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A PICTUREBOOK

WITHOUT PICTURES

 

INTRODUCTION

 

It is a strange thingthat when I feel most ferventlyand most deeplymy hands and my tongue seem aliketiedso that I cannot ringhtly describe or accurately portraythe thoughts that are rising within meand yet I am apaintermy eye tells me as much as thatand all myfriends who have seen my sketches and fancies say thesame

I am a poor ladand live in one of the narrowest oflanesbut I do not want for lightas my room is high upin the housewith an extensive prospect over the neighbouring roofsDuring the first few days I went to live inthe townI felt low-spirited and solitary enoughInsteadof the forest and the green hillsI had here only the greychimneys to look out uponAnd I had not then a singlefriendnot one familiar face greeted me

So one evening I stood at the windowin a desponding moodand presently I opened the casement and looked outOhhow my heart leaped up with joyHerewas a wellknown face at lasta roundfriendly countenancethe of a good friend I had known at homeInfactit was the Moon that looked in upon meHe wasquite unchangedthe dear old Moonand had the sameface exactly that he used to show when he peered downupon me through the willow trees on the moorI kissedmy hand to him over and over againas he shone straightinto my little roomand hefor his partpromised me that every eveningwhen he came abroadhe would lookin upon me for a few momentsThis promise he has faithfully keptIt is a pity that he can only stay such a shorttime when he comesWhenever he appearshe tells meof one thing or another that he has seen on the previousnight or on that same evening

"Just paint the scenes I describe to you"This iswhat he said to me"And you will have a very pretty picturebook"

I have followed his injunction for many eveningsIcould make up a new "Thousand and One Nights"in myown wayout of these picturesbut the number might betoo greatafter allThe pictures I have here given have notbeen selectedbut follow each otherjust as they were de-scribed to meSome great gifted painteror some poet ormusicianmay make something more of them if he likeswhat I have given here are only hasty sketcheshurriedlyput upon the paperwith some of my own thoughts inter-spersedfor the Moon did not come to me every eveninga cloud sometimes hid his face from me

 

FIRST EVENING

 

"Last night"I am quoting the Moon's ownwords"last night I was gliding through the cloudless Indian skyMy face was mirrored in the waters of theGangesand my beams strove to pierce through the thickintertwining boughs of the plane treesarching beneath melike the tortoise's shellForth from the thicket tripped aHindoo maidlight was a gazellebeautiful as EveTherewas something so airy and ethrerealand yet so full andfirm in this daughter of HindostanI could read herthoughts through her delicate skinThe thorny creepingplants tore her sandalsbut for all that she came rapidlyforwardThe deer which came from the river where it hadquenched its thirstsprang by with a startled boundfor inher hand the maiden bore a lighted lampI could see the blood in her delicate fingertipsas she spread them for ascreen before the flameShe came down to the streamandset the lamp upon the waterand let it float awayTheflame flickered to and froand seemed ready to expirebutstill the lamp burned onand the girl's black sparklingeyeshalfveiled behind their long silken lashesfollowedit with a gaze of earnest intensityShe well knew that ifthe lamp continued to burn so long as she could keep it insighther betrothed still alivebut if the lamp wassuddenly extinguishedhe was deadAnd the lampburned and quiveredand her heart burned and trembledshe fell on her kneesand prayedNear her in the grasslay a speckled snakebut she heeded it notshe thoughtonly of Brahma and of her betrothed' He lives'sheshouted joyfully' he lives'And from the mountains theecho came back upon her'He lives'"

 

SECOND EVENING

 

"Yesterday" said the Moon to me"I looked downupon a small courtyard surrounded on all sides by housesIn the courtyard sat a hen with eleven cinckensand apretty little girl was running and jumping around themThe hen was frightenedand screamedand spread outher wings over the little broodThen the girl's fathercame out and scolded herand I glided away and thoughtno more of the matter

"But this eveningonly a few minutes agoIlooked down into the same courtyardEverything wasquietBut presently the little girl came forth againcrept quietly to the henhousepushed back the boltand slipped into the apartment of the hens and chickensThey cried out loudlyand came fluttering downfrom their perchesand ran about in dismayand thelittle girl ran after themI saw it quite plainlyfor Ilooked through a hole in the henhouse wallI was an-gry with the wilful childand felt glad when her fathercame out and scolded her more violently than yesterdayholding her roughly by the armshe held down herheadand her blue eyes were full of large tears'Whatare you about here'he askedShe wept and said' Iwanted to kiss the hen and beg her pardon for frightening her yesterdaybut I was afraid to tell you'

"And the father kissed the innocent child's foreheadand I kissed her on the mouth and eyes

 

THIRD EVENING

 

"In the narrow street round the corner yonderit isso narrow that my beams can only glide for minute alongthe walls of the housebut in that minute I see enough tolearn what the world is made ofin that narrow street Isaw a womanSixteen years ago that woman was a childplaying in the garden of the old parsonage in the countryThe hedges rose bushes were oldand the flowers werefadedThey straggled wild over the pathsand the raggedbranches grew up among the boughs of the apple-treeshere and there were a few roses still in bloomnot so fairas the queen of flowers generally appearsbut still they hadcolour and tooThe clergyman's little daughter ap-peared to me a far lovelier roseas she sat on her stool under the straggling hedgehugging and caressing her dollwith the battered pasteboard cheeks

"Ten years afterwards I saw her againI beheld herin a splendid ballroomshe was the beautiful bride of arich merchantI rejoiced at her happinessand sought heron calm quiet eveningsAhnobody thinks of my cleareye and my sure glanceAlasMy rose ran wildlike therose bushes in the garden of the parsonageThere aretragedies in everyday lifeand tonight I saw the last act ofone

"She was lying in bed in a house in that narrowstreetshe was sick unto deathand the cruel landlordcame upand tore away the thin coverlether only protection against the cold' Get up'said he' your face isenough to frighten oneGet up dress yourselfGive memoneyor I'll turn you out into the streetQuickgetup'She answered' AlasDeath is gnawing at my heartLet me rest'But he forced her to get up and bathe herfaceand put a wreath of roses in her hairand he placedher in a chair at the windowwith a candle burning besideherand went away

"I looked at herand she was sitting motionlesswithher hands in her lapThe wind caught the open windowand shut it with a crashso that a pane came clatteringdown in fragmentsbut still she never movedThe cur-tain fluttered like a flame about hershe was deadThere at the window sat the dead womanpreacthing asermon against sinmy poor faded rose out of the parsonage garden"

 

FOURTH EVENING

 

"Last evening I saw a German play acted"said theMoon

"It was in a little townA stable had been turnedinto a theatrethat is to saythe stalls had been leftstandingand had been turned into private boxesand allthe timberwork had been covered with coloured paperAlittle iron chandelier hung beneath the ceilingand that itmight be made to disappear into the ceilingas it does ingreat theatreswhen the tingting of the prompter'sbell is hearda great inverted tub had been placed justabove it

"' Tingting'And the little iron chandelier sud-denly rose at least half a yard and disappeared in the tuband that was the sign that the play was going to beginAyoung nobleman and his ladywho happened to be passing through the little townwere present at the performanceand consequently the house was crowdedBut un-der the chandelier was a vacant space like a little craternot a single soul sat therefor the tallow was droppingdripdripI saw everythiingfor it was so warm in therethat every loophole had been openedThe male and fe-male servants stood outsidepeeping through the chinksalthough the policeman was insidethreatening them witha stickClose by the orchestra could be seen the nobleyoung couple in two old arm-chairswhich were usuallyoccupied by his worship the mayor and his ladybut theselatter were today obliged to content themselves with wooden formsjust as if they had been ordinary citizensandthe lady observed quietly to herself'One seesnowthat there is rank above rank'and this incident gave anair of extra festivity to the whole proceedingsThe chandelier gave little leapsthe crowd got their knucklesrappedand Ithe Moonwas present at the performancefrom beginning to end"

