The Baldwin Library
Ln the garden behind the moon.
BEHIND THE MOON
A REAL STORY OF THE
WRITTEN AND ILLUSTRATED BY
LAWRENCE AND BULLEN
16, HENRIETTA St., W. C.
Copyright, 1895, by Charles Scribnerâ€™s Sons,
for the United States of America.
Printed by The De Vinne Press
New York, U.S, A. :
Go the Little Boy in the Moon Garden
this Book ts dedicated
by His Father
The Princess Aurelia .
The Man who Knew Less Than Nothing
David in the Water .
The Moon-House .
The Moon-Garden .
The Last Play-Day
Behind the Moon-Angel.
The Land of Nowhere
The Black Winged Horse .
The Iron Castle .
The Iron Man .
The Escape . ;
Back to the Moon-House
David . .
The Kingâ€™s Messenger
In the garden behind the moon. Frontispicee
David looked up into Hans Kroutâ€™s face . 25
Suddenly a half-door opened and there stood
a little old man . 41
David sat down on the wooden bench and
took up a big blue star . 57
He was standing at an open window . 69
â€œWhere did you come from, little boy?â€ said
Quick as a flash, David leaped out and upon it 133
Fast flew the black winged horse . . 153
The giant fell crashing upon the stones . 163
She placed her hands on his shoulders . 189
AEN you look: out across the water at
night, after the sun has set and the moon
then you see a long, giummering moon-path reach-
ing away into the distance. There it les, stretching
from the moon to the earth, and from the earth
to the moon, as bright as silver and gold, and as
straight and smooth as a turnpike road.
There is nothing in all this world that was not
made for some reason and for some useâ€”not
even the moon-pathâ€”but always you must find .
Jor yourself the use of a thing and why tt was
So it is with the moon-path as with everything
else. Thousands and thousands of people have
seen that long, level stretch of brightness, and have
looked out at it, and have thought it was beautiful,
but there are very, very few who have ever really
Sound out what ts its use.
It looks like a path, and that is what tt really is,
for tf you only know how to do so, you may walk
upon it just as easily as you may walk upon a
barn floor. All you need to do is to make a be-
ginning, and there you are. After that wt as
smooth enough walking, and you may skip and
play and romp as you choose. Then you may
come and go whenever you have a mind to, and
if you will take my word for tt, it ts the most beau-
tiful and wonderful road that a body can travel
betwixt here and the land that so few folk ever go
to and come back again.
For the moon-path leads straight to the moon.
That was why tt was builtâ€”that a body might
go from the brown earth to the moon, and maybe
But why, you.may ask, should anybody want
to go to the moon? That I will tell you. The
reason is that behind the moon there hes the most
wonderful, beautiful, never-to-be-forgotten garden
that the mind can think of. In it live little chil-
dren who,play and romp, and laugh and sing, and
are as merry and happy as the little white lambs
in the green meadow in springtime. There they
never have trouble and worry; they never dispute
nor quarrel ; they never are sorry and never cry.
Aye, aye ;â€”that beautiful garden. One time L
myself saw itâ€” though in a dreamâ€”dim and in-
distinct, as one might see such a beautiful place
through a piece of crooked glass. In it was the
little boy whom I loved the best of all. He did
not see me, but I saw him, and TL think I was
looking into the garden out of one of the moon-
windows. Iwas glad to see him, for he had gone
out along the moon-path, and he had not come
Perhaps you do not understand what I mean,
but maybe you will after you have read this
story. For it is all about a little girl who went to
the garden behind the moon and lived amid all the
beautiful things. Also it is about a little boy who
paid a visit to the moon-house, where the Man-in-
the-moon lives, and how he too went out the back
door into the moon-garden.
Lit was the Moon-Angel who told the story to
me, and now L shall tell it to you gust as nearly
as [ can remember tt.
The Princess Aurelia
NCE upon a time â€” for this is the way
that every true fairy story beginsâ€”
once upon a time there was a King
and a Queen who loved one another dearly, and
had all that they wanted in the world but one
thing. That one thing was a child of their own.
For the house was quiet and silent. There was
no sound of silver voice and merry laughter ;
there was no running hither and thither of little
feet ;. there was no bustle and noise and teasing
to make life sweet to live.
For so it is always dull and silent in a house
where there are no children.
One day, when the sun was shining as yellow
as gold, and the apple-trees were all in bloom,â€”
pink and white,â€”the Queen was walking up and
down the garden path, thinking and thinking of
how sad it was in the house without any children
to make things glad. The tears were in her eyes,
and she wiped them away with her handkerchief.
Suddenly she heard some one speaking quite near
to her: â€œ Lady, lady, why are you so sad?â€
The voice came from the apple-tree, and when
she looked up among the branches there she saw
a beautiful figure dressed all in shining white and
sitting amid the apple blossoms, and around the
face of the figure it was bright like sunlight.
It was the Moon-Angel, though the Queen did
not know thatâ€”the Moon-Angel, whom so many
people know by a different name and are so afraid
of, they know not why. The Queen stood look-
ing up at him, and she felt very still and quiet.
â€œWhy are you so sad, lady?â€ said the Moon-
Angel again. .
â€˜Â«â€˜ Because,â€ said she, â€œthere is no child in the
Â«And if you had a child,â€ said the Moon-Angel,
â€œwould that make you happy?â€
â€œYes,â€ said the Queen.
The Moon-Angel smiled till his face shone bright
like white light. Â«Then be happy,â€ said he, â€˜â€œ For
I have come to tell you that you shall have a
Then, even as the Queen looked, he was gone,
and nothing was there but the blossoms and the
bright blue sky shining through them.
So by and by a little Princess was born to the
King and Queen. And she was a real Princess
too, for she came into the world with a golden
coronet on her head and a golden star on her
shoulder, and so the Queen named her Princess
That same day the Queen diedâ€”for the Moon-
Angel never brings something into the house but
he takes something away with him again. So
after all they were more sad and sorrowful than if
the Princess had never been born.
Princess Aurelia grew and grew and grew, and
the older she grew the more beautiful she grew.
But the poor King, her father, was more and more
sad every day. For nobody had ever seen such a
little child as the Princess. She never cried, but
then she never laughed; she never was cross, but
then she never smiled; she never teased, but then
she never spoke a word; she was a trouble to no
one, but then she neither romped nor played. All
day she sat looking around her with her beautiful
blue eyes, and all night long she slept like an
angel, but she might just as well have been a_
lovely doll as a little child of flesh and blood.
Everybody said that she had no wits, but you
shall know better than that when you have read
this story and have heard about the moon-garden.
HERE was a little boy named David who
never had any other name that I know
of, unless it was â€œSillyâ€ David. For he
was a moon-calf, and all the other children laughed
A moon-calf? What is a moon-calf?
Ah, little child, little child! that is something
you can only learn in one way. For though a
world-wise scientist with two pair of short-sighted
spectacles on his nose may write a great book upon
the differentiation of Human Reason, or another
with far-sighted glasses may write a learned dis-
quisition concerning how many microbes there are
in a cubical inch of butter-milk, they know no
more about what a moon-calf is than my grand-
motherâ€™s bed-post. â€œ Moon-calf!â€ says such an
one; â€œI do not know what a moon-calf is. There
is no such thing. It â€™s nonsense.â€
If you want to know what a moon-calf really
is you will either have to ask the Moon-Angel or
else read for yourself in one of his never-to-be-
altogether-understood books, where such things
are told about, if you only have the wits to under-
stand what is written there.
David was a moon-calf. He carried more wits
about him than the little Princess Aurelia, but
nevertheless everybody called him a moon-calf.
None of the other children would play with him
because he was so silly, and so he had always to
help his mother about the house, and to look after
the baby when she was busy. He lived in a vil-
lage that stood on the rocky shores of a great sea
that stretched far, far away toward the east, so that
whenever the moon was round and full, there was
the bright moon-path reaching away from the
dark earth to the shining disk in the east.
It was a queer, quaint little village in which
little David lived. Nearly every one in it, except
the minister, the mayor, the schoolmaster and
Hans Krout, the crazy cobbler, were fisher folk.
It had steep roofs, one climbing up over the other
as though to peep over one anotherâ€™s shoulders at
the water below. Nearly at the top of the cliff
was a church with a white steeple, and beyond
that was an open common, where there was grass,
and where the geese and the cows fed, and where
the boys and the girls played of an evening. Up
above on the top of the cliffs was the highway,
which ran away across the country and through
the fields, past the villages, to the Kineâ€™s city.
David loved the sea as a little lamb loves its
mother, and oftentimes when the day was pleasant
he would carry the baby down to the shore and
sit there on the rocks in the sun and look out
across the water. There he would sit hour after
hour, and sing to himself and the baby, and think
his own thoughts all to himself. .
None of the other children were at all like him.
They had brown freckled faces and shock heads
and strong hands that were nearly always dirty.
When they played with one another they would
laugh and shout and romp like young colts, and
tussle and roll over and over upon the grass.
Poor little David would sometimes stand lookingâ€
at them wonderingly. He would have liked to
play with them, but he could not, because he
was only a moon-calf, and so simple. Sometimes
the little boys, and even the little girls, would
laugh at him because he was so foolish, and had a
pale face and pale blue eyes, and nursed the baby.
Sometimes they called him â€œsimpleton,â€ and some-
times they called him â€œnurse-a-baby.â€ When
they teased him, he would carry the baby off to
the rocks and would sit there and look out across
the water and think of it all, and maybe want to
cry so badly that his throat ached.
The Man who Knew Less Than
UT there was one in the village who neither
laughed at David nor called him moon-calf.
That was Hans Krout, the cobbler. For
Hans Krout also was moon-struck. Some of the
people of the village used to say that he knew
less than nothing, and I dare say what they said
was true enoughâ€”only sometimes it takes more
wits to know less than nothing than to know
more than a little.
But Hans Krout had not always been thus.
One time he was as world-wise as anybody else.
One time he had a wife living with him. He had
worked hard when he was young to earn enough
money for two people to live upon, and when he
had earned it he had married the girl he liked
best. They lived together for a while, and then
she died. After that Hans Krout became just as
he was now, so that some people said he was
crazy, and some that he knew less than nothing.
Yet, in spite of what folks said, Hans Krout
did know something. He knew more about the
moon-path, and the Moon-Angel, and the moon
itself than almost anybody.
Little David was very fond of Hans Krout, and
when he was not helping his mother, or nursing
the baby, or sitting by himself down among the
rocks, he used to be in the cobblerâ€™s shop watch-
ing Hans Krout cobble shoes.
This is how Hans Krout would do it:
He always sat on a bench that had a leather
seat to it, and a box at one side. The box was
full of brads, and wax-ends, and cobblerâ€™s wax,
and shoe-pegs, and this and that and what not
and the other. Hans Krout would take up a shoe
and put into it a wooden foot that he called a last.
Then he would fit a piece of sole-leather to the
upper and tack it down to the sole of the wooden
last. Then he would hold the shoe and all tight
between his knees with a strap that went down
under his foot. Then he would take his crooked
awl and drive it in through the leather sole and
out the upper. Then he would stick the two bris-
tles of the wax-end into, the hole he had made.
Then stretching his arms and drawing the thread
about his little fingers, that were always black
with shoemakerâ€™s wax, he would give a grunt and
draw the thread tight.
That is the way he would sew the shoes ;â€”this
is the way he would drive the pegs:
He would make a hole with his awl in the sole
of the shoe. Then he would stick a little wooden
peg into it. Then, rap-tap-tap, he would drive in
the peg with his queer, round-faced hammer, and
there the peg would be as tight as wax. Then,
by and by, he would take his knife and trim off
the tops of all the wooden pegs he had driven into
the shoe, and rub down the sole till it shone like
Yes, indeed! It is a very wonderful thing to see.
When I was a little boy like David there used
to be a cobbler at the old toll-gate under the
weeping-willow trees. He had a little black dog,
blind of both eyes, whom the Moon-Angel used to
lead around hither and thither with a string that
nobody could see. I used to go down to the toll-
gate and sit there and watch the cobbler cobble
shoes just as David used to sit and watch Hans
Krout at his work, and to this day I believe it
takes more wits to cobble a pair of shoes than to
write a big book, and more cleverness to make a
good wax-end than to draw a picture with a
But it was not altogether the shoe cobbling that
brought David to the cobbler shop. Hans Krout
had a fiddle, and he could play you a tune so
sweet and thin and clear that it would make your
throat fill up with happiness to listen to him.
When he was not busy he used to play the fid-
dle to David, and David would sit and listen and
listen, and the baby would suck its thumb and go
But it was not altogether the fiddle either that
brought David to the cobbler shop. For the most
wonderful thing about Hans Krout was that he
was as full of stories as an egg is full of meat. He
could tell you about princes and princesses, and
kings and nobles, and lords and giants and hob-
goblins, by the hour and by the day, when he was
not busy cobbling shoes.
But even this was not the best, for Hans
Krout knew ever so much more than these things.
He knew all about the Moon-Angel and the moon-
path and the moon-garden and the moon-house,
and he would sometimes tell the little boy about
them. That was the most wonderful of all, for all
the other things were only fairy tales, but what he
told about moonshine was real.
â€œWere you ever out along the moon-path your-
self?â€ said David.
â€œ Yes,â€ said Hans Krout. â€œAs true as [ sit
here. I did nâ€™t know how to travel the moon-
path at first, for I had nâ€™t learned the trick. All
the same I knew that Katherineâ€ â€” Katherine was
Hans Kroutâ€™s wifeâ€” â€œthat Katherine had gone out
that wayâ€”lI mean along the moon-pathâ€”with
the Moon-Angel. And so I tried and tried, and by
and by I learned how to do it. I was down on
the shore one night,â€ said Hans Krout, â€œand there
was the moon-path stretching away toward the
moon. I knew that this was just the time to take
a walk upon it, for the moon was neither too high
toward heaven, nor too low toward the earth.
There was a wave coming in toward the shore.
Right on top of the wave was a crooked bar of
moonlight. I knew that was what I had to stand
upon, and so I stepped out. Butjust as I did so I
got frightened, andâ€”souse! there I was in the
water over head and ears. Well, what of that?
I got out and walked home. But I was nâ€™t going
to give it upâ€”not I. I went out again another
day. There was the moon-path, and there was
the wave, and there was the bar of moonlight
right a-top of the wave. I stepped out again, and
this time I was nâ€™t afraid. This time, would you
believe it, I did nâ€™t fall into the water at all. All
the same I had to jump off that wave on to another,
for the moonlight was sliding away under my feet.
It was as slippery as glass. I jumped to the next
wave and to the next and to the next, and then I
was allright, and it was like gravel under my feet,
and I ran just like you run along the shore where
the gravel is. Then by and by the path was like
a field of pure light with blades of silver grass,
and I ran along just as you do when you run
across the fields up on the hills.â€
â€œDid you get to the moon?â€ said David.
â€œNo,â€ said Hans Krout, â€œnot that time. I did
get to the moon afterwards, but not that time.â€
â€œAnd what was it like inside of the moon?â€
Hans Krout looked at him and smiled just like
a little child when it first awakensâ€”a_ foolish,
silly, simple smile that had no more wits in it than
moonshine itself. But it seemed to David that his
face grew white and shone bright. He got up,
took his fiddle down from the wall, and began
to play. He played and played, and little David
sat and listened and listened, and the baby slept
on and smiled and smiled, until Hans Krout grew
tired of playing. Then he laid his fiddle aside
and began cobbling shoes, rap-tap-tap! and the
baby came awake and began reaching for Davidâ€™s
face. â€œI wish you â€™d show me how to walk on
the moon-path some time,â€ said David.
â€œSo I will,â€ said Hans Krout, â€œif you Il be a
good boy and mind the baby.â€ Rap-tap-tap !
and he drove another peg. Then David heard
his mother calling, and he knew he had to g0
â€˜â€œMoon-calf!â€ called Tom Stout, as he went
along the street. â€œ Moon-calf! Moon-calf! Moon-
calf!â€ called all the other boys and some of the
Little David looked over his shoulder and
laughed. He did not mind how much they called
him moon-calf now, for Hans Krout had promised
to show him the way to the moon-path, and if he
was to play on the moon-path, why, of course he
must be a moon-calf.
David in the Water
r \HERE is only one evening or two at most
out of all the twenty-eight and a quarter
days that it takes for the moon to change
from full to full in which you can travel upon the
moon-path. Maybe after a while, and when you
get very well acquainted with the way and know
just how to set about it, you can travel the moon-
path almost whenever you choose. But when
you are learning there is, as I said, only one or,
at most, two evenings in all the twenty-eight and
a quarter days in which you are able to walk out
upon it. Those evenings are the second or third
after the full of the moon.
I will tell you why this is so. It is because,
when the moon is quite full, there is too much
daylight to see the moon-path when the moon
first rises. And when the moon is too far past
the full, there is too much night to see what you
are about. For when you are learning to walk
upon the moon-path it must be neither daylight
nor dark, but just betwixt and between.
So it is that the proper time comes only twice
or thrice in all the twenty-eight and a quarter
days that it takes the moon to change from full
â€œDo you know,â€ said Hans Krout to David,
â€œthat yesterday was the full of the moon?â€
â€œNo; I did nâ€™t,â€ said David. â€œBut what of
â€œ Well, I will tell you,â€ said Hans Krout; â€œthis
evening will be the best time for me to show you
the way to walk out upon the moon-path.
â€œAnd will you show me the way to-night?â€
cried the little boy.
â€œT will,â€ said Hans Krout, â€œif you will come
to me just after sundown.â€
Silly little David could hardly believe his ears.
It was not until after sundown that he was
able to leave the baby, for the little one cried and
fretted, and fretted and cried, until David thought
she would never be quiet. But at last she grew
still, and fell fast asleep, with her thumb in her
mouth. Then he was able to leave her. He came
out into the wide air full of the brightness of the
twilight that had not yet turned into dusk. There
was Hans Krout waiting for him in front of the
_ cobbler shop, shading his eyes with his hand.
â€œ Hi! David,â€ he said, â€œI have been waiting for
you a long, long time.â€
â€œ Well,â€ said David, â€œ here I am.â€
â€œAye;â€ said Hans Krout, â€œthere you are.
Part of you here, part of you there. Thatâ€™s the
way to travel the moon-path.â€
â€œT donâ€™t know what you mean,â€ said David.
â€œDonâ€™t you?â€ said Hans Krout, as he looked
silly and laughed.
