A Prisoner in Fairyland
O pure one, take thy seat in the barque of the Sun,
And sail thou over the sky.
Sail thou with the imperishable stars,
Sail thou with the unwearied stars.
Pyramid Texts, Dynasty VI.
But Henry Rogers ran the whole two hundred yards to his lodgings in the
carpenter's house. He ran as though the entire field of brilliant stars were at his
heels. There was bewilderment, happiness, exhilaration in his blood. He had
never felt so light-hearted in his life. He felt exactly fifteen years of age--and a
half. The half was added to ensure a good, safe margin over the other two.
But he was late for supper too--later than the children, for first he jotted down
some notes upon the back of an envelope. He wrote them at high speed,
meaning to correct them later, but the corrections were never made. Later, when
he came to bed, the envelope had been tidied away by the careful housewife into
the dustbin. And he was ashamed to ask for them. The carpenter's wife read
'Pity,' he said to himself. 'I don't believe Minks could have done it better!'
The energy that went to the making of those 'notes' would have run down
different channels a few years ago. It would have gone into some ingenious
patent. The patent, however, might equally have gone into the dustbin. There is
an enormous quantity of misdirected energy pouring loose about the world!
The notes had run something like this--
O children, open your arms to me,
Let your hair fall over my eyes;
Let me sleep a moment--and then awake
In your Gardens of sweet Surprise!
For the grown-up folk
Are a wearisome folk,
And they laugh my fancies to scorn,
My fun and my fancies to scorn.
O children, open your hearts to me,
And tell me your wonder-thoughts;
Who lives in the palace inside your brain?
Who plays in its outer courts?
Who hides in the hours To-morrow holds?
Who sleeps in your yesterdays?
Who tiptoes along past the curtained folds
Of the shadow that twilight lays?
O children, open your eyes to me,
And tell me your visions too;
Who squeezes the sponge when the salt tears flow
To dim their magical blue?
Who draws up their blinds when the sun peeps in?
Who fastens them down at night?