 

HIFTH EVENING

 

"Yesterday"began the Moon"I looked down uponthe turmoil of ParisMy eye penetrated into an apartmentof the LouvreAn old grandmotherpoorly cladshe belonged to the working classwas following one of the underservants into the great empty throneroomfor this wasthe apartment she wanted to seethat she was resolved toseeit had cost her many a little sacrifice and many acoaxing word to penetrate thus farShe folded her thinhandsand looked round with an air of reverenceas if shehad been in a church

"' Here it was 'she said' here'And she ap-proached the thronefrom which hung the rich velvetfringed with gold lace' There 'she exclaimed' there'and she knelt and kissed the purple carpetI think she wasactually weeping

'But it was not this very velvet'observed the foot-man'and a smile played about his mouth

"'Truebut it was this very place'replied the womanand it must have looked just like this'

"'It looked soand yet it did not'observed theman'the windows were beaten inand the doors were offtheir hingesand there was blood upon the floor'

"'But for all that you can saymy grandson died upon the throne of France''Died'mournfully repeated theold woman

"I do not think another word was spokenand theysoon quitted the hallThe evening twilight fadedand mylight shone doubly vivid upon the rich velvet that coveredthe throne of France

"Nowwho do you think this poor woman wasListenI will tell you a story

"It happened in the Revolution of Julyon the

evening of the most brilliantly victorious daywhen everyhouse was a fortressevery window a breastworkThepeople stormed the TuileriesEven women and childrenwere to be found among the combatantsThey penetratedinto the apartments and halls of the palaceA poor half-grown boy in a ragged blouse fought among the older insurgentsMortally wounded with several bayonet thrustshe sank downThis happened in the throneroomTheylaid the bleeding youth upon the throne of Francewrapped the velvet round his woundsand his bloodstreamed forth upon the impenrial purpleThere was pictureThe splendid hallthe fighting groupsA torn flaglay upon the groundthe tricolour was waving above thebayonetsand on the throne lay the poor lad with the paleglorified countenancehis eyes turned towards the skyhis limbs writhing in the death agonyhis breast bareand his poor tattered clothing half-hidden by the rich velvet embroidered with silver liliesAt the boy's cradle aprophecy had been spoken'He will die on the throne of France'The mother's heart had fondly imagined asecond Napoleon

My beams have kissed the wreath of immortelles onhis graveand this night they kissed the forehead of theold grandamewhile in a dream the picture floated beforeher which thou mayest drawthe poor boy on the throneof France"

 

SIXTH EVENING

 

"I've been in Upsala"said the Moon"I lookeddown upon the great plain covered with coarse grassandupon the barren fieldsI mirrored my face in the Fyrisriverwhile the steamboat scared the fish into the rushesBeneath me floated the cloudsthrowing long shadows onthe socalled graves of OdinThorand FreyIn thescanty turf that covers the gravemoundsnames havebeen cutThere is no monument hereno memorial onwhich the traveller can have his name carvedno rockywall on whose surface he can get paintedso visitorshave the turf cut away for that purposeThe naked earthpeers through in the form of great letters and namesthese form a network over the whole hillHere is an immortalitywhich lasts till the fresh turf grows

"Up on the hill stood a mana poetHe emptiedthe mead horn with the broad silver rimand murmured anameHe begged the winds not to betray himbut I

heard the nameI knew itA count's coronet sparklesabove itand therefore he did not speak it outI smiledfor I knew that a poet's crown adorned his own nameThe nobility of Eleanora d'Este is attached to the name ofTassoAnd I also know where the Rose of Beauty

blooms"

Thus spake the Moonand a cloud came between

usMay no cloud separate the poet from the rose

 

SEVENTH EVENING

 

"Along the margin of the shore stretches a forest offirs and beechesand fresh and fragrant is this woodhundreds of nightingales visit it every springClose beside it isthe seathe everchanging seaand between the two isplaced the broad high roadOne carriage after another rollsover itbut I did not follow themfor my eye loves best torest upon one pointA gravemound stands thereand thesloe and blackberry grow luxuriantly among the stonesHere is true poetry in nature

"And how do you think men appreciate this poetryIwill tell you what I heard there last evening and during thenight

"Firsttwo rich landed proprietors came driving by'Those are glorious'said the first'Certainly thereare ten loads of firewood in each'observed the other'it will be a hard winterand last year we got fourteendollars a load'and they were gone'The road here iswretched'observed another man who drove past'That'sthe fault of those horrible trees'replied his neighbour'there is no free current of airthe wind can only comefrom the sea'and they were goneThe stage coachwent rattling pastAll the passengers were asleep at thisbeautiful spotThe postilion blew his hornbut he onlythought'I can play capitallyIt sounds well hereIwonder if those in there like It'and the stage coachvanishedThen two young fellows came gallopping up onhorsebackThere's youth and spirit in the blood herethought Iandindeedthey looked with a smile at themossgrown hill and thick forest'I should not dislike awalk here with the miller's Christine'said oneandthey flew past

"The flowers scented the airevery breath of air washushedit seemed as if the sea were a part of the sky thatstretched above the the deep valleyA carriage rolled bySixpeople were sitting in itFour of them were asleepthefifth was thinking of his new summer coatwhich wouldsuit him admirablythe sixth turned to the coachman and asked him if there were anything remarkable connectedwith yonder heap of stones'No'replied the coachman'it's only a heap of stonesbut the trees are remark-able'' How so'' WhyI'll tell you how they are veryremarkableYou seein winterwhen the snow lies verydeepand has hidden the whole road so that nothing is tobe seenthose trees serve for a landmarkI steer bythemso as not to drive into the seaand you see that isWhy the trees are remarkable'

"Now came a painterHe spoke not a wordbut hiseyes sparkledhe began to whistleAt this the nightingales sang louder than ever'Hold your tongues'hecriedtestilyand he made accurate notes of all thecolours and transitionblueand lilacand dark brown'That will make a beautiful picture'he saidHe took itin just as a mirror takes in a viewand as he workedhe whistled a march of Rossini'sAnd last of all came apoor girlShe laid aside the burden she carried and satdown to rest by the gravemoundHer pale handsomeface was bent in a listening attitude towards the forestHer eyes brightenedshe gazed earnestly at the sea andthe skyher hands were foldedand I think she prayed'Our Father'She herself could not understand thefeeiling that swept through herbut I know that thisminute and the beautiful natural scene will live within hermemory for yearfar more vividly and more truly thanthe painter could portray it with his colours on paperMyrays followed her till the morning dawn kissed her brow"

 

EIGHTH EVENING

 

Heavy clouds obscured the skyand the Moon didnot make his appearance at allI stood in my little roommore lonely than everand looked up at the sky where heought to have shown himselfMy thoughts flew far awayup to my great friendwho every evening told me suchpretty talesand showed me picturesYeshe has had anexperience indeedHe glided over waters of the Del-ugeand smiled on Noah's ark just as he lately glanceddowm upon meand brought comfort and promise of a newworld that was to spring forth from the oldWhen the Children of Israel sat weeping by the waters of Babylonheglanced mournfully between the willows where hung thesilent harpsWhen Romeo climbed the balconyand thepromise of true love fluttered like a cherub toward heaventhe round Moon hunghalfhidden among the dark cypressesin the lucid airHe saw the captive giant atStHelenalooking from the lonely rock across the wideoceanwhile great thoughts swept through his soulAhWhat tales the Moon can tellHuman life is like a storyto him

