I AM SENT
' This is my gardening spade,' he said; with it I have brought many a lovely thing to the sun.'
I took it, and went out into the night.
It was very cold, and pitch-dark. To fall would be a dread thing, and the way I had to go was a difficult one even in the broad sunlight! But I had not set myself the task, and the minute I started I learned that I was left to no chance : a pale light broke from the ground at every step, and showed me where next to set my foot. Through the heather and the low rocks I walked without once even stumbling. I found the bad burrow quite still; not a wave arose, not a head appeared as I crossed it.
A moon came, and herself showed me the easy way: toward morning I was almost over the dry channels of the first branch of the river-bed, and not far, I judged, from Mara's cottage.
The moon was very low, and the sun not yet up, when I saw before me in the path, here narrowed by rocks, a figure covered from head to foot as with a veil of moonlit mist. I kept on my way as if I saw nothing. The figure threw aside its veil.
' Have you forgotten me already ? ' said the princess —or what seemed she.
I neither hesitated nor answered ; I walked straight on.
' You meant then to leave me in that horrible sepulchre ! Do you not yet understand that where I please to be, there I am ? Take my hand : I am alive as you!'
I was on the point of saying, ' Give me your left hand,' but bethought myself, held my peace, and steadily advanced.