A Children's Fantasy Book By George MacDonald - illustrated version.

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THE WHITE PIGEON.                           13
length to believe in nothing but his dinner: to be sure of
a thing with him is to have it between his teeth. Curdie
was not in a very good way then at that time. His father
and mother had, it is true, no fault to find with him—and
yet—and yet—neither of them was ready to sing when
the thought of him came up. There must be something
wrong when a mother catches herself sighing over the
time when her boy was in petticoats, or the father looks
sad when he thinks how he used to carry him on his
shoulder. The boy should enclose and keep, as his life,
the old child at the heart of him, and never let it go. He
must still, to be a right man, be his mother's darling, and
more, his father's pride, and more. The child is not
meant to die, but to be for ever fresh-born.
Curdie had made himself a bow and some arrows, and
was teaching himself to shoot with them. One evening
in the early summer, as he was walking home from the
mine with them in his hand, a light flashed across his
eyes. He looked, and there was a snow-white pigeon
settling on a rock in front of him, in the red light of the
level sun. There it fell at once to work with one of its
wings, in which a feather or two had got some sprays
twisted, causing a certain roughness unpleasant to the
fastidious creature of the air. It was indeed a lovely
being, and Curdie thought how happy it must be flitting
through the air witli a flash—a live bolt of light. For a
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