How Diamond Got Home 129
"No; I've often had to sit longer. Do you know how long you have been?"
" Oh! years and years," answered Diamond.
"You have just been seven days," returned North Wind.
" I thought I had been a hundred years!" exclaimed Diamond.
"Yes, I dare say," replied North Wind. "You've been away from here seven days; but how long you may have been in there is quite another thing. Behind my back and before my face things are so different! They don't go at all by the same rule."
"I'm very glad," said Diamond, after thinking a while.
" Why?" asked North Wind.
" Because I've been such a long time there, and such a little while away from mother. Why, she won't be expecting me home from Sandwich yet!"
"No. But we mustn't talk any longer. I've got my orders now, and we must be off in a few minutes."
Next moment Diamond found himself sitting alone on the rock. North Wind had vanished. A creature like a great humble-bee or cockchafer flew past his face; but it could be neither, for there were no insects amongst the ice. It passed him again and again, flying in circles around him, and he concluded that it must be North Wind herself, no bigger than Tom Thumb when his mother put him in the nutshell lined with flannel. But she was no longer vapoury and thin. She was solid, although tiny. A moment more, and she perched on his shoulder.
( C 145 ) 9