been the bridge by which he crossed. He became silent and suspicious,
trusted no one at last, not even himself, and, no longer hoping to find
and bring home the costly jewel, he gave it up, and gave himself up ;
and that was the worst of all. The birds who winged their flight to-
wards the east brought tidings of this, till the news reached the castle
in the Tree of the Sun.
" I will try now ! " said the third brother. " I have a sharp nose ! "
Now that was not said in very good taste ; but it was his way, and one
must take him as he was. He had a happy temper, and was a poet, a
real poet : he could sing many things that he could not say, and many
things struck him far earlier than they occurred to others. " I can
smell fire ! " he said ; and he attributed to the sense of smelling, which
lie possessed in a very high degree, a great power in the region of the
" Every fragrant spot in the realm of the beautiful has its frequenters,"
he said. " One man feels at home in the atmosphere of the tavern,
among the flaring tallow candles, where the smell of spirits mingles witli
the fumes of bad tobacco. Another prefers sitting among the overpower-
ing scent of jessamine, or scenting himself with strong clove oil. This
man seeks out the fresh sea breeze, while that one climbs to the highest
mountain-top and looks down upon the busy little life beneath."
Thus he spake. It seemed to him as if he had already been out in
the world, as if he had already associated with men aud known them.
But this experience arose from within himself: it was the poet within
him, the gift of Heaven, and bestowed on him in his cradle.
He bade farewell to his paternal roof in the Tree of the Sun, and
departed on foot through the pleasant scenery of home. Arrived at its
confines, he mounted on the back of an ostrich, which runs faster than
a horse ; and afterwards, when be fell in with the wild swans, he swung
himself on the strongest of them, for he loved change ; and away he
flew over the sea to distant lands with great forests, deep lakes, mighty
mountains, and proud cities ; and wherever he came it seemed as if sun-
THE DEPARTURE OF THE THIRD BROTHER.
shine travelled with him across the fields, for every flower, every bush,
every tree exhaled a new fragrance, in the consciousness that a friend
and protector was in the neighbourhood, who understood them and
knew their value. The crippled rose bush reared up its twigs, unfolded
its leaves, and bore the most beautiful roses ; every one could see it, and
even the black damp Wood Snail noticed its beauty.
" I will give my seal to the flower," said the Snail ; " I have spit at
it, and I can do no more for it."
" Thus it always fares with the beautiful in this world ! " said the
And he sang a song concerning it, sang it in his own way ; but no-
body listened. Then he gave the drummer twopence and a peacock's
feather, and set the song for the drum, and had it drummed in all the
streets of the town ; and the people heard it. and said, " That 's a well-
constructed song." Then the poet sang several songs of the beautiful,
the true, and the good. His songs were listened to in the tavern, where
700 Stories for the Household.
the tallow candles smoked, in the fresh meadow, in the forest, and on
the high seas. It appeared as if this brother was to have better fortune
than the two others. But the Evil Spirit was angry at this, and accord-
ingly he set to work with incense powder and incense smoke, which he
can prepare so artfully as to confuse an angel, and how much more
therefore a poor poet ! The Evil One knows how to take that kind of
people ! He surrounded the poet so completely with incense, that the
man lost his head, and forgot his mission and his home, and at last
himself and ended in smoke.
But when the little birds heard of this they mourned, and for three
days they sang not one song. The black Wood Snail became blacker still,
not for grief, but for envy.
"They should have strewed incense for me," she said, "for it was I
who gave him his idea of the most famous of his songs, the drum song
of ' The Way of the World ;' it was I who spat at the rose ! I can bring
witness to the fact."
But no tidings of all this penetrated to the poet's home in India,
for all the birds were silent for three days ; and when the time of
mourning was over, their grief had been so deep that they had forgotten
for whom they wept. That 's the usual way !
" Now I shall have to go out into the world, to disappear like the
rest," said the fourth brother.