He took David by the hand and led him away
up the village street. The little boys and some of
the little girls were chasing around and around the ~
grassy common. The geese were cackling, and
the cows were lowing, as they were turned out to
grass again for the night.â€™ Everything looked
strange and gray and still in the bright, shadow-
less twilight. The little boys and the little girls
stopped their play and stood looking after Hans
Krout and silly little David. Then they began
halloing after them. Some of them said:
â€œ Hans Krout, Hans Krout,
Your wits are out, your wits are out!â€
And some called, â€˜â€œâ€˜ Moon-calf! Moon-calf!â€ after
David looked up into Hans Kroutâ€™s face, and he
looked so strange, that the little boy was almost
Thus they walked on together, hand in hand. |
By and by they left the village behind, and were
going along the rocky shore of the sea. They
went along, climbing up and down the stony path,
until at last they came to a place where David
had never been before. Here there was a level
shelf of rock, and against the foot of the shelf the
waves came in from the sea beyond, rising and
falling as though the water was breathing. The
David looked up into Hans Kroutâ€™s face.
light was growing more and more gray. David
looked up. There was just one bright star shining
in the pallid sky.
Hans Krout stood quite still, holding him by
the hand, and looking out toward the purple gray
of the east. Little silly David looked up now at
the star, and now at Hans Kroutâ€™s face, and every
now and then out across the water. The sky grew
darker and darker, and by and by the gray be-
gan to change to a dim blue. At first there had
been a ruddy light all over the east, as though the
sunshine lingered over yonder, after it had left
everywhere else. Then, after awhile, that too had
faded out, and had changed to blue-gray, and
looked almost like a bank of clouds. Then the
yellow moon came slowly up, out of nowhere.
First the rim of it showed, then the half of it,
then the whole of it. Then it floated up, slowly,
slowly, into the soft, dark sky, like a golden bub-
ble. Hans Kroutâ€™s face shone as though the
moonlight were shining upon it. â€œWait a little,â€
The moon rose higher and higher and little
David held his breath. There was the moon-path
stretching across the water. â€œ Yonder it is,â€ said
Hans Krout, â€œand now is your time.â€
â€˜What shall I do?â€ said the little boy.
â€œStep out like a soldier,â€ said Hans Krout.
â€œ But what shall I step upon?â€ said David.
â€œThere,â€ said Hans Krout, â€œdonâ€™t you see that
bar of light on the tip-top of that wave? Step on
the top of that, and then you will know what to
Poor little Davidâ€™s head seemed to spin. The
wave came closer and closer. â€˜â€˜ Now, then,â€ said
Hans Krout, â€œstep out like a soldierâ€”quick !â€
Then David did as Hans Krout told him. He
stepped out on the crest of the wave as it came up
against the shelf of rock. It seemed to him he
stood so for a moment upon the slippery bar of
light; then he felt suddenly very much afraid.
â€œOh, I am falling!â€ he piped shrilly. Thenâ€”
souse!â€”he was struggling and choking in the
deep water that gurgled above his head. Once
he came up to the top of the water. He saw a
glimpse of the moon, and of Hans Krout, and then
he was down againâ€”struggling and choking.
Somebody caught him by the collarâ€”it was Hans
Krout. The next moment he was dragged up on
the rock like a drowning kitten. He gasped and
choked and gasped again. Then he began to cry.
Hans Krout seemed to be frightened at what he
had done. â€œHe stood for a moment looking at
David as he shivered, and shook, and cried; then
he turned and walked away back toward the vil-
lage, with the poor little boy trotting behind him
still crying and shivering, the salt water and the
salt tears trickling down his poor little thin face.
Hans Krout did not stop at Davidâ€™s house to
tell them how it happened. He hurried home al-
most as though he were running away. Davidâ€™s
father was sitting mending his nets. He looked
up as David came creeping in, wet and shivering.
â€œThunder and lightning!â€ said Davidâ€™s father,
taking the pipe out of his mouth, â€œwhat has hap-
pened to you, little child?â€
' â€œT tried to walk on the moon-path,â€ said little
David, â€œand I fell through it into the water.
That is all.â€
â€œTried to walk on the moon-path!â€ said
David's father. â€˜What does the child mean?â€
â€œHans Krout took me out,â€ said David, â€œand
showed me the moon-path, and. how to walk on
it; but when I stepped on it I got frightened and
slipped through into the water.â€
Davidâ€™s father sat staring at him, holding his
pipe in his crooked brown fingers. â€œWhat is all
this nonsense?â€ said he. â€œHans Krout, is it?â€”
showing you the moon-path? Well, you shall go
with Hans Krout no more, for he is crazy and
knows not what he does. Here, Margaret, take
the child and put him to bed. Why, he is cold
to the marrow! Moon-path! The crazy shoe-
maker will be the death of somebody yet!â€
So Davidâ€™s mother put him to bed, and David
cried himself to sleep.
L e KROUT seemed almost afraid of -
David for a while after that. He would
not speak to the little boy on the street,
and even when David came to the cobbler-shop
he would not play his fiddle. Neither would he
tell David the story of the Princess in the Glass
Hill with three lions at the door, and the Prince
with the red band around his wrist. Once he had
promised to tell the story, but now he would not.
He just stitched and rapped and cobbled at. his
shoes as though he had wits for nothing else.
â€œAre you angry with me, Hans?â€ said David.
â€œJT am not,â€ said Hans.
â€œWhat is it, then?â€ said David.
â€œJt is nothing,â€ said Hans.
â€œBut will you not tell me the story?â€ said
â€œT will not,â€ said Hans.
â€œWhy not?â€ said David.
â€œBecause the Master eonule has stopped up
my wits with shoe-makerâ€™s wax,â€ said Hans.
â€œWho is the Master Cobbler?â€ said David.
â€œNo matter,â€ said Hans.
David sat for a long time looking at Hans.
â€œWill you show me the moon-path again some
time?â€ said he, after a while.
â€œT do not know,â€ said Hans Krout, without
looking up, â€˜that depends.â€
~ â€œDepends upon what?â€ said David.
â€œ Depends upon the Master Cobbler,â€ said Hans.
So all that month Hans Krout was dull and
silent and stupid, and would hardly speak to
David. He would not even look at the baby, and
so David had to go off by himself to find amuse-
There was a place down by the sea-shore where
he always went at such times; he called it his
sea-house. There was a little sandy, gravelly
floor, with the rocks all around it. There was a
pool of water full of sea-weed, and strange things
that were aliveâ€”sea-anemones and crabs and
shell-fish. Everything smelt salt, and out beyond
you could see the sea, with the sun shining and
sparkling and dancing on the waves. That was
where David used to go by himself with the baby _
to be alone.
It was there that he first saw the Moon-Angel.
This is how it was: the baby had been fretting
and crying, and Davidâ€™s mother was very cross,
for she had been sitting up the night before with
poor little Barbara Stout, who was very sick, so
that Barbaraâ€™s mother might get a little wink of
sleep. So David took the baby to make her
quiet, and as soon as he had done so, she stuck
her thumb in her mouth and stopped crying.
The sun was shining warm and bright, and
David took the baby down to his sea-house.
The wind was blowing, and he sat looking out
across the sea and at the big. waves that rose
and fell as though the water were breathing long
and deep,â€”the big waves that soughed and
sighed among the rocks as though the sea were
murmuring in its sleep. All over the bosom of
the waves there were little wavelets that leaped
and skipped and winked and twinkled as the
breeze came chasing them. The sea-gulls hov-
ered and skimmed overhead, looking down at
David and laughing â€œ ha-ha-haâ€ in the sunlight.
So there David sat and looked out across the
wide, bright, deep, breathing water and the danc-
ing little waves, and the baby lay with her thumb
in her mouth, staring up into the blue sky.
Then he saw the Moon-Angel for the first time.
â€œWhy not try the moon-path to-night?â€ said
a voice behind David. David turned his head
quickly, and the baby turned her head also, for
she heard the voice as well as David.
David thought at first it was Hans Krout, the
cobbler, but it was not. It was the Moon-Angel.
David knew who it was as soon as he set eyes
on him, for David was of that kind who can see
more through the square hole of a millstone than
t? other side of it, and so he knew it was the
Moon-Angel as soon as he set.eyes on him. The
Moon-Angelâ€™s face shone as white as silver, and his
hair floated out like a bright cloud around the
moon. He had on a long, dim, silver-white robe
that reached to his bare feet, and though the robe
was perfectly plain and dim silver-white, yet it
_ sparkled all over with little stars, just as the dim
silver-white gray sky sparkles here and there with
stars when the moon is full.
That is what David saw.
â€˜To most people the Moon-Angel appears terri-
ble. For there are few folk, unless it is a moon-
calf like David, who can see him in his true shape,
with his face shining brightly, and his hair flowing,
and his dim silver-white robe sparkling with stars.
David took off his hat, and the baby laughed
without taking her finger out of her mouth. â€œTI
would like to try again,â€ said he; â€œI did try once,
but I could nâ€™t do it.â€
â€œWhy?â€ said the Moon-Angel, and he smiled
till his face shone white like the moon.
â€œT got frightened and fell into the water,â€ said
â€œ But you should nâ€™t have been frightened,â€ said
the Moon-Angel. |
â€œ But I could nâ€™t help it,â€ said David.
Â«â€œ And what did Hans Krout do then?â€ asked
_ the Moon-Angel.
Â«He went home,â€ said David, â€œand he â€™s
never said a word about the moon-path from that
day to this.â€
Again the Moon-Angel smiled, and his face shone
brighter than ever. â€œWell,â€ said he, â€œ Hans
Krout is a very good man and a great friend of
mine. He can show you the way, and there is no
man about here who can show you the way. Go
to him and tell him that he is to show you the
way to walk on the moon-path to-night.â€
Â«Who shall I tell him sent me?â€ said David.
â€œTell him the Master Cobbler sent you,â€ said
the Moon- oe
â€œQh, yes,â€ said David, â€œnow I know whom
he meant by the Master Cobbler.â€
â€œYes,â€ said the Moon-Angel, â€œthat is right.
Well, then, maybe I will see you after a while.
Just now I am very busy. Good-by.â€
David still looked at the Moon-Angel. The
Moon-Angel glimmered and glimmered and faded
and was gone, and where he had been was nothing
but the sky and the rocks. David almost won-
dered whether he had seen the Angel or notâ€”
whether what he had seen was really the Angelâ€™s
face or just the bright sky shining between the
Afterwards he knew well enough he had really
-seen the Moon-Angel, for it was just after this
that little Barbara Stoutâ€™s mother began crying â€”
and clapping her hands together, and that the
neighbors came in and found that the little sick
girl had died.
But David knew nothing of that. He got up
and, carrying the baby, went off to Hans Krout
and told him what he had seen and what the
Moon-Angel had said to him. <â€œ Yes,â€ said Hans
Krout, â€œ that was His Serene Highness, the Master
Cobbler, for sure and certain. Well, well, since
he says so, I will take you down to the moon-
path to-night, and we will try it again.â€
â€œAnd what do you suppose the Moon-Angel
was doing about here?â€ said David.
â€œHe came to take the little sick Barbara away
to the moon-garden,â€ said Hans Krout. Then he
took down his fiddle and began to play for the
first time in a month, and David sat and listened,
and the baby went to sleep.
That night Hans Krout led David down to the
moon-path again, for it was the day after the full
moon. They went off together just as they had
done before; out of the village and along the
stony path among the boulders, until they came to
the same place where they had been before â€”the
flat rock against which the waves came in from
the wide sea beyond. Again they sat there
waiting and waiting while the sky grew from
rosy to gray, and from gray to purple, and from
purple to dusk; until the moon rose as yellow as
honey over the edge of the ocean; until it floated
like a bubble up into the skyâ€”then there was
the moon-path just as it had been before.
â€˜Now, then,â€ said Hans Krout, â€œthere comes
a good bar of light on the top of yonder wave.
Remember the Moon-Angel â€”quick!â€”step out
like a soldier. There you areâ€”now, then!â€
David did think of the Moon-Angel, and he
stepped upon the wave almost without knowing
what he was doing. This time he was not afraid,
and the next moment there he was standing upon
the bar of light. It seemed to slip and slide un-
der his feet as though it were alive. He nearly
fell, but he did not remember to be afraid. An-
other wave came with another twisting, wriggling
â€˜bar of light upon the top of it. David stepped
upon it just in time to save himself from falling.
Then another wave came, and he stepped upon it;
then another and another wave. Each broken
piece of light was closer and closer to him than
the one he had left, and almost before he knew it
he found himself running across what was no
longer broken bars of light but what seemed to
him to be shifting, changing gravel of shining
He looked up; the moon had not risen any
further out of the water. There it hung, almost
round and almost full, just above the edge of
the horizonâ€”a great bubble of brightness.
Now then David was away even from the
gravel, and he found himself running across what
seemed to be a great field of light covered all
over with soft sparkles of silver grass. Hvery-
thing shimmered, and quivered,- and glistened
around him, and he felt the light rise up against
his eyes and his face. The breeze blew through
his hair. He felt so happy, he did not know what
to do. He skipped and capered just as a little
lamb skips and capers on the grass. It seemed to
_ David as though the moon was coming towards
him; it appeared to grow bigger and biggerâ€”
he was really getting closer and closer to the
moon. It was no longer like a bubble; it was
like a great round globe of light. Then, almost
before he knew, he was at the edge of the hori-
zon, With nothing beyond him but emptiness. And
there was the great moon rising above him as big
as a church.
David stood quite still and iakea up at it.
Click-clack! What was that? Suddenly a half-
door opened and there stood a little old man, as
gray as the evening, with long white hair and queer
clothes, and a face covered all over with cobwebs
of silver wrinkles. It was the Mani-in-the-moon,
and he was smoking a long pipe of tobacco.
â€œHow do you do, David?â€ said he. â€œWill you
â€œWhy, yesâ€, said David, â€œI would like to.â€
Suddenly a half-door opened and
there stood a little old man.
â€œThat is good,â€ said the Man-in-the-moon, and
he opened the other half of the door. â€œNow!
Give me your hand.â€
The Man-in-the-moon reached down to David,
and David reached up to the Man-in-the-moon.
â€œNow, then!â€”A long step,â€ said the Man-in-
the-moonâ€”and there was David in the doorway
of the moon-house. )
Then the moon rose slowly, slowly, up into the
sky and floated away, and the Man-in-the-moon
shut the doorâ€”click!â€”clack!
| | PON my word, I sometimes think I would
rather go to the moon-house than almost
anywhere else I know of. I have read
all about it in the Moon-Angelâ€™s book, and know
pretty well just what it is like â€”that is why I would
like so well to see it. Some people are dreadfully
afraid of the moon-house ; it seems to them to be
white and cold and awful. That is because they
only see the outside of it, and do not know what is
within. It is not what such people fancy it to be;
it is a calm, beautiful, lovely place, from the back-
door of which you step into the other side of no-
where. I used to be just as much afraid of the
moon-house as the most foolish of them. Some-
times I would dream about it at night, and it
seemed to me to be a great white emptiness, from
which you could see nothing at all, and in which
you could not hear anything, or feel anything, or
know anything. Then one day the Moon-Angel
came to me with his book under his arm. â€œ Would
you like to know about the moon-house ?â€ said he.
â€œ Yes; I would,â€ said I.
â€œÂ« Very well,â€ said he, â€œ then look!â€
He opened his book, and I looked over his
shoulder and read it. It was all about the moon-
house, and I read, and read, and read. Since then
I have never been afraid of the moon-house, for
now I know pretty well what it is, and that it is
a most wonderful, strange, curious, odd, fanciful,
beautiful place, that one can get into for the sake
of getting out again.
For, of course, no one wants to live in the moon-
house foreverâ€”that is, no one except the Man-in- .
the-moon, and he does not mind it any more than
a cat minds living in the kitchen.
The Man-in-the-moon led David up the front
stairs into the moon, and everything shone as
white as bright light. Up the stairs they went,
and up the stairs, a long, long way. By and by
they came out into a great round room, and it was
the first floor of the moon-house. It was the
moon-kitchen, and there the Man-in-the-moon does
all his cooking and brewing and patching and
mending, for it is full of all sorts of odds and ends
of things that men have seen and heard about and
forgottenâ€”and they are ten thousand times more
numerous than the things that men have seen and
heard about and remembered.
There the Man-in-the-moon sat down and looked
at David, and David stared at the Man-in-the-
moon. There was something about him that
lookedâ€”lookedâ€” David did not know whether it
was like Hans Krout or the Moon-Angelâ€”and
yet he looked like neither. He was just the Man-
in-the-moon, and he looked no more like Hans
Krout or the Moon-Angel than I do.
Then the Man-in-the-moon began laughing.
â€œ Well,â€ said he, â€œhere you are, David.â€
â€œ Yes,â€ said David, â€œ here I am.â€
Â« And how do you like it?â€ said the Man-in-
David looked all around him. â€˜TI like it very
well,â€ said heâ€”â€œ if only I were sure of somebody
to look after the baby down below there.â€
Â«â€œ Have no fear of that,â€ said the Man-in-the-
moon. â€˜â€œ You have left a part of yourself down
there behind you, and that will look after the baby
as well as you ever were able to do yourself.â€
Â«What do you mean?â€ said David. â€˜â€œ What
part of me have I left down there ?â€
â€œ You have left your hat and clothes and shoes,â€
said the old man, â€˜and nobody down there knows
otherwise than that you are in them.â€
Â« And will they look after the baby as well as
I would do?â€ asked David.
Â«They will,â€ said the Man-in-the-moon.
Â«Then I shall like it here very well,â€ said
David, â€œat least for a while.â€
â€œWould you like to go up-stairs and look out
of the windows?â€ said the old man. â€˜â€œ That is the
first thing that all the folk who come here ask
Â« And what do they see?â€ said David.
â€œThey see the inside-of-nothing-at-all,â€ said the
â€œ T would like to see that,â€ said David.
â€œCome along, then,â€ said the Man-in-the-moon.
He led the way up another flight of stairs to
the second story. There was a great room with
a floor as level and as smooth as glass, and there
were twelve great windows of crystal that looked
out of it. From the windows you could see all
that you ever heard tell of and more beside, for
from those windows you can, as the Man-in-the-
moon said, see the inside-of-nothing-at-all.
â€œCome here,â€ said the Man-in-the-moon, â€œ and
you may look out of this window.â€
He raised the curtain as he spoke, and David
came and looked out. ;
Now, when you look out of a window of a com-
mon house, you see things far away. That is
because you are not in the moon-house looking
out of a moon-window. When David looked out
of the window, he saw things very close at hand.
That was because he was in the moon-house look-
ing out of the moon-window, and not in a common
house looking out of a common window.