Tonight I shall not see thee againold friendTonight I can draw no picture of the memories of thyvisitAndas I looked dreamily towards the cloudsthesky became brightThere was a glancing lightand abeam from the Moon fell upon meIt vanished againand dark clouds flew pastbut still it was a greetingafriendly goodnight offered to me by the Moon

 

NINTH EVENING

 

The air was clear againSeveral evenings hadpassedand the Moon was in the first quarterAgain hegave me an outline for a sketchListen to what he toldme

"I have followed polar bird and the swimmingwhale to the eastern coast of GreenlandGaunt ice-cov-ered rocks and dark clouds hung over a valleywheredwarf willows and bilberry bushes stood clothed in greenThe blooming Iychnis exhaled sweet odoursMy light wasfaintmy face pale as the waterlily thattorn from itsstemhas been drifting for weeks with the tideThecrownshaped Northern Lights burned in the skyIts ringwas broadand from its circumference the rays shot likewhirling shafts of fire across the whole skychanging fromgreen to redThe inhabitants of that icy region were assembling for dance and festivitybut accustomed to thisglorious spectaclethey scarcely deigned to glance at it'Let us leave the souls of the dead to their ballplay withthe heads of the walruses'they thought in their superstitionand they turned their whole attention to the song anddanceIn the midst of the circleand divested of his furrycloakstood a Greenlanderwith his small drumand heplayed and sang a song about catching the sealand thechorus around chimed in with' EiaEiaAh'And intheir white furs they danced about in the circletill youmight fancy it was polar bears'ball

"And now a Court of Judgement was openedThoseGreenlanders who bad quarrelled stepped fortwardand theoffended person chanted forth the faults of his adversary inan extempore songturning them sharply into ridiculetothe sound of the drum and the measure of the danceThedefendant replied with satire as keenwhile the audiencelaughed and gave their verdict

The rocks heavedthe glaciers meltedand greatmasses of ice and snow came crashing downshivering tofragments as they fellit was a glorious Greenland summernightA hundred paces awayunder the open tent ofhideslay a sick manLife still flowed through his warm bloodbut still he was to diehe himself felt itand allwho stood round him knew it alsotherefore his wife wasalready sewing round him the shroud of fursthat she mightnot afterwards obliged to touch the dead bodyAnd sheasked'Wilt thou be buried on the rockin the firm snowI will deck the spot with thykayakand thy arrowsandthe angekokk shall dance over itOr wouldst thou rather beburied in the sea''In the sea'he whisperedand nodded with a mournful smile' Yesit is a pleasant summertentthe sea'observed the wife'Thousands of sealssport therethe walrus shall lie at thy feetand the huntwill be safe and merry'And the yelling children tore theoutspread hide from the windowholethat the dead manmight be carried to the oceanthe billowy oceanthat hadgiven him food in lifeand that nowin deathwas to af-ford him a place of restFor his monumenthe had thefloatingeverchanging icebergswhereon the seal sleepswhile the storm bird flies round their summits"

 

TENTH EVENING

 

"I knew an old maid" said the Moon"Every winter she wore a wrapper of yellow satinand it always remained newand was the only fashion she followedInsummer she always wore the same straw hatand I verilybelieve the very same greyblue dress

"She never went outexcept across the street to anold female friendand in later years she did not even takethis walkfor the old friend was deadIn her solitude myold maid was always busy at the windowwhich wasadorned in summer with pretty flowersand in winter withcressgrown upon feltDuring the last months I saw herno more at the windowbut she was still aliveI knewthatfor I had not yet seen her begin the'long journey'of which she often spoke with her friend'Yesyes'she was in the habit of saying'when I come to dieIshall take a longer journey than I have made my whole lifelongOur family vault is six miles from hereI shall becarried thereand shall sleep there among my family andrelatives'Last night a hearse stopped at the houseAcoffin was carried outand then I knew that she wasdeadThey placed straw round the coffinand the hearsedrove awayThere slept the quiet old ladywho had notgone out of her house once for the last yearThe hearserolled out through the town gate as briskly as if it weregoing for a pleasant excursionOn the high road the pacewas quicker yetThe coachman looked nervously roundevery now and thenI fancy he half expected to see hersitting on the coffinin her yellow satin wrapperAndbecause he was startledhe foolishly lashed his horseswhile he held the reins so tightly that the poor beasts werein a foamThey were young and fieryA hare jumped across the road and startled themand they fairly ranaway"The sober old maidwho had for years and yearsmoved quietly round and round in a dull circlewasnowin deathrattled over stock and stone on the public highwayThe coffin in its covering of straw tumbledout of the hearseand was left on the high roadwhilehorsescoachmanand hearse flew off in wild careerThe lark rose up carolling from the fieldtwittering hermorning lay over the coffinand presently perched uponitpicking with her beak at the straw coveringas thoughshe would tear it upThe lark rose up againsinging gailyand I withdrew behind the red morning clouds"

 

ELEVENTH EVENING

 

"It was a wedding festival"said the Moon"Songswere sungtoasts were drunkeverything was rich andgrandThe guests departedit was past midnightThemothers kissed the bride and bridegroomand I saw thesetwo alone by themselvesthough the curtains were drawnalmost quite closeThe lamp lit up the cosy chamber'Iam so glad they are all gone now'he saidand kissedher hands and lipswhile she smiled and weptleaningon his breast as the lotus flower rests on the rushing watersand they spoke soft and happy words'Sleep sweetly'he saidand she drew the window curtains to oneside'How beautifully the moon shines'she said'look how still and clear it is'Then she put out thelampand there was darkness in the roombut my raysbeamed even as his eyes didWomanlinesskiss thou thepoet's harpwhen he sings of life's mysteries"

 

TWELFTH EVENING

 

"I will give you a picture of Pompeii"said theMoon"I was in the suburb in the Street of Tombsas theycall itwhere the fair monuments standin the spot whereages agothe merry youthstheir temples bound with rosywreathsdanced with the fair sisters of LaisNowthe stillness of death reigned aroundGerman mercenariesin the Neapolitan servicekept guardplayed cards and diceand a troop of strangers from beyond the mountains came into the townaccompanied by a sentryThey want- ed to see the city that had risen from the grave illumined by my beamsand I showed them the wheelruts in the streets paved with broad lava slabsI showed them the names on the doorsand the signs that hungthere yet

they saw in the little courtyard the basins of the foun- tainsornamented with shellsbut no jet of water gushed upwardsno songs sounded forth from the richly-painted chamberswhere the bronze dog kept the door

"It was the City of the Deadonly Vesuvius thun dered forth his everlasting hymneach separate verse of which is called by men an eruptionWe went to the tem ple of Venusbuilt of snow-white marblewith its high altar in front of the broad stepsand the weeping-willows sprouting freshly forth among the pillarsThe air was transparent and blueand black Vesuvius formed the backgroundwith fire ever shooting forth from itlike the stem of the pine treeAbove it stretched the smoky cloud in the silence of the nightlike the crown of the pine but in a blood-red illuminationAmong the company was a lady singera real and great singerI have witnessed the homage paid to her in the greatest cities of Europe