He had just as good a wit as the third, but he was no poet, though
he could be witty. Those two had filled the castle with cheerfulness,
and now the last cheerfulness was going away. Sight and hearing have
always been looked upon as the two chief senses of men, and as the two
that it is most desirable to sharpen ; the other senses are looked upon
as oi less consequence. But that was not the opinion of this son, as he
had especially cultivated his taste in every respect, and taste is very
powerful. It holds sway over what goes into the mouth, and also over
what penetrates into the mind ; and consequently this brother tasted
everything that was stored up in bottles and pots, saying that this was
the rough work of his office. Every man was to him a vessel in which
something was seething, every country an enormous kitchen, a kitchen
of the mind.
" That is no delicacy," he said ; and he wanted to go out and try what
was delicate. " Perhaps fortune may be more favourable to me than it
was to my brothers," he said. " I shall start on my travels. But what
conveyance shall I choose ? Are air balloons invented yet ? " he asked
his father, who knew of all inventions that had been made or that were to
be made. But air balloons had not yet been invented, nor steam ships,
nor railways. " Good : then I shall choose an air balloon," he said ; " my
father knows how they are made and guided. Nobody has invented
them yet, and consequently the people will believe that it is an aerial
phantom. When I have used the balloon I will burn it, and for this
purpose you must give me a few pieces of the invention that will be
made next I mean chemical matches."
The Stone of the Wise Men. 701
And he obtained what lie wanted, and flew away. The birds accom-
panied him farther than they had flown with the other brothers. They
were curious to know what would be the result of the flight, and more
of them came sweeping up : they thought he was some new bird ; and
he soon had a goodly following. The air became black with birds, they
came on like a cloud like the cloud of locusts over the land of Sgypt.
Now he was out in the wide world.
The air balloon descended over one of the greatest cities, and the
aeronaut took up his station on the highest point, on the church steeple.
The balloon rose again, which it ought not to have done : where it went
to is not known, but that was not a matter of consequence, for it was
not yet invented. Then he sat on the church steeple. The birds no
longer hovered around him, they had got tired of him, and he was tired
AH the chimneys in the town were smoking merrily.
" Those are altars erected to thy honour ! " said the Wind, who wished
to say something agreeable to him.
He sat boldly up there, and looked down upon the people in the
street. There was one stepping along, proud of his purse, another of
the key he carried at his girdle, though he had nothing to unlock ; one
proud of his moth-eaten coat, another of his wasted body.
" Vanity ! I must hasten downward, dip my finger in the pot, and
taste!" he said. "But for awhile I will still sit here, for the wind
blows so pleasantly against my back. I '11 sit here as long as the wind
blows. I '11 enjoy a slight rest. ' It is good to sleep long in the morn-
ing, when one has much to do,' says the lazy man. I '11 stop here as
long as this wind blows, for it pleases me."
And there he sat, but he was sitting upon the weathercock of the
steeple, which kept turning round and round with him, so that he was
under the false impression that the same wind still blew ; so he might
stay up there a goodly while.
But in India, in the castle in the Tree of the Sun, it was solitary and
still, since the brothers had gone away one after the other.
" It goes not well with them," said the father ; " they will never bring
the gleaming jewel home ; it is not made for me : they are gone, they
are dead ! "
And he bent down over the Book of Truth, and gazed at the page on
which he should read of life after death ; but for him nothing was to
be seen or learned upon it.
The blind daughter was his consolation and joy ; she attached herself
with sincere affection to him, and for the sake of his peace and joy she
wished the costly jewel might be found and brought home. With
kindly longing she thought of her brothers. AVhere were they ? AVhere
did they live ? She wished sincerely that she might dream of them,
but it was strange, not even in dreams could she approach them. But
at length, one night she dreamed that the voices of her brothers sounded
across to her, calling to her from the wide world, and she could not
702 Stories for the Household.
refrain, but went far far out, and yet it seemed in her dream that she
was still in her- father's house. She did not meet her brothers, but she
felt, as it were, a fire burning in her hand, but it did not hurt her, for
it was the jewel she was bringing to her father. AVhen she awoke, she
thought for a moment that she still held the stone, but it was the knob
of her distaff that she was grasping. During the long nights she had
spun incessantly, and round the distaff was turned a thread, finer than
the finest web of the spider ; human eyes were unable to distinguish
the separate threads. She had wetted them with her tears, and the
twist was strong as a cable. She rose, and her resolution was taken :
the dream must be made a reality. It was night, and her father slept.
