356 At the Back of the North Wind
on one leg. I withdrew a little, to see what would follow, for they seemed in some consternation. After a few hurried words, they went off together, and I pursued my way to the house, where I was as kindly received by Mr. and Mrs. Raymond as I could have desired. From them I learned something of Diamond, and was in consequence the more glad to find him, when I returned, seated in the same place as before.
" What did the boy and girl want with you, Diamond?" I asked.
" They had seen a creature that frightened them."
'* And they came to tell you about it?"
" They couldn't get water out of the well for it. So they wanted me to go with them."
" They're both bigger than you."
" Yes, but they were frightened at it."
" And weren't you frightened at it?"
" Because I'm silly. I'm never frightened at things."
I could not help thinking of the old meaning of the word silly.
" And what was it?" I asked.
" I think it was a kind of an angel—a very little one. It had a long body and great wings, which it drove about it so fast that they grew a thin cloud all round it. It flew backwards and forwards over the well, or hung right in the middle, making a mist of its wings, as if its business was to take care of the water."
" And what did you do to drive it away?"
" I didn't drive it away. I knew, whatever the crea-