The Maker of Rainbows and Other Fairy-Tales and Fables

That's French for "the ancient system," as in the ancient system of feudal privileges and the exercise of autocratic power over the peasants. The ancien regime never goes away, like vampires and dinosaur bones they are always hidden in the earth, exercising a mysterious influence. It is not paranoia to believe that the elites scheme against the common man. Inform yourself about their schemes here.

The Maker of Rainbows and Other Fairy-Tales and Fables

Postby admin » Thu May 31, 2018 7:00 am

The Maker of Rainbows and Other Fairy-Tales and Fables
by Richard Le Gallienne
1912

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OFTEN SHE WOULD LIFT THE LID OF THE GOLDEN COFFER AND LOOK AT THE TATTERED ROBE

Table of Contents:

• The Old Coat of Dreams
• The Maker of Rainbows
• The Man with Something in His Eye
• Mother-of-Pearl
• The Mer-Mother
• The Sleepless Lord
• The Man with No Money
• The Rags of Queen Cophetua
• The Wife from Fairy-Land
• The Buyer of Sorrows
• The Princess's Mirror
• The Pine Lady
• The King on His Way to be Crowned
• The Stolen Dream
• The Stern Education of Clowns 1

ILLUSTRATIONS

• OFTEN SHE WOULD LIFT THE LID OF THE GOLDEN COFFER AND LOOK AT THE TATTERED ROBE Frontispiece
• A SUDDEN STRANGE NEW LIGHT WOULD SHINE OUT OF ITS PAGES
• HE WENT FORTH INTO THE DAWN SLEEPLESS
• THE HERALD ONCE MORE SET THE TRUMPET TO HIS LIPS AND BLEW
• HER ONLY CARE WAS TO GAZE ALL DAY AT HER OWN FACE
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Re: The Maker of Rainbows and Other Fairy-Tales and Fables

Postby admin » Thu May 31, 2018 7:03 am

THE OLD COAT OF DREAMS

A PROLOGUE


P eople in London—not merely literary folk, but even those "higher social circles" to which a certain publisher, whose name—or race—it is hardly fair to mention, had so obsequiously climbed—often wondered whence had come the wealth that enabled him to maintain such an establishment, give such elaborate "parties," have so many automobiles, and generally make all that display which is so convincing to the modern mind.

Of course they were not seriously concerned, because, so long as it is a party, and the chef is paid so much, and the wines are as old as they should be, not even the rarest blossom on the most ancient and distinguished genealogical tree cares whose party it is, or, indeed, with whom she dances. There is only one democracy, and that is controlled by gentlemen with names that[Pg 2] hardly sound beautiful enough to mention in fairy tales—that democracy of money to which the fairest flower of our aristocracy now bows her coroneted head.

Strange—but we all know that so it is. Therefore, all sorts of distinguished and beautiful people came to the publisher's "parties."

It would have made no difference, really, to their hard hearts, could they have known where all the champagne and conservatories and music came from—they would have gone on dancing all the same, and eating pâté de foie gras and sherbets; yet it may interest a sad heart here and there to know how it was that that publisher—whose name I forget, but whose nose I can never forget—was able to pay for all that music and dancing, strange flowers, and enchanted food, none of which he, of course, understood.

Aristocrats in London, of course, know nothing of a northern district of New York City called Harlem, with so many streets that a learned arithmetician would be needed to number them: a district which, at the first call of spring, becomes vocal with children on door-steps and venders of every vegetable in every language. In this district, too, you hear strange trumpets blow, announcing[Pg 3] knife and scissors grinders, and strange bells ringing from strings suspended across carts, whose merchandise is bottles and old newspapers. You will hear, too, just when the indomitable sweet smells from the terrible eternal spring are blowing in at your window, and the murmur of rich happy people going away is heard in the land, a raucous cry in the hot street—a cry full of melancholy, even despair: it goes something like this—"Cash clo'! Cash clo'!"

Well, it was just then that a young poet, living in one of those highly arithmetical streets, was wondering, as all the sad spring murmur came to his ears, how he could possibly buy a rose for the bosom of his sweetheart, with whom he was to dance that night at a local ball. Everything he had in the world had gone. He had sold everything—except his poems. All his precious books had gone, sad one by one. Little paintings that once made his walls seem like the Louvre had gone. All his old silver spoons and all the little intaglios he loved so well, and yes! he had even sold the old copper chest of the Renaissance, all studded nails, with three locks, in which ... well, all had gone. Only, where was that rose for the bosom of his sweetheart—where was it growing? Where and how was it to be bought?

Just as he was at his wit's end, he heard a cry through the window. It had meant nothing to him before. Now—strange as it may sound—it meant a rose!

"Cash clo'! Cash clo'!"

He had an old dress-suit in his wardrobe. Perhaps that would buy a rose! So, leaning through the window, he called down to the voice to "come up."

The gentleman from Palestine came up.

It would be easy to describe the contempt with which he surveyed the distinguished though somewhat ancient garments thus offered to him—in exchange for a rose!—how he affected to examine linings and seams, knowing all the time the distinguished tailor that had made them, and what a bargain he was about to drive.

Of course, they weren't, well ... really ... practically ... they weren't worth buying....

The poet wondered a moment about the cost of a rose.

"Are they worth the price of a rose?" he asked.

The gentleman from Palestine didn't, of course, understand.

"You see," said he, finally; "I'd like to give you more, but you know how it is ... look at these linings and buttonholes! Honestly, I don't[Pg 5] really care about them at all—but—really a dollar and a half is the best I can do on them...." And he eyed the poet's clothes with contempt.

"A dollar seventy-five," said the poet, standing firm.

"All right," at last said the gentleman from Palestine, "but I don't see where I am to make any profit; however—" And he handed out the small, dirty money.

Then the poet bowed him out gently, saying in his heart:

"Now I can buy my rose!"

When the Palestinian dealer in old dress-suits went home—after sadly leaving behind him that dollar seventy-five—he made an astonishing discovery.