She pressed a kiss upon his hand, and then took her distaff, and fastened
the end of the thread to her father's house. But for this, blind as she
was, she would never have found her way home ; to the thread she must
hold fast, and trust not to herself or to others. From the Tree of the
Sun she broke four leaves ; these she would confide to wind and weather,
that they might fly to her brothers as a letter and a greeting, in case
she did not meet them in the wide world. How would she fare out
yonder, she, the poor blind child ? But she had the invisible thread to
which she could hold fast. She possessed a gift which all the others
lacked. This was tlioroitfjlmcss ; and in virtue of this it seemed as if she
could see to the tips of her fingers and hear down into her very heart.
And quietly she went forth into the noisy, whirling, wonderful world,
and wherever she went the sky grew bright she felt the warm ray the
rainbow spread itself out from the dark world through the blue air.
She heard the song of the birds, and smelt the scent of orange groves
and apple orchards so strongly that she seemed to taste it. Soft tones
and charming songs reached her ear, but also howling and roaring, and
thoughts and opinions sounded in strange contradiction to each other.
Into the innermost depths of her heart penetrated the echoes of human
thoughts and feelings. One chorus sounded darkly
"The life of earth is a shadow vain,
A night created for sorrow ! "
but then came another strain
" The life of earth is the scent of the rose,
With its sunshine and its pleasure."
A.nd if one strophe sounded painfully
" Each mortal thinks of himself alone,
This truth has been shown, how often!"
on the other side the answer pealed forth
"A mighty stream of warmest love
All through the world shall bear us."
She heard, indeed, the words
"In the little petty whirl here below,
Each tiling shows mean and paltry ; "
THE BLIXD GIRL'S MESSENGERS.
but then came also the comfort
" Many things great ar.d good are achieved,
That the ear of man heareth never."
And if sometimes the mocking strain sounded around her
" Join in the common cry ; with a jest
Destroy the good gifts of the Giver,"
in the blind girl's heart a stronger voice repeated
"To trust in thyself and in God is best;
His icill be done for ever."
And whenever she entered the circle of human kind, and appeared
among young or old, the knowledge of the true, the good, and the beau-
tiful beamed into their hearts. Whether she entered the study of the
artist, or the festive decorated hall, or the crowded factory, with its
whirring wheels, it seemed as though a sunbeam were stealing in as if
704- Stories for the Household.
the sweet string sounded, the flower exhaled its perfume, and a living
dew-drop fell upon the exhausted blood.
But the Evil Spirit could not see this and be content. He has more
cunning than ten thousand men, and he found out a way to compass
his end. He betook himself to the marsh, collected little bubbles of
the stagnant water, and passed over them a sevenfold echo of lying
words to give them strength. Then he pounded up paid-for heroic
poems and lying epitaphs, as many as he could get, boiled them in tears
that envy had shed, put upon them rouge he had scraped from faded
cheeks, and of these he composed a maiden, with the aspect and gait of
the blessed blind girl, the angel of thoroughness ; and then the Evil
One's plot was in full progress. The world knew not which of the two
was the true one ; and, indeed, how should the world know ?
"To trust in thyself and in God is best;
His good will he done for ever,"
sung the blind girl, in full faith. She intrusted the four green leaves
from the Tree of the Sun to the winds, as a letter and a greeting to her
brothers, and had full confidence that they would reach their destina-
tion, and that the jewel would be found which outshines all the glories
of the world. From the forehead of humanity it would gleam even to
the castle of her father.
" Even to my father's house," she repeated. " Tes, the place of the
jewel is on earth, and I shall bring more than the promise of it with
me. I feel its glow, it swells more and more in my closed hand. Every
grain of truth, were it never so fine, which the sharp wind carried up
and whirled towards me, I took up and treasured ; I let it be penetrated
by the fragrance of the beautiful, of which there is so much in the
world, even for the blind. I took the sound of the beating heart en-
gaged in what is good, and added it to the first. All that I bring is but
dust, but still it is the dust of the jewel we seek, and in plenty. I have
my whole hand full of it."
