THE BOY WHO FOUND FEAR AT LAST
Once upon a time there lived a woman who had one son whom she loved dearly. The little cottage in which they dwelt was built on the outskirts of a forest, and as they had no neighbours, the place was very lonely, and the boy was kept at home by his mother to bear her company.
They were sitting together on a winter's evening, when a storm suddenly sprang up, and the wind blew the door open. The woman started and shivered, and glanced over her shoulder as if she half expected to see some horrible thing behind her. ' Go and shut the door,' she said hastily to her son, ' I feel frightened.'
' Frightened ? ' repeated the boy. ' What does it feel like to be frightened ? '
' Well—just frightened,' answered the mother. ' A fear of something, you hardly know what, takes hold of you.'
' It must be very odd to feel like that,' replied the boy. ' I will go through the world and seek fear till I find it.' And the next morning, before his mother was out of bed, he had left the forest behind him.
After walking for some hours he reached a mountain, which he began to climb. Near the top, in a wild and rocky spot, he came upon a band of fierce robbers, sitting round a fire. The boy, who was cold and tired, was delighted to see the bright flames, so he went up to them and said, ' Good greeting to you, sirs,' and wriggled himself in between the men, till his feet almost touched the burning logs.