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Title: The Blue Bird for Children - The Wonderful Adventures of Tyltyl and Mytyl in Search of Happiness
Author: Maeterlinck, Maurice, 1862-1949, Leblanc, Georgette, 1869-1941
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Blue Bird for Children - The Wonderful Adventures of Tyltyl and Mytyl in Search of Happiness" ***

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Transcriber's Note: Inconsistencies in spelling e.g. color/colour,
neighbor/neighbour have been left as in the original.



[Illustration: The Land of Memory]


    THE · BLUE · BIRD
    [Illustration: Bluebird] FOR CHILDREN [Illustration: Bluebird]


    THE · WONDERFUL · ADVENTURES
    OF · TYLTYL · AND · MYTYL · IN
    SEARCH · OF · HAPPINESS


    BY
    GEORGETTE LEBLANC
    [MADAME MAURICE MAETERLINCK]


    EDITED AND ARRANGED FOR SCHOOLS
    BY
    FREDERICK ORVILLE PERKINS


    TRANSLATED BY
    ALEXANDER TEIXEIRA DE MATTOS


    [Illustration: Publisher Logo]


    SILVER · BURDETT & COMPANY
    BOSTON · NEW YORK · CHICAGO · ATLANTA
    DALLAS · SAN FRANCISCO


    COPYRIGHT, 1913
    BY THE CURTIS PUBLISHING COMPANY


    COPYRIGHT, 1913
    BY DODD, MEAD & COMPANY


    COPYRIGHT, 1914
    BY SILVER, BURDETT & COMPANY


    This School Edition of The Blue
    Bird for Children is affectionately
    dedicated to the School Children
    of America

    Georgette Leblanc
    (Madame Maurice Maeterlinck)



        _To The Teacher_

        "The Blue Bird, inhabitant of the
         _Pays Bleu_, the fabulous blue country
         of our dreams is an ancient symbol
         in the folk lore of Lorraine and
         stands for happiness."


One of the strongest pieces of imaginative writing for children that
the past decade has produced and one of the most delicate and
beautiful of all times, is "The Blue Bird," by Maurice Maeterlinck,
written as a play, and very successfully produced on the stage.

Georgette Leblanc (Madame Maurice Maeterlinck), has rendered this play
in story form for children, under the title "The Children's Blue
Bird," and in this form it has now been carefully edited and arranged
for schools.

Maurice Maeterlinck was born in Ghent, Belgium, August 29, 1862.
Although trained for the practice of the law and moderately successful
in it, he very early became dissatisfied with the prospect of a career
at the bar. In 1887, the young man moved to Paris and turned his
attention to writing. Shortly after, at the death of his father,
Maeterlinck returned to Belgium where he has since resided most of the
time. His career as an author practically began in 1889, when he
published two plays. At this time he was quite unknown, except to a
small circle, but soon, because of his remarkable originality, we find
him being called "The Belgian Shakespeare," and his reputation firmly
established.

Amidst his Belgian roses he continued to work and dream, and upon his
youthful dreams he built his plays. They are all shadowy, brief
transcripts of emotion, and illustrate beautifully his unity of
purpose, of mood and of thought. Whether in philosophy, drama or
poetry, Maeterlinck is exclusively occupied in revealing or indicating
the mystery which lies only just out of sight beneath the ordinary
life. In order to produce this effect of the mysterious he aims at
extreme simplicity of style and a very realistic symbolism. He allows
life itself to astonish us by its strangeness, by its inexplicable
elements. Many of his plays are really pathetic records of unseen
emotions.

Of all his writings, it is conceded that "The Blue Bird" makes the
strongest appeal to children. Maeterlinck has always had much in
common with the young. He has the child's mysticism and awe of the
unknown, the same delight in mechanical inventions, the same gift of
"making believe."

In "The Blue Bird" Maeterlinck takes little account of external fact.
All along he has kept the child's capacity for wonder; all along he
has preserved youth's freshness of heart. He has, therefore, never
lost the key which unlocks the sympathies of childhood; he still
possesses the passport that makes him free of the kingdom of
Fairyland.