In the necessary process of re-examining the "goods," something fell out of one of the pockets, something the poet, after his nature, had quite forgotten. The old-clothes man, now a publisher, picked them up from the floor and gazed at them in delight. The poet, in his grandiose carelessness, had forgotten to empty his pockets of various old dreams!

Now, to be fair to the gentleman from Palestine, he belonged to a race that loves dreams, and, to do him justice, he forgot all about the profit he was[Pg 6] to make of the poor poet's clothes, as he sat, cross-legged, on the floor, and read the dreams that had fallen from the pocket of the poet's old dress-suit. He read on and read on, and laughed and cried—such a curious treasure-trove, such an odd medley of fairy tales and fables and poems had fallen out of the poet's pocket—and it was only later that the thought came to him that he might change from an old-clothes man into a publisher of dreams.

Now, these are some of the dreams that fell out of the poet's pocket.
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Re: The Maker of Rainbows and Other Fairy-Tales and Fables

Postby admin » Thu May 31, 2018 7:03 am

THE MAKER OF RAINBOWS

It was a bleak November morning in the dreary little village of Twelve-trees. Nature herself seemed hopeless and disgusted with the universe, as the chill mists stole wearily among the bare trees, and the boughs dripped with a clammy moisture that had nothing of the energy of tears.

Twelve-trees was a poor little village at the best of times, but the past summer had been more than usually unkind to it, and the lean wheat-fields and the ragged orchards had been leaner and more ragged than ever before—so said the memory of the oldest villagers.

There was very little to eat in the village of Twelve-trees, and practically no money at all. Some of the inhabitants found consolation in the fact that at the Inn of the Blessed Rood the cider-kegs still held out against despair.

But this was no comfort to the gaunt and shivering[Pg 8] children left to themselves on the chill door-steps, half-heartedly trying to play their innocent little games. Even the heart of childhood felt the shadows that November morning in the dreary little village of Twelve-trees, and even the dogs and the cats of the village seemed to be under the same spell of gloom, and moved about with a dank hopelessness, evidently expecting nothing in the shape of discarded fish or transfiguring smells.

There was no life in the long, disheveled High Street. No one seemed to think it worth while to get up and work. There was nothing to get up for, and no work worth doing. So, naturally, in all this echoing emptiness, this lack of excitement, anything that happened attracted a gratefully alert attention—even from those cats and dogs so sadly prowling amid the dejected refuse of the village.

Presently, amid all the November numbness, the blank nothingness of the damp, deserted street, there was to be seen approaching from the south a curious little figure of an old man, trundling at his side a strange apparatus resembling a knife-grinder's wheel, and he carried some forlorn old umbrellas under one arm. Evidently he was an itinerant knife-grinder and umbrella-mender. As[Pg 9] he proceeded up the street, he called out some strange sing-song, the words of which it was impossible to distinguish.

But, though his cry was melancholy, his old puckered and wizened face seemed to be alight with some inner and inextinguishable gladness, and his electrical blue eyes, startlingly set in a network of wrinkles, were as full of laughter as a boy's. His cry attracted a weary face here and there at window and door; but, seeing nothing but an old knife-grinder, the faces lost interest and immediately disappeared. The children, however, being less sophisticated, were filled with a grateful curiosity toward the stranger, and left the chill door-steps and trooped about him in wonder.

A little girl, with tears making channels down her pale, unwashed face, caught the old man's eye.

"Little one," he said, with a magical smile, and a voice all reassuring love, "give me one of those tears, and I will show you what I can make of it."

And he touched the child's face with his hand, and caught one of her tears on his finger, and placed it, glittering, on his wheel. Then, working a pedal with his foot, the wheel began to move so swiftly that one could see nothing but its whirling; and as it whirled, wonderful colored rays[Pg 10] began to rise from it, so that presently the dreary street seemed full of rainbows. The sad houses were lit up with a fairy radiance, and the faces of the children were all laughter again.

"Well, little one," he said, when the wheel stopped whirling, "did you like what I made out of that sad little tear?"

And the children laughed, and begged him to do some other trick for them.

At that moment there came down the street a poor old half-witted woman, indescribably dirty and bedraggled, talking to herself and laughing in a creepy way. The village knew her as Crazy Sal, and the children were accustomed to make cruel sport of her. As she came near they began to jeer at her, with the heartlessness of young, unknowing things.

But the strange old man who had made rainbows out of the little girl's tear suddenly stopped them.

"Stay, children," he said, "and watch."

And, as he said this, his wheel went whirling again; and as it whirled a light shot out from it, so that it illuminated the poor old woman, and in its radiance she became strangely transfigured. In place of Crazy Sal, whom they had been accustomed to mock, the children saw a beautiful[Pg 11] young girl, all blushes and bright eyes and pretty ribbons; and so great was the murmur of their surprise that it drew to the door-steps their fathers and mothers, who also saw Crazy Sal as none of them had ever seen her before—except a very old man who remembered her as a beautiful young girl, and remembered, too, how her mind had gone from her as the news came one day that her sweetheart, a sailor, had been drowned in the North Sea.

"Who and what are you?" said this old man, stepping out a little in front of the gathering crowd. "Are you a wizard, that you change a child's tears into laughter, and turn an old half-witted woman back to a young girl? You must be of the devil...."

"Give me an ear of corn from your last harvest," answered the old knife-grinder, "and let me put it on my wheel."

An ear of corn was brought to him, and once more his wheel went whirring, and again that strange light shot out from it, and spread far past the houses over the fields beyond; and, lo! to the astonished sad eyes of the weary farmers, they appeared waving with golden grain, waiting for the scythe.

And again, as the wheel stopped whirring, the[Pg 12] old man who had remembered Crazy Sal as a young girl spoke to the knife-grinder; again he asked:

"What and who are you? Are you a wizard that you change a child's tears into laughter, and turn an old half-witted woman back to a young girl, and make of a barren glebe a waving corn-field?"

And the man with the strange wheel answered:

"I am the maker of rainbows. I am the alchemist of hope. To me November is always May, tears are always laughter that is going to be, and darkness is light misunderstood. The sad heart makes its own sorrow, the happy heart makes its own joy. The harvest is made by the harvestman—and there is nothing hard or black or weary that is not waiting for the magic touch of hope to become soft as a spring flower, bright as the morning star, and valiant as a young runner in the dawn."