When they came to the tragic theatrethey all sat down on the amphitheatre stepsand thus a small part of the house was occupied by an audienceas it had been many cen- turies agoThe stage still stood unchangedand its walled side-scenesand the two arches in the background through which the beholders saw the same scene that had been exhibited in the old timesa scene painted by Na- ture herselfnamelythe mountains between Sorrento and AmalfiThe singer gaily mounted the ancient stageand sangThe place inspired herand she reminded me of a wild Arab horsethat rushes headlong on with snorting nostrils and flying maneher song was so light and yet so firmAnon I thought of the mourning mother beneath the cross at Golgothaso deep was the expression of pain

Andjust as it had done thousands of years agothe sound of applause and delight now filled the theatre'Happy gifted creature'all the hearers exclaimedFive minutes moreand the stage was emptythe company had van ishedand not a sound more was heardall were gone

But the ruins stood unchangedas they will stand when centuries shall have gone byand when none shall know of the momentary applause and the triumph of the fair songstresswhen all will be forgotten and goneand even for me this hour will be but a dream of the past"

 

THIRTEENTH EVENING

 

"I looked through the windows of an editor's house"

said the Moon"It was somewhere in GermanyI saw handsome furnituremany booksand a chaos of newspa persSevral young men were presentthe editor himself stood at his deskand two little booksboth by young au thorswere to be noticed'This one has been sent to me'

said he'I have not read it yetbut it is nicely got up

what think you of the contents''Oh'said the person addressedhe was a poet himself'it is good enougha little drawn outbutyou seethe author is still young

The verses might be betterto be surethe thoughts are soundthough there is certainly a good deal of common place among themBut what will you haveYou can't be alawys getting something newThat he'll turn out anything great I don't believebut you may safely praise himHe is well reada remarkable Oriental scholarand has a good judgementIt was he who wrote that nice review of my Re- flections on Domestic LifeWe must be lenient towards the young man'

 "'But he is a complete ass'objected another of the gentlemen'Nothing is in poetry than mediocrityand he certaily does not go beyond that'

 "' Poor fellow'observed a third' and his aunt is so happy about himIt was sheMrEditorwho got to gether so many subscribers for your last translation'

 "'Ahthe good womanWellI have noticed the book brieflyUndoubted talenta welcome offeringa flower in the garden of poetryprettily brought outand so onBut this other bookI suppose the author expects me to purchase itI hear it is praisedHe has genius certainlydon't you tink so'

 "' Yesall the world declares as much'replied the poet' but it has turned out rather wildlyThe punctua tion of the bookin particularis very eccentrics'

 "' It will be good for him if we pull him to pieces and anger him a littleotherwise he will get too good an opinon of himself'

 "'But that would be unfair'objected the fourth

'Let us not carp at little faultsbut rejoice over the real and abundant good that we find herehe surpasses all the rest'

 "'Not soIf he be a true geniushe can bear the sharp voice of censureThere are people enough to praise himDon't let us quite turn his head'

 "'Decided talent'wrote the editor'with the usual carelessnessThat he can write incorrect verses may be seen in page 25where there are two false quantitiesWe recommend him to study the ancients,&c'

 "I went away"continued the Moon"and looked through the windows in the aunt's houseThere sat the bepraised poetthe tame oneall the guests paid homage to himand he was happy

 "I sought out the other poetthe wild onehim also I found in a great assembly at his patron'swhere the tame poet's book was being discussed

 "'I shall read yours also'said Maecenas'but to speak honestlyyou know I never hide my opinion from youI don't expect much from itfor you are much too wildtoo fantasticBut it must be allowed thatas a manyou are highly respectable'

 "A young girl sat in a cornerand she read in a book these words

 'In the dust lies genius and glory But ev'rvday talent will pay

 It's only the oldold story But the piece is repeated each day'"

 

FOURTEENTH EVENING

 

 The Moon said"Beside the woodland path there are two small farmhousesThe doom are lowand some of the windows are quite highand others close to the groundand whitethorn and barberry bushes grow around themThe roof of each house is overgrown with moss and with yellow flowers and house-leekCabbage and potatoes are the only plants in the gardensbut out of the hedge there grows an elder treeand under this tree sat a little girland she sat with her eyes fixed upon the old oak tree between the two huts

 "It was an old withered stemIt had been sawn off at the topand a stork had built his nest upon itand he stood in this nest clapping with his beakA little boy came and stood by the girl's sidethey were brother and sister

 "'What are you looking at'he asked

 "'I'm watching the stork'she replied'our neigh- bour told me that he would bring us a little brother or sister todaylet us watch to see it come'

 "'The stork brings no such things'the boy de clared'you may be sure of thatOur neighbour told me the same thingbut she laughed when she said itand so I asked her if she could say' On my honour'and she could notand I know by that that the story about the storks is not trueand that they only tell it to us children for fun'

 "'But where do the babies come fromthen'asked the girl

 "'Whyan angel from heaven brings them under his cloakbut no man can see himand that's why we never know when he brings them'

 "At that moment there was a rustling in the branches of the elder treeand the children folded their hands and looked at one anotherit was certainly the angel coming with the babyThey took each other's handand at that moment the door of one of the houses openedand the neighbour appeared

 "'Come inyou two'she said'See what the stork has broughtIt is a little brother'

 "And the children noddedfor they had felt quite sure already that the baby was come"

 

FIFTENTH EVENING

 

 "I was gliding over the Lüneborg Heath"the Moon said"A lonely hut stood by the waysidea few scanty bushes grew near itand a nightingale who had lost his way sang sweetlyHe died in the coldness of the nightit was his farewell song that I heard

 "The dawn came glimmering redI saw a caravan of emigrant peasant families who were bound to Bremen or Hamburgthere to take ship for Americawhere fancied prosperity would bloom for themThe mothers carried their little children at their backsthe elder ones skipped by their sidesand a poor starved horse tugged at a cart that bore their scanty effectsThe cold wind whistledand therefore the little girl nestled closer to the motherwho looking up at my decreasing diskthought of the bitter want at homeand spoke of the heavy taxes they had not been able to raiseThe whole caravan thought of the same thing

therefore the rising dawn seemed to them a message from the sunof fortune that was to gleam brightly upon them

They heard the dying nightingale singit was no false prophetbut a harbinger of fortuneThe wind whistled therefore they did not understand that the nightingale sang 'Far away over the seaThou hast paid the long passage with all that was thineand poor and helpless shalt thou enter CanaanThou must sell thyselfthy wifeand thy childrenBut your griefs shall not last longBehind the broad fragrant leaves lurks the goddess of deathand her welcome kiss shall breathe fever into thy bloodFare away fare awayover the heaving billows'And the caravan lis- tened well pleased to the song of the nightingalewhich seemed to promise good fortuneDay broke through the light cloudscountry people went across the heath to churchthe blackgowned women with their white head- dresses looked like ghosts that had stepped forth from the church picturesAll around lay a wide dead plaincovered with faded brown heathand black charred spaces between the white sandhillsThe women carried hymn booksand walked into the churchOhpraypray for those who are wandering to find graves beyond the foaming billows"

 

SIXTEENTH EVENING

 