And she stretched forth her hand towards her father. She was soon
at home she had travelled thither in the flight of thoughts, never
having quitted her hold of the invisible thread from the paternal home.
The evil powers rushed with hurricane fury over the Tree of the Sun,
pressed with a wind-blast against the open doors, and into the sanctuary
where lay the Book of Truth.
" It will be blown away by the wind ! " said the father, and he seized
the hand she had opened.
" N"o," she replied, with quiet confidence, " it cannot be blown away ;
I feel the beam warming my very soul."
And the father became aware of a glancing flame, there where the
shining dust poured out of her hand over the Book of Truth, that was
to tell of the certainty of an everlasting life ; and on it stood one shining
word one only word "BELIEVE."
And with the father and daughter were again the four brothers.
When the green leaf fell upon the bosom of each, a longing for home
The Psyche. 705
had seized them and led them back. They had arrived. The birds of
passage, and the stag, the antelope, and all the creatures of the forest
followed them l for all wished to have a part iii their joy.
"We have often seen, where a sunbeam bursts through a crack in the
door into the dusty room, how a whirling column of dust seems circling
round ; but this was not poor and insignificant like common dust, for
even the rainbow is dead in colour compared with the beauty which
showed itself. Thus, from the leaf of the book with the beaming word
" Believe," arose every grain of truth, decked with the charms of the
lcautif"l and the good, burning brighter than the mighty pillar of flame
that led Moses and the children of Israel through the desert ; and from
the word "Believe" the bridge of Hope arose, spanning the distance,
even to the immeasurable love ia the realms of the Infinite.
IN the fresh morning dawn, in the rosy air gleams a great Star, the
brightest Star of the morning. His rays tremble on the white wall, as
if he wished to write down on it what he can tell, what he has seen there
and elsewhere during thousands of years in our rolling world. Let us
hear one of his stories.
" A short time ago " the Star's " short time ago " is called among
men "centuries ago" "my rays followed a young artist. It was in
the city of the Popes, in the world-city Eome. Much has been changed
there in the course of time, but the changes have not come so quickly
as the change from youth to old age. Then already the palace of the
Caesars was a ruin , as it is now ; fig trees and laurels grew among the
fallen marble columns, and in the desolate bathing-halls, where the gild-
ing still clings to the wall ; the Coliseum was a gigantic ruin ; the church
bells sounded, the incense sent up its fragrant cloud, and through the
streets marched processions with flaming tapers and glowing canopies.
Holy Church was there, and art was held as a high and holy thing. In
Eome lived the greatest painter in the world, Raphael ; there also dwelt
the first of sculptors, Michael Angelo. Even the Pope paid homage to
these two, and honoured them w r ith a visit : art was recognized and
honoured, and was rewarded also. But, for all that, everything great and
splendid was not seen and known.
" In a narrow lane stood an old house. Once it had been a temple ; a
young sculptor now dwelt there. He was young and quite unknown.
He certainly had friends, young artists, like himself, young in spirit,
young in hopes and thoughts ; they told him he was rich in talent, aud
an artist, but that he was foolish for having no faith in his own power ;
for he always broke what he had fashioned out of clay, and never com-
pleted anything ; and a work must be completed if it is to be seen and to
706 Stories for the Household.
" ' You are a dreamer,' they went on to say to him, ' and that 's your
misfortune. But the reason of this is, that you have never lived, you
have never tasted life, you have never enjoyed it in great wholesome
draughts, as it ought to be enjoyed. In youth one must mingle one's
own personality with life, that they may become one. Look at the
great master Raphael, whom the Pope honours and the world admires :
he 's no despiser of wine and bread.'
'"And he even appreciates the baker's daughter, the pretty For^a-
riiifi,' 1 added Angelo, one of the merriest of the young friends.
