1044 WHAT THE WHOLE FAMILY SAID
but Grandmother herself had cut and sewed it before she went up into the bright, beautiful heaven. The table in Mary's room shone with presents ; there was the neatest little kitchen, with all that belongs to a kitchen, and a doll which could roll its eyes and say • Au ', when one pressed its stomach ; there was also a picture-book with the loveliest stories to read, if one could read ! But it was nicer even than all the stories to live through many birthdays.
4 Yes, it is lovely to live,' said little Mary. Godfather added that it was the loveliest fairy tale.
In the room close by were Mary's two brothers ; they were big boys, the one nine years old, the other eleven. They also thought it was lovely to be alive, to live in their way, not to be a child like Mary, but to be smart schoolboys, to have ' excellent ' in the character book, and to be able to enjoy a fight with their companions, to skate in winter, and to ride velocipedes in summer, to read about castles, drawbridges, and prisons, and to hear about discoveries in the heart of Africa. One of the boys had, however, one anxiety, that everything would be discovered before he grew up; he wanted to go in quest of adventures then. Life is the most lovely story of adventure, Godfather said, and one takes part in it oneself.
It was on the ground floor that these children lived and played ; up above lived another branch of the family, also with children, but these were grown up : the one son was seventeen years old, the second twenty, but the third was very old, little Mary said—he was twenty-five and engaged.
They were all happily situated, had good parents, good clothes, good abilities, and they knew what they wanted. 1 Forward ! away with all the old barricades ! a free view into all the world ; that is the most lovely thing we know. Godfather is right : life is the loveliest fairy tale ! '
Father and Mother, both elderly people—naturally they must be older than the children—said with a smile on their lips, with a smile in their eyes and hearts : ' How young they are, the young people ! things do not go quite as they think in the world, but they do go. Life is a strange, lovely fairy tale.'