 "I know a Punchinello"the Moon told me"The pubic applaud vociferously directly they see himEvery one of his movements is comicand is sure to throw the house into convulsions off laughterand yet there is no art in it allit is complete natureWhen he was yet a little boyplaying about with other boyshe was already PunchNature had intended him for itand had provided him with a hump on his backand another on his breastbut his in ward manhis mindon the contrarywas richly fur nishedNo one could surpass him in depth of feeling or in readiness of intellectThe theatre was his ideal worldIf he had possessed a slender wellshapea figurehe might have been the first tragedian on any stagethe heroicthe greatfilled his souland yet he had to become a PunchinelloHis very sorrow and melancholy did but in crease the comic dryness of his sharplycut featuresand increased the laugher of the audiencewho showered plau dits on their favouriteThe lovely Columbine was indeed kind and cordial to himbut she preferred to marry the HarlequinIt would have been too ridiculous if beauty and the beast had in reality paired together

 "When Punchinello was in very bad spiritsshe was the only one who could force a smile or even a hearty burst of laughter from himfirst she would be melancholy with himthen quieterand at last quite cheerful and hap py'I know very well what is the matter with you'she said'yesyou're in love'And he could not help laughing'I in love'he cried'that would have an absurd lookHow the public would shout''Certainly you are in love'she continuedand added with a com- ic pathos'and I am the person you are in love with'

You seesuch a thing may be said when it is quite out of the questionand indeedPunchinello burst out laughingand gave a leap into the airand his melan choly was forgotten

 "And yet she had only spoken the truthHe did love herlove her adoringlyas he loved what was great and lofty in artAt her wedding he was the merriest among the guestsbut in the stillness of night he wept

if the public had seen his distorted face thenthey would have applauded rapturously

 "And a few days agoColumbine diedOn the day of the funeralHarlequin was not required to show him self on the boardsfor he was a disconsolate widowerThe director had to give a very merry piecethat the public might not too painfully miss the pretty Columbine and the agile HarlequinTherefore Punchinello had to be more boisterous and extravagant than everand he danced and caperedwith despair in his heartand the audience yelledand shouted'BravoBravissimo'Punchinello was called before the curtainHe was pro nounced inimitable

 "But last night the hideous little fellow went out of the townquite aloneto the deserted churchyardThe wreath of flowers on Columbine's grave was already fad edand he sat down thereIt was a study for a painterAs he sat with his chin on his handshis eyes turned up towards mehe looked like a grotesque monumenta Punch on a gravepeculiar and whimsicalIf the people could have seen their favouritethey would have cried as usual'BravoPunchinelloBravo Bravissimo'"

 

SEVENTEENTH EVENING

 

 Hear what the Moon told me"I have seen the cadet who had just been made an officer put on his handsome uniform for the first timeI have seen the young girl in her balldressand the Prince's young wife happy in her gorgeous robesbut never have I seen a felicity equal to that of a little girl of four years oldwhom I watched this eveningShe had received a new blue dress and a new pink hatthe splendid attire had just been put onand all were calling for a candlefor my raysshining in through the windows of the roomwere not bright enough for the occasionand further illumination was required

There stood the little maidstiff and upright as a doll her arms stretched painfully straight out away from the dressand her fingers apartandohwhat happiness beamed from her eyes and from her whole countenance

'Tomorrow you shall go out in your new clothes'said her motherand the little one looked up at her hat and down at her frockand smiled brightly'Mother'she cried'what will the little dogs think when they see me in these splendid new things'"

 

EIGHTEENTH EVENING

 

 "I have spoken to you of Pompeii"said the Moon

"that corpse of a cityexposed in the view of living towns

I know another sight still more strangeand this is not the corpsebut the spectre of a cityWhenever the jetty foun tains splash into the marble basinsthey seem to me to be telling the story of the floating cityYesthe spouting wa ter may tell of herthe waves of the sea may sing of her fameOn the surface of the ocean a mist often restsand that is her widow's veilThe Bridegroom of the Sea is deadhis palace and his city are his mausoleumDost thou know this cityShe has never heard the rolling of wheels or the hooftread of horses in her streetsthrough which the fish swimwhile the black gondola glides spectrally over the green waterI will show you the place"continued the Moon"the largest square in itand you will fancy yourself transported into the city of a fairy taleThe grass grows rank among the broad flagstonesand in the morning twilight thousands of tame pigeons flutter around the solitary lofty towerOn three sides you find yourself surrounded by cloistered walksIn these the silent Turk sits smoking his long pipethe handsome Greek leans against the pillarand gazes at the upraised trophies and lofty mastsmemorials of power that is goneThe flags hang down like mourning scarvesA girl rests thereshe has put down her heavy pails filled with waterthe yoke with which she has carried them rests on one of her shouldersand she leans against the mast of victory

 "That is not a fairy palace you see before you yon derbut a churchthe gilded domes and shining orbs flash back my beamsthe glorious bronze horses up yon der have made journeyslike the bronze horse in the fairy talethey have come hitherand gone henceand have returned again

 "Do you notice the variegated splendour of the walls and windowsIt looks as if Genius had followed the caprices of a childin the adornment of these singu lar templesDo you see the winged lion on the pillar

The gold glitters stillbut his wings are tiredthe lion is deadfor the King of the Sea is deadthe great halls stand desolateand where gorgeous paintings hung of yorethe naked wall now peers through

 "The beggar sleeps under the arcadewhose pave- ment in old times was trodden only by the feet of the high nobilityFrom the deep wellsand perhaps from the prisons by the Bridge of Sighsrise the accents of woeas at the time when the tambourine was heard in the gay gondolasand the golden ring was cast from the Bucentaur to Adriathe Queen of the SeasAdria

Shroud thyself in mistslet the veil of thy widowhood shroud thy formand clothe in the weeds of woe the mausoleum of thy bridegroomthe marblespectral Venice"

 

NINETEENTH EVENING

 

 "I looked down upon a great theatre"said the Moon"The house was crowdedfor a new actor was to make his first appearance that nightMy rays glided over a little window in the walland I saw a painted face with the forehead pressed against the panesIt was the hero of the eveningThe knightly curled crisply about the chinbut there were tears in the man's eyesfor he had been hissed offand indeed with reasonThe poor Inca- pableBut Incapables cannot be admitted into the empire of ArtHe had deep feelingand loved his art enthusias ticallybut the art loved not himThe prompter's bell sounded' the hero enters with a determined air'so ran the stage direction in his partand he had to appear be fore an audience who turned him into ridiculeWhen the piece was overI saw a form wrapped in a mantle creep ing down the stepsit was the vanquished knight of the eveningThe sceneshifters whispered to one another and I followed the poor fellow home to his roomTo hang oneself is to die a mean deathand poison is not always at handI knowbut he thought of bothI saw how he looked at his face in the glasswith eyes half

closedto see if he should look well as a corpseA man may be very unhappyand yet exceedingly affectedHe thought of deathof suicideI believe he pitied himself for he wept bitterlyand when a man has had his cry out he doesn't kill himself

 "Since that time a year had rolled byAgain a play was to be actedbut in a little theatreand by a poor strolling companyAgain I saw the well-remembered face with the painted cheeks and the crisp beardHe looked up at me and smiled and yet he had been hissed off only a minute beforehissed off from a wretched theatre by a miserable audienceAnd tonight a shabby hearse rolled out of the town gateIt was a suicideour paint- eddespised heroThe driver of the hearse was the only person presentfor no one followed except my beams

In a corner of the churchyard the corpse of the suicide was shovelled into the earthand nettles will soon be rankly growing over his graveand the sexton will throw thorns and weeds from the other graves upon it"

 

TWENTIETH EVENING

 