But the village of Twelve-trees was not to be convinced by such words made out of moonshine. Only the children believed in the laughing old man with the strange wheel.

"Rainbows!" mocked their fathers and mothers—"rainbows! Much good are rainbows to a starving village."

The old maker of rainbows took their taunts in silence, and made ready to go his way; but as he started once more along the road he said, with a cynical smile:

"Have you never heard that there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow?..."

"A pot of gold?" cried out the whole village of Twelve-trees.

"Yes," he answered, "a pot of gold! I know where it is, and I am going to find it."

And he moved on his way.

Then the villagers looked at one another, and said over and over again, "A pot of gold!"

And they took cloaks and walking-staves and set out to accompany the old visitor; but when they reached the outskirts of the village there was no sign of him. He had mysteriously disappeared.

But the children never forgot the rainbows.
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Re: The Maker of Rainbows and Other Fairy-Tales and Fables

Postby admin » Thu May 31, 2018 7:04 am

THE MAN WITH SOMETHING IN HIS EYE

Once on a time toward the end of February, when the snow still festered in the New York streets, and the wind blew cruelly from river to river, a strange figure made a somewhat storm-tossed progress along Forty-second Street, walking toward the East Side. He was a tall, distinguished, curiously sad-looking man, with longish hair growing gray, and clothes which, though they had been brushed many times, still proclaimed aloud a Bond Street tailor. As he walked along he had evidently some trouble with one of his eyes, which he rubbed from time to time, as though a cinder, perhaps, from the Elevated Railroad had lodged there, and at last he held a handkerchief to it as he walked along. But whatever the trouble was, it did not seem to interfere with a keen and kindly vision that noted every object and character of the thronged street. Now and again, strangers in that noisy and bewildering[Pg 15] quarter would ask direction from him, and he never failed to stop with an aristocratic painstaking courtesy and set them on their way. Nervous old women with bundles at perilous crossings found his arm ready to pilot them safely to the other side. There was about him a curious gentleness which, after a while, did not fail to attract the attention of enterprising boys and observing beggars, for whom, as he walked along, evidently sorely troubled with his eye, he did not fail to find pennies and kind words.

At last he had become so noticeable for these oddities of behavior that, as he went along, he had collected quite an escort of miscellaneous individuals, ragged children with pale, precocious faces, voluble old Irishwomen with bedraggled petticoats, sturdy beggars on crutches, and a sprinkling of so-called "respectable" people, curiously hovering on the skirts of the strange crowd. From some of these last came at length unkindly comments. The man was evidently crazy—more probably he was drunk. But it was plainly evident that he had something the matter with his eye.

At last a kindly individual suggested that he should go to a drug-store and get the drug clerk to look at his eye. To this the stranger assented,[Pg 16] and, accompanied by his motley escort, he entered a drug-store and put himself into the hands of the clerk, while the crowd thronged the door and glared through the windows, wondering what was the matter with the eccentric gentleman, who, after all, was very free with his pence and had so kind a tongue. A policeman did not, of course, fail to elbow himself into the store, to inquire what was the matter.

Meanwhile the drug clerk proceeded to lift up the stranger's eyelid in a professional manner, searching for the extraneous particle of pain.

At last he found something, and made a strange announcement. The something in the stranger's eye was—Pity.

No wonder it had caused such a sensation in the most pitiless city in the world.
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Re: The Maker of Rainbows and Other Fairy-Tales and Fables

Postby admin » Thu May 31, 2018 7:04 am

MOTHER-OF-PEARL

There was once a poet who lived all alone by the sea. He had built for himself a little house of boulders mortised in among the rocks, so hidden that it was seldom that any wayfarer stumbled upon his retreat. Wayfarers indeed were few in that solitary island, which was for the most part covered with thick beech woods, and had for its inhabitants only the wild creatures of wood and water and the strange unearthly shapes that none but the poet's eyes could see. The nearest village was miles away on the mainland, and for months at a time the solitude would be undisturbed by sound of human voice or footstep—which was the poet's idea of happiness. The world of men had seemed to him a world of sorrow and foolishness and lies, and so he had forsaken it to dwell with silence and beauty and the sound of the sea.

For him the world had been an uncompanioned wilderness. Here at last his spirit had found its[Pg 18] home and its kindred. The speech of men had been to him a vain confusion, but here were the voices he had been born to understand, the elemental voices of earth and sea and sky, the secret wisdom of the eternal. From morning till night his days were passed in listening to these voices, and in writing down in beautiful words the messages of wonder they brought him. So his little house grew to be filled with the lovely songs that had come to him out of the sky and the sea and the haunted beeches. He had written them in a great book with silver clasps, and often at evening, when the moon was rising over the sea, he would sing them to himself, for joy in the treasure which he had thus hoarded out of the air, as a man might weigh the grains of gold sifted from some flowing river.

One night, as he thus sat singing to himself in the solitude, he was startled by a deep sigh, as of some human creature near at hand, and looking around he was aware of a lovely form, half in and half out of the water, gazing at him with great moonlit eyes from beneath masses of golden hair. In awe and delight he gazed back spellbound at the unearthly vision. It was a fairy woman of the sea, more beautiful than tongue can tell. Over her was the supernatural beauty of dreams and as[Pg 19] he looked at her the poet's heart filled with that more than mortal happiness that only comes to us in dreams.

"Beautiful spirit," at length he cried, stretching out his arms to the vision; but as he did so she was gone, and in the place where she had been there was nought but the lonely moonlight falling on the rocks.

"It was all a trick of the moonlight," said the poet to himself, but, even as he said it, there seemed to come floating to him the cadences of an unearthly music of farewell.

In his heart the poet knew that it had not been the moonlight, but that nature had granted him one of those mystic visitations which come only to those whose loving meditation upon her secrets have opened the hidden doors. She had drawn aside for a moment the veil of her visible beauty, and vouchsafed him a glimpse of her invisible mystery. But the veil had been drawn again almost instantly, and the poet's eyes were left empty and hungered for the face that had thus momentarily looked at him through the veil. Yet his heart was filled with a high happiness, for, the vision once his, would it not be his again? Did it not mean that through the long initiation of his solitary contemplation he had come at length to[Pg 20] that aery boundary where the wall between the seen and the unseen grows transparent and the human meets the immortal face to face?