What David Saw
He found himself suddenly upon a wide river,
the stream moving slowly and sluggishly between
the banks, where the grass and weeds stood straight
and as tall asa manâ€™s head. Overhead was a cloud-
less sky, in which the sun shone as hot as a flame
of fire. There was a boat coming down the river
with a queer crooked sail, spread in hopes of
catching a breeze, though there was no wind blow-
ing. Three men were rowing the boat, and the
oars dipped and flashed in the sunlight.
It was all very strange to David, and yet it
was all singularly familiar to him. He could not
think why it should be so familiar until he remem-
bered that he had heard Ned Strong, the sailor-
man, tell his father about this very place, which _
he had seen in his travels, and all that had hap-
pened there. Then David knew it was a place
Dear, dear; how hot the sun shone! David
wished he had brought his hat. When you looked
out across the tall grass, the level stretch seemed
to tremble and quiver in the heat. It was all
grass, grass as far as the eye could see.
The boat came nearer and nearer, just as Ned
Strong had said. Then it was very close, and
David could see everything in it, just as though
he were looking over the side of a ship as Ned
Strong had done. In the boat, beside those who
were rowing, were a great lot of black peopleâ€”
men and womenâ€”each without a single stitch of
clothes upon his or her body. All the poor black
people were fastened together with great, long
ropes, and each wore a collar of wood, to which
the rope was fastened.
David remembered that Ned Strong had said
that these were slaves, and he felt almost more
sorry for them than he had felt in all his life be-
fore. The poor slaves sat there staring straight
before them. They looked scared and starved
and thin, and their ribs were like barrel hoops,
just as Ned Strong had said, their bodies hollow,
and their arms and necks like skin and bones.
But there they sat patiently without moving, and
the flies crawled over them, and they did not have
the spirit to brush them away. There was one
young woman who sat with her baby lying upon
her knees. She sat the most quietly and pa-
tiently of all, for she was dead, though nobody
knew it. By and by, a man dressed in a loose
robe, and with a fez on his head, came down the
long board that ran the length of the boat. When
he came to the woman he stopped and looked at
her, and saw that she was dead, though the baby
was still alive. Then he called to some of his men,
who came and loosened the rope about her, for it
was of no use to keep the woman any longer, and
so they threw her overboard. David was crying.
The baby still lay in the boat, and then the man
with the loose robe and the fez picked it up, and
threw it also into the water after the mother, for
it too was of no use. David screamed aloud.
Then, lo and behold! everything was gone like
a flash. What David saw now was the bottom of
the river, and all around was nothing but water.
There were great beds of long water grass twisting
and moving slowly as the slow river water drifted
past. Overhead David could see the round bot-
tom of the boat as it moved slowly away, the oars
still dipping and making round golden rings on
the smooth surface of the river overhead. It was
very cool and pleasant down there at the bottom
of the river, under the water, and the black wo-
- man and the black baby lay not far from one
another, each in a bed of soft green water grass.
Then somebody came walking along through
the beds of long, cool water grasses. It was the
Moon-Angel. He came to where the black
woman lay, and he took her by the hand. Then
she arose and stood looking about her. The
Moon-Angel picked up the baby and laid it in her
arms. â€˜â€˜ Come,â€ said he, â€œwe must be going.â€
The negro mother, with her baby in her arms,
followed the Moon-Angel as he led them up out
of the water into a garden, where there were
children playing. They stopped playing as the
Moon-Angel led the black woman with the baby
through the garden. David looked about him; it
was a very wonderful garden. There were flow-
ers everywhere, and there was a meadow in the
distance, and a row of trees along by a river, and
far away beyond that, a great city, sparkling white
in the sunlight against the still blue sky. Then
David understood that the children belonged to
the city, and that their teacher had brought them
out into the garden to play.
(He did not then know that it was one of the
gardens behind the moon.)
The children joined David, and followed along
after the black woman and her baby and the
Moon-Angel, and their teachers did not forbid
them. The black woman looked around at the
children and laughed, and they also laughed.
â€œWhere are you going?â€ called David to the
black woman. â€œWhere is the Moon-Angel going
to take you?â€
The woman answered him, but even though he
was a moon-calf, David could not understand what
she said, for she spoke in no words that fitted to
any speech except the speech of a very few.
By and by David found that the children were
no longer following the Moon-Angel and the
woman with her baby. Then he heard somebody
calling him. He looked around; it was the Man-
in-the-moon. â€œStop!â€ called the Man-in-the-
moon. â€˜Come back! You must go no further.â€
â€œWhy not?â€ said David.
â€œ Because you â€™ve got to the end of nowhere,â€
said the Man-in-the-moon, â€œand no one can go fur-
ther than that unless the Moon-Angel takes him.â€
â€œBut Iâ€™d like to see where she goes,â€ â€˜said
David. Then the Man-in-the-moon ran forward
and caught him by the coat and pulled him back.
As he did so, there suddenly came a flash of great
light that shone all around and dazzled Davidâ€™s
eyes. In the blinding light, David could see nothing
at all, and he stood there quite still, trembling and
frightened. Then he heard something like the
sound of thunder in the distance. But it was not
that ; it was the sound of thousands and thousands
of voices, singing in a multitudinous cadence, that
was like the rushing of many waters, and like the
vast hum of far-away music, and like the distant
pealing of thunder. The Moon-Angel and the
woman and the baby were gone, and there was |
nothing but the light and the sound.
Ah! yes, little child. For there is as much joy
and gladness over one poor black woman who
enters into that place as there is over the whitest
empress who ever walked the earth of Christendom.
Suddenly something was closed, and David
found himself inside the moon-house. The Man-
in-the-moon had drawn the curtain over the win-
dow,â€”that was all.
â€˜â€œ But where did the woman and the baby go?â€
â€œThat,â€ said the Man-in-the-moon, â€œyou will
have to ask the Moon-Angel himself sometime
when you meet him. But tell me, did you like
what you saw?â€
â€œTt was very beautiful,â€ said David. â€œ But
Ned Strong did not tell my father about all that I
have seen. He only told about those poor slaves,
and how the woman and the little baby were
thrown into the water.
The Man-in-the-moon laughed. â€œ Aye, aye,â€
said he, â€œthat was because he saw the outside of
things. If Ned Strong could only come here to
the moon-house, and look out of the second story
window, as you have done, he would not have
bothered himself about the outside, which is no
more to the inside of things than the shell of the
egg is to the meat.â€
â€œBut,â€ said David, â€œwhy did there have to be
such an outside? Why did the poor black woman
have to be ill-treated, and starve and die, and why
did the poor little black baby have to be thrown
alive into the water? The other part was beau-
tiful, but that was dreadful and sad.â€
The Man-in-the-moon laughed again. â€œâ€˜ Because,â€
said he, â€œeverything that has an inside must.
have an outside as well, for there can be no in-
side unless there is an outside. And this is true,
little child: the more sad the outside, the more
beautiful almost always is the inside. . But, come,
you must go to work now. You have spent enough
time looking out of the window. To-morrow
night you shall see something else, but now it is
time to go to work.â€
Then the Man-in-the-moon led David up to the
third story of the moon-house, where there was
nothing above him except the hollow, empty sky.
The first thing David saw was a great basket full
of stars of all sorts and sizes and kinds. Some
shone white, and some blue, and some rosy red.
The light shone from them so that all about was
a mist of brightness.
David stared with all his eyes, as well he
David sat down on the wooden bench
and took up a big blue star,
might, for there are few indeed who get into
the third story of the moon-house and see what .
David sawâ€”that great basket full of bright
Beside the basket was a bundle of lambâ€™s-wool.
â€œThere is your work,â€ said the Man-in-the-moon.
â€œTt is to polish the stars with lambâ€™s-wool, so
that they may shine brightly when the moon
wanes and the sky is dark once more.â€
David sat down on the wooden bench and took
up a big blue star. He blew his breath upon it
and rubbed it with the lambâ€™s-wool, and as he
rubbed it it grew brighter and brighter, and
pulsed and glowed and throbbed with light as
though it were alive. David did not know how
beautiful a star could be until he held it in his
own hand and rubbed it with lambâ€™s-wool.
I dare say that you will hardly believe that
this is the truth. I dare say there are some wise
folk, each of whom wears two pairs of spectacles
upon his nose, who will tell you that it is all non-
sense. Well, well, maybe it is all nonsense, but
sometimes there is more solid truth in a little non-
sense than in a whole peck of potatoes. All that
you have to do is to look up into the sky when
the moon is full, and there you will see for your-
self that there are scarcely any stars to be seen,
and those few so dull and dim that they hardly
twinkle at all. That is because somebody in the
moon is polishing the others with lambâ€™s-wool to
make them bright for the time when the sky is
There are some few stars that even those in the
moon do not polish. Those are given to the sun
children to burnish in the sun-oven.
This is not all nonsense.
O David lived in the moon-house for twelve
days, and every day, when he had no work
to do, he looked out of a moon window.
And each time he looked out of a window he
saw something different from that which he had
seen the day before. One time he saw a trop-
ical forest, where the liana vines hung from the
trees like great curtains, covered all over with red
and yellow and blue flowers, and out beyond the ~
edge of the forest was the sea, where the man-
groves grew down by the waterâ€™s edge, and where
black crabs, with little red spots peppered over
their bodies, twiddle their legs and crawled in and
out among the tall, thin roots. The wind rushed
and rattled through the palm leaves, and all sorts
of birds and strange insects flitted and hummed
and buzzed about him. For it was not at all like
looking out of a common window. It seemed to
David as though he were walking in the forest
itself with all these living things buzzing and hum-
ming and moving about him. Ah! it is some-
thing worth while to look out of a moon window,
I can tell you, little child. You yourself will see
how it is some day, for everybody looks out of a
moon window sooner or later, and this is not all
nonsense either. .
At another time David saw the icebergs glit-
termg bright and transparent with sapphire and
green and red light as they floated in the dark
northern seas. He was, it seemed to him, walking
on the ice-floes, and there were herds of seals and
walrus scattered like black patches along the white
shore. The northern lights waved like white and
violet banners in the air, and queer little Eskimo
folkâ€”men, women, and childrenâ€”clad all in furs,
crept in and out of their ice houses.
At another time it was as though he was aboard
of a great ship, with its sails spread white and
round, as it went sailing away toward the Indies;
plunging and yawing across the ocean, with clouds
of foam and spray under the bow, and with little
Mother Careyâ€™s chickens flitting from wave to
wave astern, waiting for the cook to throw good
things overboard. The great waves rose and fell,
and the air was full of the sound of rushing waters.
The tall masts with their tangled maze of rigging
swung back and forth across the sky, and the salt
â€œair swept dank and cool across the deck. It was
famous sailing weather.
All these things David saw out of the windows
of the moon-house â€” and it was just as though he
was living in the midst of them, as you live in the
midst of things when you are out of doors. But
I have told you only the outside of what he saw.
Always David would see the inside as wellâ€”how
the great tangled, useless tropical forest was work-
ing and working with all its might and main to get
things in such order that man might live there some
day or other; how the great brown earth lay fast
asleep under the arctic ice fields, waiting until its
time should come to work as the tropical forests
were working; how the great ship, that the cap-
tain, and the supercargo, and the sailors thought
was carrying calico and cotton cloth to the coolies,
was really and truly carrying old things to the
Moon-Angel, so that he might make them over
into new things again. These were the things
that David saw.â€™
So the days passed, and every evening the Man-
in-the-moon came and took the stars that David
had polished and stuck them up in the sky where
they belonged. You may see that for yourself if
you watch; for as the moon passes the full, the
sky grows darker and more dark, and the stars
grow greater and greater in number, as the Man-
in-the-moon puts them back in their places.
And now David began to see the very strangest
part of the strange things that concern the moon-
Kach day the moon-house grew less and less
bright. By and by, half the moon-house was dark
and half shone as white as shining silver. By and
by three fourths of the moon was dark and only
one fourth was bright. By and by the moon-house
was all dark except just a little rim of silver light.
And each day there were fewer and fewer of
the twelve windows open. By and by there were
six of them closed and six of them open. By
and by, there were nine of them closed and only
three of them open. By and by they were all
closed, and the second story was darkened as a
room is darkened in summer time when you are
sent to take a nap in the afternoon.
-And each day there were fewer and fewer
stars in the basket in the third story. By and by
the basket was half emptied. By and by it was
three quarters emptied. By and by it was all
emptied but just a few scattered stars in the
bottom. At last they were all gone, and the
Man-in-the-moon came up-stairs and shut the
trap-door that led up from below into the third
story, and locked it with a padlock, and put the
key in his pocket.
He did this because nobody is allowed to be
in the third story of the moon unless they have
stars to polish. That is the way it is inâ€™the moon,
â€”and that is the way it is everywhere else and
with everybody. . .
So, now, the moon was all closed and darkened,
and everything was a dim twilight, just as it is
in a house that is closed and darkened in the day
time. It was of no use to go up into the second
story now, for the windows were all closed. So
David spent all of his time down in the moon-
kitchen, watching the Man-in-the-moon as he
stitched and patched and cobbled and tinkered
and mended at all the queer odds and ends of
things that people have seen or heard of and for-
gotten about. When the Man-in-the-moon was
not doing that, he was cooking or frying at the
stove or making up the beds; and when he was
not doing that, he was reading the almanac by
candle-light. As for storiesâ€”clever as was Hans
Krout at telling stories, the Man-in-the-moon knew
ten times more than he, and could play the fiddle
beside, so that, after all, that time of moon dark-
ness was anything but a dull time for David.
Then one day a wonderful thing happened.
Somebody was singing in the second story of
the moon-house, and when David looked up the
stair toward the door-way above, he saw a light
shining through the cracks and the keyhole as
though very bright candles were burning on the
David sat and looked, and listened and won-
dered. â€˜â€œ What is that?â€ said he to the Man-in-
â€œGo and see for yourself,â€ said the Man-in-the-
moon, without looking up from the almanac.
â€œ By myself?â€ said David.
â€œOf course,â€ said the Man-in-the-moon. â€˜How
else would you go?â€
Then David got slowly up from the cricket
where he sat and went up the tall, steep stairs
that led to the second story of the moon-house.
He did not know what was about to happen
next. He stopped and listened at the door. The
singine was louder and louder; it sounded like a
whole hive full of golden bees humming in tune.
The light through the cracks and the key-hole
shone brighter and brighter; it was like the light
of seven hundred and ten wax candles shining in
a dark room. David opened the door a little
crack and peeped in.
The room was all full of brightness, and there
was the Moon-Angel himself.
He was standing at an open window that David
had never seen before, and he stood gazing out of
it into the dark, still, fathomless sky. He was gaz-
ing, gazing at one bright star that shone, now red,
now blue, and flickered and blazed, and then
shone red and then blue again. There he stood
gazing, gazing at the star, and in his eyes were
two shining stars just like the one at which he
was looking, and the two stars in his eyes shone
now red, now blue, and flickered and blazed, and
then shone red, and then blue again. And all
the time that the Moon-Angel gazed at the star
he sang to himself a soft, low song, such as you
will never hear until the clay stoppers are taken
out of your ears. That was the music that David
heard humming like a hive of golden bees. The
Moon-Angel never turned his face or looked any-
where but up at the bright star, but as David
gazed at him he knew that the Moon-Angel was
looking at him, even though he was looking so
steadily at that bright star of changing red and
blue. And though the Moon-Angel never stopped -
gazing, he spoke to David as though there were
no one else in the world. â€˜How do you do,
David?â€ said he. â€œCome in and shut the door.â€
tan open w
He was stand
â€œThank you, sir,â€ said David. He came in
and shut the door behind him. â€˜ What are you
doing?â€ said he.
â€œJT am making old things new,â€ said the Moon-
David stood and looked at the Moon-Angel,
and-the Moon-Angel stood and gazed at the star
and sang to himself. That is one way he makes
old things new. He did not move so much as a
hair, and yet it was as he said. All the time he
was making old things over into new things.
That is what the Moon-Angel does, and that is
why he was made, and set a-goingâ€”so that he
might save a body from growing old forever.
_ â€œWell, David,â€ said he at last, â€œ you have been
a good boy and have done your work well. Now
you shall have three daysâ€™ holiday.â€
â€œThank you, sir,â€ said David. â€˜â€œ And where
shall I go for my holiday ?â€
â€œ You shall,â€ said the Moon-Angel, â€œgo into the
moon-garden. That is the best place out of the
world in which to play.â€
â€œThe moon-garden?â€ said David. â€œThat
sounds well, but how shall I get there?â€
â€œ Down the back stairs and out the back door,â€
said the Moon-Angel.
â€œThank you, sir,â€ said David. â€˜When shall I
â€œYou may go now,â€ said the Moon-Angel.
â€œThank you, sir,â€ said David again. â€œBut
where are the back stairs ?â€ .
â€œLook for yourself and see,â€ said the Moon-
David looked about him, and there they wereâ€”
the back stairs. He wondered that he had not
seen them before, just as we all do when we sud-
denly stumble upon themâ€”those back stairs of
There they were, and the strangest part of it was
that, now David had found them, there was no other
way out of the second story of the moon-house.
Yes, it was very strange ; but it is as true as the
sun in the blue sky. And as it was with David, so
it is with every one: as soon as you find the back
stairs of the moon-house, you lose sight of the
front stairs, and there is no other way out of the
second story; and when you find the front stairs,
you may hunt until your head spins, but not so
much as a single step of the back stairs can you
find. You can only see one flight of stairs at a
time ;â€” either itis the front stairs, or else it is the
back stairs. You can find whichever you choose,
but you cannot find them both at the same time.
If you choose to find the front stairs, there they
are, and there is the moon-path and the brown
world far away, and you can get back there when-
ever you choose, if the tide is right. But if you
look for the back stairs, there they are, and the
front stairs are gone, and whither the back stairs
lead, you must find for yourself.
All this, I say, is as true as the sun in the blue
sky. Yes, itis; and you must not believe poets
when they tell you it is not true. The fact is,
that many, many people, who do not know what
they are talking about, vow and declare that there
are no back stairs to the moon, and when you tell Â©
them there are back stairs, they laugh and sneer,
and giggle and snicker and flout at you, and,maybe,
call you a moon-calf, just as the little boys and the
little girls in thie village called David a moon-calf.
That is because such folk do not choose to look for
the back stairs, and so they never find them.
But now, there they were, and David knew
that they must lead somewhere, for the stairs
were made for the people to go up and down.
So down-stairs he wentâ€”down, down, down.