 "I come Rome"said the Moon"In the midst of the cityupon one of the seven hillslie the ruins of the imperial palaceThe wild fig-tree grows in the clefts of the walland covers the nakedness thereof with its broad grey-green leavestrampling among heaps of rubbishthe ass treads upon green laurelsand re- joices over the rank thistlesFrom this spotwhence the eagles of Rome once flew abroadwhence they'came sawand conquered'a door leads into a little mean housebuilt of clay between two broken marble pillars

the wild vine hangs like a mourning garland over the crooked windowAn old woman and her little grand- daughter live therethey rule now in the palace of the Caesarsand show to strangers the remains of its past gloriesOf the splendid throne-room only a naked wall yet standsand a black cypress throws its dark shadow on the spot where the throne once stoodThe earth lies several feet deep on the broken pavementand the little maidennow the daughter of the imperial palaceoften sits there on her stool when the evening bells ringThe keyhole of the door close by she calls her turret window

through this she can see half Romeas far as the mighty cupola of StPeter's

 "On this eveningas usualstillness reigned around

and in the full beam of my light came the little grand- daughterOn her head she carried an earthen pitcher of antique shape filled with waterHer feet were bareher short frock and her white sleeves were tornI kissed her pretty round shouldersher dark eyesand black shining hairShe mounted the stairsthey were steephaving been made up of rough blocks of broken marble and the capital of a fallen pillarThe coloured lizards slipped awaystar- tledfrom before her feetbut she was not frightened at themAlready she lifted her hand to pull the doorbella hare's foot fastened to a string formed the bell-handle of the imperial palaceShe paused for a momentof what might she be thinkingPerhaps of the beautiful Christ- childdressed in gold and silverwhich was down below in the chapelwhere the silver candlesticks gleamed so brightand where her little friends sang the hymns in which she also could joinI know notPresently she moved againshe stumbledthe earthen vessel fell from her headand broke on the marble stepsShe burst into tears

The beautiful daughter of the imperial palace wept over the worthless broken pitcherwith her bare feet she stood there weepingand dared not pull the stringthe bell-rope of the imperial palace"

 

TWENTY-FIRST EVENTING

 

 It was more than a fortnight since the Moon had shoneNow he stood once moreround and brightabove the cloudsmoving slowly onwardHear what the Moon told me

 "From a town in Fezzan I followed a caravanOn the margin of the sandy desertin a salt plainthat shone like a frozen lakeand was only covered in spots with light drifting sanda halt was madeThe eldest of the compa- nythe water-gourd hung at his girdleand by his head laya little bag of unleavened breaddrew a square in the 1336 sand with his staffand wrote in it a few words out of the Koranand then the whole caravan passed over the conse- crated spotA young merchanta child of the Eastas I could tell by his eye and his figurerode pensively for- ward on his white snorting steedWas he thinkingPer- chanceof his fair young wifeIt was only two days ago that the cameladorned with furs and with costly shawls had carried herthe beauteous brideround the walls of the citywhile drums and cymbals had soundedthe women sangand festive shotsof which the bridegroom fired the greatest numberresounded round the camel

and now he was journeying with the caravan across the desert

 "For many nights I followed the trainI saw them rest by the well-side among the stunted palmsthey thrust the knife into the breast of the camel that had fallenand roasted its flesh by the fireMy beams cooled the glowing sandsand showed them the black rocksdead islands in the immense ocean of sandNo hostile tribes met them in their pathless routeno storms aroseno columns of sand whirled destruction over the journeying caravanAt home the beautiful wife prayed for her husband and her father

'Are they dead'she asked of my golden crescent'Are they dead'she cried to my full diskNow the desert lies behind themThis evening they sit beneath the lofty palm-treeswhere the crane flutters round them with its long wingsand the pelican watches them from the branches of the mimosaThe luxuriant herbage is tram- pled downcrushed by the feet of elephantsA troop of negroes are returning from a market in the interior of the landthe womenwith copper buttons in their black hair and decked out in clothes dyed with indigodrive the heavily-laden oxenon whose backs slumber the naked black childrenA negro leads by a string a young lion which he has boughtThey approach the caravanthe young merchant sits pensive and motionlessthinking of his beautiful wifedreamingin the land of the blacksof his white fragrant lily beyond the desertHe raises his headand"

 But at this moment a cloud passed before the Moon and then anotherI heard nothing more from him that evening

 

TWENTY-SECOND EVENING

 

 "I saw a little girl weeping"said the Moon"she was weeping over the depravity of the worldShe had re- ceived a most beautiful doll as a presentOhthat was a glorious dollso fair and delicateShe did not seem creat- ed for the sorrows of this worldBut the brothers of the lit- tle girlthose great naughty boyshad set the doll high up in the branches of a treeand had run away

 "The little girl could not reach up to the dolland could not help her downand that is why she was crying

The doll must certainly have been crying toofor she stretched out her arms among the green branchesand looked quite mournfulYesthese are the troubles of life of which the little girl had often heard tellAlaspoor dollIt began to grow dark alreadyand night would soon come onWas she to be left sitting there alone on the bough all night longNothe little maid could not make up her mind to that'I'll stay with you'she saidal- though she felt anything but happy in her mindShe could almost fancy distinctly saw little gnomeswith their high-crowned hatssitting in the bushesand farther back in the long walktall spectres appeared to be dancing

They came nearer and nearerand stretched out their hands towards the tree on which the doll satthey laughed scorn- fullyand pointed at her with their fingersOhhow frightened the little maid was'But if one has not done anything wrong'she thought'nothing evil can harm one

I wonder if I have done anything wrong'And she consid- ered'OhyesI laughed at the poor duck with the red rag on her legshe limped along so funnilyI could not help laughingbut it's a sin to laugh at animal'And she looked up at the doll'Did you laugh at animals'she askedand it seemed as if the doll shook her head"

 

TWENTY-THIRD EVENING

 

 "I looked down on Tyrol"said the Moon"and my 1338 beams caused the dark pines to throw long shadows upon

the rocksI looked at the pictures of StChristopher carrying the Infant Jesus that are painted there upon the walls of the housescolossal figures reaching from the ground to the roofStFlorian was represented pouring water on the burning houseand the Lord hung bleeding on the great cross by the waysideTo the present gener- ation these are old picturesbut I saw when they were put upand marked how one followed the otherOn the brow of the mountain yonder is perchedlike a swallow 's nesta lonely convent of nunsTwo of the sisters stood up in the tower tolling the bellthey were both young and the therefore their glances flew over the mountain out into the worldA travelling coach passed by belowthe

postilion wound his hornand the poor nuns looked after the carriage for a moment with a mournful glanceand a tear gleamed in the eyes of the younger oneAnd the horn sounded faintly and more faintand the convent bell drowned its expiring echoes"

 

TWENTY-FOURTH EVENING

 

 Hear what the Moon told me"Some years agohere in CopenhagenI looked through the window of a mean little roomThe father and mother sleptbut the little son was awakeI saw the flowered cotton curtains of the bed moveand the child peep forthAt first I thought he was looking at the great clockwhich was gaily painted in red and greenAt the top sat a cuckoobelow hung the heavy leaden weightsand the pendulum with the polished disk of metal went to and froand said'Ticktick'But nohe was not looking at the clockbut at his mother's spinningwheelthat stood just underneath it