This story of "The Blue Bird" may remind one somewhat of "Hansel and
Gretel," for here Maeterlinck, like Grimm, shows to us the adventures
of two peasant children as they pass through regions of enchantment
where they would be at the mercy of treacherous foes, but for the aid
of a supernatural friend. But the originality, the charm and the
interest of "The Blue Bird" depend on the way in which the author,
while adapting his language and his legends to the intelligence of
youthful readers, manages to show them the wonders and romance of
Nature. He enlists among his characters a whole series of inanimate
objects, such as Bread, Sugar, Milk, Light, Water, Fire and Trees,
besides the Cat, the Dog and other animals, investing them all with
individuality,--making for instance, with characteristic bias, the Dog
the faithful friend of his boy and girl companions and the Cat their
stealthy enemy.

We may not understand his characters, we may not be informed whence
they came or whither they move; there is nothing concrete or
circumstantial about them; their life is intense and consistent, but
it is wholly in a spiritual character. They are mysterious with the
mystery of the movements of the soul.

All through the story we are led to feel that Maeterlinck's spirit is
one of grave and disinterested attachment to the highest moral beauty,
and his seriousness, his serenity and his extreme originality impress
even those who are bewildered by his graces and his mysticism.

"The Blue Bird" will forever live among Maeterlinck's greatest works
and will linger long in the memory of all children, continuing
throughout their lives to symbolize that ideal of ideals, true
happiness,--the happiness that comes from right seeking.



      _Contents_


        CHAPTER                                       PAGE

           I THE WOODCUTTER'S COTTAGE                    3

          II AT THE FAIRY'S                             31

         III THE LAND OF MEMORY                         49

          IV THE PALACE OF NIGHT                        65

           V THE KINGDOM OF THE FUTURE                  89

          VI IN THE TEMPLE OF LIGHT                    117

         VII THE GRAVEYARD                             125

        VIII THE FOREST                                137

          IX THE LEAVE-TAKING                          157

           X THE AWAKENING                             169



        _Illustrations_


        The Land of Memory                           _Frontispiece_

                                                           FACING
                                                             PAGE

        She herself helped Mytyl                               10

        They all looked at her with a bewildered air.
          They understood that it was a solemn moment          38

        Delighted with the importance of his duty,
          undid the top of his robe, drew his scimitar
          and cut two slices out of his stomach                42

        Sugar also wanted to impress the company and,
          breaking off two of his fingers, handed them
          to the astonished Children                           44

        Everything vanished and, instead, there appeared
          a pretty little peasant's cottage                    50

        The grandparents and grandchildren sat down to supper  56

        The road to the Palace of Night was rather long and
          rather dangerous                                     66

        Night sat up, all quivering. Her immense wings beat
          around her; and she questioned Tylette in a
          trembling voice                                      68

        Wagging her head and stopping every minute to cough,
          sneeze and blow her nose                             74

        A wonderful garden lay before him, a dream-garden
          filled with flowers that shone like stars            80

        Light's servants were very odd                         90

        Other Blue Children opened great big books             98

        Other Blue Children unfolded maps and plans, or
          brought enormous flowers                            102

        And, in a moment, the Blue Children were crowding
          round the tall old man                              110

        The Cat at once draped her cloak round her, opened
          the door and ran and bounded out into the forest    119

        A regular waterfall of tears came gushing from her
          eyes, flooding all around her                       154

        Closely pursued by the Dog, who overwhelmed her
          with bites, blows and kicks                         162

        "It's the Blue Bird we were looking for! We have
          been miles and miles and miles and he was here
          all the time!"                                      174



CHAPTER I

THE WOODCUTTER'S COTTAGE


Once upon a time, a woodcutter and his wife lived in their cottage on
the edge of a large and ancient forest. They had two dear little
children who met with a most wonderful adventure.

But, before telling you all about it, I must describe the children to
you and let you know something of their character; for, if they had
not been so sweet and brave and plucky, the curious story which you
are about to hear would never have happened at all.

Tyltyl--that was our hero's name--was ten years old; and Mytyl, his
little sister, was only six.

Tyltyl was a fine, tall little fellow, stout and well-set-up, with
curly black hair which was often in a tangle, for he was fond of a
romp. He was a great favorite because of his smiling and good-tempered
face and the bright look in his eyes; but, best of all, he had the
ways of a bold and fearless little man, which showed the noble
qualities of his heart. When, early in the morning, he trotted along
the forest-road by the side of his daddy, Tyl the woodcutter, for all
his shabby clothes he looked so proud and gallant that every beautiful
thing on the earth and in the sky seemed to lie in wait for him to
smile upon him as he passed.

