THE ICE MAIDEN
people call this the ' Alpine glow '. And then, when the sun has set, they retire into the mountain summits, into the white snow, and slumber there until the sun rises again, when they appear once more. They are especially fond of flowers, butterflies, and human beings; and among these latter they had chosen Rudy as an especial favourite.
' You shall not catch him—you shall not have him,' they said.
11 have caught them larger and stronger than he/ said the Ice Maiden.
Then the Daughters of the Sun sang a song of the wanderer whose mantle the storm carried away.
1 The wind took the covering, but not the man. Ye can seize him, but not hold him, ye children of strength. He is stronger, he is more spiritual than even we are. He will mount higher than the sun, our parent. He possesses the magic word that binds wind and water, so that they must serve him and obey him. You will but loosen the heavy oppressive weight that holds him down, and he will rise all the higher.'
Gloriously swelled the chorus that sounded like the ringing of the church bells.
And every morning the sunbeams pierced through the one little window into the grandfather's house, and shone upon the quiet child. The Daughters of the Sunbeams kissed the boy ; they wanted to thaw and remove the icy kisses which the royal maiden of the glaciers had given him when he lay in the lap of his dead mother in the deep ice cleft, from whence he had been saved as if by a miracle.
The Journey to the New Home
Rudy was now eight years old. His uncle, who dwelt beyond the mountains in the Rhone valley, wished that the boy should come to him to learn something and get on in the world ; the grandfather saw the justice of this, and let the lad go.
Accordingly Rudy said good-bye. There were others