' Open eyes !' twenty voices a little way off shouted at once ; but when I obeyed, not a creature was visible except the elephants that bore me. I knew the children marvellously quick in getting out of the way
__the giants had taught them that; but when I raised
myself, and looking about in the open shrubless forest, could descry neither hand nor heel, I stared in blank astonishment.'
The sun was set, and it was fast getting dark, yet presently a multitude of birds began to sing. I lay down to listen, pretty sure that, if I left them alone, the hiders would soon come out again.
The singing grew to a little storm of bird-voices. ' Surely the children must have something to do with it!—And yet how could they set the birds singing ?' I said to myself as I lay and listened. Soon, however, happening to look up into the tree under which my elephants stood, I thought I spied a little motion among the leaves, and looked more keenly. Sudden white spots appeared in the dark foliage, the music died down, a gale of childish laughter rippled the air, and white spots came out in every direction: the trees were full of children! In the wildest merriment they began to descend, some dropping from bough to bough so rapidly that I could scarce believe they had not fallen. I left my litter, and was instantly surrounded—a mark for all the artillery of their jubilant fun. With stately composure the elephants walked away to bed.
' But,' said I, when their uproarious gladness had had scope for a while, ' how is it that I never before heard you sing like the birds ? Even when I thought it must be you, I could hardly believe it! '