Still, days passed, and the poet watched in vain for the beautiful woman of the sea. She came not again for all his singing, and his heart grew heavy within him; but one day, as he walked the seashore at dawn, it gave a great bound of joy, for there in mystical writing upon the silver sand was a message which no eyes but his could have read. But the poet was skilled in the secret script of the elements. To him the patterns of leaves and flowers, the traceries of moss and lichen, the markings on rocks and trees, which to others were but meaningless decorations, were the letters of nature's hidden language, the spell-words of her runic wisdom. To other eyes the message he had found written on the sand would have seemed but a tangle of delicate weeds and shells cast up by the sea. To him, as he turned it into our coarser human speech, it said:

"Seek me not,—unsought I come,—
Daughter of the moonlit foam,
Near and far am I to thee,
Near and far as earth and sea,
As wave to wave, as star to star,
Near and far, near and far."


And that night, when the poet sat and sang, with full heart, in the moonlight—lo! the vision was there once more.... But again, as he stretched out his arms, she was gone. But this time the poet did not grieve as before, for he knew that she would come again, as indeed it befell. When she appeared to him the third time she had stolen so near to his side that he could gaze deep into her strange eyes, as into the fathomless, moonlit sea, and at the ending of his song she did not fade away as before, but her long hair fell all about him like a net of moonbeams, and she lay like the moon herself in his enraptured arms.

To the passionate lover of nature, the anchorite of her solitudes, there often comes, in the very hour of his closest approach to her, an aching sense of incomplete oneness with her, a human desire for some responsive embodiment of her mysterious beauty; and there are ecstatic moments in which nature seems on the tremulous verge of sending us a magic answer—moments of intense reverie when the woods seem about to reveal to us the inner heart of their silence, in some sudden shape of unimaginable enchantment, or the infinite of the starry night take form at our side in some companionable radiance. We[Pg 22] long, as it were, to press our lips to the forehead of the dawn, to crush the leafy abundance of summer to our breast, and to fold the infinite ocean in our embrace.

To the poet, reward of his lonely vigils and endless longing, nature had granted this marvel. How often, as he had gazed at the moon rising out of the sea, had he dreamed of a shining shape that came to him along her silver pathway. And to-night the mystery of the moonlit sea was in his arms. No longer a lovely vision calling him from afar—an unapproachable wonder, a voice, a gleam—but a miraculously embodied spirit of the elements, supernaturally fair.

The poet was, more than all men, learned in beautiful words, but he could find no words for this strange happiness that had befallen him; indeed, he had now passed beyond the world of words, and as he gazed into those magic eyes, that seemed like sea-flowers growing out of the air, they spoke to each other as wave talks to wave, or the leaves whisper together on the trees.

So it was that the poet ceased to be alone in his solitude, and the fairy woman from the sea became his wife, and very wonderful was their happiness. But, as with all happiness, theirs, too, was not without its touch of sorrow. For, marvelously[Pg 23] wedded though they were, so closely united that they seemed veritably one rather than two beings, there had been a deep meaning to that little song which the poet had found written in seaweed upon the sand:

"Near and far am I to thee,
Near and far as earth and sea,"
it had said,
"Near and far, near and far."


For not even their love could cast down for them one eternal barrier. They could meet and love across it, but it was still there. They were children of two diverse elements, and neither could cross from one into the other—she a child of the blue sea, he a child of the green earth. She must always leave him at the edge of the mysterious woods in which her heart ached to wander, and, however far out into the wide waters he would swim at her side, there would always be those deep-sea grottoes and flower-gardens whither he could never follow. Down into these enchanted depths he would watch her glide her shimmering way, but never might he follow her to the hidden kingdoms of the sea. He must await her out there, an alien, in the upper sunshine, and watch her glittering kindred[Pg 24] stream in and out the rainbowed portals—till again she was at his side, her hands filled for his consolation with the secret treasures of the sea.

So would she, from the shore, with despair in her eyes, watch him disappear among the beech-trees to gather for her the waxen flowers and the sweet-smelling green leaves and grasses she loved more than any that grew in the sea. Thus across their barrier would they make exchange of the marvels that grew on either side, and thus, indeed, the barrier grew less and less by reason of their love. Sometimes they asked each other if that other mystery, Death, would remove the barrier altogether....

But at the heart of the woman Life was already whispering another answer.

"What," said she, as they watched the solemn stars in the still water one summer night, "what if a little being were born to us that should belong to both our worlds, to your green earth and to my blue sea? Would you seem so lonely then? A little being that could run by your side in the meadows, and swim with me into the depths of the sea!..."

"Would you be so lonely then?" he echoed.

And lo! after a season, it was this very marvel that came to pass; for one night, as she came[Pg 25] along the moon-path to his side, she was not alone, but a tiny fairy woman was with her—a little radiant creature that, as her mother had dreamed, could gather with one hand the flowers that grow in the deeps of the wood and with the other the flowers that grow in the deeps of the sea.

Like any other mortal babe she was, save for this: around her waist ran a shimmering girdle—of mother-of-pearl.

So the poet and his wife called her Mother-of-Pearl; and she became for them, as it were, a baby-bridge between two elements. In her mysterious life their two lives became one, as never before. So near she brought them to each other that often there seemed no barrier at all. And thus days and years passed, and very wonderful was their happiness.

But by this the world which the poet had forgotten had grown curious regarding the life which he lived alone among the rocks. Many of his songs, as songs will, had escaped from his solitude, and floated singing among men; and weird rumors grew of the strange happiness that had come to him. Some of the more curious had spied upon him in his seclusion, and had brought back to the town marvelous accounts of having seen him in the moonlight with his fairy wife and child[Pg 26] at his side. And, after its fashion, the world had decided that here was plainly the work of the devil, and that the poet was a wizard in league with the powers of darkness. So the ignorant world has ever interpreted the beauty it could not understand, and the happiness it could not give.

