1032 SUNSHINE'S STORIES
here was a ring for each of the children; and just as she understood it, the little golden bird flew away.
• She kissed each ring, and let each of the children kiss one of the rings, laid it on the child's heart, and placed it on the child's finger.
* I saw it!' said the Sunshine,' I saw what followed this ! ' The one boy seated himself in the clay pit, took a lump
of clay in his hand, turned it with the fingers, and it became a figure of Jason, who fetched the golden fleece.
' The second boy ran out at once into the meadow where the flowers stood with all the colours one could think of: he plucked a handful, clutched them so firmly that the sap sprang into his eyes and wetted the ring ; there came life and movement into his thoughts and into his hand, and after a year and a day, the great town talked of the great painter.
' The third of the boys held the ring so fast in his mouth that it gave out a sound, an echo from the bottom of his heart. Thoughts and feelings lifted themselves in melody, lifted themselves like singing swans, dived like swans down into the deep sea, the deep sea of thought. He became the great master of melody. Every country may now think " He belongs to me ! "
1 The fourth little one; ah, he was the outcast. They said he " had the pip ", and ought to have pepper and butter, like the sick chickens ! " Pepper and bootter," was how they said it, and he got that; but from me he got a sunshine kiss,' said the Sunshine, ' he got ten kisses for one. He had a poet's nature and got both knocks and kisses; but he had the ring of Fortune from Fortune's golden swan. His thoughts flew out like a golden butterfly, the symbol of immortality ! '
1 That was a long story !' said the Wind.
1 And tiresome ! ' said the Rain ; ' blow on me so that I may come to myself again.'
And the Wind blew, and the Sunshine went on :— 1 The swan of Fortune flew away over the deep bay, where the fishers had spread their nets. The poorest of them had thought of getting married, and so he got married.
' The swan brought a piece of amber to him ; amber attracts to itself, it drew hearts to the house. Amber is