€™s a spell,â€™â€™ said. the merman; â€˜it will
keep away evil spirits.â€
â€˜Â¢ Then wear it,â€™â€™ said the mermaid, holding it
out to him, and he slipped it on his finger.
â€œÂ¢ Good-bye,â€™â€™ she said; â€˜â€˜ you wonâ€™t forget the
tame seal ?â€™â€
* Certainly not; Iâ€™ll be home in time to dance
at your birth-day party.â€â€™
The mermaid swam away to the house, turning
The Sea Kingdom. 51
at the door to wave her hand to her old playmate,
but he did not see her. His two sisters had
watched their interview from an upper window of
their own house.
â€˜â€˜He has no more eyes in his head than an oys-
ter,â€™â€™ said the elder, in quite a pet.
â€œIt would be so nice,â€™â€™ said the younger, with
asigh. â€˜It would be just the thing for him.â€™â€™
â€œ* Of course, and thatâ€™s the reason why he never
thinks of it,â€ said the elder, who had more expe-
fa|N the mean time, a most beautiful thing
had grown out of the oak block in Job
A Chippitâ€™s shop.
Day by day Job worked at the figure-head of
the Sea-nymph, Master Torreyâ€™s beautiful new
brig that was lying on the stocks all but ready for
the launch. Job spared no pains on his work,
and his wonderful success really astonished him-
Every one wanted to see the new figure-head,
but Job kept it locked up in an inner room, and
would admit no one but Master Torrey and Lucy
Peabody. Lucy had been willing to put on a
white dress and stand for a model, but the figure
did not look at all like Lucy. It was taller, more
slender, and the features were nothing like hers.
The Figure-Head. 53
Once or twice Lucy had persuaded Anna Jane
Shuttleworth with her into Jobâ€™s shop. The old
man had studied her face, and worked every mo-
ment of the young ladyâ€™s stay. He stared at
Anna in meeting-time in a way that almost dis-
turbed that young womanâ€™s composure, but she
looked straight before her and took no notice. It
was impossible to tell how she felt. Anna was
always â€˜â€˜very reserved,â€™â€™ people said. They had
an idea that treasures of wisdom, good sense and
virtue were at once indicated and concealed by
that statue-like air and silence.
Master Torrey was delighted with the nymph,
which was, indeed, most beautiful. She stood on
a point of rock, leaning lightly forward. Her
rounded arms upheld a silvered vase of antique
fashion; her head was thrown back; her hair,
crowned with seaweed and coral, streamed over
her shoulders as though blown by the same breeze
that wafted back the thin robe from her dainty
feet and ankles; the face was of the regular classic
type, yet not quite human in its cold purity; the
eyes looked out over the sea toward the far hori-
zon. It was really quite extraordinary how the
54 Lhe Merman and the Figure-Head.
old Yankee wood-carver could have accomplished
such awork of art. It looked, also, as if it might,
if it chose, open its lips and speak, but you were
quite certain it never would choose, it was so life-
like and yet so still.
Job had sent to Boston and procured finer colors
than he had ever used before, and laid them on with
acunning hand. He had painted the sea ladyâ€™s
robe a pale sea-green; over it fell her hairâ€”not
yellow with golden lights, but soft flaxen; the
eyes were blue, and the faintest sea-shell pink
tinged the lips and cheeks. It was altogether the
most beautiful figure-head that any one had ever
â€˜â€˜There! I reckon sheâ€™s about done,â€™â€™ said Job
as he laid down his last brush and stood contem-
plating his work. There was an odd look on the
old manâ€™s face, half satisfaction, half dislike.
â€˜*Sheâ€™s a pretty cretur, ainâ€™t she?â€™â€™ he said to
â€˜Â¢ Beautiful,â€™â€™ said Lucy, but speaking with a
slight effort. Z
â€œDonâ€™t you like her?â€™ said Job in a doubtful
> (Ze [ aw
â€œÂ© Donâ€™t you like her?â€™ said Job, in a doubtful tone.â€
The Figure-flead. 55
â€œÂ¢Sheâ€™s very beautiful, Uncle Job, but-â€”â€”butâ€™â€™â€”
and Lucy hesitatedâ€”â€˜â€˜I shouldnâ€™t want any one I
cared for to love a woman like that.â€™â€™
â€˜Â¢ Waal, I canâ€™t sayâ€™s I would myself,â€â€™ said Job.
â€˜Â¢But this ainâ€™t a woman, you see; itâ€™s one of
them nimps. They waâ€™nâ€™t like real human girls,
Â«Â¢But she is not kind,â€™â€™ said Lucy, with a little
shiver. â€˜â€˜She would see men drowning before her
eyes, and would not put out her hand to help them.
I think she took those pearl bracelets and her neck-
lace from some poor dead girl she found floating
in the sea. She wouldnâ€™t mind; she would only
care to dress herself with them.â€™â€™
*Â«T wonâ€™t say but thatâ€™s my notion of her too,â€™â€™
said Job. â€˜â€˜Do you know, Lucy,â€™â€™ he continued,
in a lower voice, â€˜â€˜I canâ€™t help feeling as if there
was something more than common in this bit of
wood all the while â€™ve been doing it? It seemed
as if *twaâ€™nâ€™t me that was making of it up, but I
was jest like some kind of a machine going along
on some one elseâ€™s notion. Sometimes I am half
skeered at the critter myselfâ€
â€˜You meant to make her like Anna Jane
56 The Merman and the Figure-Fead,
Shuttleworth, didnâ€™t you?â€™â€™ asked Lucy, sud-
â€œWaal, yis, I did kind oâ€™ mean to give her a
look of Anna Jane, â€™cause Torrey, heâ€™s so set on
her, but Iâ€™ve got it more like her than I meant.
Somehow, it seems as if it was more like her than
she is herself.â€
Lucy gave one more long look at the figure.
â€œ*T must go,â€™â€™ she said, with a little start. â€˜â€˜Good-
bye, Uncle Job;â€™â€™ and she flitted away by a side
Just then Master Torrey came into the shop, and
with him came old Colonel Shuttleworth and his
daughter. Colonel Shuttleworth was a pompous,
portly man, in an embroidered waistcoat, plum-
colored coat and lace ruffles.
â€˜â€˜A pretty thing! a pretty thing !â€™â€™ he said, con-
descendingly. â€˜â€˜ How many guineas has she cost
Master Torrey ?â€â€™
â€œ*You didnâ€™t expect I was going to make her
for nothing, did you, cunnel?â€™â€™ said Job, who
stood in no awe of the. old manâ€™s wealth, clothes
â€œNo, no, of course not,â€™â€™ said the colonel, try-
The Figure-Head. - 57
ing to be dignified. â€˜â€˜Um! ah! it seems to me
this figure has something the look of my daughter.
Anna, isnâ€™t the new figure-head like you?â€™â€™
**T donâ€™t know, sir,â€™â€™ said Anna, who had
dropped into a seat and sat looking at nothing in
**Sheâ€™s so delicate, so modest, she wonâ€™t no-
tice,â€™â€™ thought her lover. â€˜â€˜ She is lovely, Job,â€â€™
he cried aloud. â€˜â€˜ You have outdone yourself.
Our sea lady is no mortal, but a goddess. She
has everything noble in humanity, but none of its
faults or weaknesses.â€™â€™
**Umph!â€™â€™ said Job; â€˜â€˜I donâ€™t know about that.
Iâ€™ve heard some of them goddesses was rather
queer-acted people. Anyhow, I think Iâ€™d like the
women folks best, not being a heathen god my-
â€˜Why, Job, you donâ€™t understand your own
work,â€™â€™ said Master Torrey, half angrily. <â€˜â€˜She
is too pure to be moved by our passions, too muchâ€™
exalted above humanity to be agitated by its trou-
â€˜Waal now, that ainâ€™t my notion of exaltation,â€
said Job. â€˜*â€™Seems to me thatâ€™s more like havinâ€™
58 Zhe Merman and the Figure-Head.
no feelinâ€™s at all, kind of too dull and stupid and
full of herself to keer very much about anything.
This wooden girl of ourn is uncommon handsome,
though I say it, but bless you, Master Torrey! she
â€™ hainâ€™t got no more brains in her skull than a min-
-now She'd be a kind of dead-and-alive sort of a
critte: always. If she had a husband, sheâ€™d never
bother herself if he was in trouble. If she had a
baby, she wouldnâ€™t care much for it, only maybe
to dress it up.â€™â€™
The old man seemed strangely excited in this
absurd discussion. Master Torrey, too, seemed
much disturbed and not a little provoked. Anna
Jane sat cdlm and still, and wondered whether
that light green color in the nymphâ€™s robe would
become her. The colonel, who had not the faint-
est idea what the two men were talking about,
looked from one to the other uncomprehending,
and consequently slightly offended.
â€˜â€˜Are you talking about this wooden image?â€™
he said, wondering.
â€œ*Yes, to be sure, cunnel,â€™â€™ said Job, with an
odd sound between a laugh and a groan.
The Figure-Head. 59
*Â¢ Come, child, it is time to go home,â€â€™ said the
Anna Jane rose and took her fatherâ€™s arm.