Thus a cloud began to gather of which the poet and his mer-wife and little Mother-of-Pearl knew nothing, and one evening at moonrise, as they were disporting themselves in their innocent happiness by the sea, it burst upon them from the beech-trees with a gathering murmur and a sudden roar.

A great mob, uttering cries and waving torches, broke from the wood and ran toward them.

"Death to the wizard!" they cried. "Death! Death!"

As the poet heard them, he turned to his wife and little Mother-of-Pearl. "Fear not," he cried, "they cannot hurt us."

Then, as again the cry went up, "Death to the wizard!" a sudden light shone in his face.

"Death ... yes! That is the last door of the barrier...." and he plunged into the moonlit water.

And when the rabble at length reached the shore with their torches, the poet and his loved ones were already lost in the silver pathway that leads to the hidden kingdoms of the sea.
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Re: The Maker of Rainbows and Other Fairy-Tales and Fables

Postby admin » Thu May 31, 2018 7:10 am

THE MER-MOTHER

One day, walking by the sea,
I heard a sweet voice calling me:
I looked—but nothing could I see;
I listened—but no more I heard;
Only the sea and the sea-bird
And the blue sky were there with me.
But on another happier day,
When all the sea was sun and spray,
And laughing shout of wind and foam,
I seemed to hear the voice once more,—
Wilder and sweeter than before,
O wild as love and sweet as home.
I looked, and lo! before me there
A maiden sat in seaweeds drest,
Sea-flowers hiding in her breast,
And with a comb of deep-sea pearl
She combed, like any other girl,[Pg 28]
Her golden hair—her golden hair.
And, as each shining yellow curl
Flickered like sunshine through the pearl,
She laughed and sang—but not for me:
Three little babies of the sea
Were diving in and out for joy—
Two mer-girls and a small mer-boy.
That fairy song was not for me,
Nor those green eyes, nor that gold hair;
Deep in the caves beneath the foam
There was a husband and a home—
It was a mermaid taking care
Of her small children of the sea.

Image

Image
Emblem 8
I BREATHE
"For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ." (2 Corinthians 2:15)
SUSPIRO -- VIII
My heart is redolent with the incense of prayers,
Since the sweet smelling force of God renews me;
Hence we are smoke and fair fragrance.

-- The Rosicrucian Emblems of Daniel Cramer: The True Society of Jesus and the Rosy Cross, by Daniel Cramer
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Re: The Maker of Rainbows and Other Fairy-Tales and Fables

Postby admin » Thu May 31, 2018 7:16 am

THE SLEEPLESS LORD

There was once a great lord. He was lord of seven castles, and there were seven coronets upon his head. He was richer than he ever gave himself the trouble to think of, for, north, south, east, and west, the horizon even set no bounds to his estates. A thousand villages and ten thousand farms were in the hollow of his hand, and into his coffers flowed the fruitfulness and labor of all these. Therefore, as you can imagine, he was a very rich lord. He had more beautiful titles, denoting the various principalities over which he was lord, than the deepest-lunged herald could proclaim without taking breath at least three times. In person he was most noble and beautiful to look upon, and his voice was like the rippling of waters under the moon, save when it was like the call of a golden trumpet. He stood foremost in the counsels of his realm, not only for his eloquence, but for his wisdom. Also, God had given him a good heart.

Only one gift had been denied him—the gift of sleep. By whatever means he might weary himself in the day—in study, in sport, in recreation, or in the business of the realm—night found him sleepless, and all the dark hours the lights burned in his bedchamber and in his library, as he would pace from one to the other, with eyes tragically awake and brain torturingly alert and clear.

Every means known to science by which to bring sleep to the eyes of sleepless men had been tried in vain. Learned physicians from all parts of the world had come to my lord's castle, and had gone thence, confessing that their skill had availed nothing. All strange and terrible drugs that have power over the spirit of man had failed to conquer those stubborn eyelids. My lord still paced from his bedchamber to his library, from his library to his bedchamber—sleepless.

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A SUDDEN STRANGE NEW LIGHT WOULD SHINE OUT OF ITS PAGES

Sometimes in his anguish he had thrown himself on his knees in prayer before a God whom he had not always remembered—the God who giveth His beloved sleep—but his prayers had remained unanswered; and in his darkest moments he had dreamed of snatching by his own hands that sleep perpetual of which a great Latin poet he loved had sung. Often, as he paced his library, he [Pg 31]would say over and over to himself, Nox est perpetua una dormienda—and in the still night the old words would often sound like soft dark voices calling him away into the endless night of the endless sleep. But he was not the man to take that way of escape. No; whatever the suffering might be, he would fight it out to the end, and so he continued sleepless, trying this resource and that, but, most of all, that first and last resource—courage. It is seldom that courage fails to wrest for us some recompense from the hardest situation, and the sleepless man, as night after night he fought with his fate, did not miss such hard-wrung rewards. Often, as in the deepest hush of the night he wearily took up some great old book of philosopher or poet familiar to him from his youth, a sudden strange new light would shine out of its pages, as of some inner radiance of truth which he had missed in his daylight reading. At such times an exaltation would come over him, and it would almost seem as though the curse upon him was really a blessing of initiation into the world of a deeper wisdom, the gate of which is hidden by the glare of the sun. In the daylight the eternal voices are lost in the transitory clamor of human business; it is only when the night falls, and the stars rise, and the noise[Pg 32] of men dies down like the drone of some sleeping insect, that the solemn thoughts of God may be heard.

Other compensations he found when, weary of his books and despairing of sleep, he would leave his house and wander through the silent city, where the roaring thoroughfares of the daytime were silent as the pyramids, and the great warehouses seemed like deserted palaces haunted by the moon. Night-walkers like himself grew to find his figure familiar, and would say to themselves, or to each other, "There goes the lord who never sleeps"; and the watchmen on their rounds all knew and saluted the man whose eyelids never closed. Enforced as these nocturnal rambles were, they revealed to him much beautiful knowledge which those more fortunate ones asleep in their beds must ever miss. Thus he came in contact with all the vast nocturnal labor of the world, the toil of sleepless men who keep watch over the sleeping earth, and work through the night to make it ready for the new-born day; all that labor which is put away and forgotten with the rising of the sun, and of which the day asks no questions, so that the result be there. This brought him very near to humanity and taught him a deep pity for the grinding lot of man.