The stairs were narrow, and he had to feel his way
in the milk-whiteness, but he went on, down, down,
and by and by he saw a bright light shining from
the other side through the cracks of the door, just
as the light had shone from the second story, when
he had been in the moon-kitchen, and the Moon-
Angel up above. And now that he had come to
the door, he heard the sound of voices on the other
side, and they were the voices of children, laugh-
ing and playing. David stopped and listened for
a little while, and thought to himself: Â«There are
little children there, and they are playing with
one another. They will not want me to play
with them, for all the children call me moon-calf,
and if I go there, maybe they will just laugh
and flout at me, as they used to do down in the
village.â€ So he thought at first he would go back
again up into the moon, but then he said to him-
self: â€œNo, the Moon-Angel would not have told
me to come unless he wanted me to do so.â€
He put up his hand and felt for the lock. He
found it and pressed the latch. Click-clack ! the
door opened a crack. Then he pushed it open
wider. Then he stepped out into the brightness
If you want to know how he felt at first, just stay
in a dark room fora half hour, and then step out
into the bright sunlight. David saw nothing at all
but the dazzling light, that was neither like the
light of the sun nor like the light of a cloudy day.
He smelt flowers and heard childrenâ€™s voices, but
he could see nothing. He put up his hand to his
eyes to shelter them, and stood winking and blink-
ing and shrinking. For a moment the childrenâ€™s
voices still rose in a great loud babble, then sud-
denly they ceased, and everything was hushed and
still. David knew that they were all looking at
him. â€˜ Now they will call me moon-calf,â€ he
thought to himself.
But they did not. â€œOh-h-h!â€ said the voices,
and they rose higher and higher, and shriller and
shriller. â€œ Oh-h-h-h, here is a new little boy!â€
and then David could look around him.
Yes; there he was in the midst of the moon-
garden, but there was no moon-house in sight.
There was a broad level lawn of grass with a
sun-dial and rose bushes. Beyond the lawn there
were trees rich both with flowers and fruit. Over
the tops of the trees he could see a long, bright-
red brick house, with a row of windows that
shone in the sun, and a sloping roof, and a tower
with a clock, and a brass weather-vane, that
burned like a spark of yellow fire against the
blue sky above. It was very beautiful, but
David only just looked at it. That was all; for
there all around him was a circle of children
standing looking at him with big round eyes.
There was none of them older than twelve years,
and none of them younger than three, because
a child of less than three years is too young to
come into, this part of the moon-garden, and a
child past twelve is too old to be there. So no-
body but children between three and twelve years
old are allowed here, except the teachers. So these
childrenâ€”there were twenty-five or thirty of
them â€” stood looking at David with great round
eyes, and with them was the most beautiful lady
that David had ever seenâ€”a lady with a soft,
gentle face, and smooth hair, and eyes as blue as
the sky. She was the teacher. She too was
looking at him with gentle blue eyes, then she
reached out and laid her hand very gently upon
him and looked into his face. â€˜Where did you
come from, little boy ?â€ said she.
â€œT came out of the moon,â€ said David.
â€œTo be sure you did,â€ said she. â€œ And now I
see that you have been polishing the stars, have
you not ?â€
â€œYes,â€ said David. <â€˜ With lambâ€™s-wool, maâ€™-
am,â€ he added.
â€œâ€˜T knew you had,â€ said the lady, â€œfor I saw
them shining in your eyes. And you have come
here for a holiday, have you not?â€
_ Â«Â© Yes maâ€™am,â€ said David; â€˜the Moon-Angel
â€œTo be sure he did,â€ said the beautiful lady.
â€œVery well, then; run along and play with the
other children, for supper will be ready by and
â€œ But wonâ€™t they call me moon-calf?â€ said
The beautiful lady laughed; the sweetest, gen-
tlest laugh. â€œNo, indeed,â€ said she; Â« they will
never call you moon-calf, for all the children here
are moon-calves. But now run away and play,
Then all the other children scampered away,
shouting and laughing, and David ran after them,
not feeling even yet quite sure that they wanted
him. Beside that, he did not know how to play
as other children played.
The biggest boy of the lot was just about
Davidâ€™s age. â€œYou shall be our king,â€ said
he, â€œbecause the Moon-Angel sent you here
and because you have polished the stars. There
is nâ€™t one among us who has done that.â€
â€œT looked out of the moon-window, too,â€ said
â€œQh-h-h-h!â€ cried all the little children, and
they came crowding up around him, and some
of the littlest of them pushed up against him.
â€œWhat did you see?â€
Then David told them some of the things he
had seen out of the second-story windows, and
they all listened in silence.
David thought he had never been so happy in
all his life before, for all the children called him
their king and asked him what he chose to play ;
and they listened to him, and did as he told them,
_ and nobody called him a moon-calf.
So they romped and played and shouted until
supper time. Then a bell rang, and there was a
supper of bread and butter and honey in bright
blue china plates, and milk in blue china cups.
The supper was spread on a long table under
the shade of the trees. The birds sang in the
branches over their heads, and bees buzzed and
hummed in the flowers, and the sloping after-
noon sun shone warm through the leaves and
blossoms, and the clock bell in the tower struck
five, and everything was as sweet and happy and
tranquil as an evening in May time. David's heart
swelled so full of happiness that it almost ached.
After supper was over the beautiful lady sat
on the grass and read them wonderful stories out
of a picture book, and the children crowded around
her and peeped over her shoulder and across her
arms, and got into her lap and scrambled over her,
and she never once scolded them,â€”even when
they trod on her beautiful dress. The picture
book was full of the most wonderful fairy tales
that ever you heard in your life, and the pict-
ures were painted in colors as real as life. And
the most wonderful part of the book was that the
pictures moved just as-real things move. The
leaves and branches of the trees moved as though
the wind were blowing, the flags on the castle
fluttered and waved, the giants walked about,
the lions wagged their tails, and you could almost
hear them roar, the boats sailed across the water,
and the beautiful Princess leaned out and waved
her handkerchief, and the Prince galloped up in
a cloud of dust.
David had never seen such a wonderful book
in all his life before, and he fairly held his breath
as he looked at the pictures and listened to the
wonderful stories the beautiful lady read aloud
to the children.
Then came the twilight, soft and gray, and time
for the children to go to bed. The bedroom was
in the red brick houseâ€”a great, long room, with
two rows of small white beds, that smelt of old
lavender and dry rose leaves, and all sorts of
sweet things. There the children were put to bed,
and nobody scolded them, though they laughed
and talked and romped to their heartâ€™s content,
and jumped up and down on the beds, and climbed
in and out of them. Every now and then, when
their romping and shouts grew louder and louder,
the beautiful lady would say, â€œ Hush, hush!â€ in,
her gentle voice, but that was all. So they played
until they were tired, and then went to sleepâ€”
all but David. |
He lay quite still, feeling happyâ€”so happy and
quiet. He watched the beautiful lady as she
moved silently through the room, putting the chil-
drenâ€™s clothes to rights, and when she saw that
David was looking at her, with his big blue eyes,
she came and stooped over him and kissed him.
Then the great moon rose full and round and
yellow, and looked in at the tall windows, and
shone in Davidâ€™s faceâ€”for when there is no moon
~ at all on the brown earth, then it is full moon in
HERE was one little child that David liked
better than all the other children; her name
was Phyllis, and she was a princessâ€”for
she wore a golden coronet. Here eyes were
as blue as the sky, and her hair was as yellow as
gold, and her lips were as red as corals, and her
teeth were as white as pearls, and her laugh was
like the tinkle of water, and she had the sweetest,
shyest, prettiest little ways that ever any little
maiden had. David used to stand and look at
her, and look at her. It was almost as though he
were afraid of her, but it really was not that.
Phyllis knew very well when David was looking
at her, for she would look slyly back at him out of
the corner of her eyes, and then, maybe, she would
burst out laughing like a peal of silver bells, and
perhaps run away. She used to sit beside David
at table, and he would always choose her out of
the ring when they were playing â€˜There were
three Knights a-riding.â€ And when they would
sing â€”for they used to sing together every morn-
ingâ€”he always stood beside her, and it seemed to
him that their voices matched so perfectly to-
gether, that it made his ears ring as though a glass
bell had been struck. Then she would look at
him, and he would look at her, and the beautiful
lady would look at them both, and if she did not
smile, she did something more than smile, for her
face shone just as the Moon-Angelâ€™s face shone
when he looked at the bright star that beamed red
and blueâ€”as though a bright light were behind
the face, and turned to a translucent rosy red. If
you want to see how it looked, just hold your hand
up before a strong light, and see how the rosy
brightness shines through your fingers.
One day David and Phyllis were walking to-
gether down the garden path. There were rose
bushes all around, and the bright warm air was
full of the smell of flowers, and the trees over their
heads were full of pink and white blossoms. Be-
side the blossoms, there were many fruit, purple
plums, rosy apples, pears as yellow as pure gold.
David and Phyllis were walking hand in hand,
and they were very quiet. The other children
were playing over on the lawn beyond the rose
bushes, and they two could hear them shouting
and laughing. Over across the trees they could
see the tall, steep roof of the red brick house.
Above that, again, was the tall tower, and the
round clock face, and the brass weather-cock, that
shone like a spark of yellow fire as the breeze blew
it this way and that.
â€œTJ shall have to go back again pretty soon,â€
â€œGo where?â€ said Phyllis.
â€˜Back into the moon,â€ said David.
â€œT thought you had come to live with us all
the time,â€ said Phyllis.
â€œNo; I am not,â€ said David. â€œI am only out
for a holiday until the Moon-Angel sends for me
to come back again.â€
Â« And does the Moon-Angel live in the moon-
house?â€ asked Phyllis. .
â€œNo; but he comes there for three days in
every month,â€ said David.
â€˜What does he come for?â€
â€œHe comes to look at the star that shines red
Â«What does he look at the star for?â€
David stopped to think â€”and he could not tell.
When he had not tried to think about it, it seemed
to him that he knew why the Moon-Angel looked at
the star, but when he tried to think he knew nothing.
Yes; that is the way with all of usâ€”when we
try to think about it, then we cannot tell; when
we do not try to think about it, then we know all
about it. â€œI donâ€™t know why he looks at the
star,â€ said David. â€œ Only he says that he is mak-
ing old things new again.â€
â€œWhat kind of old things does he make new
again?â€ asked Phyllis.
Â«That I do not know,â€ said David.
â€œBut why do you have to go back into the
moon again?â€ said Phyllis.
Â«Because the Man-in-the-moon will gather in
the stars again, and then I â€™Il have to polish them
with lambâ€™s-wool,â€ said David.
â€˜And were they always polished that way ?â€
â€œBut who was it polished them before you
went into the moon?â€ said Phyllis.
Again David stopped to think, and then he
could nâ€™t tell that either. It seemed to him that
he did know until he thought about it, and then he
knew nothing. â€œTI donâ€™t know,â€ said he, and then
â€”â€˜â€œ Will you be sorry when I have gone back
into the moon ?â€
â€œYes; I will,â€ said ee
â€œWhen I grow up,â€ said David, â€œand when
you grow up, then we will be married.â€
Phyllis turned her face, and looked atâ€™ David,
and he looked at her. As he did so, he felt a
strange and wonderful thrill at his heart, such as
he never felt before. It was so keen that it hurt
him, and so sweet that it made his breast ache.
He did not know what it was.
â€œ Yes,â€ she whispered, â€œwe shall be married.â€
Then suddenly she snatched her hand away from
his and ran away, laughing like a peal of silver
bells. The next moment she was gone around the |
bushes and was with the other children again.
David stood for a while and wondered why his
heart fluttered so. Then he followed after her, and
he felt very sheepish and ashamed. When he
came back to the other children she would not
look at him or pay any attention to him. David
felt hurt that she should act so. He did not know
that she acted in that way because she was a lit-
tle girl. That is the way little girls always actâ€”
and big girls too. Why they do so, nobody but
the Moon-Angel knows.
Tinkle-tinkle-tinkle! It was that same after-
noon, and David heard the bell ringing. He was
playing with all his might and main, but he
stopped and stood still, for he knew that the bell
was ringing for him. Sure enough, there was the
moon-house, and there was the open door and the
back stairs, and there stood the Man-in-the-moon
in the door-way, ringing the bell, just as a teacher
rings the bell when play-time is over. ;
â€œMust I really go?â€ said David to the beauti-
â€œYes; you must go,â€ said the beautiful lady.
David ran to her and flung his arms around
her ; she stooped over and kissed him. â€œ Hurry,â€ .
said she, â€œor it will be too late.â€ ,
â€œGood by! Good by!â€ cried David, as he ran â€”
away toward the moon-house.
â€œGood by! Good by!â€ called me children
after him. <â€˜ Come back soon, again.â€
â€œ T will if I can,â€ called David over his shoulder.
The Man-in-the-moon reached out his hand.
David took it, and stepped up into the door.
Click-clack ! and then he was inside of the moon,
once more. .
He went up stairs to the second story. The
Moon-Angel had gone. One of the windows was
open, and there was a tiny thread of white light
shining on the side of the moon-house.
By and by the folk down in the world would
look up and say, â€œ Yonder is the new moon.â€
The Last Play-day
AY after day the moon grew brighter and
brighter, and at last it was full again.
Every day David looked out of one
of the second story windows, and every day he
saw something new.
One day, what should he see but the moon-
path itself stretching across the water far away
into the distance. At the end of it were dark
rocks against the sky. David knew very well
what place it was now. It was the place whence
he had started upon his journey for the moon.
There was the flat rock with the waves heating
up against it. He could even see the roofs of
the village ; andâ€”yesâ€”who should that be but
Hans Krout himself sitting on the rocks. Hans
was looking out across the moon-path toward the
moon. He saw David almost as soon as David had
seen him, and he waved his hand toward him.
â€œHow goes it, David?â€ he called across the water.
â€œTt goes well,â€ called David in answer.
â€œGoing to take another trip?â€ said Hans
â€œYes,â€ said David; â€œ good by!â€ Then the
moon rose up above the edge of the water, and
Hans Krout and the rocks and the distant roofs
of the village and the moon-path all faded slowly,
slowly away. â€˜Good by!â€ called Hans Kroutâ€™s
voice, now faint in the distance, across the water.
Then all was gone, and nothing was there except
the empty sky and the bright stars, while the
moon floated up into the hollow space like a big
round bubble. Then David knew that he could go
back home again whenever he chose. It made
him feel very happy, for, strange as it may
sound, no one cares to live in the moon-house
forever, wonderful as it all is. Hither one wants
after a while to get back home again, or else
one wants to get out the back door into the
moon-garden, or somewhere else.
So once more David lived in the moon-house
while it waned and waned, and as it floated in
the hollow sky he polished and polished the stars
with lambâ€™s-wool till they shone and sparkled
brighter than ever. When the moon was full,
the basket was full of stars; as it waned there
were fewer and fewer in the basket, until all
were gone. Then again the moon-light was
gone, and the second-story window-shutters were
all shut, and everything was dark.
Once more David sat down in the moon-
kitchen with the Man-in-the-moon, watching him
mend and stitch, and patch and cobble, and tinker
and cook and make the beds, and now and then
read the almanac by candlelight. But all the
time David was watching the Man-in-the-moon
he was also watching the stairway into the
second story and the door that opened into it as
well; for he knew that the Moon-Angel would
come again as he had come before, and he was
waiting for him.
Suddenly, one morning, he was there againâ€”
the Moon-Angel. David heard the singing and
saw the light, and he knew the Moon-Angel was
there. This time, without waiting for the Man-
in-the-moon to tell him to do so, he ran up-stairs
to the second story and opened the door. There
was the Moon-Angel gazing at the star. It flick~
ered and blazed and shone now red, now blue,
while the two stars in the Moon-Angel's eyes
flickered and blazed and shone now red and
now blue as did the star. The Moon-Angel
smiled a smile, and he looked at David without
ceasing to look at the star.
â€œWhat is it, David?â€ said the Moon-Angel ;
â€œdo you wish to go back to the moon-garden
â€œYes,â€ said David, â€œif I can be spared.â€
â€œYou shall go,â€ said the Moon-Angel, â€œfor
three days.â€ .
â€˜Down the back stairs?â€ said David.
â€œ Down the back stairs,â€ said the Moon-Angel.
David looked around, and there were the back
stairs. Who then so happy as he? He scamp-
ered away down the back stairs, and this time he
knew them so well that he did not have to feel
his way. Down he ran and down he ran, and ~
there was the sunlight shining through the cracks
of the door. Again he heard the voices of chil-
dren upon the other side of the door. Click-
clack! He lifted the latch, and there he was
out in the dazzling sunlight once more.
The voices of the children stopped the moment
he stepped out of the moon. â€œ Oh-h-h-h!â€ cried
all the children, â€œhere is David again.â€ The
beautiful lady was sitting on the soft, warm grass,
holding in her lap a new little child, who had just
come into the moon-garden. He sat with his
thumb in his mouth, staring at David with his
big, round, blue eyes. Then all the children ran
to David and began hugging and kissing him â€”
that is, all of them except Phyllis. She stood a
little way off, looking at David with her finger in
her mouth. The beautiful lady looked at him too,
and smiled until her face shone.
Thus it was for five months. During that time
David lived in the moon and did his work and
looked out of the windows, and for three days in
every month he went into the moon-garden and
played with the children. And it seemed to him |
that that was what he lived for,â€”to play those
three days in the moon-garden.
Then one time the beautiful lady took him by
the hand and led him into the house. He went
with her, wondering. She led him along a pas-
sage-way until they came to her own room,
which was at the far end of the long house. It
was a pretty room, that looked out into the gar-
den through tall clear windows with thin curtains,
and everything in it was sky-blue. There was
the ladyâ€™s desk and her pens and ink and account
book. David looked about him, wondering why
she had brought him there.
She laid her hand upon Davidâ€™s shoulder and
spoke to him. â€œ This is the last time you can come
into the moon-garden, David,â€ said she.
David looked at her like one struck dumb.
At first he did not understand her words; when
he did, it seemed to him as though everything
was falling away from him. Then he felt his
throat begin to choke and choke. Was it then
true? Was he never to come back to the beau-
tiful moon-garden again ; never to see Phyllis
again ; never to play with the children again ?
â€˜â€œâ€˜No,â€ said the beautiful lady, just as if he had
spoken, â€œ you are never to come back into the
â€˜Why not?â€ said David.
â€˜Â«â€˜ Because,â€ said she, â€œbefore this time next
month you will be twelve years old, and no one
can live here after he or she is twelve years old.â€
â€œWhy not?â€ said David.
