How Diamond Got Home 131
went the cat again, and Diamond after it. But the next time he came up with the cat, the cat was not a cat, but a hunting-leopard. And the hunting-leopard grew to a jaguar, all covered with spots like eyes. And the jaguar grew to a Bengal tiger. And at none of them was Diamond afraid, for he had been at North Wind's back, and he could be afraid of her no longer whatever she did or grew. And the tiger flew over the snow in a straight line for the south, growing less and less to Diamond's eyes till it was only a black speck upon the whiteness; and then it vanished altogether. And now Diamond felt that he would rather not run any farther, and that the ice had got very rough. Besides, he was near the precipices that bounded the sea, so he slackened his pace to a walk, saying aloud to himself:
"When North Wind has punished me enough for making game of her, she will come back to me; I know she will, for I can't go much farther without her."
"You dear boy! It was only in fun. Here I am!" said North Wind's voice behind him.
Diamond turned, and saw her as he best liked to see her, standing beside him, a tall lady.
"Where's the tiger?" he asked, for he knew all the creatures from a picture book that Miss Coleman had given him. "But, of course," he added, "you were the tiger. I was puzzled and forgot. I saw it such a long way off before me, and there you were behind me. It's so odd, you know."
"It must look very odd to you, Diamond: I see that. But it's no more odd to me than to break an old pine in two."