Master Torrey followed them out of the shop with-
out looking back or saying good-bye to his old
friend. In a strange passion, Job caught up the
axe and looked at the wooden nymph as if about
to dash it in pieces. â€˜â€˜ What an old fool Iam!â€â€™
he said. â€˜â€˜She ainâ€™t only wood, and I'll get my
pay for her. Creation! it does beat all how con-
trary things turn out in this world !â€â€™
The figure-head of the Sea-nymph was carried
through the streets in the midst of an admiring
throng and fixed securely in its place on the beau-
tiful new brig. A few days more, and the ship
was launched and slid swiftly and safely into the
sea. That night it was bright moonlight. Silver-
gilt ripples were rising and falling along the coast
and all over the bay. Now and then a fish would
jump, scattering a shower of shining drops. Ev-
erything was very still around the Sea-nymph.
She lay quite by herself at some distance from any
other craft. There was no one on board but an
old watchman, who was fast asleep. If he had
60 Zhe Merman and the Figure-Head.
been awake, he would have seen a long, bright
ripple on the water coming nearer as some sea
creature cut its way swiftly toward the new craft.
It was our merman, who found himself drawn to-
ward the land by a longing curiosity too strong
for him to resist. ;
â€œIt is all so quiet and still,â€™â€™ he thought.
â€˜There can be no possible danger, and I do so
want to see what sort of houses these human crea-
tures live in. Thereâ€™s a newship. Iâ€™m a great
mind to go and look at it. What is that standing
there on the end of it?â€â€™
The merman swam on slowly, debating whether
he should really go and look. Something seemed
at once to warn him away and to call him for-
ward. He could not tell what was the matter
with him. Once he turned to swim away. Thenâ€™
he made up his mind once for all, and dashed
straight on toward the ship. He said over to him-
self a charm his grandfather had taught him:
â€œÂ¢ Aski, kataski, lix tetrax, damnamenous,â€™â€™ words
of power once written on the fish-bodied statue of
the great goddess of Ephesus ; but, dear me! it did
him no good at all. All the while he was coming
The Figure-fHead. 61
the wooden nymph stood up in her place, holding
out her silver vase in both hands and looking over
the sea with her painted eyes.
Â«What a lovely creature !â€™â€™ thought the mer-
man. â€˜â€˜She is looking at me; she holds her vase
toward me.â€â€™ t
She was doing no such thing, of courseâ€”the
wooden imageâ€”but he thought she was. He did
not know that she would have looked just the
same way if he had been an old porpoise instead
of a young merman. He swam closer and closer.
The moon shone on the painted face. The ship
moved gently on the water. The merman thought
the lady had inclined her head. In one moment
he fell desperately, helplessly, in love with the
oaken nymph. It certainly must have been the
doing of theold Witch of the Sea. Some influence
of the kind must have been at work, or else'a mer-
man who had been to college would surely have
had more sense than to become enamored of an
oak block. But whether it was the witchâ€™s work,
or whether it was the drop of human blood in his
veins, or whether it was fate, that is just what he
didâ€”he fell in love with a wooden image. He
62 The Merman and the Figure-Head.
forgot his home, his old grandfather, his sisters,
his best friend, who loved him like a brother and
who had saved his life in the war. As for the
mermaid who had given him the ring, he never
gave her a thought. He didnâ€™t care for anything
in the world but that painted image smiling up
there and holding its vase. He saw nothing but
that, and, in fact, he didnâ€™t see that either, for he
saw it as if it were alive.
â€˜Â©Oh I wish I knew her name or what she is!â€™â€™
said the merman to himself. â€˜She canâ€™t be hu-
man. She is too beautiful.â€™â€™ He swam round
and round and read the words â€˜â€˜ The Sea-nymphâ€™â€â€™
painted under the figure. He gave a jump almost
out of the water. â€˜â€˜It isa nymph,â€™â€™ he saidâ€”â€˜â€˜ one
of the Nereides or Oceanides. I thought they had
left this world long ago. What can she be doing
on that ship ?â€â€™
He gazed at the wooden creature with all his
heart in his eyes. He wished he were human that
he might at least be a little like this lovely shape.
He hated his own form. Was it likely the divine
nymph would ever deign to notice a creature with
a fishâ€™s tail? Finally he ventured to speak.
The Figure-Fead. 63
â€˜Â¢Fairest nymph,â€â€™ he said.
He got no answer, but as the shadow of a cloud
flitted across her face, and then the moon shone on
her, he thought the nymph smiled. If there had
been any possible. way, he would certainly have
climbed up to her, though he knew he could not live
five minutes out of the water. He did not think
anything about that, the poor silly merman. .He
was so infatuated that he would have been glad to
die beside her. He stayed there the whole night
talking to the wooden sea-nymph, and when the
image moved with the rise and fall of the water he
thought she inclined her head toward him. He
said the most extravagant things to her; he told
her all he had ever thought or felt, things he had
never spoken to his best friend who loved him
dearly ; he poured out all his heart into the deaf
â€˜ears of the wooden nymph. â€˜The image kept look-
ing out over the water with its painted eyes, and
the merman thought, â€˜â€˜ Now at last I have found
some one who can understand me.â€
It was growing to gray dawn when a huge sea
gull came sweeping over the water, and poised
and hovered over the mermanâ€™s head.
64 The Merman and the Figure-Head.
â€˜Â¢ Hallo!â€™â€™ said the sea-gull to the merman,
â€˜what are you up to, young man ?â€â€™
The merman was disgusted and made no answer.
â€˜You'd better clear out of this,â€™â€™ said the gull.
â€œ*Tf they catch you, they'll make a show of you
and wheel you round the streets in a tub of water
for sixpence a sight.â€™â€
â€˜*Be so good as to reserve your anxiety for your
own affairs,â€™â€™ said the merman, haughtily. He
had always been sweet-tempered, but now he felt
as if he must have a quarrel with some one. He
had a general impression that every living creature
was his rival and enemy. He didnâ€™t just know
what he wanted, but he was determined to have it.
â€˜Â«Highty tighty!â€™â€™ said the sea-gull. â€˜â€˜ Donâ€™t
put yourself out. What have we here? A pretty
wooden image, upon my word!â€™â€™ and the gull
perched on the sea-nymphâ€™s head and scratchedâ€™
his ear with one claw. The merman went almost
wild at the sight. _
â€˜You profane wretch!â€™â€™ he shouted; â€˜how
dare you? Oh, good heavens, that I should see
her so insulted and not be able to help her. Oh,
why canâ€™t I fly ?â€â€
The Figure-Head. 65
â€œCause you hainâ€™t got no wings,â€™â€™ said the
vulgar bird, flapping his own wide white pinions.
â€˜Â¢Why shouldnâ€™t I perch â€˜here as well as on any
other post? Itâ€™s none of your funeral.â€™
â€˜* Post !â€™â€™ said the merman, in a fury.
â€˜Â¢Ves, post! Why? You donâ€™t mean to say
you think this thingâ€™s alive ?â€™â€™
' â€œAlive! She is a goddess, anymph, an angel !â€™â€™
â€œWell, you ave a muff,â€™â€™ said the gull, with im-
mense contempt. â€˜â€˜If I ever! Look here! if
you donâ€™t want a harpoon in you, you had better
â€˜Â¢Tâ€™ll wring your neck,â€™â€™ said the merman, ina
â€œÂ« Skee-ee-eek !â€™â€™ screamed the gull. â€˜â€˜ Will you
have it now or wait till you get it? Take your
own way, if you only know what it is;â€™â€™ and the
gull lifted his wings and swept off over the water,
laughing frantically. The wooden lady kept look-
ing over the sea.
â€˜Â¢What noble composure! what breeding !â€™â€™
thought the merman. â€˜â€˜She scorns to notice a
creature like that. How much more noble and
66 Zhe Merman and the Figure-Head.
womanly is this modest reserve and silence than
the chatter and laughing of our mermaids !â€â€™
It grew lighter and lighter ; sounds of life were
heard from the shore ; a boat put out on the bay ;
presently the workmen began.to come on board
the brig. ;
â€œÂ¢ Any of those human beings can speak to her,â€™â€™
thought the merman. He was frantically jealous
of an old ship carpenter with a wooden leg.
One of the workmen caught a glimpse of him.
â€˜â€œÂ©Ho!â€™â€™ said he,. â€˜â€˜thereâ€™s an odd fish! Who's
got a harpoon ?â€â€™
The merman had just sense enough left to see
that if he was harpooned in the morning he
couldnâ€™t court the goddess at night. He dived
and swam away, for mermen, although they are
warm-blooded animals, are not obliged to come
up to the top of the water to breathe.
He hid all day long under the timbers of an old
wharf, and when it was still at night he came â€˜out
again and swam toward The Sea-nymph. Some
one had covered up the figure with an old sheet
to keep the dust off. The merman thought she
had put on a veil.
The Figure-Head. 67
â€˜â€˜What charming modesty !â€™â€™ he said. â€˜â€˜She
donâ€™t wish to bÃ© seen by these human beings, or
perhaps I offended her by my staring.â€â€™
â€˜He called her every lovely name he could in- |
vent or think of. He got no answer, of course,
but that was her feminine reserve, the merman
â€œÂ« Speech is silvern, silence is golden,â€™â€™ he said
So it went on all the time the new brig was being
fitted up. The merman lived a wretched life.
