244 At the Back of the North Wind
" How am I to come up?" shouted Diamond.
"Go round the rose-bush. It's got its foot in it," said the first voice.
Diamond got up at once, and walked to the other side of the rose-bush.
There he found what seemed the very opposite of what he wanted—a stair down into the earth. It was of turf and moss. It did not seem to promise well for getting into the sky, but Diamond had learned to look through the look of things. The voice must have meant that he was to go down this stair; and down this stair Diamond went, without waiting to think more about it.
It was such a nice stair, so cool and soft—all the sides as well as the steps grown with moss and grass and ferns! Down and down Diamond went —a long way, until at last he heard the gurgling and plashing of a little stream; nor had he gone much farther before he met it—yes, met it coming up the stairs to meet him, running up just as naturally as if it had been doing the other thing. Neither was Diamond in the least surprised to see it pitching itself from one step to another as it climbed towards him: he never thought it was odd—and no more it was, there. It would have been odd here. It made a merry tune as it came, and its voice was like the laughter he had heard from the sky. This appeared promising; and he went on, down and down the stair, and up and up the stream, till at last he came where it hurried out from under a stone, and the stair stopped altogether. And as the stream bubbled up, the stone