THE LOVERS AND THE BAGS 225
true, projected beyond their tails, but my head lay pillowed on an ear of each. Then some of the smaller children, mounting for a bodyguard, ranged themselves in a row along the back of each of my bearers; the whole assembly formed itself in train ; and the procession began to move.
Whither they were carrying me, I did not try to conjecture; I yielded myself to their pleasure, almost as happy as they. Chattering and laughing and playing glad tricks innumerable at first, the moment they saw I was going to sleep, they became still as judges.
I woke : a sudden musical uproar greeted the opening of my eyes.
We were travelling through the forest in which they found the babies, and which, as I had suspected, stretched all the way from the valley to the hot stream.
A tiny girl sat with her little feet close to my face, and looked down at me coaxingly for a while, then spoke, the rest seeming to hang on her words.
' We make a petisson to king,' she said.
' What is it, my darling ? ' I asked.
' Sut eyes one minute,' she answered.
' Certainly I will! Here goes !' I replied, and shut my eyes close.
' No, no ! not fore I tell 00 !' she cried.
I opened them again, and we talked and laughed together for quite another hour.
' Close eyes !' she said suddenly.
' I closed my eyes, and kept them close.' The elephants stood still. I heard a soft scurry, a little rustle, and then a silence—for in that world some silences are heard.