Two or three times he was seen and chased by the
fishermen. A talk went about of the odd creature
that haunted the water near the new ship. Some
one was always on the lookout for him, and once
he was nearly caught. They kept watch for him
at night. It was only now and then that he could
worship his wooden love for an hour.
All the time the old sheet was over her head, but
the merman only loved her the better. He hid
under the old wharf by day, for though he knew
how to make | himself invisible to mermen, the
charm hadnâ€™t the slightest effect where Yankees ~
were concerned. He lived on whatever he could
catch, but he had very little appetite. The shal-
68 Zhe Merman and the Figure-Head.
low harbor water did not agree with his constitu-
tion. He grew thin and hollow-eyed, a mere
ghost of a merman, but he was constant to his
Meantime, the ship was finished and the cargo
was stowed away. One day, glancing out from
his place, he saw that the nymph was unveiled
and was standing in her old fashion, lovely as ever.
She was looking straight at him, the merman
thought. â€˜â€˜She is anxious about my safety,â€™â€™ he
said, with delight, for he did not know that the
image just looked toward the old wharf because it
happened to be in the way.
â€˜Â¢ Dearest,â€™â€™ he said, â€˜â€˜I would follow you over
the whole ocean for such a look as that !â€™â€™
That night there were so many men on board
the brig that the merman did not dare go near her.
The next morning the ship spread her sails and
went out of the harbor with a fair wind, bound
for Lisbon and the Mediterranean. That same
evening there was a great gathering at Colonel
Shuttleworthâ€™s. Master Torrey was married to
The Figure-Head. 69
The merman followed the ship at a long distance.
He dared not go too near in the daytime for fear
of the harpoon that had been thrown at him once
or twice. Then it came into his head that the
lovely nymph was in some mysterious way held
captive by these human creatures. He swore to
deliver her if it cost Kim his life, for which he
cared only as it could serve his goddess, for that
she was a goddess he fully believed.
He swam in the wake of the ship, and it was
very seldom that he could come up and look his
idol in the face. The sailors kept a sharp look-
out for him. They thought he was some sort of
monster, the poor innocent merman, and had har-
poons ready to throw at him whenever he showed
himself. But for all this he followed The Sea-
nymph across the Atlantic. He knew he was not
likely to meet any of his own people, for the mer-
folk avoid ships whenever they can, and do not
frequent the highway between the two continents.
One day, however, he was so possessed with a
desire for the sight of his love that, utterly reck-
less, he swam directly before the ship and stretched
out his arms to the wooden image. â€˜I am here!
40 The Merman and the Figure-Head.
I will die for you!â€ he cried, for he thought she
-was suffering in her captivity and wanted comfort.
There. was a shout from the sailors; one flung a
fish spear, another fired a gun. The captain or-
dered out the whale-boat, and they gave chase to
the merman, for such they now saw it was. It
was all that he could do to get away. He was a
very fast swimmer, however, and as he was not
obliged to come up to breathe, they soon lost sight
of him. He distanced the boat, but he found
when he stopped that the bullet from the gun had
grazed his shoulder, and that he had lost blood
and was suffering pain. â€˜It is for her,â€™â€™ thought
the merman as he tried to stanch the blood with
his pocket handkerchief.
Just then a huge sperm whale came dashing up.
â€˜â€˜Why, what in the world are you doing here?â€â€™
said the whale, surprised. â€˜â€˜ Have those wretches
of men been chasing you ?â€â€™ ;
â€˜Â¢Yes,â€™â€™ said the merman, his eyes flashing ;
*Â¢you may well call them wretches. Do you know
who it is they hold prisoner in their hateful ship?
The loveliest sea-nymph in the world.â€â€™
** How do you know?â€™ said the whale.
The Figure-Head. 41
**T have seen her. I have followed her all the
way from home. She stands holding out a silver
vase. Every creature in the sea ought to fly to
deliver her. If I was only as big and strong as
you! â€˜These men are your enemies as well as mine
and hers. I know how they kill you whales when-
ever they can. You can sink that ship if you like
and deliver the goddess.â€™â€™
The whale was so astonished that he had to go
to the top of the water and blow. â€˜â€˜ My dear sir,â€â€™
said he, diving down again, â€˜â€˜ you are under some
strange mistake. That is nothing but wood, that
figure on the ship, as sure as my name is Moby
â€œâ€œYou great stupid creature, where are your
eyes ?â€™â€™ said the merman in a passion, and yet he
was rather struck by the whaleâ€™s remarks too.
â€œIn my head,â€™â€™ said Moby Dick, â€˜â€˜and I
shouldnâ€™t think yours were. Why they put some
such thing on all the shipsâ€”women, dolphins,
what not. Iâ€™veseen dozensofâ€™em. I know about
nymphs. I used to read about â€™em in the old
classical dictionary in our school. Every school
of whales of any pretension has one. If she was
92 The Merman and the Figure-Head.
asea goddess, do you suppose sheâ€™d stand there in
all weathers? Besides, there are no nymphs.â€â€™
â€˜Â¢Then you wonâ€™t sink the ship?â€™â€™ said the mer-
â€˜Certainly not; sheâ€™s only a merchant ship.
If she was a whaler, I would with pleasure.
Tâ€™ve done it before now, but that was in self-de-
fence. Iâ€™m not going to drown a lot of folks be-
cause you have lost your wits. Come, come, my
young friend, go home to your family. I dare say
your mother donâ€™t know youâ€™re out. You are too
tired to swim after that ship, and you are hurt be-
sides. Let me take you home on my back; I'd
just as soon swim your way as any other.â€â€™
The merman was a little affected by the whaleâ€™s
tone of kindness, but he was too much possessed
with his wooden love to accept the offer.
**No! no!â€™ he cried, â€˜â€˜I must follow her to
the ends of the oe Something tells me she
will yet be mine.â€™
â€˜Â¢And suppose she should be?â€ said Moby Dick.
â€˜â€œ Why, sheâ€™s only a stick cut and painted. What
would the ladies of your family think if you brought
home a wooden wife?â€ ,
The Figure-Head. : 73
** You are blind,â€™â€™ said the merman, swimming
**You are cracked !â€™â€™ the whale shouted after
him, but the merman was already out of hearing.
â€˜â€˜Dear! dear!â€™ said Moby Dick. â€˜What a
pity! If I can find any of the mermen, I'll tell
them about him. He ought not to be left to him-
self ;â€™â€™? and he shook his huge head solemnly and
swam away in an opposite direction.
THE BEWITCHED LOVER.
Izy EF to Lisbon went the brig Sea-nymph,
ur f} and after her the poor merman. He
hiding under boats and behind timbers, chased
stayed there as long as the ship stayed,
more than once, in danger of his life every hour,
hardly able to get a glimpse of his idol. The
wooden nymph stood straight up in her place,
looking toward the city this time, because her head
happened to be turned that way. _
Once a priest going across the water in a boat
happened to see him. The priest took him for a
demon, was dreadfully scared, and solemnly cursed
him, as is the fashion of priests when they are
afraid of anything. Besides, such is the approved
mode of dealing with demons in those countries.
The report went abroad that there was an evil
The Bewitched Lover. "5
spirit in the harbor. The Spanish and Italian
sailors said innumerable prayers to the saints and
bought little blessed candles. The Yankees and
Englishmen hunted him whenever they could, for
they had a curiosity to see what a live demon was
like. You may imagine what a life it was for the
poor merman. He was almost worn out when
The Sea-nymph weighed anchor and set sail for
Sicily. He followed her, of course, for he was
more possessed than ever.
And yet away down at the bottom of his heart
he had misgivings. When day after day went on
and the nymph stood still in the same place, he
could not help thinking to himself, â€˜â€˜What if it
should be a wooden image, after all !â€™â€™
But when this thought came into his head he
drove it away, and called himself all the names that
ever were for daring to entertain such a notion
about his goddess. Was she not constant? Did
she not always hold out her vase toward him?
He didnâ€™t or wouldnâ€™t think, the poor silly mer-
man, that it was because he always swam right be-
fore her and she couldnâ€™t hold it any other way.
Not far from the Straits of Gibraltar the mer-
46 The Merman and the Figure-Head.
man met his most intimate friend, who had been
looking for him a long time, and had only heard
of him through Moby Dick.
â€˜Â¢ My dear fellow,â€™â€™ said his friend, â€˜â€˜I am so
glad to see you!â€™â€™ and then he stopped, for
he couldnâ€™t help seeing that the other was not
at all glad to see him, and he felt hurt and dis-
â€˜â€˜Are you?â€™â€™ said the merman, coldly, and
gazing after the ship sailing away from him.
â€˜â€˜Why, of course. Weâ€™ve all been so anxious
about you. Why havenâ€™t you written? Your
grandfather has tried every spell he could think
of, but it all seemed of no use. The dear old
gentleman is almost sick, and so miserable about
you that he has had no heart to finish his work,
even though the Baltic merman has come out with
another pamphlet. Do come home.â€™â€™
Now as his friend spoke our merman felt at
once how selfish and ungrateful he had been.
