THE GOLOSHES OF FORTUNE 115
thoughts were so living, his heart so soft. Involuntarily he grasped one of the nearest flowers ; -it was a common little daisy. What the botanists require several lectures to explain to us, this flower told in a minute. It told the story of its birth; it told of the strength of the sunlight, which spread out the delicate leaves and made them give out fragrance. Then he thought of the battles of life, which likewise awaken feelings in our breasts. Air and light are the lovers of the flower, but light is the favoured one. Towards the light it turned, and only when the light vanished the flower rolled her leaves together and slept in the embrace of the air.
' It is light that adorns me ! ' said the flower.
' But the air allows you to breathe,' whispered the poet's voice.
Just by him stood a boy, knocking with his stick in a muddy ditch. The drops of water spurted up among the green twigs, and the copying clerk thought of the millions of invisible animals which were cast up on high with the drops, which was the same to them, in proportion to their size, as it would be to us if we were hurled high over the clouds. And the copying clerk thought of this, and of the great change which had taken place within him ; he smiled. 'I sleep and dream ! It is wonderful, though, how naturally one can dream, and yet know all the time that it is a dream. I should like to be able to remember it all clearly to-morrow when I wake. I seem to myself quite unusually excited. What a clear appreciation I have of everything, and how free I feel ! But I am certain that if I remember anything of it to-morrow, it will be nonsense. That has often been so with me before. It is with all the clever famous things one says and hears in dreams, as with the money of the elves under the earth ; when one receives it, it is rich and beautiful, but looked at by daylight, it is nothing but stones and dried leaves. Ah ! ' he sighed, quite plaintively, and gazed at the chirping birds, as they sprang merrily from bough to bough, ' they are much better off than I. Flying is a noble art. Happy he who is born with wings. Yes, if I could change myself into anything, it should be into a lark.'
In a moment his coat-tails and sleeves grew together