THE HOUSE OF DEATH 295
As we came up with them, a shapeless jelly dropped on the princess. A white dove dropped immediately on the jelly, stabbing it with its beak. It made a squelching, sucking sound, and fell off. Then I heard the voice of a woman talking with Mara, and I knew the voice.
' I fear she is dead ! ' said Mara.
I will send and find her,' answered the mother. ' But why, Mara, shouldst thou at all fear for her or for any one ? Death cannot hurt her who dies doing the work given her to do.'
' I shall miss her sorely ; she is good and wise. Yet I would not have her live beyond her hour! '
' She has gone down with the wicked; she will rise with the righteous. We shall see her again ere very long.'
' Mother,' I said, although I did not see her, ' we come to you many, but most of us are Little Ones. Will you be able to receive us all ? '
' You are welcome every one,' she answered. ' Sooner or later all will be little ones, for all must sleep in my house! It is well with those that go to sleep young and willing!óMy husband is even now preparing her couch for Lilith. She is neither young nor quite willing, but it is well indeed that she is come.'
I heard no more. Mother and daughter had gone away together through the dark. But we saw a light in the distance, and toward it we went stumbling over the moor.
Adam stood in the door, holding the candle to guide us, and talking with his wife, who, behind him, laid bread and wine on the table within.
' Happy children,' I heard her say, ' to have