His little sister was very different, but looked ever so sweet and
pretty in her long frock, which Mummy Tyl kept neatly patched for her.
She was as fair as her brother was dark; and her large timid eyes were
blue as the forget-me-nots in the fields. Anything was enough to
frighten her and she would cry at the least thing; but her little
child soul already held the highest womanly qualities: she was loving
and gentle and so fondly devoted to her brother that, rather than
abandon him, she did not hesitate to undertake a long and dangerous
journey in his company.

What happened and how our little hero and heroine went off into the
world one night in search of happiness: that is the subject of my
story.

Daddy Tyl's cottage was the poorest of the countryside; and it seemed
even more wretched because it stood opposite a splendid hall in which
rich children lived. From the windows of the cottage you could see
what went on inside the Hall when the dining-room and drawing-rooms
were lit up in the evening. And, in the daytime, you saw the little
children playing on the terraces, in the gardens and in the hot-houses
which people came all the way from town to visit because they were
always filled with the rarest flowers.

Now, one evening which was not like other evenings, for it was
Christmas Eve, Mummy Tyl put her little ones to bed and kissed them
even more lovingly than usual. She felt a little sad because, owing to
the stormy weather, Daddy Tyl was not able to go to work in the
forest; and so she had no money to buy presents with which to fill
Tyltyl and Mytyl's stockings. The Children soon fell asleep,
everything was still and silent and not a sound was heard but the
purring of the cat, the snoring of the dog and the ticking of the
great grandfather's clock. But suddenly a light as bright as day crept
through the shutters, the lamp upon the table lit again of itself and
the two Children awoke, yawned, rubbed their eyes, stretched out their
arms in bed and Tyltyl, in a cautious voice called:

"Mytyl?"

"Yes, Tyltyl?" was the answer.

"Are you asleep?"

"Are you?"

"No," said Tyltyl. "How can I be asleep, when I'm talking to you?"

"I say, is this Christmas Day?" asked his sister.

"Not yet; not till to-morrow. But Father Christmas won't bring us
anything this year."

"Why not?"

"I heard Mummy say that she couldn't go to town to tell him. But he
will come next year."

"Is next year far off?"

"A good long while," said the boy. "But he will come to the rich
children to-night."

"Really?"

"Hullo!" cried Tyltyl of a sudden. "Mummy's forgotten to put out the
lamp!... I've an idea!"

"What?"

"Let's get up."

"But we mustn't," said Mytyl, who always remembered.

"Why, there's no one about!... Do you see the shutters?"

"Oh, how bright they are!..."

"It's the lights of the party," said Tyltyl.

"What party?"

"The rich children opposite. It's the Christmas-tree. Let's open the
shutters...."

"Can we?" asked Mytyl, timidly.

"Of course we can; there's no one to stop us.... Do you hear the
music?... Let us get up."

The two Children jumped out of bed, ran to the window, climbed on the
stool in front of it and threw back the shutters. A bright light
filled the room; and the Children looked out eagerly:

"We can see everything!" said Tyltyl.

"I can't," said poor little Mytyl, who could hardly find room on the
stool.

"It's snowing!" said Tyltyl. "There are two carriages, with six horses
each!"

"There are twelve little boys getting out!" said Mytyl, who was doing
her best to peep out of the window.

"Don't be silly!... They're little girls...."

"They've got knickerbockers on...."

"Do be quiet!... And look!..."

"What are those gold things there, hanging from the branches?"

"Why, toys, to be sure!" said Tyltyl. "Swords, guns, soldiers,
cannons...."

"And what's that, all round the table?"

"Cakes and fruit and cream-tarts."

"Oh, how pretty the children are!" cried Mytyl, clapping her hands.

"And how they're laughing and laughing!" answered Tyltyl.

"And the little ones dancing!..."

"Yes, yes; let's dance too!" shouted Tyltyl.

And the two Children began to stamp their feet for joy on the stool:

"Oh, what fun!" said Mytyl.

