The Golden Road
XIII. A Surprising Announcement
"Nothing exciting has happened for ever so long," said the Story Girl
discontentedly, one late May evening, as we lingered under the wonderful white
bloom of the cherry trees. There was a long row of them in the orchard, with a
Lombardy poplar at either end, and a hedge of lilacs behind. When the wind blew
over them all the spicy breezes of Ceylon's isle were never sweeter.
It was a time of wonder and marvel, of the soft touch of silver rain on greening
fields, of the incredible delicacy of young leaves, of blossom in field and garden
and wood. The whole world bloomed in a flush and tremor of maiden loveliness,
instinct with all the evasive, fleeting charm of spring and girlhood and young
morning. We felt and enjoyed it all without understanding or analyzing it. It was
enough to be glad and young with spring on the golden road.
"I don't like excitement very much," said Cecily. "It makes one so tired. I'm sure it
was exciting enough when Paddy was missing, but we didn't find that very
"No, but it was interesting," returned the Story Girl thoughtfully. "After all, I
believe I'd rather be miserable than dull."
"I wouldn't then," said Felicity decidedly. "And you need never be dull when you
have work to do. 'Satan finds some mischief still for idle hands to do!'"
"Well, mischief is interesting," laughed the Story Girl. "And I thought you didn't
think it lady-like to speak of that person, Felicity?"
"It's all right if you call him by his polite name," said Felicity stiffly.
"Why does the Lombardy poplar hold its branches straight up in the air like that,
when all the other poplars hold theirs out or hang them down?" interjected Peter,
who had been gazing intently at the slender spire showing darkly against the fine
blue eastern sky.
"Because it grows that way," said Felicity.
"Oh I know a story about that," cried the Story Girl. "Once upon a time an old
man found the pot of gold at the rainbow's end. There IS a pot there, it is said,
but it is very hard to find because you can never get to the rainbow's end before it
vanishes from your sight. But this old man found it, just at sunset, when Iris, the
guardian of the rainbow gold, happened to be absent. As he was a long way from
home, and the pot was very big and heavy, he decided to hide it until morning
and then get one of his sons to go with him and help him carry it. So he hid it
under the boughs of the sleeping poplar tree.