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The Blue Flower and Other Stories

The Blue Flower
The parents were abed and sleeping. The clock on the wall ticked loudly and lazily, as if
it had time to spare. Outside the rattling windows there was a restless, whispering wind.
The room grew light, and dark, and wondrous light again, as the moon played hide-and-
seek through the clouds. The boy, wide-awake and quiet in his bed, was thinking of the
Stranger and his stories.
"It was not what he told me about the treasures," he said to himself, "that was not the
thing which filled me with so strange a longing. I am not greedy for riches. But the Blue
Flower is what I long for. I can think of nothing else. Never have I felt so before. It seems
as if I had been dreaming until now--or as if I had just slept over into a new world.
"Who cared for flowers in the old world where I used to live? I never heard of anyone
whose whole heart was set upon finding a flower. But now I cannot even tell all that I
feel--sometimes as happy as if I were enchanted. But when the flower fades from me,
when I cannot see it in my mind, then it is like being very thirsty and all alone. That is
what the other people could not understand.
"Once upon a time, they say, the animals and the trees and the flowers used to talk to
people. It seems to me, every minute, as if they were just going to begin again. When I
look at them I can see what they want to say. There must be a great many words that I do
not know; if I knew more of them perhaps I could understand things better. I used to love
to dance, but now I like better to think after the music."
Gradually the boy lost himself in sweet fancies, and suddenly he found himself again, in
the charmed land of sleep. He wandered in far countries, rich and strange; he traversed
wild waters with incredible swiftness; marvellous creatures appeared and vanished; he
lived with all sorts of men, in battles, in whirling crowds, in lonely huts. He was cast into
prison. He fell into dire distress and want. All experiences seemed to be sharpened to an
edge. He felt them keenly, yet they did not harm him. He died and came alive again; he
loved to the height of passion, and then was parted forever from his beloved. At last,
toward morning, as the dawn was stealing near, his soul grew calm, and the pictures
showed more clear and firm.
It seemed as if he were walking alone through the deep woods. Seldom the daylight
shimmered through the green veil. Soon he came to a rocky gorge in the mountains.
Under the mossy stones in the bed of the stream, he heard the water secretly tinkling
downward, ever downward, as he climbed upward.
The forest grew thinner and lighter. He came to a fair meadow on the slope of the
mountain. Beyond the meadow was a high cliff, and in the face of the cliff an opening
like the entrance to a path. Dark was the way, but smooth, and he followed easily on till
he came near to a vast cavern from which a flood of radiance streamed to meet him.
 
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