The beautiful lady smiled in answer. â€˜Ah,
David,â€ said she, â€œmany ask that question, but
only one can answer itâ€”that one is the Moon-
Angel himself. Yes, David, it seems to be sad
that we cannot always be happy like little chil-
dren; but so it is, David. Innocent little chil-
dren must grow into men and women who are
not innocent. Why it should be so only the
Moon-Angel can tell. Nevertheless, so it is,
and as itis with others down in the brown world,
so it must be with you here, David. For the
time has now come when you must leave us here,
so that you may grow up into a man, and thus
be able to do the work for which you were sent.â€
â€œBut I would rather live in the moon-garden
and be happy,â€ said David.
Again the lady smiled until her face shone
bright as the Moon-Angelâ€™s face shone when he
smiled. â€˜ Aye,â€ said she, â€œso it is with all of us,
David. We would all like to be happy, but it
_ cannot be so. You must leave the moon-garden
now, and must go away and grow to be a man.â€
David stood silent, thinking about it. â€œ And
am I never to see Phyllis again?â€ said he at last,
almost crying. .
â€œT did not say you were never to see Phyllis
again,â€ said the lady. â€œThat depends upon
yourself.â€ She looked at David in the eyes.
â€œTell me,â€ said she, â€œ what did you say to Phyl-
lis one day? Did you not say that you two
should be married when you grew up?â€
â€œ Yes,â€ said David, and he blushed fiery red.
â€œThen if it is to be so, you must do something
to win her,â€ said the lady.â€œ For, listen, David,
Phyllis is not as other children. You did not
know it, and she does not know it; but she is a
Princess, and her father is a great King.â€
â€œA Princess!â€ cried out David.
â€œYes,â€ said the lady, â€˜â€˜a Princess.â€
Poor David stood staring at her. â€˜Then she
will not think of me when she grows up,â€ said
he. â€˜She will forget me.â€
â€œThat remains to be seen,â€ said the lady.
â€œShe will not forget you if you do the work for
which you were sent.â€
Â«And what work is that?â€ said David.
â€œTt is,â€ said the lady, â€œto find the Wonder-
Box and the Know-All Book, which lies in the
Tron Castle of the Iron Man, and to bring it back
to the brown earth again. That is what you
were really sent here to do.â€
â€œAnd how am I to do all that?â€ said David.
â€œHow am I to find the Wonder-Box and the
Know-All Book and the Iron Castle of the Iron
Man? I never heard tell of them before.â€
â€œJT will tell you,â€ said the lady.â€œ First of all
you are to go around behind the Moon-Angel.â€
â€œThat is not much to do,â€ said David.
â€œTs it not?â€ said the lady; â€˜â€œ Ah, David, you
do not know what you say. He who can dare
to do that, can dare anything.â€
â€œT donâ€™t understand you,â€ said David.
â€œDonâ€™t you? But you will after you have
tried. Just now you must listen to what I have
to say, for the time draws near when you must
go. If, when it comes to doing it, you dare to
go behind the Moon-Angel to the Moon-ocean,
where the great gray cliffs of rocks look down on
the sea, and where the old woman with the red
petticoat lives, then she will tell you what to do.â€
â€œAnd who is the old woman with the red pet-
ticoat ?â€ said David.
â€œAh, David,â€ said the lady, â€œeven I cannot
tell you that. Few have seen her, and fewer
still have talked with her. But this I know: she
can tell you all about the Wonder-Box and the
Know-All Book, and what you are to do to find
them. For she knows everything, and more
â€œThen I will go to her,â€ said David.
The lady smiled. â€˜Do go,â€ said she. â€œ But
first you will have to go beyond and behind the
â€œT can easily do that,â€ said David again. â€œTI
am not afraid of the Moon-Angel.â€ Again the lady
smiled, and this time, oh, so strangely, for she
knew what it was to go behind the Moon-Angel.
David did not know; but she knew, and she
looked almost with pity on him as she smoothed
the hair back from his forehead. â€˜God bless
you, David,â€ said she. â€œ But hark! there is the
Tinkle-tinkle-tinkle! Yes; there was the bell,
and there was the moon-house, and there was the
Man-in-the-moon standing, ringing the bell just
as the school teacher rings the bell when play- â€”
time is over.
â€˜May I not say good-by to the other children?â€
â€œNo,â€ said the lady; â€œI will say good-by for
â€œMay I not even say good-by to Phyllis?â€
â€œâ€˜No;- not even to her.â€
Tinkle-tinkle-tinkle! sounded the bell again.
â€œThen I will say good-by to you,â€ said poor
little David, in a choked voice, and he flung his
arms around the ladyâ€™s neck. She pressed him
close, close to her, and kissed him upon the fore-
head. <â€˜Good-by,â€ said she. Then she put him
from her, and he turned and ran away, the big,
round moon, the garden and all blurring to the
hot tears that brimmed his eyes.
The Man-in-the-moon reached down his hand,
and David took it. â€˜A long step,â€ said the Man-
in-the-moon. That is it.â€ Click-clack! And there
was David inside the moon again, with the back
door shut upon all that he had left behind.
Behind the Moon-Angel
, 10 get behind the Moon-Angel. Ah! little
child, that is the thing of all things to do.
And yet if you could get there, it would
only be to see things turned topsyturvy. That
is allâ€”to see things turned topsyturvy. And
yet everybody in the world is trying, and work-
ing, and praying, and longing to get behind the
Moon-Angel, or at least to see a glimpse of what
is behind him. Few, few, there are who really
get behind him; few there are who even so much
as see behind him. I have heard people say,
â€œOh, if I could only just once see ever so little
of what is behind the Moon-Angel, then I would
be satisfied, for then, maybe, I should see for my-
self those wonderful things that are there and
which many folk talk about and some believe in.â€
That is what I have heard people say. Maybe
they would be satisfied if they saw those things,
and maybe they would not, but, whether they
would or would not, they do not often see what
they want to seeâ€”perhaps because they try so
hard to see it.
Now I will tell you something: â€”I saw behind
the Moon-Angel onceâ€”jJust a little peep. I do
not know how it happened, but so it was. I was
not really behind the Moon-Angel, you understand,
I only just had a glimpse of what was behind
him. It was by the seashore and back of the
sand-hills, and the sun shone hotâ€”as hot as fire
â€”and the-sea gulls flew over my head, and the
dry grass hissed and whispered in the hot wind
that blew across the quivering sands. I could
hear the breakers far awayâ€” Boom! boom!â€”
but I could not see the ocean. Then suddenly I
saw the Moon-Angel come walking across the
sand. He went past me, and then I saw behind
him. What did I see? Oh, I wish I could tell
you, But when I try to remember what I saw,
then I forget all about it. All I know is that
ever since then I have seen things turned topsy-
turvy, and men walk on their heads instead of
their heels, and trees grow upside down, and that
I hear wise men talk nonsense.
However, all this is neither here nor there, nor
tâ€™other place, and if I stop to speak of such things,
I shall never be able to tell you the story of
David,â€”and that story is ever so much more
worth the telling. Yes; for David knew more in
his little finger about the Moon-Angel and what
was behind him than I shall ever be able to learn
with my whole body â€”at least until I have
cracked through the crust of things and got back
into the Land of Right-side-up again.
Well, for a month of days David did his work,
and rubbed the stars and rubbed the stars, and they
never shone as brightly as they did in that time.
The moon waxed and waxed, and then it waned
and waned, until all was dark about the moon-_
house and all the shutters shut again. Â»
David sat in the moon-kitchen, and waited and
waited, and, by and by, there was the light under
the door up stairs, and he knew that the Moon-
Angel had come again. David ran up stairs and
opened the door, and there was the Moon-Angel.
But now he was not standing looking out of the
window at the star that shone first red and then
blue, and flickered and blazed, and then shone
red and then blue again; he was standing in the
middle of the room and was looking straight at
And how shall I tell you what David saw and
what he did? How shall any one tell it? It
was all so strange, so strange that it does not fit
easily into the words of A B Câ€™s, and when a
body begins telling it, it breaks all into a jumble
and sounds like a fairy-tale, that is not real.
When David saw the Moon-Angel he stopped
short, and stood still and as though turned. to
stone. He had never seen the Moon-Angel look
as he looked now, and the little boy was filled
with awe. For now the Moon-Angelâ€™s face
shone like white light, and across his breast was
a word of five letters, the letters like forms of fire.
No wonder little David stood as though turned to
stone. For, oh! little child, the Moon-Angel is
terrible, terrible when you see him thus.
â€œDavid,â€ said the Moon-Angel, â€œ David, I am
waiting for you to come to me, and to pass
But for the first time David was frightened at
â€œOh, I am afraid! I am afraid!â€ said he.
â€œDavid, David,â€ said the Angel, â€œwhy are
you afraid ?â€
â€œJT do not know,â€ said David; â€œbut I am
afraidâ€”I am afraid of you!â€
Until now the moon-house and the moon-gar-
den had seemed to David to be like a beautiful
dream. Now, in his new-born fear, it was as
though everything had suddenly changed; as
though even theyâ€”the moon and the garden
â€”had changed to a dream in which there was
something of terror and darkness.
â€œWill you not come to me?â€ said the Moon-
Angel, and when he spoke thus David could not
Slowly, slowly he went forward to meet the
Moon-Angel. The Moon-Angel opened his arms
and took David into them.
What had happened? Was it a dream?
David found himself standing alone. At first it
was coldâ€”oh, so coldâ€”and all around was a
blank whiteness as of a drifting storm of snow.
It grew colder and colder; the icy wind seemed
to strike into the marrow of his bones, and he
went forward staggering as through deep snow.
Presently it seemed to him that he could not bear
the cold any longer. But it did not last for long.
Just as he began to feel that he could no longer
endure the freezing cold, it began to pass away.
Then presently he felt that the air was begin-
ning to grow mild and tepid. The icy wind
had ceased to blow, and it grew warmer and
warmer. In a little while the chill air had be-
come mild and balmy. All around David was
still a blank whiteness, only now it was the
whiteness, not of snow, but of a silvery mist that
hid everything from his sight. He could see no-
thing; but it seemed to him that he could hear
from beyond the veil of mist the sounds of flow-
ing waters and of rustling leaves; that he could
smell the odor of flowers; that he could hear the
song of birds, and far away a faint music as of
piping and the echo as of distant voices talking
and laughing together. All this he seemed to
hear faintly and distantly, but he could see no-
thing for the misty whiteness all around him.
This, too, lasted only for a little while, and then
it also began to change.
For presently it began to grow warmer and still
warmer. Then it grew hotter and still hotter. The
silver mist began to fade and melt and by and
by to change to a vapor of fiery copper. Then
instead of these other sounds of leaves and birds
and voices, which also dimmed away into silence,
there came nearer and still nearer a crackling
as of flames. David knew that fire lay before
him; that if he went on he must pass through it.
Should he turn back? No. He felt that he was
every instant becoming stronger and stronger to
bear the fiery trials. He did not know that he
was growing into aman; that it was not moments
that were passing, but years of time. Then he was
in the midst of the fire. Oh, how hot it was! His
brain swam dizzily, and he did not seem to feel
the ground beneath his feet. He was gasping
for breath, and crackling sparks of fire seemed to
dance before his eyes. A step or two more, and
he knew that he must fall, and what. would be-
come of him then? He wondered how he was
able to bear it.
Suddenly an iron door stood before him, and he
knew that thence he might escape. He flung him-
self against it, but it did not open. It was burning
hot to his hands, but he felt and found the latch.
He pushed it, and then the door swung open, and
he fell headlong out upon the ground beyond.
It was over. It was done. He had passed
beyond the Moon-Angel, and so much of his labor
was over. He lay there upon the ground gasping
and panting. A cool, moist breeze played around
him, and seemed to bathe him with a balm of com-
fort. Then it began to come to him that he was
upon the rocky shore of the sea. The thunder of
the breakers and the rattling hiss of the receding
waters, the rushing of the wind, and the clamor-
ing of the sea-gulls, filled his ears with sound.
- He lay there upon the cool, damp stones, mo-
tionless, panting, but quiet and at peace. But he
was no longer a little boy; he was a grown man.
Yes; he thought that he had been only a few
minutes in passing beyond the Moon-Angel ; but
it had really been ten years, and in that time he
had grown from a child into a man.
Few there are who grow to manhood thus, little
child. Do you not understand? No? Perhaps
some day you willâ€”perhaps, perhaps.
The Land of Nowhere
Y and by David arose and stood upon his
B feet. Then he looked down at himself and
saw as with a sudden shock of wonder that
he had grown into a man. He could not believe
it at first. What wonder! What delight!â€”a great
tall man with strong limbs and a big body. He
swung his arms and felt their strength; he filled
out his chest, breathing in great volumes of the
cool, salt air. He felt strong to do anything. He
was strong to do anything, for he had passed
through frost and fire and beyond the Moon-
Angel, and he who has done that can do anything.
Then he looked around him. On one side was
the ocean, on the other â€˜side rose beetling cliffs
that towered high, high into the air, the summit
swimming dizzily against the blue sky and the
floating clouds. High aloft against the face of
the cliffs flicked and fluttered the white wings of
the sea-gulls, and their clamor sounded inces-
santly through the ceaseless thunder and crash of
Away on the top of the cliff, some distance
beyond where he stood, he could just see the
roof of a cottage, and the red chimney, from
which the blue smoke drifted away into the air.
In front of the cottage was a woman with a red
petticoat that flamed like a spark of fire against
the blue sky. She was hanging out clothes upon
a line, but David knew that that must be the old
woman with the red petticoat of whom the lady
of the moon-garden had spokenâ€”the old woman
who knew everything and more beside.
He went forward along the seashore, the sea-
gulls rising everywhere from the cliffs at his com-
ing, clamoring and screaming with a multitudi-
nous outcry of voices. So with the noise of the
sea-gulls dinning in his ears, and the thunder of
the breakers filling his soul, David walked for-
ward along the shore until, by and by, he came to
a path that led to the face of the cliff, where
there was a flight of stone steps built up through
the clefts of the crags to the top of the pinnacled
rocks. Up these steps he climbed, up and up, the
moon-ocean spreading out wider and wider below
him the higher he climbed. By and by he was at
the top, and he could look out and down upon
the crawling, wrinkled water beneath him, stretch-
ing away as. boundless and empty as nothing at
all. There was not a boat or a sail in sight, but
only far away the long line of horizon, and from
that the pearly sky that arched up into a deep
blue dome overhead. Below him flicked and
flitted the sea-gulls about the rocky face of the
cliff, their screaming clamor coming up to him
commingled with the ceaseless noise of the dis-
Then he turned around, and there was the
cottage a little distance away. The old woman
with the red petticoat had gone back into the
house, but the clothes were hanging on the line,
snowy white and fluttering in the wind.
Then David saw what they were.
They were the souls of men.
From the outside they looked only like linen
clothes, but David was able now to see things
from the inside, and so could see that they were
the souls of men.
Aye, aye; this is true, little child. That dear
old woman who lives up on the cliff in the Land
of Nowhereâ€”that dear old woman with the red
petticoatâ€”that is what she does. Day after
day, day after day, she washes white the souls
of men, and. hangs them out in the sun and the
sweet warm air to dry. She has been doing so
ever since the beginning of time; ever since the
moment that the first baby came into the world
and lifted up its voice and cried. ver since
then she has been washing, washing, washing the
souls of men, which grow so soiled by use that
after a while they would become unfit to wear
if it were not for that dear old woman upon
the cliff, who washes them until they are as
white as snow, and then hangs them out in the
sun to dry.
David went up to the door, but before he could
knock the old woman called out to him to come
in, and in he went.
â€œAre you hungry ?â€ said she.
â€œYes; Iam,â€ said David.
â€œThen you must eat something,â€ said she, â€˜â€œ for
no man can do his best work unless he eats.â€
So David sat down to the table, and the old
woman brought him a bowl of milk and a piece of
bread. David did not know how hungry he was
until he began eating. Then it seemed to him he
could not eat enough. He ate and ate and ate,
and as he ate, he looked across the table at the old
woman, who sat with her hands folded, looking
placidly back at him. He thought he had never
seen such a sweet, lovable face in all his life
before. Her hair was as white as snow, and was
brushed back under a cap that was still whiter
~than that. Her face was covered all over with
wrinkles, so close and so fine that it made David
think of the Man-in-the-moon.
So David looked at her as he ate his bread and
drank his milk, and when he had ended his meal
he pushed back his bowl and spoon, and looked at
her again and yet again. She smiled. â€˜â€œ Well,â€
said she; â€œand what do you think of me?â€
â€œT think you are very beautiful,â€ said David.
The old woman laughed. â€œDo you?â€ said
she. â€˜Most men think I am very ugly. And
so you have come from the other side of the
Moon-Angel* to find the Wonder-Box and the
Know-All Book to take them back to the brown
earth, where they belong, have you?â€
â€œYes,â€ said David; â€˜that is what I have come
to do, if you will tell me how I am to do it.â€
â€œTf T will tell you?â€ said the old woman of
the cliff. â€œWhy else am I here except to tell
you that? Why, David, lad, that is why I live
here. But have you had enough to eat?â€
Â«Yes, I have,â€ said David.
â€œThat is good; for he must not go hungry
who has such work to do as lies before you.â€
â€œBut, first of all, tell me,â€ said David, â€œwhat |
is this Wonder-Box, and what is the Know-All
Book? And why am I to take them back to the
brown earth again?â€
â€˜Am I to tell you the whole story?â€ said the
old woman of the cliff, â€œthe whole story ?â€
â€œ Yes,â€ said David, â€œ the whole story.â€
â€œVery well,â€ said the old woman. And so
she did, and this was how she told
The Story of the Know-All Book.
Once in that far-away beginning of time
when everything was young and innocent, and
the sky was fresh, and the sunshine new, and
there was no such thing as sadness and sorrow
(or joy and delight, for the matter of that), there
was a woman and a man who lived like innocent
little children in a beautiful garden of paradise.
â€œThat was Adam and Eve,â€ said David.
â€œNo,â€ said the old woman of the cliff; Â« it
was Eve and Adam.â€
â€œ And what is the difference?â€ said David.
â€œWhat is the difference when you say â€˜the
light grows dim,â€™ instead of saying â€˜the dim
grows lightâ€™?â€ said the old woman.
â€œT donâ€™t know,â€ said David.
â€œT do,â€ said the old woman.
And this garden of paradise was a beautiful,
beautiful place, with soft green grass shaded by
trees that bore blossoms and fruit at the same time;
where sweet birds sang from morning to night,
and all was innocence and peace.
â€œThat was like the moon-garden,â€ said David.