But his passion for his wooden nymph had so
altered his nature that instead of being sorry he
was only angry with himself, and pretended that
_ he was angry with his friend.
The Bewitched Lover. 77
â€˜JT suppose I am old enough to be my own mas-
ter,â€™â€™ he said, haughtily.
â€œâ€˜Why, what has come over you?â€â€™ said his
friend. â€˜Iâ€™m sure it was natural I should come
to look for you. If Iâ€™d been lost, wouldnâ€™t you
have tried to find me?â€™â€™
The merman felt more and more ashamed of
himself and grew crosser and crosser. â€˜â€˜ Excuse
me,â€™â€™ he said, coldly, â€œâ€˜ but I have business that
I must attend to. I donâ€™t choose to discuss
the subject ;â€™â€™ and he swam away after The Sea-
â€œ* But look here !â€™â€™ said his friend, coming after
him. â€˜â€˜I must tell you something. Iâ€™m going to
be married to your youngest sister, and I want you
to come and be best man. The girls are breaking
their hearts about you.â€™â€™
â€œOh, I dare say,â€™â€™ said the merman with a
sneer. He had always been a most affectionate
brother, but now he had no room in his heart for
anything but his wooden image.
â€˜Â¢And thereâ€™s a dear little girl next door that
will be glad to see you. Sheâ€™s to be bridesmaid,
of course. Itâ€™s my belief she likes you. The
"8 The Merman and the Figure-Head.
sweetest mermaid in the sea, she is, except your
â€œâ€˜Sheâ€™s well enough for a mermaid,â€™â€™ said the
merman, impatiently, for the ship was going far-
â€™ ther and farther away.
â€˜*T think you ought to be ashamed of yourself,â€™â€™
said his friend, growing vexed at last. â€˜I shall
really think that absurd story of Moby Dickâ€™s was
true when he said you were in love with a wooden
statue of a human being.â€â€™ .
â€˜Â¢ Sheâ€™s not human,â€™â€™ snapped the merman, col.-
oring scarlet ; â€˜â€˜sheâ€™s a nymph, an immortal.â€™â€™
â€˜* Letâ€™s have a look at her,â€™â€™ he said.
â€˜You are not worthy to behold her perfec-
tions,â€™â€™ said the merman.
â€˜â€˜Why, a catfish may look at a congressman,â€â€™
said his friend, quoting a sea proverb. â€˜Is she
on board that ship off there? Come on;â€™â€™ and
away he went and our merman after him. They
came up with the ship, and there, as usual, stood
the wooden image staring over the water.
â€˜Â¢ Sheâ€™s watching for me,â€™â€™ said the merman.
_ The friend said nothing, He swam round and
The Bewitched Lover. 49
round, and looked up at the figure-head through
â€˜*Tsnâ€™t she a goddess?â€™â€™ asked our merman, im-
â€œâ€˜Goddess!â€™â€™ said the other. â€˜â€˜ My dear fellow, -
itâ€™s only wood as sure as you are alive.â€™â€™
*â€œNo merman shall*insult me,â€™â€™ said our mer-
man, in a passion.
â€˜Who wants to? Do open your eyes, my dear
boy, and see for yourself.â€™â€™
â€œIdo; I see how she looks at me and holds
out her silver vase.â€™â€™
â€˜Â«Sheâ€™ll do as much for me,â€™â€™ said his friend,
swimming before the ship. Our merman was wild
with rage and jealousy, for he could not help see-
ing that she did. He drew his sword (for he wore
one), made of a sword-fish blade, and flew at his
friend. â€˜â€˜ Defend yourself,â€™â€™ he said.
â€˜â€˜Nonsense,â€â€™ said the other. â€˜â€˜A likely story,
I am going to fight you about a wooden stick. As
for looking at me, sheâ€™d do the same for any old
The merman couldnâ€™t but feel that this was true.
But he only grew more angry. He struck his
80 Zhe Merman and the Figure-Head.
friend with all his might. There was a dark stain
on the sea.
â€œâ€˜Tâ€™m not going to fight you,â€™â€™ said the other,
turning very pale, â€˜â€˜ for you are her brother, but I
think you'll be very sorry for this some time ;â€â€™
and he turned round and swam away as well as he
Fortunately, after a little he met Moby Dick.
** Hallo !â€™â€™ said the whale in a tone of concern.
Â«What's the matter ?â€â€™
â€˜Nothing much,â€â€™ said the other, for he wouldnâ€™t
tell the story.
The whale suspected the truth. He sniffed and
wiped his eyes with his flipper, for he was a soft-
â€œÂ¢Come with me,â€â€™ said he; â€˜I'll take you to a
He carried the wounded merman to an old sea-
owl who lived in a cave under the rock of Gib-
raltar. The old sea-owl was sitting in his door
reading the newspaper when Moby Dick came rush-
ing toward him, supporting in his flipper the hurt
merman, who was too faint to swim.
â€œThis young gentleman has met with an acci-
The Bewitched Lover. 81
dent,â€ said the whale to the sea-owl; â€˜â€˜I want
you to cure him.â€™â€™ The sea-owl laid down his
â€œpaper and took off his spectacles.
â€˜What concern is it of yours?â€™â€™ said the sea-
â€˜Â¢That is none of your business,â€™â€™ said Moby
Dick. â€˜â€˜Take him into the house and take care
â€˜You are weakly sentimental,â€™â€™ said the sea-
owl. â€˜I perceive that you belong to the rose-
water class. What is suffering? A mere thrilling
of a certain set of nerves. It creates a sensation
which we call'pain. It is disagreeable. Suppose
it is. Are we sent into the world only to enjoy
ourselves? Enjoyment is contemptible; the de-
sire of happiness is base, unworthy a rational be-
ing. Let us rise to more exalted feelings; let us
glorify ourselves in discomfort ; and if we see any
one basely comfortable, let us make ourselves as
disagreeable as possible, and raise him to our own
platform. What possible difference does it make
whether we live or die, or are cold and hungry?
What odds does it make in this huge universe?
Are we nothing but vultures screaming for prey?
82 The Merman and the Figure-Head.
Let us cultivate silence, that I may have the talk
all to myself ;â€™â€™ and the sea-owl looked at Moby
Dick in the most impressive and superior manner.
â€˜Â« What difference, I repeat, does our happiness or
misery make in the huge sum of the universalâ€”?â€â€™
â€œLook here !â€™â€™ said Moby Dick, â€˜if you donâ€™t
quit talking and tend to this young man, Iâ€™ll swal-
low you. I donâ€™t know as that will make much
difference in the universe, but itâ€™ll make a sight
of difference to you,â€™â€™ and the whale opened his
tremendous jaws wide and showed all his teeth.
The sea-owl took the merman into his office on
the instant. He bound up his wound and attended
- him very carefully, for he was by no means such a
fool as you would imagine from his conversation.
The merman was cured before long, and made the
sea-owl a handsome return for his services. The
owl was just as much pleased as though the money
had been a large item in the sum of the universe.
He gave the merman a present of his own poems
neatly bound in shark skin. He had several hun-
dred copiÃ©s in his office, for he had issued them at
his own expense. They had been much praised,
but some way they did not sell. The sea-owl said
The Bewitched Lover. 83
it was because all the people in the sea were â€˜ Phil-
istines.â€™? No one knew just what he meant, but
when he called people by that name most all of
them experienced a sort of crushed feeling, and
pretended to admire the poems. Sometimes they
would even buy them, but not often.. Moby Dick
accompanied the young merman home, and they
made up a story that his hurt had been caused by
a sword-fish, against whom he had run in the dark.
Nobody believed him, for some way every one
knew the truth, but all the members of the familyâ€™s
own circle pretended to believe the tale, for they
were all very high-bred people.
It had been intended that the wedding of the -
professorâ€™s granddaughter should be a very bril-
liant affair, but they felt so unhappy about the
grandson that they resolved to invite only a few
intimate friends. Moby Dick, of course, was
among the number. He was too huge to come
_ into the house, but he put his nose to the window
and ate ice cream with a fire shovel for a spoon.
The beautiful mermaid from next door was brides-
maid, and looked most lovely. She seemed in
better spirits than any one else, and never said a
84 Zhe Merman and the Figure-Head.
word about her old playmate. Toward the end
of the evening she went out into the garden that
was all glittering with sea phosphorescence. She
swam up to Moby Dick and said it was warm
ing with admiration at the bridesmaid, who wore
white lace and emeralds.
â€œYou came from Gibraltar, didnâ€™t you?â€ said
the mermaid, playing with her looking-glass, which
the sea ladies carry as ours do their fans.
â€˜Â¢ Yes, where the bridegroom and I went to see
after that bewitched brother-in-law of his,â€™â€™ said
the whale, for he was vexed at the merman.
â€˜Do you think he is bewitched?â€™â€™ said the
The whale scratched his head, which is not vul-
gar in a whale.
â€˜Â¢T never thought of it before,â€™â€™ he said; â€˜â€˜ but
now you speak of it I shouldnâ€™t wonder if it was
The bridesmaid whispered in the whaleâ€™s ear.
