THE OLD CHURCH 31
' It must puzzle you ! It cannot fail to do so ! '
' A prayer is a thought, a thing spiritual! ' I pursued.
' Very true! But if you understood any world besides your own, you would understand your own much better.—When a heart is really alive, then it is able io think live things. There is one heart all whose thoughts are strong, happy creatures, and whose very dreams are lives. When some pray, they lift heavy thoughts from the ground, only to drop them on it again ; others send up their prayers in living shapes, this or that, the nearest likeness to each. All live things were thoughts to begin with, and are fit therefore to be used by those that think. When one says to the great Thinker :—" Here is one of thy thoughts : I am thinking it now ! " that is a prayer—a word to the big heart from one of its own little hearts.—Look, there is another ! '
This time the raven pointed his beak downward— to something at the foot of a block of granite. I looked, and saw a little flower. I had never seen one like it before, and cannot utter the feeling it woke in me by its gracious, trusting form, its colour, and its odour as of a new world that was yet the old. I can only say that it suggested an anemone, was of a pale rose-hue, and had a golden heart.
' That is a prayer-flower,' said the raven.
'1 never saw such a flower before ! ' I rejoined.
' There is no other such. Not one prayer-flower is ever quite like another,' he returned.
' How do you know it a prayer-flower ?' I asked.
' By the expression of it,' he answered. ' More than that I cannot tell you. If you know it, you know it; if you do not, you do not.'