192 THE BOND OF FRIENDSHIP
gleamed with pictures painted on a golden ground. They were pictures of angels, and very beautiful; but it seemed to me that our little Anastasia was just as beautiful. In the middle of the floor stood a coffin filled with roses. ' The Lord Christ is pictured there in the form of a beautiful rose,' said my mother ; and the priest announced, ' Christ is risen !' All the people kissed each other : each one had a burning taper in his hand, and I received one myself, and so did little Anastasia. The bagpipes sounded, men danced hand in hand from the church, and outside the women were roasting the Easter lamb. We were invited to partake, and I sat by the fire ; a boy, older than myself, put his arms around my neck, kissed me, and said, ' Christ is risen!' and thus it was that for the first time I met Aphtanides.
My mother could make fishermen's nets, for which there was a good demand here in the bay, and we lived a long time by the side of the sea, the beautiful sea, that tasted like tears, and in its colours reminded me of the song of the stag that wept—for sometimes its waters were red, and sometimes green or blue.
Aphtanides knew how to manage a boat, and I often sat in it, with my little Anastasia, while it glided on rhrough the water, swift as a bird flying through the air. Then, when the sun sank down, the mountains were tinted with a deeper and deeper blue, one range peeped over the other, and behind them all stood Parnassus with its snow-crowned summit. The mountain-top gleamed in the evening rays like glowing iron, and it seemed as though the light came from within it; for long after the sun had set, the mountain still shone through the clear blue air. The white water-birds touched the surface of the sea with their wings, otherwise all here was as calm and quiet as among the black rocks at Delphi. I lay on my back in the boat, Anastasia leaned against me, and the stars above us shone brighter than the lamps in our church. They were the same stars, and they stood exactly in the same positions above me, as when I had sat in front of our hut at Delphi ; and at last I almost fancied I was back there. Suddenly there was a splash in the water, and the boat rocked violently. I cried out, for Anastasia had fallen into the