mosses of all colours ; the fresh spring water bubbled forth, and it sounded strangely, almost like ' cluck, cluck.'
'Can that possibly be the bell ? ' said one of the party, and he laid himself down and listened. * That should be properly studied ! '
And he remained there, and let the others go on.
They came to a house built of the bark of trees and of twigs : a great tree laden with wild apples stretched out its branches over the dwelling, as though it would pour its whole blessing upon the roof, which was covered with blooming roses, the long branches turned about the gables. And from the gable hung a little bell. Could that be the bell they had heard ? They all agreed that it was, except one; he said that the bell was far too small and too delicate to be heard at such a distance as they had heard it, and that they were quite different sounds that had so deeply moved the human heart. He who spoke thus was a King's son, and the others declared that a person of that kind always wanted to be wiser than every one else.
Therefore they let him go alone, and as he went his mind was more and more impressed with the solitude of the forest, but still he heard the little bell, at which the others were rejoicing; and sometimes, when the wind carried towards him sounds from the pastrycook's abode, he could hear how the party there were singing at their tea. But the deep tones of the bell sounded louder still; sometimes it was as if an organ were playing to it; the sound came from the left, the side in which the heart is placed.
Now there was a rustling in the bushes, and a little boy stood before the Prince, a boy with wooden shoes, and such a short jacket that one could plainly see what long wrists he had. They knew one another. The boy was the youngster who had been confirmed that day, and had not been able to come with the rest because he had to go home and give up the borrowed coat and boots to his landlord's son. This he had done, and had then wandered away alone in his poor clothes and his wooden shoes, for the bell sounded so strongly and so deeply, he had been obliged to come out.
1 We can go together,' said the Prince.
But the poor lad in the wooden shoes was quite em-