â€˜I wish youâ€™d come with me to the old Witch
of the Sea,â€™â€™ she said. â€˜ Wonâ€™t you, please ?â€â€™
The Bewitched Lover. 85
â€œâ€˜Tâ€™ll go to the ends of the ocean with you,
miss, if you want me to,â€™â€™ said Moby Dick ; â€˜â€˜ but
what for ?â€â€™
â€œÂ¢Qh,â€™â€™ said the bridesmaid, looking straight
in the eye which happened to be that side of the .
whaleâ€™s head, â€˜â€˜Iâ€™m a friend of the family,: you
know. Iâ€™m very much attached to the girls and
very fond of the professor. I should like to help
them if I could, and I think the witch is a wise
woman, and it wouldnâ€™t do at all for the professor
to go to her in his position, but it wonâ€™t make any
difference to me and you. Will you come now?
It isnâ€™t far.â€™â€â€™
â€œOf course I will,â€™ said the whale. â€˜â€˜ Just sit
on my head, and Iâ€™ll take you there in no time.â€
Just then the brideâ€™s sister came out into the
Â« Are you going, dear ?â€â€™ she said to the brides-
*â‚¬Ves, I think I shall. Mr. Dick will see me
home,â€â€™ said the other mermaid.
â€œÂ¢Ttâ€™s been rather forlorn,â€™â€™ sighed the brideâ€™s
sister. â€˜â€˜To think of his loving a wooden thing!â€™â€™
â€œÂ«T suppose he had a right to if he chose,â€™â€™ said
86 The Merman and the Figure-Head.
the eae a little bea â€˜Iâ€™m sure itâ€™s noth-
ing to me.â€™
The brideâ€™s sister was not angry at all. She
kissed her friend good-night, and when she and
Dick had gone sat down and cried a little.
â€˜Â¢ The poor dear !â€™â€™ she said.
Meanwhile Moby Dick and the bridesmaid were
on their way to the old Witch of the Sea. She
lived in a cave in a thick dark grove of seaweed.
She was sitting before the door talking with a gos-
sip of hers, one of the Salem witches, whose broom-
stick would carry her through the water as well
as through the air. The broomstick, which was
a spirited young one, was standing hitched at the
door, impatiently stamping its stick part on the
ground and switching the broom part about to
keep off the little crabs.
' Ho! ho!â€™ said the Salem witch. â€˜â€˜ Hereâ€™s a
dainty young maiden pace ! Iâ€™m a great mind
to stick a few pins in her.â€™
â€˜Â¢ You better hadnâ€™t,â€™â€™ said Moby Dick, beimly,
for he was not at all afraid of witches. â€˜â€˜ Ask the
old lady any questions you like, my dear; nothing
_ shall hurt you.â€™â€™
â€œÂ©Â¢Ho! ho!â€™ said the Salem witch. â€˜ Hereâ€™s a dainty young maiden
indeed!â€™ â€â€™ Page 36.
The Bewitched Lover. 87
Â«Tf you would be so good,â€â€™ said the mermaid,
taking off her jeweled necklace and zone and hold-
ing them out to the witches, â€˜â€˜will you tell me
where the professorâ€™s grandson is, and whether he
cannot be induced to come home ?â€â€™
â€œAnd whatâ€™s your interest in Aim ?â€™â€™ said the
Witch of the Sea, taking snuff and looking at her
â€œI am his sisterâ€™s friend,â€™â€™ said the mermaid,
steadily ; â€˜â€˜ otherwise it is not a matter of conse-
quence to me whether he spends his life in the
chase of a wooden image; but I am very fond of
the professor, and I think it a very sad thing that
he should be left alone in his old age.â€™â€™
â€œâ€˜Umph !?â€™ said the Salem witch. â€œJust the
same, fish-tailed or two-legged, in the sea or out
of it. Thereâ€™s a girl in our town as like her as
**Young lady,â€™â€™ said the Witch of the Sea, â€˜I
havenâ€™t had any hand in this matter.â€™â€™ (But of
course I canâ€™t say this was true. I incline myself
to think she had had her finger in the pie.) â€˜I
canâ€™t undo the spellâ€”not now. If you want to
88 Zhe Merman and the Figure-Head.
find your friendâ€™s brother, you must go West to-
ward the coast.â€™â€™
â€˜Â¢ Take a bee line,â€™â€™ said the Salem witch.
**T donâ€™t know what that is,â€™â€™ said the mermaid,
who didnâ€™t know what a bee was.
â€˜* As the crow flies,â€™â€™ said the Salem witch.
*Â¢ Crow ?â€™â€™ said the mermaid, perplexed.
*Â¢ As the mackerel swims,â€™â€™ said the sea witch.
*Â¢Oh, I see,â€™â€™ said the mermaid. â€˜Thank you
very much. Pray keep the stones. Good-night;â€™â€™
and she turned to Moby Dick. â€˜You'll go with
a dangerous coast for me,â€™â€™ he thought to himself.
*Â¢But never mind; if they come after me I can
sink a whaler as easy as nothing. I'll go with her.
She reminds me of a whaless I used to go to school
with ;â€™â€™ and Moby Dick looked at the little slim
mermaid in her bridesmaidâ€™s dress, and heaved a
sigh about a quarter of an acre in extent. â€˜Iâ€™m
your whale,â€™â€™ he said, cheerfully ; and away they
dashed at the rate of a hundred miles an hour.
Every one in the sea knew that the professorâ€™s
The Bewitched Lover. 89
grandson had fallen in love with a wooden image,
and was following it about the world. The very
porpoises talked about it to each other. The
whole family were dreadfully mortified.
â€˜Â¢ Suppose he marries her!â€™â€™ said his sisters.
â€˜*We never can take her into society. A real
hunian being would be bad enough, but a wooden
â€˜*I disown him,â€â€™ said the old mer professor.
*Â¢T desire that no one will mention him in my
hearing. If he would only come home, the poor
dear boy !â€™â€™ :
There was universal sympathy with the family.
The very sophomores behaved like gentlemen for
as much as a week, they were so touched with the
old mer professorâ€™s trouble.
mFTER his friend had left him, our mer-
â€œi man swam once more after The Sea-
nymph. He felt wicked, ashamed, re-
morseful and very miserable, but for all that he
followed his wooden goddess. He was so worn
out with his long journeying and with trouble of
mind that he could not keep up with the shipâ€”he
who had once beaten a fin-back whale in a race.
He had lost sight of the brig before she went into
the harbor of Syracuse, but he knew where she
was going, and he followed in her track. It was
a beautiful moonlight night. The water was all
golden ripples. The ruins of the ancient town
stood up white, still and solemn in the flood of
silver light. The modern city did not look dirty
The Sea-Nymphs. gl
as it does by sunlight, but white and cool and still.
Only a bell rung at intervals from the tower of a
On a fragment of a broken capital that lay in
the water near the island shore of Ortyggia sat
three lovely ladies. -They looked young and beau-
tiful as the day, but they were very, very old.
They had known the. place before the first Greek
ship bore the first Greek colonists to Sicily. The
broken capital was the last bit of a temple that had
been reared in their honor ages ago, for these were
â€˜the real sea-nymphs. They had come back from
the unknown countries where they went when men
forgot them, and the monks shattered their beauti-
ful marble statues to replace them with waxen vir-
gins dressed in tinsel. They were taking a jour-
ney just to see what sort of a place this world had
grown to be. They were all three rather low-spir-
itedâ€”as much so as sea-nymphs can be.
â€˜Â« This is all so different,â€™â€™ said Arethusa. â€˜It
was hardly sadder in the great siege; I could
hardly find the place where my fountain was
92 The Merman and the Figure-Flead.
â€˜And nothing of Alpheus?â€™â€™ said Cymodoce
with a little smile. â€œ
â€˜â€˜No, thank Heaven!â€™â€™ said Arethusa; â€˜â€˜the
stream is there, but it has another name. I won-
der what has become of the old gentleman? My
dears, you canâ€™t think what a torment he was. I
really donâ€™t know what I should have done but for
â€œÂ« Maybe you would have married him,â€â€™
Panope. â€˜â€˜He was very devoted to you.â€?
â€˜*Not he,â€™â€™ said Arethusa. â€˜â€˜He was deter-
mined to have his own way, but he didnâ€™t get it.â€™
said Cymodoce. â€˜* What
concerts we used to have on this very shore! Oh
Arethusa began to sing. I only wish you had
been there to hear her.
â€œYears ago when the world was young,
And this weary time was yet to be,
A little bay lay the hills among
Where the hills slope down to the sand and sea,
Â«The shepherd came down to the cool seashore,
Fearless and tall and fair was he;
The Sea-Nympns. 93
Careless the cornel spear he bore,
As he paced the sand along the sea.
â€˜Low in the sky the red moon hung,
The wind went wandering wild and free;
To and fro the foam-bells swung
Off from the sand into the sea.
Â«Come up, my love,â€™ he called, â€˜oh come!
Give, oh goddess, once more to me
That fairest face in the whitening foam,
On the pebbly marge â€™twixt the sand and sea.â€™
** The sunset faded like smouldering brand,
And never the nymph again saw he;
The shadow sloped from the tall headland
Off from the sand, out oâ€™er the sea.