â€œAye,â€ said the old woman. â€œIt was the
Well, one time a man came walking into this
garden where the innocent woman and innocent
man lived. The two saw him coming among the
trees and the blossomsâ€”a tall, stately figure
dressed in a long gray robe that sparkled all over
with dim stars.
â€œThat was like the Moon-Angel,â€ said David.
â€œTt was the Moon-Angel,â€ said the old woman.
Under his arm the man carried a box of iron,
shut and locked, but with a golden key in the
keyhole. <â€œâ€˜ Children,â€ said he, â€œhere is a box for
you to keep. In it is the greatest joy and the
greatest sorrow in the world. Keep it closed, and
you will always be happy as you now are. But if
you open it, sorrow will come upon you.â€ Then he
went away, leaving the box behind him. Seven
days passed, and then one day the woman said
to the man, â€œI wonder what there can be in
that box? The tall man said that in it was the
greatest joy in the world.â€ â€œHe said that the
greatest sorrow of the world was in it also,â€ said
the man. â€œ But,â€ said the woman, â€œif we open it
we will behold the greatest joy in the world.â€
â€œAnd we will let the greatest sorrow out into
the world,â€ said the man.
â€˜Now, what would you have done, David?â€
said the old woman of the cliff.
David spoke up boldly (you must remember he
was a man now). â€˜I would have opened the
box,â€ said he, â€œfor surely it is worth suffering the
greatest sorrow for the sake of the greatest joy.â€
The old woman smiled. â€œAh, David,â€ said
she, â€œyou say that because you have passed
through the ice and the fire, and out beyond the
Moon-Angel. But what you say is true enough ;
it 7s worth suffering the greatest sorrow for the
sake of the greatest joy. That was why the
Moon-Angel brought the iron box to the man and
the woman â€”it was the Wonder-Box, David.â€
â€œAnd the Know-All Book was the greatest
joy 2â€ said David.
â€œ Yes,â€ said the old woman.
â€˜â€œâ€˜ And the man opened it?â€ said David.
â€œ Yes,â€ said the old woman.
The man turned the golden key in the lock of
the box, and as he did so he shivered and trem-
bled. The birds had ceased to sing, the leaves had
ceased to rustle in the breezes, and the air hung as
silent as death; the sky became overcast as with
a thin sheet of cloud, and there was a sound as
of distant thunder. â€˜Open the box!â€ cried the
woman in a piercing voice, and then the man
lifted the lid.
Instantly it flew back wide open, and out
belched a great cloud of terror like a great vol-
ume of smoke. It rose higher and higher into
the air above the tops of the trees, spreading out
wide into a huge dark cloud. The man and the wo-
man clung together, trembling with terror. Then
they saw that the smoke was beginning to form
itself into the image of a man, and then the two
turned and ran away through the garden.
â€œ But did they then not see the joy that was
within the Wonder-Box ?â€ said David.
The old woman shook her head. â€˜No, David,â€
said she, â€˜few there are who pause to see the
joy that lies behind when black sorrow stands
The man and the woman fled away through
the garden. All about them was that darkness
of terror, for the sky was overcast with gloom,
and Sorrow was coming fast after them. On it
came through the trees, scattering fruit and flow-
ers, rending and tearing. On and on sped the
man and the woman, until at last they suddenly
came to an iron door that was shut against them.
The man leaped forward and pressed the latch.
The door flew open, and the two ran out into the
world beyond. They stood upon a_ shingled
beach, with the ocean stretching away before
them. But Sorrow had followed after them, and
Joy was left behind in the iron-box.
â€œ And what happened then?â€ said David.
â€œT will tell you,â€ said the old woman.
The two wandered along the shore for a long,
long distance, until they came at last to a country
where men lived. There was no king and no queen
to that country, and as this man and woman stood
head and shoulders taller than the men and wo-
men of the common world, and as they were so
fair and beautiful, and because their faces shone
as with white light, the people of the city took
them for their king and queen.
By and by the two died, and their son became
king. Then he died and his son was king. Then
he died and his son was king, and so on for gen-
erations and generations.
But the Wonder-Box and the Know-All Book
were lost. And the garden stood utterly deserted.
For after the man and the woman had fled,
there came one day the dreadfulâ€™ Iron Man of
the Iron Castle, before whose face even the little
birds fled away. He found the Box and the Book
lying under a tree and took them away with him;
and from that time the eyes of man have never
seen them again. But nevertheless this was
known: that some dayâ€”aye, some dayâ€”a hero
would appear who would bring back the Wonder-
Box to the earth. That time there should be a
princess, and after the hero had found the Won-
der-Box and the Know-All Book and had brought
them back to the earth again, he should marry
her, and by and by should himself be king over
And this, little child, is the story of the Won-
der-Box and the Know-All Book.
And is it true? True? Aye, it is true. At
least it was true one time, and thanks to great A
and little izzard it will be true again sometime to
But David sat motionlessly gazing at the
wrinkled face of the old woman, and his eyes
shone and his cheeks burned like fire. It had
come into his mind to wonder if it could be possi-
ble that he was to be the hero who should bring
back the Wonder-Box to the brown earth again ?
could it be possible? He did not dare to ask the
question, but the old woman answered it without
being asked. â€œYes, David,â€ said she, and her
voice was very, very sweet, â€œ you are the man.â€
â€œThen let me go and find it,â€ cried out David.
The old woman laughed. â€˜â€œ Patience, David,â€
she said, â€˜patience, patience. â€˜To-morrow morn-
ing you shall set out to do your work. To-night
you must sleep and rest yourself. But, tell me,
how will you set about to find the Iron Castle of
the Jron Man?â€
â€œ T do not know,â€ said David.
â€œThen I will tell you,â€ said the old woman.
â€˜To-morrow you shall set foot to the westward.
You will journey all day, but toward evening you
will come to a rocky desert, and there you will
find a fountain of water. Every day the Black
Horse who lives in the sky comes to that fountain
to drink and to refresh himself. He alone can
carry you to the Iron Castle of the Iron Man.
To-morrow, before you leave, I will give you a
â€˜bridle with a golden bit. If with it you can
bridle the Black Horse, then you will have tamed
him, and will be his master.â€
â€˜â€œâ€˜ T wish it were to-morrow,â€ said David.
The old woman laughed again. â€˜ Time enough
for that, David,â€ said she.
(Sagas sb Pees
ii << oR S
ON a SS:
The Black Winged Horse
| \HE next morning the old woman of the
cliff gave to David a bridle studded with
silver bosses, and the bit that hung from
the bridle was of pure gold. â€œTake it,â€ she said ;
â€œwith it alone you can tame the Black Winged
David took it and thanked her, and then started
off upon his way. The day was bright and lovely,
and David, turning his face to the westward,
strode across the field away from the ocean and
inland. The sun had hardly yet arisen, and all
the earth was bright and filled with the sparkling
sheen of dew, that, in the slanting brightness,
turned the spider webs everywhere into little
fairy sheets of silver. The few small trees that
stood out solitary here and there upon the rolling
downs did not move a single leaf, but remained
still and motionless in the motionless air. Every-
where the birds were chanting a jubilant melody.
The multitudinous song seemed to fill all the air
near and afar.
David swelled out his breast, drinking in deep
draughts of the sweet morning air as he strode
along. He turned and looked back. The old
woman of the cliff was standing looking after him,
a red petticoat, a gleam of fire in the misty
brightness of the morning. He waved his hand
toward her, and she waved her hand toward him.
Then he turned again and strode away to the far- .
He was almost the only man who had. ever
seen that old woman with the eyes of flesh, and
he never saw her again.
But thus it was that David set out upon that
journey all in the dewy freshness of the morning,
with the song of the birds ringing in his ears, and
the fragrance of the early day keen in his nostrils.
Yes; and so do we all set forth upon the task
that lies before us with buoyant and lusty joy-
ousness of hope filling all the heart.
The day grew fuller and fuller, the sun rose
higher and higher, and shone hotter and hotter
until it beat down fiercely upon Davidâ€™s head.
And now he had left the high and windy downs, â€”
and all around him lay hot, reeking fenlands with
bogs and quags, and here and there a stunted
pollard willow. Now there was no song of birds,
but only now and then the deep bull-like bassoon
of a great frog hidden under the bank amid the
rushes and the arrow-heads. Now and then a
heron arose and flapped away in slow and heavy
flight. The sweat ran down Davidâ€™s face in
streams, and ever and anon he lifted his hat and
wiped the trickling drops away with his sleeve.
So it was that he plodded along his way: across
the oozy fenland, with the hot sun beating down
upon him. So do we all toil upon our task when
maybe it is half-way done.
The sun began to slant down into the western
sky, and now it shone full-in his face. He had
eaten his noon-day bread, but he was parched
with thirst. For now he had left even the fen-
lands behind, and was walking across a wide and.
boundless stretch of rocks and boulders and round
stones. All was silent, all was dead except now
and then when a lizard or a great fat, black
cricket would dart across the path from rock to
rock. David was very weary, for the round stones
slipped and rolled away from under his feet.
So he drew near the end of his journey. So
we all of us draw near to the end of our labor,
weary, thirsty, stumbling as we go.
The sun was yet two hours high when David,
from the top of a naked and rocky hill, saw the
fountain of crystal water lying, a bright fragment,
in the valley beneath himâ€”that wonderful foun-
tain of water whence the great Black Winged
Horse drinks every evening, and so refreshes
himself before he again takes his flight to those
lofty altitudes of the still blue heavens where he
forever circles, dips, hovers in airy and ambient
David, when he saw the fountain, shouted and
leaped and ran down the stony hill to where the
little pool lay like a fragment of heaven amid the
black, lichen-covered rocks. He plunged his face
and hands and arms into the pool, and drank deep
draughts of its crystal coolness. It seemed to fill
his veins with fresh strength and his soul with a
renewed life. Again and again he drank, and
then he paused, breathing deep and full.
As he so paused, hanging over the mirror-like
surface of the little pool, watching it as its rippled
bosom stilled again into its first glassy smooth-
ness, he suddenly saw reflected in the surface of
the water a something that seemed to be a great
bird hovering with wings outspread, high in the
air above him. He looked up, and there against
the blue sky overhead, far, far away, he saw, not
a bird, but a wonderful winged horse, circling
around and around on wide-spread wings in slow,
eagle-like flight against the profound upper depths
of fathomless sky.
It was the Winged Horse, and David knew
that it must now be coming to drink at the foun-
tain, for already the sun was growing red, and
fallng toward the west in the last hours of day.
He caught up the bridle and flung it over his arm,
and then drew. back and hid himself among the
dark lichen-covered rocks.
The Black Horse circled nearer and nearer,
and though its body was black, its wings glistened
as white as snow. It circled nearer and nearer,
sweeping around and around in narrowing flight,
until at last it hovered darkly over the spring of
water. Then with its wings reaching high and
quivering, it settled slowly, slowly to the earth,
until it rested as lightly as a feather upon the
solid rock beneath its feet. Still it held its wings
poised for a moment or two, then folded them
rustling across its back. Then it bent its stately
head, and began to drink great draughts of water
from the fountain.
Then, quick as a flash, David leaped out and
upon it, and before the horse could spring away,
he had clutched it by the forelock. Then began
a mighty struggle between the horse and the man.
It was well for David that he himself had first
drunk strength from that fountain, for otherwise
he never could have kept his hold, and would have
been dashed to pieces under those iron hoofs. For
the horse struck at him with its hoofs, and beat at
him with its glistening pinions. But it could not
shake him loose, anÃ© he still kept his hold, cling-
ing fast to it. It tried to fly away into the air,
but Davidâ€™s weight held it to the earth. _ Then it
tried to thrust him against the rocks, and to crush
him between it and them, but David, stooping
suddenly forward, slipped the golden bit into its
mouth and between its teeth. Then in an instant
all was over. The horse stood trembling and
quivering, its body covered with foam, and its
wide-spread nostrils as red as blood. It was
tamed, and it bowed its head acknowledging
its master. Then after a. little while it spoke
with a voice as plain as that of a Christian man.
â€œWhat would you have of me, master?â€ -
â€˜â€œâ€˜T would have you take me to the Iron Castle
of the Iron Man,â€ said David.
â€œThen mount upon my back, and I will take
you thither, master. But woe is me that it must
â€˜be so, for you are the first man who has ever sat
astride of my back.â€
David laid his hand upon its ek and grasped
a crop of its mane. Then, with a leap, he sprang
Quick as a flash, David leaped out and upon it.
EN Malay CERI |
Me = fast
The Iron Castle
HE Black Horse struck its feet upon the
ground, and spreading its hovering wings,
| it sped away, skimming along the surface
of the earth. It did not rise into the air, for now
it could not do so.
That wonderful Black Winged Horse. So it
is, little child; for though, when free of curb and
bit, he may soar aloft, higher and higher, until he
vanishes like a speck into the bosom of heaven,
far, far away beyond the keenest sight, yet, when
a man sits astride of his back, as David now sat
astride of him, he cannot rise high. He may
skim along the surface, riding dry-shod, maybe,
over the oceans and the rivers of water, but
never rising, when so burdened, higher than the
height of a man above the ground.
So the Black Horse skimmed and sped away,
carrying David upon its back. Away and away,
so swiftly that the dark earth seemed to slide
away beneath it, and David had to hold his hat
to keep it from flying from his head.
The sun sank, and the gray shadows of twi-
light seemed to rise upward from the earth, and
to lie dim and misty in the hollows of the rocks.
On and on sped the horse, on and on. The
daylight faded and faded, and one bright star
shone out keen and clear in the western sky. â€”
â€œLook,â€ said the Black Horse, â€œdo you see
David shaded his eyes with his hand.
said he, â€œfar, far away, a speck against the sky.â€
â€˜Tt is not a speck,â€ said the Black Horse.
On and on it sped, and the red light in the
sky melted into a thin gray, and one starry point
after another began to prick through the vault of
â€œ Look,â€ said the horse, â€œwhat do you see by
Again David looked, striving to pierce the dis-
tance. â€œTI see,â€ said he, â€œ sor elhing â€œa the
sky, and it looks like a house, far, far away.â€
â€œ Aye,â€ said the Black Horse, â€œit is a house
On and on sped the horse, and now the slow
moon rose up red and round into the eastern sky.
â€œTell me,â€ said the horse at last, â€œ what do you
see now ?â€
This time David did not have to look before
he spoke. â€˜I see,â€ said he, â€œa great castle
towering as black as ink against the sky, and it is
all built of ironâ€”a great dark, grim place, with
the iron doors studded all over with bolts, and high
up under the eaves a double row of windows with
iron gratings shutting them in.â€
â€œThat,â€ said the Black Horse, â€œis the Iron Cas-
tle of the Iron Man.â€ And as it spoke, it stood at the
castle gateway, and David leaped to the ground.
â€œWhistle when you want me again,â€ said the
horse, and I shall be here.â€ Then instantly it
was gone, and David stood all alone, with noth-
ing in front of him but the castle wall and the
great door studded all over with iron bolts.
It took the Winged Horse three hours to make
that journey from the fountain to the Iron Castle:
it would have taken you a life-timeâ€”or David
either, for the matter of that, hero though he was.
hg ar nf |
eMac 7, (UN,
The Iron Man
AVID looked-up at the huge iron door.
It was shut and locked.
Beside the doorway a great iron horn
hung by a long iron chain from the wall. Over
the horn were these words written in letters of red:
â€œWbatever man would enter bere,
Must blow a blast botb loud and clear.â€
David set the horn to his lips and blew a blast
so loud and long that it rang back again from the
dark high walls and under the eaves and made his
ears hum. Instantly there was a rumbling and a
erumbling as though of distant thunder. The iron
bolts within shot grating back and the huge iron
door opened slowly, slowly, until it â€˜stood open
wide. David entered, looking about him won-
It was a great, dark, empty room. The risen
moon was now shining in at the grated windows,
high overhead, and David could see above him a
vast vaulted ceiling of iron, and under foot a pave-
ment of iron. Everywhere were dust and cobwebs.
Bats and owls were flying silently about in the
gloom above. The white moonlight falling aslant
upon the walls showed thereon figures of knights
and ladies and dragons and giants painted in red.
Beyond this great gloomy room was another just
like it, and beyond that another and another, until
David began to think that there was no end to
them. He went on and on, until by and by he saw
in the distance a dull glow of red light, and heard
the sound of some one moving and the rattle of
pans and dishes. He followed the sound until he
came toa door. He pushed it open, and there was
a room that looked like a great kitchen. In this
room was nobody but an old woman and a black
cat and a bright fire burning on the hearth. A
huge table was spread for supper; on it was
a pitcher of ale.as big as a barrel, and a goblet
as big as a bucket. There was a pewter plate as
wide as a cart-wheel, a fork like a pitch fork, and
a knife likea scythe. The old woman was busy
roasting a whole sheep at the fire. She held a
ladle in her hand, with which she basted the roast
as she turned it before the blaze. Hearing the door
open, she turned and then she saw David standing.
Down fell the ladle clattering upon the floor.
She stood staring and staring while David stood
gazing back-at her. â€˜Who are you?â€ said the old
woman at last, â€œand whence come you?â€
â€œJT am a Christian soul, mother,â€ said David,
â€œand I come from the brown earth on the other
side of the moon.â€
â€œ And what do you seek ?â€ said the old woman.
â€œ T come,â€ said David, â€œ to find the Wonder-Box
and the Know-All Book, and to take them back
again to the brown earth, where they belong.â€
â€œ Alas!â€ said the old woman, â€œI am sorry for
you, for, though you look like a hero rather than
like a man, woe to you if the Iron Man comes
and finds you here.â€
Â«And who are you, mother?â€ said David.
â€œJT do not know,â€ said the old woman, â€˜â€œ except
that I am a woman of flesh and blood. I have
been here for so long that I have forgotten every-
thing else. But I too am of flesh and bloodâ€”that
much I do remember.â€ | .
Â«Then, if you are really of flesh and blood,
you will help me, will you not, mother?â€ said
â€œT will do what I can, for the sake of flesh and
blood,â€ said the old woman. â€œ But hark!â€ she
cried, suddenly, and she put her hand to her ear
â€” â€˜Hark! I hear him coming now!â€
David listened, and then he also heard far away
a sound of clashing and clattering and clanking
and jingling, as of moving iron. He knew that it ~
must be the coming of the Iron Man, and though
his heart beat fast he squared his shoulders to
meet the giant.
~ But the old woman ran to him and caught him
by the arm. â€œQuick!â€ she cried. â€˜â€œ Here!â€
and she lifted up the lid of a great chest that
stood in the corner. .