Then—was it no compensation for this sleepless one that he thus became a companion of all the ensorceled beauty of Night, walking by her side, a confidant of her mystic talk, as he gazed into her everlasting eyes? Was it nothing to be the intimate of all her sibylline moods, learned in every haunted murmur of her voice, intrusted with her lunar secrets, and a friend of all her stars?

Yes! it was much indeed, he often said to himself, as he turned homeward with the first flush of morning, and met the great sweet-smelling wains coming from the country, laden with fruits and flowers, and making their way like moving orchards and meadows through the city streets.

The big wagoners, too, were well acquainted with the great lord who never slept, and would always stop when they saw him, for it was his custom to buy from them a bunch of country flowers.

"The country dew is still on them," he would say; "it will have dried long since when the people sleeping yonder come to buy them," and, as he slipped back into his house, he would often feel a sort of pity for those who slept so well that they never saw the stars set and the sun rise.

Such were some of the compensations with[Pg 34] which he strove to strengthen his soul—not all in vain. So time passed; but at length the strain of those interminable nights began to tell upon the sleepless man, and strange fancies began to take possession of him. His vigils were no longer lonely, but inhabited by spectral voices and shadowy faces. Rebellion against his fate began to take the place of courage; and one night, in anger against his unending ordeal, he said to himself: "Am I not a great lord? It is intolerable that I should be denied that simple thing which the humblest and poorest possess so abundantly. Am I not rich? I will go forth and buy sleep."

So saying, he took from a cabinet a great jewel of priceless value. "It is worth half my estate," he said. "Surely with this I can buy sleep." And he went out into the night.

As if in irony, the night was unusually wide-awake with stars, and the moon was almost at its full. As the sleepless one looked up into the firmament, it almost seemed as though it mocked him with his brilliant wakefulness. From horizon to horizon, in all the heaven, there was to be seen no downiest feather of the wings of sleep. To his upturned eyes, pleading for the mercy of sleep, the stars sent down an answer of polished steel. And so he turned his eyes again upon the earth.[Pg 35] Everything there also, even the keenly cut shadows, seemed pitilessly awake. It almost seemed as though God had withdrawn the blessing of sleep from His universe.

But no! Suddenly he gave a cry of joy, as presently, by the riverside, stretched in an angle of its granite embankment, as though it had been a bed of down, he came upon a great workman fast asleep, with his arms over his head and his face full in the light of the moon. His breath came and went with the regularity of a man who has done his days work and is healthily tired out. He seemed to be drinking great draughts of sleep out of the sky, as one drinks water from a spring. He was poorly clad, and evidently a wanderer on the earth; but, houseless as he was, to him had been granted that healing gift which the great lord who gazed at him had prayed for in vain for months and years, and for which this night he was willing to surrender half—nay, the whole—of his wealth, if needs be—

Only a little holiday of sleep,
Soft sleep, sweet sleep; a little soothing psalm,
Of slumber from Thy sanctuaries of calm.
A little sleep—it matters not how deep;
A little falling feather from Thy wing:
Merciful Lord—is it so great a thing?


The sleepless one gazed at the sleeper a long time, fascinated by the mystery and beauty of that strange gift that had been denied him. Then he took the jewel in his hand and looked at it, picturing to himself the sleeping man's surprise when he awoke in the morning and found so unexpected a treasure in his possession, and all that the sudden acquisition of such wealth would mean to him. But, as I said at the beginning, God had given him a good heart, and, as he gazed on the man's sleep again, a pang of misgiving shot through him. After all, what were worldly possessions compared with this natural boon of which he was about to rob the sleeping man? Would all his castles be a fair exchange for that? And was he about to subject a fellow human being to the torture which he had endured to the verge of madness?

For a long time he stood over the sleeper struggling with himself.

"No!" at last he said. "I cannot rob him of his sleep," and turned and passed on his way.

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HE WENT FORTH INTO THE DAWN SLEEPLESS

Presently he came to where a beautiful woman lay asleep with a little child in her arms. They were evidently poor outcasts, yet how tranquilly they lay there, as if all the riches of the earth were theirs, and as if there was no hard world [Pg 37]to fight on the morrow. If sleep had seemed beautiful on the face of the sleeping workman, how much more beautiful it seemed here, laying its benediction upon this poor mother and child. How trustfully they lay in its arms out there in the shelterless night, as though relying on the protection of the ever-watchful stars. Surely he could not violate this sanctuary of sleep, and think to make amends by exchange of his poor worldly possessions. No! he must go on his way again. But first he took a ring from his finger and slipped it gently into the baby's hand. The tiny hand closed over it with the firmness of a baby's clutch. "It will be safe there till morning," he said to himself, and left them to their slumbers.

So he passed along through the city, and everywhere were sleeping forms and houses filled with sleepers, but he could not bring himself to carry out his plan and buy sleep. Sleep was too beautiful and sacred a thing to be bought with the most precious stone, and man was so piteously in need of it at each long day's end.

Thus he went on his way, and at last, as the dawn was showing faint in the sky, he found himself in a churchyard, and above one of the graves was growing a shining silver flower.

"It is the flower of sleep," said the sleepless one, and he bent over eagerly to gather it; but as he did so his eyes fell upon an inscription on the stone. It was the grave of a beautiful girl who had died of heart-break for her lover.

"I may not pluck it," he said. "She needs her sleep as well."

And he went forth into the dawn sleepless.
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Re: The Maker of Rainbows and Other Fairy-Tales and Fables

Postby admin » Thu May 31, 2018 7:16 am

THE MAN WITH NO MONEY

A FABLE FOR CAPITALISTS


Once upon a time there was a man who found himself, suddenly and sadly, without any money. I am aware that in these days it is hard to believe such a story. Nowadays, everybody has money, and it may seem like a stretch of the imagination to suggest a time when a man should search his pockets and find them empty. But this is merely a fairy tale; so, I trust that the reader will help me out by taking so apparently preposterous a statement for granted.