Â«His was a being that, born to-day,
Grows old to-morrow and dies, and she
Lived on for ages as fair alway,
To sing on the shore â€™twixt the sand and the sea.
Â« Yet oh, my lover, by this right hand,
It was fate, not I, that was false to thee;
For thine was the life of the solid land,
And I was a thing of the restless sea.â€
As Arethusa finished her song, the merman came
swimming wearily toward the three nymphs. If
94 The Merman and the Figure-Head.
he had been a human being, he would not have
seen them, but as it was they were revealed to his
eyes. He knew what they were in a moment.
They were dressed like his wooden nymph, and
Arethusa carried a little silver vase in her hand,
but they were not like the figure-head, for they
had sweet, kind faces, and could laugh and cry.
The merman made a most respectful bow, for he
knew how to do it. 5
â€˜*Well,â€™â€™ said Panope, kindly, â€˜â€˜can we do any-
thing for you?â€™â€™
â€˜*Lovely nymphs,â€™â€™ said the merman, â€˜have
you seen a ship pass this way with one of your
fair sisters on its prow ?â€™â€™
â€˜One of our sisters?â€™â€™ said Arethusa, a little
haughtily. â€˜â€˜ That seems very unlikely.â€â€™
**T assure you she is, my lady,â€â€™ said the mer-
man, reverently but firmly. â€˜â€˜She has her name,
The Sea-nymph, written below her.â€™â€™
â€˜Â¢ He has lost his wits,â€™â€™ said Panope, sighing.
â€˜Â¢ What a pity! â€œSuch a handsome youth !â€â€™
â€˜Â¢You donâ€™t mean that wooden figure-head ?â€â€™
Â«Â«Surely she is your sister,â€™â€™ said the merman,
The Sea-Nymphs. 95
looking at Cymodoce, who was more like the
wooden nymph than the other -two, and whose
manners were always a little stiff and prim.
â€˜Â«My sister !â€™â€™ cried Cymodoce, quite bristling.
â€˜â€˜Am I related to a log of wood?â€
Here Arethusa slyly pinched Panope behind
Cymodoceâ€™s back, for the truth was Cymodoce
had once been a wooden ship, and had been made
into a nymph to save her from a conflagration.
She never would allow, however, that this was a
â€˜â€œNo, of course there is nothing wooden about
you, dear,â€™â€™ said Panope, soothingly. â€˜Donâ€™t
be vexed. Let us help the poor boy if we can.â€â€™
â€˜Â¢ Heâ€™s very like a Triton I used to know,â€â€™ said
at him with her kind blue eyes. â€˜Such a big
ship! Not like the ones I used to see here years
ago, and it certainly had a wooden statue on the
prow, but it was only a wooden image; it was not
â€œâ€˜ How strange it is,â€™â€™ thought the merman to
himself, â€˜that these three goddesses should be
96 Zhe Merman and the Figure-Head.
jealous of my beautyâ€”just like three mortal mer-
â€˜*Jealous of that stick indeed !â€™â€™ cried Cymo-
doce, answering his thought.
â€œâ€˜Men!â€™â€™ said Arethusa. â€˜â€˜Panope, my darling,
they are just the creatures they always were in the
water or out of it.â€
â€œ*So it seems,â€™â€™ said Panope, playing in the sand
with her little pink toes like a mortal girl.
â€œâ€˜T assure you, sir,â€™â€™ said Cymodoce, gravely,
â€œâ€˜that you are under a serious mistake. That
figure is a mere painted figure-head, quite incap-
able of a rational thought or instructive conversa-
â€˜Â¢ What we admire in woman is her affections,
not her intellect,â€™ said the merman.
**Look at me!â€™â€™ said Arethusa; and the tall
nymph stood up before him in all her immortal
beauty and shook down her golden hair till it
swept her ankles.
â€˜Â¢My dear Arethusa,â€™â€™ said Cymodoce, â€˜â€˜ let me
ask you to consider if this is quite proper ?â€â€™
Panope only smiled, and Arethusa took no sort
Lhe Sea-Nymphs. 97
** Look at me,â€ she said, â€˜â€˜and compare me
with that wooden thing. Donâ€™t you see the dif-
A difference there certainly was. The merman
felt a. cold chill go to his heart. For one instant
his eyes were opened ; for one instant he knew he
had been worshiping a stick. â€˜Then he would of
see or feel the truth.
â€˜Â¢Farewell!â€™â€™ he cried, desperately; â€˜â€˜1 will
follow her to the ends of the earth, whether she is
alive or not;â€™â€™ and he swam away.
â€œÂ¢ Poor fellow !â€™â€™ said Arethusa.
â€˜He looks a good deal like the pious AÂ®neas,â€â€™
said Cymedoce, who often mentioned that gentle-
â€œâ€˜T donâ€™t see it,â€™â€™ said Panope, almost sharply.
Â«He may be a goose, but he is not a prig. Ido
wish you ever could talk about any one else, Cy-
modoce! I am tired:to death of the pious Aineas.â€â€™
â€˜*So am I,â€™â€â€™ said Arethusa; â€˜â€˜he was a humbug
if ever there was one.â€™â€™
â€˜Â¢ What an expression !â€™â€™ said Cymodoce.
Â«â€˜Never mind,â€™â€™ said Arethusa; â€˜â€˜suppose we
do this poor merman a good turn, and get Aphro-
98 Zhe Merman and the Figure-Head.
dite to make his wooden thing a live creature.
Donâ€™t you think she would do as much for wood
as she did for marble ?â€â€™
â€˜We could ask her,â€™â€™ said Cymodoce. â€˜I
have some influence with her. I was so well ac-
quainted with her son, the piousâ€”â€™â€™
**Oh bother Az /â€™â€™ said Arethusa, who had been
a mountain nymph originally, and was apt to be a
little brusque. ,
â€˜*I donâ€™t believe sheâ€™d be good for much if she
did come alive,â€™â€â€™ said Panope, looking down.
â€œâ€˜Tâ€™ve heard that match of Pygmalionâ€™s didnâ€™t
turn out very well. I saw the marble woman once.
She was pretty enough, but so stiff, and she walked
as though she weighed a ton, and hadnâ€™t a.word
to say-for herself. And as for this wooden thing,
the woodenness would always remain in her mind
and manners. But we can try. Come, if you
like ;â€™â€™ and the three slipped into the sea and went
â€˜swimming after the merman, but he never saw
them. He had caught sight of his wooden god-
dess, and had no eyes for the real ones. He
thought he had never seen his idol looking so
_ beautiful, so lifelike. â€˜Ske wood!â€ he thought
Lhe Sea-Nymphs. 99
as he leaned back in the water and looked up in
her face. Meanwhile, some strange influence was
at work upon the wooden image. A kind of
thrill ran over it. It began slowly to breathe.
â€˜*Dear me!â€™â€™ theught the wooden creature, for
it could think a little now. â€˜I must be coming
alive! How very disagreeable! I can seeâ€”even
feel. Idonâ€™t like it. Itâ€™s too much trouble. What
is that thing in the sea staring at me ?â€™â€â€™ and she act-
ually bent her head and looked down.
The merman, of course, was in ecstasies, for he
thought she was coming to him. :
â€˜*T certainly am growing alive,â€™â€™ thought the
wooden thing. â€˜I wonâ€™t come alive; I was made
wood, and wood Iâ€™ll stay; I wonâ€™t go out of my
sphere; Iâ€™m sure itâ€™s not proper ;â€™â€™ and she stif-
fened herself as stiff as she could. â€˜â€˜I will be
wood,â€™â€™ she thought, and wood she was, for even
a goddess canâ€™t make a thing alive against its own
will. â€˜Yes, this is much the best way,â€™â€™ was the
wooden imageâ€™s last thought, as the breath of life
went away from her and left her more wooden
â€˜Â¢ Let it go, the stupid thing,â€™â€™ said Arethusa in
100 The Mermanâ€™ and the Figure-Head.
a: pet which wasâ€™ scarcely rÃ©asonable, as the image
was wood inâ€™ its nature. â€˜â€˜Come, my dears, let!
us go from a world wherÃ© no one cares for our
gifts. Donâ€™t cry, PanopÃ© dear. There are just
as many fools in the world as Ã©ver there were, for
all they pretendâ€™ to be soâ€™ much wiser.â€â€
â€œIt is strange too,â€ said Cymodoce, â€œ consid-
ering how long they have had before them the ex-
ample of the pious Aineasâ€”â€
â€œÂ« He never lost sight of his interest,â€™â€™ said Pan-
ope. â€˜I wish we couldâ€™ persuade that poor mer-
man, but I know very well that the twelve great
gods couldnâ€™t do it ;â€™â€™ and the three vanished and
were seen no more.
That night there came up a terrible storm.
There was wind and rain and thunder such as
the merman had never heard. From far away
came a thick sulphurous cloud of smoke, and in
the air was a dull red glare. The land shook and
trembled, for Attna was feeding his hidden fires,
filling his inmost furnaces. The gale blew fiercely
from land. The Sea-nymph snapped her eable,
and drove out of the harbor before the tempest.