"They're getting the cakes!" cried Tyltyl. "They can touch them!...
They're eating, they're eating, they're eating!... Oh, how lovely, how
lovely!..."

Mytyl began to count imaginary cakes:

"I have twelve!..."

"And I four times twelve!" said Tyltyl. "But I'll give you some...."

And our little friends, dancing, laughing and shrieking with delight,
rejoiced so prettily in the other children's happiness that they
forgot their own poverty and want. They were soon to have their
reward. Suddenly, there came a loud knocking at the door. The startled
Children ceased their romp and dared not move a limb. Then the big
wooden latch lifted of itself, with a loud creak; the door opened
slowly; and in crept a little old woman, dressed all in green, with a
red hood over her head. She was hump-backed and lame and had only one
eye; her nose and chin almost touched; and she walked leaning on a
stick. She was surely a fairy.

She hobbled up to the Children and asked, in a snuffling voice:

"Have you the grass here that sings or the bird that is blue?"

"We have some grass," replied Tyltyl, trembling all over his body,
"but it can't sing...."

"Tyltyl has a bird," said Mytyl.

"But I can't give it away, because it's mine," the little fellow
added, quickly.

Now wasn't that a capital reason?

The Fairy put on her big, round glasses and looked at the bird:

"He's not blue enough," she exclaimed. "I must absolutely have the
Blue Bird. It's for my little girl, who is very ill.... Do you know
what the Blue Bird stands for? No? I thought you didn't; and, as you
are good children, I will tell you."

The Fairy raised her crooked finger to her long, pointed nose, and
whispered, in a mysterious tone:

"The Blue Bird stands for happiness; and I want you to understand
that my little girl must be happy in order to get well. That is why I
now command you to go out into the world and find the Blue Bird for
her. You will have to start at once.... Do you know who I am?"

The Children exchanged puzzled glances. The fact was that they had
never seen a fairy before; and they felt a little scared in her
presence. However, Tyltyl soon said politely:

"You are rather like our neighbor, Madame Berlingot...."

[Illustration: She herself helped Mytyl]

Tyltyl thought that, in saying this, he was paying the Fairy a
compliment; for Madame Berlingot's shop, which was next door to their
cottage, was a very pleasant place. It was stocked with sweets,
marbles, chocolate cigars and sugar dolls and hens; and, at fair-time,
there were big gingerbread dolls covered all over with gilt paper.
Goody Berlingot had a nose that was quite as ugly as the Fairy's; she
was old also; and, like the Fairy, she walked doubled up in two; but
she was very kind and she had a dear little girl who used to play on
Sundays with the woodcutter's Children. Unfortunately, the poor little
pretty, fair-haired thing was always suffering from some unknown
complaint, which often kept her in bed. When this happened, she
used to beg and pray for Tyltyl's dove to play with; but Tyltyl was
so fond of the bird that he would not give it to her. All this,
thought the little boy, was very like that which the Fairy told him;
and that was why he called her Berlingot.

Much to his surprise, the Fairy turned crimson with rage. It was a
hobby of hers to be like nobody, because she was a fairy and able to
change her appearance, from one moment to the next, as she pleased.
That evening, she happened to be ugly and old and hump-backed; she had
lost one of her eyes; and two lean wisps of grey hair hung over her
shoulders.

"What do I look like?" she asked Tyltyl. "Am I pretty or ugly? Old or
young?"

Her reason for asking these questions was to try the kindness of the
little boy. He turned away his head and dared not say what he thought
of her looks. Then she cried:

"I am the Fairy Bérylune!"

"Oh, that's all right!" answered Tyltyl, who, by this time, was
shaking in every limb.

This satisfied the Fairy; and, as the Children were still in their
night-shirts, she told them to get dressed. She herself helped Mytyl
and, while she did so, asked:

"Where are your Father and Mother?"

"In there," said Tyltyl, pointing to the door on the right. "They're
asleep."

"And your Grandad and Granny?"

"They're dead...."

"And your little brothers and sisters.... Have you any?..."

"Oh, yes, three little brothers!" said Tyltyl.

"And four little sisters," added Mytyl.

"Where are they?" asked the Fairy.

"They are dead, too," answered Tyltyl.

"Would you like to see them again?"

"Oh, yes!... At once!... Show them to us!..."