The man had been a merchant of butterflies in Ispahan, and, though his butterflies had flitted all about the flowered world, the delight of many-tongued and many-colored nations, he found himself at the close of the day a very poor and weary man.

He had but one consolation and companion[Pg 40] left—a strange, black butterfly, which he kept in a silver cage, and only looked at now and again, when he was quite sure that he was alone. He had sold all his other butterflies—all the rainbow wings—but this dark butterfly he would keep till the end.

Kings and queens, in sore sorrow and need, had offered him great sums for his black butterfly, but it was the only beautiful thing he had left—so, selfishly, he kept it to himself. Meanwhile, he starved and wandered the country roads, homeless and foodless: his breakfast the morning star, his supper the rising moon. But, sad as was his heart, and empty as was his stomach, laughter still flickered in his tired eyes; and he possessed, too, a very shrewd mind, as a man who sells butterflies must. Making his breakfast of blackberries one September morning, in the middle of an old wood, with the great cages of bramble overladen with the fruit of the solitude, an idea came to him. Thereupon he sought out some simple peasants and said: "Why do you leave these berries to fall and wither in the solitude, when in the markets of the world much money may be made of them for you and for your household? Gather them for me, and I will sell them and give you a fair return for your labor."

Now, of course, the blackberries did not belong to the dealer in butterflies. They were the free gift of God to men and birds. But the simple peasants never thought of that. Instead, they gathered them, east and west, into bushel and hogshead, and the man that had no money, that September morning, smiled to himself as he paid them their little wage, and filled his pockets, that before had been so empty, with the money that God and the blackberries and the peasants had made for him.

Thus he grew so rich that he seldom looked at the dark butterfly in the silver cage—but sometimes, in the night, he heard the beating of its wings.
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Re: The Maker of Rainbows and Other Fairy-Tales and Fables

Postby admin » Thu May 31, 2018 7:17 am

THE RAGS OF QUEEN COPHETUA

When the first dazzle of bewildered happiness in her new estate had faded from her eyes, and the miracle of her startling metamorphosis from a wandering beggar-maid to a great Queen on a throne was beginning to lose a little of its wonder and to take its place among the accepted realities of life, Queen Cophetua became growingly conscious of some dim dissatisfaction and unrest in her heart.

Indeed, she had all that the world could give, and surely all that a woman's heart is supposed to desire. The King's love was still hers as when he found her at dawn by the pool in the forest; and, in exchange for the tattered rags which had barely concealed the water-lily whiteness of her body, countless wardrobes were filled with garments of every variety of subtle design and exquisite fabric, textures light as the golden sun, purple as the wine-dark sea, iridescent as the rainbow, and soft as summer clouds—the better[Pg 43] to set off her strange beauty for the eyes of the King.

And, every day of the year, the King brought her a new and priceless jewel to hang about her neck, or wear upon her moonbeam hands, or to shine in the fragrant night of her hair.

Ah! what a magical wooing that had been in the depths of the forest, that strange morning! The sun was hardly above the tops of the trees when she had awakened from sleep at the mossy foot of a giant beech, and its first beams were casting a solemn enchantment across a great pool of water-lilies and filling their ivory cups with strange gold. She had lain still a while, watching through her sleepy eyelids the unfolding marvel of the dawn; and then rousing herself, she had knelt by the pool, and letting down her long hair that fell almost to her feet had combed and braided it, with the pool for her mirror—a mirror with water-lilies for its frame. And, as she gazed at herself in the clear water, with a girlish happiness in her own beauty, a shadow fell over the pond; and, startled, she saw beside her own face in the mirror the face of a beautiful young knight, so it seemed, bending over her shoulder. In fear and maiden modesty—for her hair was only half braided, and, whiter than any water-lily in the[Pg 44] pond, her bosom glowed bare in the morning sunlight—she turned around, and met the eyes of the King.

Without moving, each gazed at the other as in a dream—eyes lost fathom-deep in eyes.

At last the King found voice to speak.

"You must be a fairy," he had said, "for surely you are too beautiful to be human!"

"Nay, my lord," she had answered, "I am but a poor girl that wanders with my lute yonder from village to village and town to town, singing my little songs."

"You shall wander no more," said the King. "Come with me, and you shall sit upon a throne and be my Queen, and I will love you forever."

But she could not answer a word, for fear and joy.

And therewith the King took her by the hand, and set her upon his horse that was grazing hard by; and, mounting behind her, he rode with her in his arms to the city, and all the while her eyes looked up into his eyes, as she leaned upon his shoulder, and his eyes looked deep down into hers—but they spake not a word. Only once, at the edge of the forest, he had bent down and kissed her on the lips, and it seemed to both[Pg 45] as if heaven with all its stars was falling into their hearts.

As they rode through the city to the palace, surrounded by wondering crowds, she nestled closer to his side, like a frightened bird, and like a wild birds were her great eyes gazing up into his in a terror of joy. Not once did she move them to right or left, for all the murmur of the people about them. Nor did the King see aught but her water-lily face as they wended thus in a dream through the crowded streets, and at length came to the marble steps of the palace.

Then the King, leaping from his horse, took her tenderly in his arms and carried her lightly up the marble steps. Upon the topmost step he set her down, and taking her hand in his, as she stood timidly by his side, he turned his face to the multitude and spake.

"Lo! my people," he said, "this is your Queen, whom God has sent to me by a divine miracle, to rule over your hearts from this day forth, as she holds rule over mine. My people, salute your Queen!"

And therewith the King knelt on one knee to his beggar-maid and kissed her hand; and all the people knelt likewise, with bowed heads, and a great cry went up.

"Our Queen! Our Queen!"