That was the boy's favourite piece of furniturebut he dared not touch itfor if he meddled with it he got a rap on the knucklesFor hours togetherwhen his mother was spinninghe would sit quietly by her sidewatching the whirring spindle and the revolving wheeland as he sat he thought of many thingsOhif he might only turn the wheel himselfFather and mother were asleephe looked at themand looked at the spinningwheeland presently a little naked foot peeped out of the bedand then a second footand then two little white legsThere he stoodHe looked round once moreto see if father and mother were still asleep,—yesthey sleptand now he crept softlysoftlyin his short little nightgownto the spinningwheeland began to spinThe thread flew from the wheeland the wheel whirled faster and fasterI kissed his fair hair and his blue eyesit was such a pretty picture

 "At that moment the mother awokeThe curtain shookshe looked forthand fancied she saw a gnome or some other kind of little spectre'In Heaven's name'

she criedand aroused her husband in a frightened way

He opened his eyesrubbed them with his handsand looked at the brisk little lad' Whythat is Bertel'said heAnd my eye quitted the poor roomfor I have so much to seeAt the same moment I looked at the halls of the Vaticanwhere the marble gods are enthronedI shone upon the group of the Laocoonthe stone seemed to sighI pressed a silent kiss on the lips of the Musesand they seemed to stir and moveBut my rays lingered longest about the Nile group with the colossal godLean- ing against the Sphinxhe lies there thoughtful and medi tativeas if he were thinking on the rolling centuries

and little lovegods sport with him and with the crocodilesIn the horn of plenty sits with folded arms a little tiny lovegod contemplating the great solemn river- goda true picture of the boy at the spinning-wheelthe features were exactly the sameCharming and lifelike stood the little marble formand yet the wheel of the year has turned more than a thousand times since the time when it sprang forth from the stoneJust as often as the boy in the little room turned the spinningwheel had the great wheel murmuredbefore the age could again call forth marble gods equal to those he afterwards formed

 "Years have passed since all this happened"the Moon went on to say"Yesterday I looked upon a bay on the eastern coast of DenmarkGlorious woods are there and high banksan old knightly castle with red walls swans floating in the pondsand in the background ap pearsamong orchardsa little town with a churchMany boatsthe crews all furnished with torchesglided over the silent expansebut these fires had not been kindled for catching fishfor everything had a festive lookMusic soundeda song was sungand in one of the boats a man stood erectto whom homage was paid by the resta tall sturdy manwrapped in a cloakHe had blue eyes and long white hairI knew himand thought of the Vatican and of the group of the Nileand the old marble godsI thought of the simple little room where little Bertel sat in his nightshirt by the spinningwheelThe wheel of time has turnedand new gods have come forth from the stone

From the boats there arose a shout'HurrahHurrah for Bertel Thorwaldsen'"

 

TWENTY-FIFTH EVENING

 

 "I will now give you a picture from Frankfort"

said the Moon"I especially noticed one building there

It was not the house in which Goethe was bornnor the old council housethrough whose greated windows peered the horns of the oxen that were roasted and given to the people when the Emperors were crownedNoit was a pri vate houseplain in appearanceand paited greenIt stood at the corner of the narrow Jews'StreetIt was Roth schild's house

 "I looked through the open doorThe staircase was brilliantly lightedservants carrying wax candles in massive silver candlesticks stood thereand bowed low before an aged womanwho was being brought downstairs in a litter

The proprietor of the house stood bareheadedand respect fully imprinted a kiss on the hand of the old womanShe was his motherShe nodded in a friendly manner to him and to the servantsand they carried her into the dark nar row streetinto a little house that was her dwellingHere her children had been bornfrom hence the fortune of the family had arisenIf she deserted the despised street and the little housefortune would perhaps desert her children

That was her firm belief"

 The Moon told me no morehis visit this evening was far too shortBut I thought of the old woman in the narrow despised streetIt would have cost her but a wordand a brilliant house would have arisen for her on the banks of the Thamesa wordand a villa would have been pre- pared in the Bay of Naples

 "If I deserted the lowly housewhere the fortunes of my sons first began to bloomfortune would desert them"

It was a superstitionbut a superstition of such a class that he who knows the story and has seen this picture need have only two words placed under the picture to make him understand itand these two words are"A mother"

 

TWENTY-SIXTH EVENING

 

 "It was yesterdayin the morning twilight"these are the words the Moon told me"in the great city no chimney was yet smokingand it was just at the chimneys that I was lookingSuddenly a little head emerged from one of themand then half a bodythe arms resting on the rim of the chimneypot'Hurrah'cried a voiceI was the little chimneysweeperwho had for the first time in his life crept through a chimney and stuck out his head at the top'Hurrah'Yescertainly that was a very dif ferent thing from creeping about in the dark narrow chim- neysThe air blew so freshand he could look over the whole city toward the green woodThe sun was just ris- ingIt shone round and greatjust in his facethat beamed with with triumphthough it was very prettily blacked with soot

 "' The whole town can see me now'he exclaimed 'and the moon can see me nowand the sun tooHur rah'And he flourished his broom in triumph"

 

TWENTYSEVENTH EVENING

 

 "Last night I looked down upon a town in China"

said the Moon"My beams irradiated the naked walls that form the streets thereNow and thencertainlya door is seenbut it is lockedfor what does the China- man care about the outer worldClose wooden shutters covered the windows behind the walls of the housesbut through the windows of the temple a faint light glim- meredI looked inand saw the quaint decorations withinFrom the floor to the ceiling pictures are painted in the most glaring clours and richly giltpictures rep resenting the deeds of the gods here on earthIn each niche statues are placedbut they are almost entirely hidden by the coloured drapery and the banners that hang downBefore each idoland they are all made of tinstood a little altar with holy waterwith flowers and burning wax lights on itAbove all the rest stood Fu the chief deityclad in a garment of yellow silkfor yellow is here the sacred colourAt the foot of the altar sat a living beinga young priestHe appeared to be prayingbut in the midst of his prayer he seemed to fall into deep thoughtand this must have been wrong for his cheeks glowed and he held down his headPoor Soui-hongWas heperhapsdreaming of working in the

little flowergarden behind the high street wallAnd did that occupation seem more agreeable to him than watching the wax lights in the templeOr did he wish to sit at the rich feastwiping his mouth with silver paper between each courseOr was his sin so great thatif he dared ut ter itthe Celestial Empire would punish it with death

Had his thoughts ventured to fly with the ships of the bar bariansto their homes in far distant EnglandNohis thoughts did not fly so farand yet they were sinfulsin ful as thoughts born of young heartssinful here in the templein the presence of Fu and other holy gods

 "I know whither his thoughts had strayedAt the farther end of the cityon the flat roof paved with porce lainon which stood the handsome vases covered with painted flowerssat the beauteous Peof the little rogu ish eyesof the full lipsand of the tiny feetThe tight shoe pained herbut her heart pained her still moreShe lifted her graceful round armand her satin dress rustled Before her stood a glass bowl containing four goldfish

She stirred the bowl carefully with a slender lacquered stickvery slowlyfor shetoowas lost in thought

Was she thinkingperchancehow the fishes were richly clothed in goldhow tney lived calmly and peacefully in their crystal worldhow they were regularly fedand yet how much happier they might be if they were freeYes that she could well understandthe beautiful PeHer thoughts wandered away from her homewandered to the templebut not for the sake holy thingsPoor Pe

Poor Souihong

 "Their earthly thoughts metbut my cold beam lay between the twolike the sword of the cherub"

 

TWENTY-EIGHTH EVENING

 

