A Prisoner in Fairyland
We are the stars which sing.
We sing with our light.
We are the birds of fire.
We fly across the heaven.
Our light is a star.
We make a road for Spirits,
A road for the Great Spirit.
Among us are three hunters
Who chase a bear:
There never was a time
When they were not hunting;
We look down on the mountains.
This is the Song of the Mountains.
Red Indian (Algonquin) Lyric.
Translator, J. D. PRINCE.
'A star-story, please,' the boy repeated, cuddling up. They all drew, where
possible, nearer. Their belief in their father's powers, rarely justified, was
pathetic. Each time they felt sure he would make the adventures seem real, yet
somehow he never quite did. They were aware that it was invention only. These
things he told about he had not experienced himself. For they badly needed a
leader, these children; and Daddy just missed filling the position. He was too
'clever,' his imagination neither wild nor silly enough, for children. And he felt it.
He threw off rhymes and stories for them in a spirit of bravado rather--an
expression of disappointment. Yet there was passion in them too--concealed.
The public missed the heart he showed them in his books in the same way.
'The stars are listening....' Jimbo's voice sounded far away, almost outside the
window. Mother now snored audibly. Daddy took his courage in both hands and
made the plunge.
'You know about the Star Cavern, I suppose--?' he began. It was the sudden idea
that had shot into him, he knew not whence.
'Never heard of it.'
'Where is it, please?'
'Don't interrupt. That wasn't a real question. Stories always begin like that.' It was
Jane Anne who thus finally commanded order.
'It's not a story exactly, but a sort of adventure,' he continued, hesitating yet
undaunted. 'Star Caverns are places where the unused starlight gathers. There
are numbers of them about the world, and one I know of is up here in our
mountains,' he pointed through the north wall towards the pine-clad Jura, 'not far
from the slopes of Boudry where the forests dip towards the precipices of the
Areuse--' The phrase ran oddly through him like an inspiration, or the beginning
of a song he once had heard somewhere.