David climbed into the chest, and the old wo-
man shut the lid, leaving him lying in the dust
and darkness. Jingle! clink! crash! bang! then
the door opened, and in came the Iron Man,
breathing fire and smoke out of his iron nostrils.
David lifted the lid of the chest a little and saw
him as he came.
The Iron Man went to the fire and took up the
sheep, spit and all. He laid it upon the great plate
on the table and cut it up as one would cut up a
partridge. Then he sat down to the table and
began to eat and drink, carving the meat with
the iron knife as long as a scythe, and thrusting it
into his mouth with the fork as large as a pitch
fork, and drinking great draughts of ale out of the
huge goblet. The ale hissed and sputtered as it
went down his iron throat, and a white cloud of
steam came out of his nostrils. Nothing was
heard for a while but the clash and clatter of
knife and fork and the champing and champing
of the iron jaws of the Iron Man. All this David
saw as he looked out from under the lid of the
chest. The Iron Man was thrusting food into his
mouth as one might put coal into the mouth of a
At last the meal was ended, and the Iron Man
drew his chair up in front of the fire. â€œ Here,â€
said he to the old woman, â€œtake this key and
bring me the Wonder-Box and the Know-All
Book. Maybe I can read the book to-night.â€
Then David, as he peered out from the chest,
saw the old woman take the iron key and go to
another great iron chest at the further side of the
room. She opened the chest and brought out a
box of burnished iron that gleamed red in the red
fire-light. The box was locked with a golden key,
and from the key there hung a fine golden chain.
The old woman brought the box to the Iron Man,
who opened it with the golden key, and took out
a book as white as snow. It was the Know-All
Book ; the wonder of wonders! Yes; the Know-
All Book, which alone could bring the joy of true
happiness into the world, whence it had fled when
those twoâ€”the man and the womanâ€”fled from
out the Garden of Paradise.
David watched the Iron Man as he held the
book, and looked and looked at it, and tried to
read it. He was holding it upside down, the poor
giant, for he could not read a single word of itâ€”
that wonderful, wonderful book. Ever since that
far beginning of time he has been trying to read
it, and he is trying to read it still. But he cannot,
for between him and it there hangs a veil that
only the living soul can pierce to read those
So there he sat now, the poor, blundering giant
of smoking fire and hot ironâ€”there he sat, pa-
tiently trying and trying to read what was there
written, while his eyelids grew heavier and
heavier, until by and by he fell asleep. After a
while he began to snore, and after another while
the book slipped from out his hand and fell to
the floor, where it layâ€”the precious Know-All Â»
Bookâ€”face downward and forgotten.
Then after a while the old woman came to the
chest where David lay hidden. â€œNow is your
time,â€ said she, â€œif you are man enough to do
what you came for.â€
â€œJT am man enough,â€ said David. â€œThank you,
â€œAh!â€ she said, â€œdo not thank me yet, man
of flesh and blood, for your trouble is not yet over.
But there is the book, and there is the box. Take
them if you want them, and get you away if you
The Iron Man never moved or stirred, but slept
on and on as David picked up the book and put it
into the Wonder-Box, shut the lid, locked it, and
took the key out of the lock, hanging the golden
chain about his neck. There was a handle in the
lid of the box; he lifted it and carried it out of the
room, and still the Iron Man never stirred, but
slept on and on. David went out of the room
into the room beyond. The moon had risen high,
and great barred patches of square light fell from
the windows upon the iron floor beneath. In the
vaulted spaces above, all was darkness and still-
ness. He hurried onward into the next room lit
with moonlight, dark and still in the vault above.
Beyond that was still another room, and so on and
on, until he could not tell where he was. So he
went from room to room, and around and around,
and on and on, until he knew that he was lost in
the vast dark spaces of the Iron Castle. But at
last he smelt the night air in the distance, as
though it came in at an open door.â€™ He ran
across the squares of silent moonlight toward it.
Yes; there at last was the open door, and there
was the night sky outside, all milky with the silent
â€œNow I am safe,â€ thought David.
He did not know what was yet to come.
\AVID ran toward the open door and
Out he leaped and down the tall flight
of stone steps to the soft earth beneath.
Instantly his foot struck the sod, a sudden and
piercing blast of sound burst out upon the silence
of the night.
It was the iron horn that hung by the iron
chain at the gateway ; so sudden and keen was the
blast that David stopped short and stood as though
rooted to where he stood.
Then in an instant it was as though all the
dead and silent castle had sprung awake into life.
Lights flashed out; there was an uproar of voices
and a clashing and a clattering everywhere.
Shutters banged open and doors banged shut.
The lights came and went past the windows, and
the shadows flew hither and thither across the
And still the iron horn continued to sound its
keen and piercing blast.
And now, through the shrill and stunning noise,
David could hear another soundâ€”a crashing clank
and jingle and the rumbling thunderous tones of a
Lt was the Iron Man, and he was coming.
Then Davidâ€™s wits came back to him like a flash,
and he turned to run away.
Suddenly, as he turned to fly, he heard a
voice he knew, calling: â€œ Help! Help! Save me!
He looked up above, and whom should he see,
leaning out of a window close under the eaves,
stretching out her arms toward him, but Phyllis.
Yes, Phyllis; but now grown into a beautiful
What with the noise and the uproar and the
wonder of it all, David stood as though bewil-
dered. â€˜Is that you, Phyllis?â€ he cried.
â€œYes; oh, yes!â€ she called. â€œHelp meâ€”
help me away from here!â€
â€œ But I thought you were in the moon-garden,â€
â€œSo I am,â€ called Phyllis. â€œ This is the moon-
garden! Oh, help me away from it!â€
Still David stood like one in a maze, not know-
ing what to do. .
The iron horn was still blowing its splitting
blast; but through it all the clashing foot-steps of
the Iron Man rang ever louder and louder, and
nearer and nearer.
And hark! What was that?
through all the tumult. David listened, and then
he knew what bell it was. It was the Man-in-
the-moon ringing his bell at the back door of the
â€œRun, Phyllis,â€ cried David, â€œup the back-
stairs, or else we are both lost!â€
Then Phyllisâ€™s face disappeared from the win-
dow up under the eaves, and as David listened he
could hear the voice of the Man-in-the-moon,
though dull and muffled, speaking to her in the
distance just as the old fellow had spoken to him
â€”â€œGive me your handâ€”now; a long stepâ€”
there ; that is it.â€ Then came the closing of a
doorâ€”click !â€”clack!â€”and the next minute he
heard Phyllisâ€™s feet coming running quickly up
the back stairs that led from the moon-garden to
the second story of the moon-house; nearerâ€”
nearerâ€”nearer.â€” Then suddenly there she was
standing beside him, panting from the rapid run.
Dawid caught her by the arm. He could not
believe that it was not all a-dream until he felt
that she was of real flesh and of real blood.
But the Iron Man was coming nearer and nearer.
Now again he spoke, and his great voice rumbled
and shook within the castle. â€˜Where is he who
stole my Wonder-Box and:â€˜my Know-All Book ?â€
Then the door opened, and out he strode, the fire
and smoke rolling out from his nostrils into the
still and breathless night.
Phyllis shrieked aloud.
Then David set his fingers to his lips, and blew
a shrill, keen whistle.
Instantly, as it had promised, the Black Winged
Horse was there, his snow-white pinions glisten-
ing in the pallid moonlight. There was not a
moment to lose. Quickly David lifted Phyllis to
the back of the horse. â€œTo the moon-house!â€
he cried; and then himself leaped astride of it
The Iron Man saw them, and he gave a great
roar of rage as he came rushing toward them.
Away leaped the horse. Away it sped swifter
than the wind, carrying David and Phyllis â€˜and
the Wonder-Box and the Know-All Book.
â€œHold fast!â€ cried David.
â€œJ will,â€ said Phyllis. Her face was very
pale. Her long hair blew back across his breast
and face and lips in a soft and silky net.
The golden key still hung by the golden chain
about Davidâ€™s neck. It swung from side to side,
and every now and then he put his hand up to
see if it were safe. He heard the Iron Man
shouting and hallooing behind them. He turned
and looked over his shoulder to see the smoking
and flaming giant coming rushing after them.
Fast flew the Black Winged Horse, skimming
like a swallow along the surface of the earth
above the rocks and stones, the brambles and
briers, but the Iron Man came almost as fast.
Now and then he would stop to pick up a huge
stone to hurl after them, but on sped the Winged
Horse, and then on the Iron Man would come
On and on they flew, until at last the darkness
of night began to grow gray toward the east, and
the daylight grew wider and wider. |
Then the sun leaped up round and red out of
the east, and once again David turned his head
and looked behind him. The Iron Man was still
coming rushing after them like a whirlwind.
And now the rising sun shone full in his face and
turned it as red as blood, and the black smoke
from his nostrils trailed away behind, melting and
fading into the clear and lucid ether of early
â€œLook!â€ said the horse. â€˜But look ahead
and not behind. Tell me, what do you see?â€
Then David looked, shading his eyes from the
level glare of the sun. â€œTI see,â€ said he, â€œsome-
thing that shines like a flame of fire awayâ€”yes,
it is the old womanâ€™s cottage upon the cliff, and
beyond that I see the far-away edge of the ocean.â€
Â« Aye,â€ said the Black Winged Horse, â€œ and
there my labor ends. That far I can carry you,
but no further. Beyond the brow of the cliff you
must go alone.â€ |
â€œ But the Iron Man!â€ cried David.
Â« Beyond the cliff you must save yourself. I
cannot carry you further than that.â€
â€œBut Phyllis!â€ cried David again.
â€œYou must save her, too. I cannot carry you
Â« But how shall we escape?â€ said David.
â€œYou must go in at the door out of which you
came. There is no other escape.â€
â€œBut the fire,â€ said David, â€œand the ice
through which I passed.â€
â€œThere will neither be fire to burn you any
more nor ice to freeze you. He who has passed
through them once, shall never have to pass
through them again.â€
â€œBut Phyllis,â€ said David. â€œHow will she
pass through the fire and the ice?â€
â€œ Neither will they harm her while she is with
you,â€ said the Black Winged Horse.
Phyllis had listened to all that they had said;
but she did not understand it.
Then David looked behind him again for the
last time. The Iron Man was far, far behind.
Then they reached the end of their journey.
The Black Winged Horse sped past the old wo-
manâ€™s cottage. She was nowhere to be seen, but
the white clothes were hanging out upon the line,
blowing in the wind. On sped the Black Horse,
and to the very edge of the cliff, and then he
stopped short. â€œThis is the end,â€ cried he. â€œTI
can go no further.â€
David leaped to the earth, and then lifted
Phyllis down from the horseâ€™s back.
Far below the breakers were dashing and foam-
ing as white as milk among the rocks and boul-
ders, and all about the face of the cliff, and away
out into the empty air, the sea-gulls flew clamor-
ing. But neither Phyllis nor David thought of
what they saw. She looked over her shoulder at
the looming Giant rushing toward them. â€œOh,
look!â€ she cried. â€˜â€œ How fast he is coming!â€
â€˜But will you not now set me free?â€ said the
â€œYes,â€ said David, â€œI will) He caught the
bridle and loosed the buckle. â€˜ Farewell,â€ said
he, and as he spoke he stripped the bridle and the
bit away. :
The Black Horse gave a great neigh like the
peal of a trumpet. Clashing his hoofs upon the
rocks, he spread his wonderful white wings, and,
leaping into the air, flew clapping and thundering
away â€”awayâ€”awayâ€”now circling and soaring
in upward spiral flight, until he became a spot
upon the skyâ€”twinkledâ€”was lostâ€”was there
Back fe the Moon-House
UT meantime David and Phyllis were run-
ning down the stone steps that led from
the brow of the cliffs to the seashore be-
low, David carrying the Wonder-Box tightly
_ clasped beneath his arm, and pressing the key
to his breast with the other hand. The Iron Man
was still coming rushing after them, but David
felt sure that they would now escape, for after
they had reached the beach below, it was only a
little distance to the iron door whence he had
come from the other side of the Moon-Angel. He
knew that what the Black Horse had said was
trueâ€”they had but to enter there, and they
would be safe.
They reached the beach, and then hurried
along the stony shore toward the door, out of
which David had come the day before. As they
ran, David looked back over his shoulder, and
saw that the Iron Man was heavily and cumber-
somely climbing down the stone steps from above,
his head and shoulders just showing gigantically
above the edge of the rocky clefts.
On hurried the two, and there, at last, was the
door. David gave a shout of delight, and rushed
It was locked.
David stood as still as a stone. His very heart
seemed to cease to beat within him.
Locked! Could it be? He turned again and
strove to push it open.
It stood as solid as the rock into which it was
â€œOpen the door!â€ cried Phyllis. â€œOh, open
the door, David, he is coming.â€
â€œT cannot open it,â€ said David, hoarsely. â€œIt
is locked.â€ |
â€œOh, try again,â€ cried Phyllis. â€œTry again,
But David shook his head. â€˜It is locked,
Phyllis,â€ said he, dully. â€˜We cannot go in now.â€
He knew that they were not to enter, and now â€”
the Iron Man was coming stumbling among the
rocks straight toward them, looming bigger and
bigger as he approached.
David set the Wonder-Box down upon the
step in front of the door, and then went forward
to meet the Iron Giant. He had no weapon with
him, nothing with which to fight his battle. He
looked about him as he went toward the Giant,
and seeing a sharp and jagged stone, he picked it
up, weighing it in his hand. He looked back and
saw that Phyllis was sitting crouched together in
a heap against the door, watching him, and trem-
bling and shuddering. Then he looked around
again; the Giant was close to him.
Then the Iron Man stopped short, and stood
for a little space looking at David. Suddenly he
burst into a great vibrating roar of laughter, â€˜a
roar that sounded like the stroke of the clapper
of a huge bell. â€˜Now you are mine,â€ he said.
Â«And the girl and you shall come back to my
Tron Castle to serve me as long as you live.â€
Then he reached out his great iron hand as
though to grasp David by the hair.
Then David, swinging his body, hurled, with
all his might and main, the great jagged stone he
held straight at the head of the Iron Man.
Straight it flew, striking the Iron Man right
in the center of the forehead. There was a clang-
ing crash as the stone struck its mark, a tinkle as
of broken glass, and, as David looked, he saw for
one instant in the center of the Giantâ€™s forehead a
broken and shattered hole in the hollow iron.
For that instant he saw that the Iron Man was
all alight within as with red and flaming fire; the
next there came a gush of white, hot molten iron
that burst out from the hole, and flowed down
across the iron face and the iron bosomâ€”down to
the wet rocks, where it fell hissing and sputtering.
The huge form stood for a moment swaying and
toppling, the iron lips gave forth a terrible, hollow,
and ringing cry, and then, turning half around,
the giant fell crashing upon the stones, his: head
in the water, his feet upon the rocky shore.
Clouds of hissing steam rose up from the fuming
waters where he lay wallowing. Once he strove
to rise, lifting his terrible front from the dripping
brine. Then he fell again with a splash, rolled
over upon his face, and was still, while only a
slow, thin vapor rose from his iron length, cooled
by the water in which he lay.
David stood towering above his fallen enemy,
his bosom heaving and falling as the ocean heaves
and falls after the storm has passed by and gone.
All had happened so quickly that he could not
believe it. Was it true? Yes, it was true! His
heart swelled with joy and with triumph as
though it would burst. It was true; he had
indeed slain the iron monster, that monster that
had so long made the earth tremble when he
walked upon its quaking bosom. So he stood
there, looking down upon the huge fallen form
from which the last thin lingering vapor wreaths
curled slowly up into the air to melt and to dis-
He heard Phyllis calling him, â€œ David, David!â€
and then as he turned, lifted up with exaltation,
she cried out, â€œâ€˜ David, the door is open!â€
It was true! Now the door was open, and
stood ajar, and they might enter when they
_ chose. 7
David lifted Phyllis up from where she sat, and
taking up the Wonder-Box again, thrust the door
open and entered.
It was the second story of the moon-house.
Phyllis had never seen it before, and she stood
gazing about her in the milky brightness, sunk in
wonder. â€˜Where are we ?â€ said she.
David looked at her, smiling. â€œDo you not
know ?â€ said he. â€˜This is the moon-house, and
we are in the second story. See, there are the
windows out of which I used to look and see
the wonderful things I sometimes told you about.
But, come, Phyllis, let us go down-stairs. I know
that the Man-in-the-moon must be waiting for us.
Afterward, maybe, we can come back here.â€
The Man-in-the-moon arose as they came in,
and taking off his cap, and holding his long to-
bacco pipe behind his back, bowed first to David
and then to Phyllis. â€œI am glad to see your
Honorâ€™s face again,â€ he said to David. â€œAnd I
am glad to see your Ladyshipâ€™s pretty face as
well, and may you both have a long life and a
Phyllis blushed and David laughed.
â€œAnd what is that you have in your hand ?â€
said the Man-in-the-moon. David held it up.
â€œThis,â€ he said, â€˜is the Wonder-Box.â€
â€œJ was sure you would find it and bring it
back again,â€ said the Man-in-the-moon. â€œTI told
his Royal Highness, the Master Cobbler, that you
would,â€ and the old man smiled until his face was
covered all over with a shining cobweb of silvery
â€œ But tell me,â€ said David, â€˜â€œâ€˜ how soon can we
get back to the brown earth again? for there is
where we wish to go.â€
â€œ Back to the earth again?â€ said the Man-in-
the-moon, â€œHow soon?â€ He looked up at the
clock. â€˜Why, you are just in the nick of time.
The moon-path will be at its best now inâ€”let me
seeâ€”in three minutes.â€
Â«Then there is no oe to lose,â€ said David,
â€œand we must be going.â€
Â«JT will go down with you,â€ said the Man-in-
He led the way down stairs, Phyllis and David
following him. Down they went, and down they
went, until at last they came to the front door of
the moon-house. The Man-in-the-moon opened
the door, and there lay the moon-path stretching
away across the water, shining as bright as silver,
and throwing the light up into their faces.
â€œ Good-by,â€ said David, and he gave the Man-
in-the-moon his hand.
â€œGood-by,â€ said the Man-in-the-moon, taking
off his hat again as he took Davidâ€™s hand, â€œ I hope
you will come to see us again.â€
â€œOh, yes,â€ said David, laughing, â€œI dare say
T â€˜Il often be here.â€
Â«That â€™s right,â€ said the Man-in-the-moon.
David leaped down to the moon-path below.
