THE MARSH KING'S DAUGHTER 609
was so fully and elaborately explained that it was quite impossible for Stork-papa to take it in, mttch less to repeat it. He felt quite weighed down with thought, and half shut his eyes, and the whole of the following day he stood thoughtfully upon one leg : it was quite heavy for him to carry, all that learning.
But one thing Stork-papa understood. All, high and low, had spoken out of their inmost hearts, and said that it was a great misfortune for thousands of people, yes, for the whole country, that this man was lying sick, and could not get well, and that it would spread joy and pleasure abroad if he should recover. But where grew the flower that could restore him to health ? They had all searched for it, consulted learned books, the twinkling stars, the weather and the wind ; they had made inquiries in every by-way of which they could think ; and at length the wise men and the learned men had said, as we have already told, that ' Love begets life—will restore a father's life ' ; and on this occasion they said more than they understood. They repeated it, and wrote down as a recipe, ' Love begets life.' But how was the thing to be prepared according to the recipe ? that was a difficulty they could not get over. At last they were decided upon the point that help must come by means of the Princess, who loved her father with her whole soul ; and at last a method had been devised whereby help could be procured. Yes, it was already more than a year ago since the Princess was to go forth by night, when the brief rays of the new moon were waning : she was to go out to the marble Sphinx, to shake the dust from her sandals, and to go onward through the long passage which leads into the midst of one of the great pyramids, where one of the mighty Kings of antiquity, surrounded by pomp and treasure, lay swathed in mummy cloths. There she was to incline her ear to the dead King, and then it would be revealed to her where she might find life and health for her father. She had fulfilled all this, and had seen in a vision that she was to bring home from the deep moss up in the Danish land—the very place had been accurately described to her—the lotos flower which grows in the depths of the waters, and then her father would regain health and strength.