" Yes, they said a good many things of the kind, according to their ago
and their reason. They wanted to draw the young artist out with them
into the merry wild life, the mad life as it might also be called ; and at
certain times he felt an inclination for it. He had warm blood, a strong
imagination, and could take part in the merry chat, and laugh aloud
with the rest ; but what they called ' Raphael's merry li!'e ' disappeared
before him like a vapour when he saw the divine radiance that beamed
forth from the pictures of the great master ; and when he stood in the
Vatican, before the forms of beauty which the masters had hewn out of
marble thousands of years since, his breast swelled, and he felt within
himself something high, something holy, something elevating, great, and
good, and he wished that he could produce similar forms from the blocks
of marble. He wished to make a picture of that which was within
him, stirring upward from his heart to the realms of the infinite ; but
how, and in what form ? The soft clay was fashioned under his fingers
into forms of beauty, but the next day he broke what he had fashioned,
according to his wont.
" One day he walked past one of those rich palaces of which Rome
has many to show. He stopped before the great open portal, and beheld
a garden surrounded by cloistered walks. The garden bloomed with a
goodly show of the fairest roses. Great white lilies with green juicy
leaves shot upward from the marble basin in which the clear water was
splashing ; and a form glided past, the daughter of the princely house,
graceful, delicate, and wonderfully fair. Such a form of female loveli-
ness he had never before beheld yet, stay : he had seen it, painted by
Raphael, painted as a Psyche, in one of the Roman palaces. Yes, there
it had been painted ; but here it passed by him in living reality.
' The remembrance lived in his thoughts, in his heart. He went home
to his humble room, and modelled a Psyche of clay. It was the rich
young Roman girl, the noble maiden ; and for the first time he looked
at his work with satisfaction. It had a meaning for him, for it was she.
And the friends who saw his work shouted aloud for joy ; they declared
that this work was a manifestation of his artistic power, of which they had
long been aware, and that now r the world should be made aware of it too.
" The clay figure was lifelike and beautiful, but it had not the white-
ness or the durability of marble. So they declared that the Psyche
must henceforth live in marble. He already possessed a costly block
of that stone. It had been lying for years, the property of his parents,
in the courtyard. Fragments of glass, climbing weeds, and remains of
THE ROMAN GAETEN.
artichokes had gathered about it and sullied its purity ; but under the
surface the block was as white as the mountain snow ; and from this
block the Psyche was to arise."
Now, it happened one morning the bright Star tells nothing about
this, but we know it occurred that a noble Roman company came into
the narrow lane. The carriage stopped at the top of the lane, and the
company proceeded on foot towards the house, to inspect the young
sculptor's work, for they had heard him spoken of by chance. And ,
who were these distinguished guests ? Poor young man ! or fortunate
young man he might be called. The noble young lady stood in the room
and smiled radiantly when her father said to her, " It is your living
not be copied, any more than the look could
708 Stories for the Household.
be reproduced, the wonderful look which she cast upon the young artist.
It was a fiery look, that seemed at once to elevate and to crush him.
" The Psyche must be executed in marble," said the wealthy patrician.
And those were words of life for the dead clay and the heavy block of
marble, and words of life likewise for the deeply-moved artist. " When
the work is finished I will purchase it," continued the rich noble.
A new era seemed to have arisen in the poor studio. Life and cheer-
fulness gleamed there, and busy industry plied its work. The beaming
Morning Star beheld how the work progressed. The clay itself seemed
inspired since she had been there, and moulded itself, in heightened
beauty, to a likeness of the well-known features.
" Now I know what life is," cried the artist rejoicingly ; " it is Love !
It is the lofty abandonment of self for the dawning of the beautiful in
the soul ! What my friends call life and enjoyment is a passing shadow ;
it is like bubbles among seething dregs, not the pure heavenly wine that
consecrates us to life."
The marble block was reared in its place. The chisel struck great
fragments from it ; the measurements were taken, points and lines were
made, the mechanical part was executed, till gradually the stone assumed
a human female form, a shape of beauty, and became converted into the
Psyche, fair and glorious a divine being in human shape. The heavy
stone appeared as a gliding, dancing, airy Psyche, with the heavenly
innocent smile the smile that had mirrored itself in the soul of the
The Star of the roseate dawn beheld and understood what was stirring
within the young man, and could read the meaning of the changing
colour of his cheek, of the light that flashed from his eye, as he stood
busily working, reproducing what had been put into his soul from above.
" Thou art a master like those masters among the ancient Greeks,"
exclaimed his delighted friends : " soon shall the whole world admire thy