â€œCome, Phyllis,â€ said he. Here, you hold the
Wonder-Box, and I will help you down.â€ And
as he spoke he gave the box to her, and then
taking her hand, he lifted her down to the path
where he himself stood.
â€œâ€œGood-by,â€ said the Man-in-the-moon, and
then he closed the door againâ€”Click-clack !
. â€œCome,â€ said David, and then they turned
their faces homeward.
They turned their faces homeward, andâ€”
In an instant Phyllis was gone, and David
stood alone, and what was more, she had taken
the Wonder-Box with her.
Yes, he was alone. And why was that?
Think a moment, and you will see for yourself.
This is why she was gone :â€”
Everybody, you see, has a different moon-path â€”
from everybody else. Davidâ€™s moon-path led toâ€™
his home; Phyllisâ€™s moon-path led to her home.
So, when they began to return back to the brown
earth again, one went one way and the other went
the other way.
That was why in an instant Phyllis was gone.
David stood looking about him ruefully for a
moment, and then he began to laugh.
For he knew that Phyllis was not gone for
long. Things do not turn out so in the land of
He put up his hand and felt the golden key
that hung about his neck. â€˜Oh, well,â€ he said,
â€œit will all turn out right, by and by.â€
Then he himself started off homeward. At first
he walked, then he hurried, then he ran. First it
was like walking on a level pasture of silvery
light, then it was like hurrying over shifting gravel
beneath his feet. Then it was he began to run.
The rocky shore came nearer and nearer. Yes;
there was Hans Krout sitting on the rocks, look-
ing out toward him. David ran and ran. The
golden gravel of brightness began to change to
broken bars of light that floated each upon the
crest of a:;wave. Now David was running, leap-
ing from wave to wave. He stepped upon the
last wave; the moonlight wriggled and twisted
beneath his feet like something alive. Then he
jumped stumblingly, regained his footing, and
stood upon the rocks of the dear brown earth
â€œ How goes it, David?â€ said Hans Krout.
â€œTt goes well,â€ said David. â€˜How are they
at home ?â€
â€œThey are well,â€ said Hans Krout.
â€œâ€˜ How is the baby?â€ said David.
â€œThe baby is thirteen years old,â€ said Hans
â€œTo be sure she is,â€ said David, â€œI had for-
gotten that. Have they missed me from home ?â€
he asked. |
â€œNobody knows that you have been away,â€
said Hans Krout.
â€œHow long have I been in the moon?â€ said
â€œ You have been there eleven years,â€ said Hans
â€œTo be sure,â€ said David. He put up his hand
to his face. He felt a soft beard on his chin and
a moustache on his lip. He looked down at him-
self. Yes; he had indeed grown into a man.
And yet nobody knew that he had been away
and had done the greatest work of a heroâ€”that
he had slain the Iron Man. Well, that is the
way it is in this world often and often.
EN David looked about him he saw
that it was neither day nor night, but
just the twilight betwixt and be-
tweenâ€”that twilight in which the earth is all,
bathed in a soft, warm, milky whiteness, that
makes everything look bright toward the east, but
in which there is no shadow to make what we see
look harsh and hard.
David and Hans Krout walked along the rocky
path toward the village together. â€œ Did you see
the moon-garden ?â€ said Hans Krout.
â€œ Yes; I did,â€ said David.
Hans Krout clucked his tongue behind his teeth.
â€œÂ« Ah,â€ said he, â€˜ I was never able to do that. I was
â€œYes,â€ said David, â€œI suppose you were. I
saw you one time and waved my hand to you,â€
â€œ Yes,â€ said Hans Krout, â€œI remember. I saw
you looking out of the window, and waved my
hand to you, too.â€
â€œ Yes,â€ said David.
â€œAnd where were you for the ten years after
that?â€ said Hans Krout.
â€œT was behind the Moon-Angel,â€ said David.
â€œAh! and did you get there?â€ said Hans
Krout. â€˜Well, I tried it and tried it, but
never could get there. I would have given
all of the world to have gotten there, but I
â€œThat is because you did try,â€ said David.
â€œThe way to get there is not to try at all.â€
â€œJT never thought of that before,â€ said Hans
Krout. â€˜Oh, well, I shall get behind the Moon-
Angel some time.â€
â€œTo be sure,â€ said David, â€œwe all of us do.â€
He did not tell Hans Krout whom he had seen
and what he had done behind the. Moon-Angel.
So they walked together through the twilight,
until by and by they had come up over the hill,
and there was the village beneath them. Lights
were beginning to twinkle, and the geese were
squawking, and little children were playing, shout-
ing, and calling with loud voices. There were the
boats down upon the shore, and the moon sailing
up in the sky like a great round bubble, and lay-
ing a wider and wider field of silver across the
water. They went past the common, where the
children were at play. How strangely familiar it
all wasâ€”just as it had been eleven years ago. The |
children pointed at David and Hans Krout, and
jeered and laughed at them just as they used to
do. â€˜ Moon-calf! Moon-calf!â€ they called; andâ€”
â€œHans Krout! Hans Krout!
Your wits are out! Your wits are out!â€
David burst out laughing. He did not know
any of the children. How should he, seeing that
he had been away from home eleven years ?
â€œHave they been calling after me then for all
this time?â€ he asked Hans Krout.
â€œYes,â€ said Hans Krout; and he looked up in
Davidâ€™s face almost as though he were afraid of him.
There were some young men standing in front
of the pot-house, and they grinned at the two as
they passed. It seemed to David that he knew
them. Yes; one of the men was Tom Stout.
The young women they passed laughed at them,
too. It seemed strange to David that they should
be young women, for when he had left them they
were but little girls.
So he walked down the street, and there was
his old home. His mother was standing at the
door, and her hair had grown as white as silver.
He could see his father within the house. He was
sitting over the fire, holding his crooked brown
hands to the blaze. He had been out fishing and
he had not yet got warm.
â€œWhere have you been all this time, David ?â€
said his mother.
â€œT have been in the moon-house and in the
moon-garden, and back of the Moon-Angel,â€ said
â€œ Aye, aye; poor boy, poor boy!â€ said his
His father looked over his shoulder and grunted.
Â«The same moon-calf as ever,â€ said he.
Â«â€œ Yes,â€ said David, â€œthe same moon-calf as
ever,â€ and then again he burst out laughing.
There was not a single one in the whole village,
from old Solomon Grundy to Davidâ€™s own father
and mother (except Hans Krout), who knew thatâ€™
- he had been away from home; still less that he had
lived through the most wonderful, strange, in-
credible, ever-to-be-talked-of adventure that ever |
a hero faced to come forth from alive.
Â« And what are you going to do now, David?â€
said Davidâ€™s mother.
â€œT am going to wait,â€ said David.
It seemed to her that David was very foolish.
So David sat down to wait.
The Kingâ€™s Messenger
YO David the hero waited and waited.
â€”â„¢ He used to help his father and his
mother, and when he was not doing that
he was playing with some of the little, little babies
of the village. The little babies understood him,
though nobody else did. Everybody else laughed
at him; even his little sister, whom he used
to nurse when she was a baby and who had now
grown up into a tall, thin girl of twelve or thir-
teenâ€”even she laughed at him as did the others
in the village, and called him moon-calf. She had
forgotten how he had carried her in his arms
down to the rocks, and how there both of them
had seen the Moon-Angel.
The truth is that the Moon-Angel comes with
a sponge at some time to each of us and wipes our
memories clean of everything that happens to us
from the time we begin to live to the time we are
three years old. That is why Davidâ€™s little sister
did not remember how they had seen the Moon-
Angel together, and that was why she laughed at
him now as the others did and called him moon-
But the little babies all understood David, and
so he used to play with them.
All that land was in a great hubbub of rejoicing.
The Princess Aurelia, the most beautiful in all .
the world, had suddenly come back into her senses
again, and now she was as wise as anybody else.
That was cause enough of rejoicing, but it was
as nothing when it was known that the Wonder-
Box and the Know-All Book had been brought
back to earth again.
Yes; they had been brought back again, but
the box was locked, and there was no key, and no
one could open it. All the world knew, however,
that the key was to be found, for the Princess told
how David had hung it about his neck, and so
there was joy and rejoicing.
But who was the hero? who had brought the
lost treasure back to the earth again? No one
could tell, not even the Princess. â€œThey called him
David,â€ said she, â€œbut I do not even know if
that was his real name.â€
â€œAnd do you know,â€ said the King, â€œ what has
been promised to the hero who shall bring back
the Wonder-Box and the Know-All Book?â€ And
then, when the Princess did not reply, he said, â€œ It
is that he shall marry you.â€
The Princess still looked down and raised her
pretty eyebrows and blushed, twining her smooth
white fingers in and out. â€œ When we were chil-
dren together in the moon-garden, he told me
that it was to be so,â€ said she.
â€œAnd are you willing?â€ said the King. â€œAre |
you willing that it should be so?â€
â€œ Yes,â€ whispered the Princess Aurelia.
So the King sent out his messengers through all
the land to find the hero who had the golden key
of the Wonder-Box hung about his neck. For he
was to marry the Princess.
Meantime over yonder in the village David
waited and waited, for he knew that every be-
ginning must have its ending some time or other.
The Kingâ€™s messengers, each with six knights.
and a herald, went everywhere â€” east and west,
north and southâ€”to all of the great cities and
towns in the kingdom, but nowhere could the
hero be foundâ€”the man with the golden key
hung about his neck.
Then they went to the villages, one after the
other; and so, by and by, one of the messengers
came to the village where David and his father
and mother lived.
It was a grand sightâ€”the Kingâ€™s messenger,
the six knights in armor, and the herald with
his silver horn with a golden banner hanging
from it. The herald sounded his horn as they all
marched to the common where the geese fed and
the little children played, and there he proclaimed
in a loud voice that the King had sent his mes-
senger to find the man who had a golden key
hung by a golden chain about his neckâ€
Everybody crowded about to listen to him, and
to gape at himâ€”men, women, and children.
â€œHave you got it ?â€” Have you got it ?â€” Have
you got it?â€ said the men to one another.
â€œNo; [have not got it,"â€”â€œ Nor 1â€â€”*nor I.â€
Nobody had it. |
â€œTs there any other man living in the village ?â€
asked the Kingâ€™s messenger. Then the people
began to laugh. â€œThere is a man named Hans
Krout,â€ said one man, â€œhe is a crazy cobbler.â€
â€œBring him hither,â€ said the kingâ€™s messenger.
Off ran a dozen of them, and presently they re-
turned, bringing Hans Krout with them.
â€œHave you a golden key hung from your neck
by a golden chain?â€ asked the Kingâ€™s messenger.
â€œNo,â€ said Hans Krout, â€œsuch a key as that is
all moonshine, and; you see, I was never able to
bring any back with me.â€
Â«â€œ Any what?â€ said the Kingâ€™s messenger.
Â« Any moonshine,â€ said Hans Krout.
â€œ Ha-ha-ha!â€ laughed everybody, and even the
Kingâ€™s messenger smiled. They did not know
that Hans Krout was the only wise man among
them â€” they all thought he was crazy.
â€œTs there no other man in the village?â€ said
the Kingâ€™s messenger.
â€œWhy, yes,â€ said one of them that stood near
â€”it was Tom Stout.â€”â€˜â€œ Why, yes, there is one,
but he is only a poor, childish creature of a moon-
calf. His name is David, and his father and
mother are ashamed of him, because he is so
â€œNevertheless, bring him hither,â€ said the
The people looked at one another, and laughed.
Â« Bring him hither,â€ said the Kingâ€™s messenger
again, and then a dozen of them ran away to
Â« As goon as they had come into the house,
David knew that his waiting had hatched its eggs.
â€œThere â€™s somebody out here who wants to see
you,â€ said the people who had come to fetch him.
But David only sat still and smiled. â€œI cannot
go to him,â€ said he.
Â« But it is the Kingâ€™s messenger,â€ said they.
â€œT will not go even to the Kingâ€™s messenger,â€
said David. â€œ If he wants me, he must come
They talked and talked to David, but all to no
purpose. He would not go, and at last they had
to go back to the Kingâ€™s messenger again. â€˜â€œ Sim-
pleton has grown proud,â€ said they; â€œhe says that
he wonâ€™t come to you and that you must come to
â€œVery well,â€ said the Kingâ€™s messenger, â€œ then
I will go to him.â€
So off he went across the common, and down
the street to Davidâ€™s house, a great crowd of peo-
ple following behind him. There was David sit-
ting, waiting, and when the Kingâ€™s messenger and
the six knights and the herald crowded into the
place, they filled the house. Yes; a noble sight
they were, with silver and gold and bright jewels
that gleamed and glistened and seemed to fill the
place with light.
The people who had followed the messenger
stood outside and peeped in through the windows,
and Davidâ€™s father and mother stood in the corner
and stared, with their eyes as round as the eyes of
fishes. But David sat still, and looked at the
Kingâ€™s messenger and the knights and the herald,
â€œHave you got a golden key hung about your
neck, with a golden chain?â€ said the Kingâ€™s
â€œYes; I have,â€ said David.
â€œLet me see it!â€ said the Kingâ€™s messenger.
David thrust his hand into his bosom, and there
was the key hung to the golden chain.
â€˜That is it,â€ said the Kingâ€™s messenger. â€˜â€œ Blow
your horn, herald!â€ And the herald blew his horn
so loud and shrill that the rafters cracked and rang.
As for the people peeping in at the windows,
they could not believe their eyes when they saw
that Davidâ€”David the simpletonâ€”David the
moon-calfâ€”really had the golden key, and was
the hero of heroes of whom all the world was
The Kingâ€™s messenger took off his hat with its
fine feathers, and bowed so low that his head
almost touched the floor. And David smiled and
put the key back into his bosom again.
â€œYou must come with us now to the Kingâ€™s
city,â€ said the Kingâ€™s messenger.
â€œYes,â€ said David, â€œthat is what I have been
Then they brought up a great white horse with
a saddle and bridle sparkling with gold and jewels.
The Kingâ€™s messenger himself held the stirrup,
while David mounted into the saddle, and the
people stood huddled around staring with wonder.
David looked around at them and laughed. Poor
Tom Stoutâ€™s eyes were staring like those of a
calf, and he looked very droll in his wonder.
Then they rode away and down the street, the
horsesâ€™ hoofs clattering and ringing upon the cob-
â€œ Huzza! huzza!â€ cried everybody; â€œ Huzza for
David the hero!â€ and they waved their caps
above their heads, and some of them threw them
in the air. Only the geese upon the common
stooped their necks and hissed after the horsesâ€™
heels. â€œ Huzza! huzza! huzza!â€ and all the girls
waved their handkerchiefs.
So David rode away to the Kingâ€™s palace, and
everybody felt proud that such a great hero had
been born in that village.
That is the way it happens sometimes.
AVID, and the Kingâ€™s messenger, and the
1D six knights, and the herald rode away
along the highway, over hill and dale,
and across the meadows and through the towns and
villages, and everybody shouted, â€œâ€˜ Huzza! huzza!â€
just as they had done down in the village. â€œHuzza!
huzza! for the hero with the golden key to open
the Wonder-Box!â€ The news of his coming
spread like wild-fire, and people came from far
and near to catch a glimpse of him as he rode by
upon his way.
So at last they came to the Kingâ€™s town.
Thither the news had flown before them, and
here, too, everybody shouted, Huzza! Huzza for
the man with the golden key who came to unlock
the Wonder-Box!â€ All the town was packed and
crowded as they rode through the streets ; the win-
dows were alive with folk looking out, and all was
a tumult of waving kerchiefs and flags. As for the
cheering, it sounded like the noise of great waters.
And in the midst of it all the hero David rode
smiling, and his face shone as white as the moon.
So he rode up the great street of the town, and
to the Kingâ€™s palace. And the King himself came
out upon the steps to welcome him.
He took David by the hand and led him up the
great marble steps, and into the palace, and
through the palace to where the Princess Aurelia
was waiting. And the lords and nobles, and
knights and squires, all dressed in beautiful clothes
of gold and silver, with sparkling jewels, made a
lane for him up which he was to walk.
The King led him straight to a grand chamber,
where was spread a carpet of silver thread, and at
the far end sat the Princess Aurelia on a throne.
At her right hand was a table, and on it was a box.
It was the Wonder-Box.
She came down the steps to meet him as he
came up the steps to meet her. Then she placed
her hands on his shoulders and leaned over and
kissed him before them all.
All the lords and nobles cheered and shouted,
and the King himself took their hands and yee
them together. .
The Princess led David up to where was the
box, and David took the key that hung about his
neck by the golden chain, and fitted it in the
lock. Everything was hushed to a dead silence.
David turned the key and opened the box, and
there lay the Know-All Book as white as snow.
He opened it, and on the first page were written,
in letters of gold, the wordsâ€”
â€”Â« When we grow up we shall be married.â€
Yes; that is what they read when they opened
the Wonder-Box; and what followed after, thou-
sands upon thousands of words, told of the same
thingâ€”â€œwhen we grow up we shall be married;
when we are married we shall grow up; when
we are married there shall be joy; hence there
hands on his should
She placed her
shall be joy when we are married.â€ Thus it was
from the beginning to the end of all there was
in the book.
â€œWhat!â€ you say, â€œwas that all?â€
Ah, little child, you do not knowâ€”you do not
The words sound as simple as moonshine, and the
foolish man who believes himself wise may laugh
to think of a hero going all the way to the other
end of nowhere to fetch back nothing more than
that written in it. But in all the world, and in all
the world to come, there is nothing else that is worth
while to write about; for if the yellow heaven had
not married the brown earth there would never
have been green and blue eyes to the peacockâ€™s
Yes; the words are as simple as moonshine, but
then you must read them in the Know-All Book
to understand what they mean.
Yes; and this that I have told you is not non-
sense. The hero David did indeed bring back the
Wonder-Box and the Know-All Book just exactly
as I have told youâ€”he didâ€”he didâ€”and those
were the words written in it.
Do you not understand? Well, well; some
day you mayâ€”but first you will have to bathe
your eyes with moonshine and then read again.
And were David and the Princess married ?
Why, of course they were. For the simpleton
always marries the Princess in the fairy tales, and
that is why they are so true that wise people and
little children would rather read them than any-
And did they ever go back into the moon-gar-
den? Why, of course they did, for those who
have read those words in the Know-All Book,
and understand what they mean, may go to or
come from anywhere, whenever they choose to
Well, you may smile at this story if you~
choose, and call it all moonshine, but if you do
not believe by this time that there is more in
moonshine than the glimmer and the whiteness,
why, I could not make you believe it if I were
to write a hundred and twenty-seven great books
instead of this short story.