The Sea-Nymphs. IOI
The merman followed her. By the glare of the
lightning he could see that the figure stood in its
old place holding out her silver vase. â€˜â€˜ What
wonderful courage !â€™â€™ he thought, for he did not
know it was nailed there. The masts went crash-
ing into the sea. The sailors threw overboard
everything they could to lighten the ship. One
of them sprang forward with an axe and began to
cut away the figure-head. The merman swam,
balancing himself on the crest of the waves; every
one was too busy to notice him; he could not
hear the blows of the axe in the noise of the wind
and thunder; he did not see what the sailor was
doing ; he saw the image quiver under the strokes
of the axe, and thought that at last she was coming
down to him. â€˜Oh come, come,â€™â€™ he cried,
swimming directly below and holding out his
arms. â€˜The wooden image quivered and shook;
it bent forward; the next instant the solid heavy
oak fell with a plunge and struck the poor merman
in its fall. He felt that he was dying, but he did
not know what had hurt him. â€˜My own love,
my sea-nymph,â€™â€™ he murmured; and he put his
arms round the figure-head that was bobbing up
102 The Merman and the Figure-Head.
and down in the sea quite unconcernedly. He
kissed the painted lips. Then at length he knew
that his idolizedâ€™ nymph, for whom he had given
his life, was nothing but a carved log. It was well
for him that his next breath was his last.
LUCY PEABODYâ€™S DREAM.
OBY DICK went on his way, â€˜emerging
strong against the tide.â€™â€™ A Nantucket
ship saw him as he blew, and her boats
put out after him.
Â«Just get off a minute, my dear,â€™â€™ said he to
the little mermaid whom he carried. She did so,
and then, instead of swimming away from the boats,
he put down his enormous head and went straight
â€œÂ¢The white whale!â€™â€™ cried the sailors; and they
did not throw the harpoon, but went meekly back
to the ship. They were bold enough, but they
were afraid of the white whale, for Moby Dick
had sunk two or three ships in his time and en-
tirely reversed the whalersâ€™ programme.
' Moby Dick executed a huge frisk on the surface
104 Zhe Merman and the Figure-Head.
of the sea, flapped his tail on the water with a
noise like thunder, and then dived down to rejoin
â€œAll right, my dear,â€™â€™ he said, cheerfully.
â€œâ€˜Tâ€™m so glad you are safe,â€™â€™ said the mermaid,
patting him with her little hands.
On they went through the water, and the coast
was soon in sight. It was growing dusk, and theâ€™
lighthouse showed its red star over the sea. The
mermaid was silent, and Moby Dick did not trou-
ble her to talk.
Suddenly a beautiful woman appeared to them
on the crest of along rolling billow. She made
no effort; she did not swim, but moved through
the water by her will alone. She seemed a part
of the sea, like a wave come alive.
â€˜Â¢That is not a human being, surely,â€™â€™ said the
â€œItâ€™s very like thatâ€”you knowâ€”that wooden
thingâ€”that fe ran after,â€™â€™ said Moby Dick in a
gigantic whisper, â€˜â€˜ only itâ€™s alive.â€â€™
â€˜Â«She donâ€™t seem as though she could ever have
been wood,â€™â€™ said the mermaid. â€˜â€˜She looks kind.
â€œâ€œ* My dear,â€™ she said, very gently, â€˜ your old playmate is dead.â€™ â€â€
Lucy Peabody's Dream. 105
I donâ€™t feel as though she were thatâ€”that person.
Please ask if she has seen our friend.â€â€™
â€œÂ¢Yes, my dear child,â€™â€™ said Panopeâ€”for she it
wasâ€”answering the mermaidâ€™s. thought, â€˜â€˜I have
seen him ;â€™â€™ and the immortal sighed.
â€˜â€˜His family are very anxious about him, my
lady,â€™â€™ said the whale, who was conscious of an
awe he had never known before, though he felt he
could trust the Sea-Nymph.
â€˜Â¢They need be anxious no more,â€™â€™ said Panope,
gently and sadly.
â€˜*What has happened ?â€™â€™ asked the mermaid,
turning pale, but keeping herself very quiet.
Panope went to her, and the immortal daughter
of the sea put her white arms round the mermaid
and held her in a close and soft embrace.
â€˜Â¢My dear,â€™â€™ she said, very gently, â€˜â€˜ your old
playmate is dead.â€™â€™
â€œ*You donâ€™t say so, maâ€™am !â€™â€™ said Moby Dick,
with a great sigh; and then he swam away to a
little distance and left the mermaid to the care of
the Sea-Nymph, for he was a whale of very delicate
The mermaid looked into the blue eyes of the
106 Zhe Merman and the Figure-Head.
Goddess, and felt that the countless ages of her
being had but made her more wise and kind. She
hid her face on the immortal maidenâ€™s bosom.
â€œ* My sweet child,â€™â€™ said Panope, after a little
beyond my powerâ€”but if you will, I can give you
an immortality like my own. I can carry you with
me to a world where death or pain has never come,
and keep you young and lovely for ever.â€™â€™
The mermaid was silent a moment. Then she
looked up into Panopeâ€™s face.
â€˜You will not be angry with me ?â€â€™ said she.
Â«* Angry, my poor darling !â€™â€™
â€˜Â«Then, my friends that I have loved have all
been mortal. My mother is dead, my twin brother
was killed in the war, and now my old compan-
iomâ€”and I have known him so long! I think
I should rather not be so very different, but go to
them when my time comes,â€™â€™
Panope caressed her hair with a soft hand.
_ â‚¬*T donâ€™t know but youare right. Sometimes,â€™â€™
said the Goddess, with a sad, tired look in her eyes,
â€œT think I would be glad to be mortal myself,
except that I am glad to bea little comfort to you. â€”
Lucy Peabody's Dream. 107
I am sorry I came back. Either the world has
. grown a sad place, or else I had forgotten what it
used to be. But I donâ€™t know; I almost broke
my heart over Prometheus when I was quite a
young thing. I could have helped him take care
of his beloved human race a great deal better than
Asia, but he never cared anything for me. It is
all over long ago. Is there nothing that I can do
for you, my dear ?â€â€™
The mermaid was silent a minute. Then she
â€˜Â¢J think I should like to take him home to his
friends. I know they would wish it should be so.â€™
Iwill bring him to you. But, my dear child, you
are so quiet. _ All the mortal women I ever knew
in the old days, in the sea or out, would have torn
' their hair and screamed, but you are so different.â€
The mermaid looked up with a little ghost of a
smile, half proud, half pitiful. â€˜â€˜I suppose it is
because I was born in American waters,â€™â€™ she said.
â€˜*Wait but a little,â€™ said Panope. â€˜*The whale
will take care of you. He is a good creature.
His great-grandfathers were pets of mine long ago.
108 Zhe Merman and the Figure-Head.
I will soon come back again;â€™â€™ and the Nymph
Some time after:the news had come to Salem of
the total loss of the brig Sea-nymph, Lucy Pea-
body was walking alone along the sands. She felt
weary, and sat down under the shadow of a rock
to rest. The sun was just setting, the west was
suffused with a golden glow, the water lay, hardly
rippling to a low whispering wind, a sea of fire
and glass. Lucy leaned her head against the
â€˜rock, and sitting there, she dreamed a dream.
Along the sands toward her came old Goody
Cobb, whom everybody suspected of witchcraft.
She appeared so suddenly that Lucy in her dream
â€˜thought she had come out of the sea.
â€˜*Ho! ho!â€™â€™ said Goody Cobb, with a cracked
laugh; â€˜*so here is Madam Peabodyâ€™s lady daugh-
ter come out-to cry over her disappointment all by
herself? The man-was a fool, sure enough, but I
wouldnâ€™t mind. Just let me write your name
down in a little book I keep, and you shall see
our fine young madam dwine away like snow.in
spring-time, and then we shall seeâ€”â€™â€™
Lucy Peabody's Dream. 109
â€˜You are out of your mind, Goody,â€â€™ said Lucy
in her dream; â€˜â€˜ but such talk as that is not safe,
for there are those in town who are silly enough to
believe witch stories, and you might get yourself Â°
Â« Silly, are they!â€™â€™ cried Goody Cobb, growing
angry. â€˜â€˜Butnevermind. Just let me have your
name, and we shall see what we shall see. Look
at the pretty necklace I will give you;â€™â€™ and she
drew from her pocket a chain of shining green
stones and held it up before the girlâ€™s eyes.
â€œT will have nothing to say to you or your
gifts,â€â€™ said Lucy, steadily. â€˜Pass on your way,
Goody, and leave me alone.â€™â€™
Â«So you think yourself too good for me!â€™â€™ said
the witch ina rage. â€˜â€˜Let me tell you that my
family is as good as yours, and better. My grand-
father was a ministerâ€”ay, and a noted oneâ€”while
yours was selling clams round the streets.â€™â€™
It was a very odd thing that while Goody Cobb
had become a witch, renounced her baptism and
sold herself to the enemy of mankind, she was yet
very proud of the eminent divine, herâ€™ grandfather.
â€œVl be the death of you! Iâ€™ll stick pins in
110 Zhe Merman and the Figure-Head.
you, and set my imps to pinch you black and
blue !â€™â€™ screamed Goody Cobb, with the look of a
possessed woman, as she was.