Then the King and Queen passed into the palace, and the tiring-maids led the little beggar-maid into a great chamber hung with tapestries and furnished with many mirrors, and they took from off her white body the tattered gown she had worn in the forest, and robed her in perfumed linen and cloth of gold, and set jewels at her throat and in her hair; and at evening in the cathedral, before the high altar, in the presence of all the people, the King placed a sapphire beautiful as the evening star upon her finger, and the twain became man and wife; and the moon rose and the little beggar-maid was a Queen and lay in a great King's arms.

On the morrow the King summoned a famous worker in metals attached to his court, and commanded him to make a beautiful coffer of beaten gold, in which to place the little ragged robe of his beggar-maid; for it was very sacred to him because of his great love. After due time the coffer was finished, and it was acclaimed the masterpiece of the great artificer who had made it. About its sides was embossed the story of the King's love. On one side was the pool with the water-lilies and the beggar-maid braiding her hair on its brink. And on another she was riding[Pg 47] on horseback with the King through the forest. And on another she was standing by his side on the steps of the palace before all the people. And on the fourth side she was kneeling by the King's side before the high altar in the cathedral.

The King placed the coffer in a secret gallery attached to the royal apartments, and very tenderly he placed therein the little tattered gown and the lute with which his Queen was wont to wander from village to village and town to town, singing her little songs.

Often at evening, when his heart brimmed over with the tenderness of his love, he would persuade his Queen to doff her beautiful royal garments and clothe herself again in that little tattered gown, through the rents of which her white body showed whiter than any water-lilies. And, however rich or exquisite the other garments she wore, it was in those beloved rags, the King declared, that she looked most beautiful. In them he loved her best.

But this had been a while ago, and though, as has been said, the King's love was still hers as when he had met her that strange morning in the forest, and though every day he brought her a new and priceless jewel to hang about her neck, or wear upon her moonbeam hands, or to shine[Pg 48] in the fragrant night of her hair, it was many months since he had asked her to wear for him the little tattered gown.

Was the miracle of their love beginning to lose a little of its wonder for him, too; was it beginning to take its place among the accepted realities of life?

Sometimes the Queen fancied that he seemed a little impatient with her elfin bird-like ways, as though, in his heart, he was beginning to wish that she was more in harmony with the folk around her, more like the worldly court ladies, with their great manners and artificial smiles. For, though she had now been a Queen a long while, she had never changed. She was still the wild gipsy-hearted child the King had found braiding her hair that morning by the lilied pool.

Often she would steal away by herself and enter that secret gallery, and lift the lid of the golden coffer, and look wistfully at the little tattered robe, and run her hands over the cracked strings of her little lute.

There was a long window in the gallery, from which, far away, she could see the great green cloud of the forest; and as the days went by she often found herself seated at this window, gazing in its direction, with vague unformed feelings of sadness in her heart.

One day, as she sat there at the window, an impulse came over her that she could not resist, and swiftly she slipped off her beautiful garments, and taking the little robe from the coffer, clothed herself in the rags that the King had loved. And she took the old lute in her hands, and sang low to herself her old wandering songs. And she danced, too, an elfin dance, all alone there in the still gallery, danced as the apple-blossoms dance on the spring winds, or the autumn leaves dance in the depths of the forest.

Suddenly she ceased in alarm. The King had entered the gallery unperceived, and was watching her with sad eyes.

"Are you weary of being a Queen?" said he, sadly.

For answer she threw herself on his breast and wept bitterly, she knew not why.

"Oh, I love you! I love you," she sobbed, "but this life is not real."

And the King went from her with a heavy heart.

And from day to day an unspoken sorrow lay between them; and from day to day the King's words haunted the Queen with a more insistent refrain:

"Are you weary of being a Queen?"

Was she weary of being a Queen?

And so the days went by.

One day as the Queen passed down the palace steps she came upon a beautiful girl, clothed in tatters as she had once been, seated on the lowest step, selling flowers—water-lilies.

The Queen stopped.

"Where did you gather your water-lilies, child?" she asked.

"I gathered them from a pool in the great forest yonder," answered the girl, with a curtsey.

"Give me one of them," said the Queen, with a sob in her voice, and she slipped a piece of gold into the girl's hand, and fled back into the palace.

That night, as she lay awake by her sleeping King, she rose silently and stole into the secret gallery. There, with tears running down her cheeks, she dressed herself in the little tattered gown and took the lute in her hand, and then stole back and pressed a last kiss on the brow of her sleeping King, who still slept on.

But at sunrise the King awoke, with a sudden fear in his heart, and lo! where his Queen had lain was only a white water-lily.

And at that moment, in the depths of the forest, a beggar-maid was braiding her hair, with a pool of water-lilies for her mirror.
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Re: The Maker of Rainbows and Other Fairy-Tales and Fables

Postby admin » Thu May 31, 2018 7:18 am

THE WIFE FROM FAIRY-LAND

Her talk was of all woodland things,
Of little lives that pass
Away in one green afternoon,
Deep in the haunted grass.
For she had come from fairy-land,
The morning of a day
When the world that still was April
Was turning into May.
Green leaves and silence and two eyes—
'Twas so she seemed to me;
A silver shadow of the woods,—
Whisper and mystery.
I looked into her woodland eyes,
And all my heart was hers;
And then I led her by the hand[Pg 52]
Home up my marble stairs.
And all my granite and my gold
Was hers for her green eyes,
And all my sinful heart was hers,
From sunset to sunrise.
I gave her all delight and ease
That God had given to me,
I listened to fulfil her dreams,
Rapt with expectancy.
But all I gave and all I did
Brought but a weary smile
Of gratitude upon her face—
As though, a little while,
She loitered in magnificence
Of marble and of gold,
And waited to be home again,
When the dull tale was told.
Sometimes, in the chill galleries,
Unseen, she deemed, unheard,
I found her dancing like a leaf,
And singing like a bird.
So lone a thing I never saw[Pg 53]
In lonely earth and sky;
So merry and so sad a thing—


One sad, one laughing, eye.
There came a day when on her heart
A wild-wood blossom lay,
And the world that still was April
Was turning into May.
In her green eyes I saw a smile
That turned my heart to stone,—
My wife that came from fairy-land
No longer was alone.
For there had come a little hand
To show the green way home,
Home through the leaves, home through the dew,
Home through the greenwood—home.

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