 "The air was calm"said the Moon"the water was as transparent as the pure ether through which I was glidingand deep below the surface I could see the strange plants that stretched up their long arms towards me like the gi- gantic trees of the forestThe fishes swam to and fro above their topsHigh in the air a flight of wild swans were winging their wayone of which sank lower and low erwith wearied pinionshis eyes following the airy cara vanthat melted farther and farther into the distance

With outspread wings he sank slowlyas a soap-bubble sinks in the still airtill he touched the waterAt length his head lay back between his wingsand silently he lay therelike a white lotus flower upon the quiet lakeAnd a gentle wind aroseand crisped the quiet surfacewhich gleamed like the clouds that poured along in great broad wavesand swan raised his headand the glowing water splashed like blue fire over his breast and back

The dawn illuminated the red cloudsthe swan rose strengthenedand flew towards the rising suntowards the bluish coast whither the caravan had gonebut he flew all alonewith a longing in his breastLonely he flew over the blue swelling billows"

 

TWENTY-NINTH EVENING

 

 "I will give you another picture of Sweden"said the Moon"Among dark pinewoodsnear the melancholy banks of the Roxenlies the old convent church of Wre taMy rays glided through the grating into the roomy vaultswhere kings sleep tranquilly in great stone coffins

On the wallabove the grave of eachis placed the em blem of earthly grandeura kingly crownbut it is made only of woodpainted and giltand is hung on a wooden peg driven into the wallThe worms have gnawed the gilded woodthe spider has spun her web from the crown down to the coffinlike a mourning bannerfrail and transient as the grief of mortalsHow quietly they sleepI can remember them quite plainlyI still see the bold smile on their lipsthat so strongly and plainly expressed joy or griefWhen the steamboat winds along like a magic snail over the lakesa stranger often comes to the churchand visits the burial vaulthe asks the names of the kingsand they have a dead and forgotten soundHe glances with a smile at the worm-eaten crownsand if he happens to be a piousthoughtful mansomething of melancholy mingles with the smileSlumber onye dead onesThe Moon thinks of youthe Moon at night sends down his rays into your silent kingdomover which hangs the crown of pine wood"

 

THIRTIETH EVENING

 

 "CLOSE by the high road"said the Moon"is an innand opposite to it is a great wagon-shedwhose straw roof was just being rethatchedI looked down between the bare rafters and through the open loft into the comfortless space belowThe turkeycock slept on the beamand the saddle rested in the empty cribIn the middle of the shed stood a travelling carriagethe proprietor was insidefast asleePwhile the horses were being wateredThe coach man stretched himselfthough I am very sure that he had been most comfortably asleep half the last stageThe door of the servants'room stood openand the bed looked as if it had been turned over and overthe candle stood on the floorand had burned deep down into the socketThe wind blew cold through the shedit was nearer to the dawn than to midnightIn the stallon the groundslept a wandering family of musiciansThe father and mother seemed to be dreaming of the burning liquor that remained in the bottle

The little pale daughter was dreaming toofor her eyes were wet with tearsThe harp stood at their headsand the dog lay stretched at their feet"

 

THIRTY-FIRST EVENING

 

"IT was in a little provincial town"the Moon said

"it certainly happened last yearbut that has nothing to do with the matterI saw it quite plainlyToday I read about it in the papersbut there it was not half so clearly ex pressedIn the taproom of the little inn sat the bearlead ereating his supperthe bear was tied up outsidebehind 1346 the wood pilepoor Bruinwho did nobody any harm though he looked grim enoughUp in the garret three lit- tle children were playing by the light of my beamsthe eldest was perhaps six years oldthe youngest certainly not more than twoTrampTramp!—Someboby was coming upstairswho might it beThe door was thrust openit was Bruinthe greatshaggy BruinHe had got tired of waiting down in the courtyardand had found his way to the stairsI saw it all"said the Moon"The chil- dren were very much frightened at first at the great shaggy animaleach of them crept into a cornerbut he found them all outand smelt at thembut did them no harm

'This must be a great dog'they saidand began to stroke himHe lay down upon the groundthe youngest boy clambered on his backandbending down a little head of golden curlsplayed at hiding in the beast's shaggy skinPresently the eldest boy took his drumand beat upon it till it rattled againthe bear rose up on its hind legs and began to danceIt was a charming sight to beholdEach boy now took his gunand the bear was obliged to have one tooand he held it up quite properly

Here was a capital playmate they had foundAnd they began marchingonetwoonetwo

 "Suddenly someone came to the doorwhich openedand the mother of the children appearedYou should have seen her in her dumb terrorwith her face as white as chalkher mouth halfopenand her eyes fixed in a horrified stareBut the youngest boy nodded to her in great gleeand called out in his infantile prattle' We're playing at soldiers'And then the bearleader came run- ning up"

 

THIRTYSECOND EVENING

 

 The wind blew stormy and coldthe clouds flew hurriedly pastonly for a moment now and then did the Moon become visibleHe said"I look down through the silent sky upon the driving cloudsand see the great shadows chasing each other across the earth

 I looked upon a prisonA closed carriage stood be- fore ita prisoner was to be carried awayMy rays pierced through the grated window towards the wallthe prisoner was scratching a few lines upon itas a parting tokenbut he did not write wordsbut a melodythe outpouring of his heartThe door was openedand he was led forthand fixed his eyes upon my round disk

Clouds passed between usas if he were not to see my facenor I hisHe stepped into the carriagethe door was closedthe whip crackedand the horses gallopped off into the thick forestwhither my rays were not able to follow himbut as I glanced through the grated win dowmy rays glided over the noteshis last farewell en graved on the prison wallwhere words failsounds can often speakMy rays could only light up isolated notes so the greater part of what was written there will ever re main dark to meWas it the deathhymn he wrote thereWere these glad notes of joyDid he drive away to meet his deathor hasten to the embraces of his belovedThe rays of the Moon do not read all that is written by mortals"

 

THIRTYTHIRD EVENING

 

 "I love the children"said the Moon"especially the quite little onesthey are so drollSometimes I peep into the roombetween the curtain and the window-frame when they are not thinking of meIt gives me pleasure to see them dressing and undressingFirstthe little round naked shoulder comes creeping out of the frockthen the armor I see how the stocking is drawn offand a plump little white leg makes its appearanceand a little white foot that is fit to be kissedand I kiss it too

 "But about what I was going to tell youThis evening I looked through a windowbefore which no cur- tain was drawnfor nobody lives oppositeI saw a whole troop of little onesall of one familyand among them was a little sisterShe is only four year oldbut can say her prayers as well as any of the restThe mother sits by her bed every eveningand hears her say her prayers

1348 and then she has a kissand the mother sits by the bed till the little one has gone to sleepwhich generally hap pens as soon as ever she closes her eyes

 "This evening the two elder children were a little boisterousOne of them hopped about on one leg in his long white nightgownand the other stood on a chair sur rounded by the clothes of all the childrenand declared it was a tableauand the others were to guess what it was

The third and fourth laid the playthings carefully in the boxfor that is a thing that has to be doneand the mother sat by the bed of the youngestand announced to all the rest that they were to be quietfor little sister was going to say her prayers

 "I looked inover the lampinto the little maiden's bedwhere she lay under the neat white coverlether hands folded demurely and her little face quite grave and seriousShe was saying the Lord's Prayer aloudBut her mother interrupted her in the middle of her prayer'How is it'she asked'that when you have prayed for daily breadyou always add something I cannot understand

You must tell me what that is'The little one lay silent and looked at her mother in embarrassment'What is it you say after our daily bread'

 "'Dear motherdon't be angryI only saidand plenty of butter on it'"

 


 

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