Suddenly, as Lucy dreamedâ€”so suddenly that
she seemed to grow out of the airâ€”there stood on
the sand between herself and the witch a tall and
beautiful woman in shining raiment of green and
silver, with golden hair that fell loosely to her
ankles. She gazed sternly on the witch; a divine
wrath made her blue eyes awful.
**You earth-born creature !â€™â€™ she cried as she
caught the green necklace from the old womanâ€™s
trembling hand. â€˜This girl is a child of the
ocean, and is in my care;â€™â€™ and Lucy dreamed
that she felt glad to remember how she had been
born on the voyage her mother made with her
father to Calcutta. â€˜â€˜Stay where you are for
ever!â€™â€™ continued the stranger lady, raising her
white hand with a gesture of command. â€˜You
will wreck no more shipsâ€”you, nor your sister
witch.â€™â€™ And then as she stood Goody Cobb stif-
fened into stone and became a black rock.
â€œYou need not be afraid of me, my dear,â€™â€™ said
the dream lady to Lucy. â€˜I never hurt any one
Lucy Peabodys Dream. III
in my life. I am only an innocent Sea-Nymph,
and I amâ€”or I wasâ€”the helper of all the sailor-
folk, and your father is a bold seaman.â€â€™
Lucy dreamed that she was very much surprised,
which was curious, for in a dream the more re-
markable a thing is, the less it astonishes the
â€œÂ¢ But I thought there never were any nymphs,â€™â€™
she said, perplexed.
The sea-maiden smiled a queer little smileâ€”
half sad, half amused.
â€œÂ¢Do you know,â€â€™ she said, â€˜â€˜that since men left
off believing in them and building temples, the
gods all declare that there never were such things
as human creatures, and that it was all a delusion
of ours? Keep this;â€™â€™'and she dropped the neck-
lace into Lucyâ€™s lap. â€˜It belonged to one who
will not care to wear it now. Farewell;â€™â€™ and
the goddess bent down and lightly kissed the girlâ€™s
forehead, and the next instant Lucy was alone.
She woke up, as she thought, and sat still for a
â€˜Â¢What a singular dream !â€™â€™ she said to herself.
Then she looked round, and saw a black rock
112 The Merman and the Figure-Head.
standing beside her. â€˜* Was that rock there? I
donâ€™t remember it, but of course it must have
-been.â€™â€™ She rose to her feet. Something fell glit-
tering on the sand. She picked it up. It was a
long, shining necklace of green stones.
â€œThis is very strange !â€™â€™ said Lucy, thoughtfully.
â€˜Â¢But I suppose I had better take them home.
They must have been washed up from the sea and |
caught to my gown some way. How pretty they
are! I wonder if they belonged to some one who
is drowned ?â€â€™
She put the necklace into her pocket, and turned
to go home. She had gone but a little way when
she met Job Chippit.
â€˜Â¢Uncle Job,â€™â€â€™ she said, â€˜â€˜I have found some-
thing on thesand. Do you think any one in town
has lost it, or that it was washed up by the sea?â€™
Job examined closely the emerald necklace.
â€˜Â¢ This never belonged to any one in our town,
Lucy,â€â€™ he said; â€˜â€˜ most likely the tide washed it
up in the last storm. Yours it is by all right if no
one comes to claim it; and be keerful of it, for I
expect itâ€™s awful valuable. But whatâ€™s happened
Lucy Peabody's Dream. 113
Â«Â¢ Why ?â€â€™
â€œâ€œYouâ€™ve got an odd look about you, some way,
but I never see you look so pretty. Has anything
â€œ*No,â€™â€™ said Lucy, quietly, â€œâ€˜only I sat down to
rest and fell asleep, and had a very strange dream.
Good-night, Uncle Job.â€™â€â€™ From that evening
Goody Cobb was never seen in Salem town.
Job Chippit continued his walk, thoughtfully
whittling a little stick. Before long he overtook
Master Isaac Torrey, who was walking along the
shore with his head down, seeming to notice noth-
ing but the sand at his feet. Master Torrey had
quite left off his wild ways. He made no more
_ foolish, fanciful speeches about nymphs and god-
desses, and such nonsense. â€˜â€˜Anna Jane had
made a sensible man of him,â€ said his father-in-
law. â€˜*He was greatly improved;â€™â€™ said every
one, with the exception of Ichabod Sterns and Job
Master Torrey had avoided the wood-carver
since his marriage. His father-in-law thought it
a good sign. â€˜â€˜He had been quite too familiar
with that person,â€™â€™ thought the colonel. But this
10 * H
114. Zhe Merman and the Figure-Head.
night Master Torrey did not avoid him, though he
only nodded without speaking in answer to Jobâ€™s
* Good-evening,â€™â€™ and then the two walked on in
â€œâ€˜Thatâ€™s an odd-looking thing on the beach,â€â€™
said Job at last.
They went up to the dark mass Job had pointed
out. There on a heap of weed, thrown up by the
late storm, lay the wooden nymph, the paint almost
washed away, and there, with its arms tightly
â€˜clasped about her neck, lay a strange creature,
half fish, half human.
â€œAs sure as the world, itâ€™s a merman!â€™â€™ said
Job ; â€˜â€˜and there really are such critters, after all !
Poor fellow! The human part of him was pretty
good-lookinâ€™ when he was alive. See what a
dent heâ€™s got in his head !â€â€™
â€œAnd this is the figure-head of The Sea-
nymph,â€â€™ said Master Torrey. â€˜â€˜Donâ€™t you know
â€˜â€œ*To be sure! Well, it does beat all! What
shall we do with the merman? Iâ€™d kind of hate
to make a show of him. Heâ€™s a sort of man, and
I â€™spose he had his feelings anyhow. Look at the
Lucy Peabodys Dream. 115
empty scabbard and the sword-belt ; and heâ€™s got
a ring on his finger.â€™â€™
Job bent down and tried to unfold the dead
hand from its close clasp. At that moment,
though it was very calm, a huge wave rose from
the sea, and came thundering up the beach, cover-
ing the two men with spray. When it retreated
the dead merman and the figure-head were gone,
and up from the sea came a low sobbing sound.
Master Torrey and Job stood watching, sur-
prised and startled. Another minute, and up
came a second huge wave, bearing upon its crest
the oaken sea-nymph. On it rolledâ€”a mountain
of water. It dashed its burden upon the jagged
rocks once, twice, thrice, and strewed the shattered
fragments over sea and sand. Job drew a long
â€˜Â¢Waal,â€™â€™ said he, â€˜â€˜there goes the best piece
of wood lever chipped. â€˜Tell ye what, philosophy
wonâ€™t explain everything. â€™Tainâ€™t best to be too
rational if you want to have any insight into things
â€˜in Â¢his world. If that waâ€™nâ€™t done a-purpose, I
never see a thing done so !â€â€™
They turned back and walked toward the town.
116 The Merman and the Figure-Head.
Far away in the offing a whale sent up an enor-
mous jet, a sea-gull screamed wildly above their
'** Going to say anything about this?â€™ said Job
â€˜Â« What would be the use?â€™â€™ said Master Torrey,
sharply. â€˜â€˜ Half of them would not believe you ;
and who wants to set all the fools in the place
â€œNot I! Iâ€™m not over-fond of answering ques-
tions. I'd rather ask â€™em,â€™â€™ said Job. â€˜â€˜Do you
know, putting this and that together, and the
story of the queer fish that hung round the ship,
Iâ€™ve got a notion that poor fishy thing fell in love
with that figger-head of ourn? You couldnâ€™t ex-
pect such a critter as he was to have more sense
than a landsman, and I expect the log fell on him
_ when the brig went to pieces and killed him."â€™
**So much the better for him if he had given
his soul to a wooden image,â€™â€™ said Master Torrey,
bitterly. â€˜â€˜Good-night;â€™â€™ and he left Job and
walked slowly back to his handsome new house.
Job looked after him wistfully. Just then old
Ichabod came up and saluted the wood-carver.
Lucy Peabody's Dream. 117
â€œDo you know, Ichabod,â€™â€™ said Job, â€˜that
Master Torrey and I just found the figure-head of
the poor Sea-nymph, all shattered to bits on the
rocks? The waves brought her all this way to
smash her at last.â€™
â€˜I wish they had smashed her at first,â€™â€™ said
â€˜Â¢Why ?â€ said Job, with a curious look.
â€˜Â¢Because,â€™â€™ said Ichabod, â€˜â€˜she was an un-
lucky creature from the first. She was too much
alive for a wooden image, and too wooden to be a
live woman, much less a goddess.â€
sais ate Ye SS a a ri Reh oat Rees bei er ec env ap NUN RT aR LC re cava Laos ee ad ee Reenter sel OD ee eau Cen
Se Sonn ran ET OEE es * SOR . in: OE NL een. ae SES BT i ema reese Nr oot aces
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DISSEMINATION_REQUEST NAME 'disseminate request placed' TIME '2013-12-04T15:17:25-05:00' NOTE 'request id: 297777; Dissemination from Lois and also Judy Russel see RT# 21871' AGENT 'Stephen'
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