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A Little Princess

Ram Dass
There were fine sunsets even in the square, sometimes. One could only see parts of them,
however, between the chimneys and over the roofs. From the kitchen windows one could
not see them at all, and could only guess that they were going on because the bricks
looked warm and the air rosy or yellow for a while, or perhaps one saw a blazing glow
strike a particular pane of glass somewhere. There was, however, one place from which
one could see all the splendor of them: the piles of red or gold clouds in the west; or the
purple ones edged with dazzling brightness; or the little fleecy, floating ones, tinged with
rose-color and looking like flights of pink doves scurrying across the blue in a great hurry
if there was a wind. The place where one could see all this, and seem at the same time to
breathe a purer air, was, of course, the attic window. When the square suddenly seemed
to begin to glow in an enchanted way and look wonderful in spite of its sooty trees and
railings, Sara knew something was going on in the sky; and when it was at all possible to
leave the kitchen without being missed or called back, she invariably stole away and
crept up the flights of stairs, and, climbing on the old table, got her head and body as far
out of the window as possible. When she had accomplished this, she always drew a long
breath and looked all round her. It used to seem as if she had all the sky and the world to
herself. No one else ever looked out of the other attics. Generally the skylights were
closed; but even if they were propped open to admit air, no one seemed to come near
them. And there Sara would stand, sometimes turning her face upward to the blue which
seemed so friendly and near-- just like a lovely vaulted ceiling--sometimes watching the
west and all the wonderful things that happened there: the clouds melting or drifting or
waiting softly to be changed pink or crimson or snow-white or purple or pale dove-gray.
Sometimes they made islands or great mountains enclosing lakes of deep turquoise- blue,
or liquid amber, or chrysoprase-green; sometimes dark headlands jutted into strange, lost
seas; sometimes slender strips of wonderful lands joined other wonderful lands together.
There were places where it seemed that one could run or climb or stand and wait to see
what next was coming--until, perhaps, as it all melted, one could float away. At least it
seemed so to Sara, and nothing had ever been quite so beautiful to her as the things she
saw as she stood on the table--her body half out of the skylight--the sparrows twittering
with sunset softness on the slates. The sparrows always seemed to her to twitter with a
sort of subdued softness just when these marvels were going on.
There was such a sunset as this a few days after the Indian gentleman was brought to his
new home; and, as it fortunately happened that the afternoon's work was done in the
kitchen and nobody had ordered her to go anywhere or perform any task, Sara found it
easier than usual to slip away and go upstairs.
She mounted her table and stood looking out. It was a wonderful moment. There were
floods of molten gold covering the west, as if a glorious tide was sweeping over the
world. A deep, rich yellow light filled the air; the birds flying across the tops of the
houses showed quite black against it.
"It's a Splendid one," said Sara, softly, to herself. "It makes me feel almost afraid--as if
something strange was just going to happen. The Splendid ones always make me feel like
that."
 
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