"I haven't them in my pocket," said the Fairy. "But this is very
lucky; you will see them when you go through the Land of Memory. It's
on the way to the Blue Bird, just on the left, past the third
turning.... What were you doing when I knocked?"

"We were playing at eating cakes," said Tyltyl.

"Have you any cakes?... Where are they?..."

"In the house of the rich children.... Come and look, it's so lovely!"

And Tyltyl dragged the Fairy to the window.

"But it's the others who are eating them!" said she.

"Yes, but we can see them eat," said Tyltyl.

"Aren't you cross with them?"

"What for?"

"For eating all the cakes. I think it's very wrong of them not to give
you any."

"Not at all; they're rich!... I say, isn't it beautiful over there?"

"It's just the same here, only you can't see...."

"Yes, I can," said Tyltyl. "I have very good eyes. I can see the time
on the church clock; and Daddy can't!"

The Fairy suddenly grew angry:

"I tell you that you can't see!" she said.

And she grew angrier and angrier. As though it mattered about seeing
the time on the church clock!

Of course, the little boy was not blind; but, as he was kind-hearted
and deserved to be happy, she wanted to teach him to see what is good
and beautiful in all things. It was not an easy task, for she well
knew that most people live and die without enjoying the happiness that
lies all around them. Still, as she was a fairy, she was all-powerful;
and so she decided to give him a little hat adorned with a magic
diamond that would possess the extraordinary property of always
showing him the truth, which would help him to see the inside of
Things and thus teach him that each of them has a life and an
existence of its own, created to match and gladden ours.

The Fairy took the little hat from a great bag hanging by her side. It
was green and had a white cockade, with the big diamond shining in the
middle of it. Tyltyl was beside himself with delight. The Fairy
explained to him how the diamond worked. By pressing the top, you saw
the soul of Things; if you gave it a little turn to the right, you
discovered the Past; and, when you turned it to the left, you beheld
the Future.

Tyltyl beamed all over his face and danced for joy; and then he at
once became afraid of losing the little hat:

"Daddy will take it from me!" he cried.

"No," said the Fairy, "for no one can see it as long as it's on your
head.... Will you try it?"

"Yes, yes!" cried the Children, clapping their hands.

The hat was no sooner on the little boy's head than a magic change
came over everything. The old Fairy turned into a young and beautiful
princess, dressed all in silk and covered with sparkling jewels; the
walls of the cottage became transparent and gleamed like precious
stones; the humble deal furniture shone like marble. The two children
ran from right to left clapping their hands and shouting with
delight.

"Oh, how lovely, how lovely!" exclaimed Tyltyl.

And Mytyl, like the vain little thing she was, stood spell-bound
before the beauty of the fair princess' dress.

But further and much greater surprises were in store for them. Had not
the Fairy said that the Things and the Animals would come to life,
talk and behave like everybody else? Lo and behold, suddenly the door
of the grandfather's clock opened, the silence was filled with the
sweetest music and twelve little daintily-dressed and laughing dancers
began to skip and spin all around the Children.

"They are the Hours of your life," said the Fairy.

"May I dance with them?" asked Tyltyl, gazing with admiration at those
pretty creatures, who seemed to skim over the floor like birds.

But just then he burst into a wild fit of laughter! Who was that funny
fat fellow, all out of breath and covered with flour, who came
struggling out of the bread-pan and bowing to the children? It was
Bread! Bread himself, taking advantage of the reign of liberty to go
for a little walk on earth! He looked like a stout, comical old
gentleman; his face was puffed out with dough; and his large hands, at
the end of his thick arms, were not able to meet, when he laid them on
his great, round stomach. He was dressed in a tight-fitting
crust-coloured suit, with stripes across the chest like those on the
nice buttered rolls which we have for breakfast in the morning. On his
head--just think of it!--he wore an enormous bun, which made a funny
sort of turban.

He had hardly tumbled out of his pan, when other loaves just like him,
but smaller, followed after and began to frisk about with the Hours,
without giving a thought to the flour which they scattered over those
pretty ladies and which wrapped them in great white clouds.

It was a queer and charming dance; and the Children were delighted.
The Hours waltzed with the loaves; the plates, joining in the fun,
hopped up and down on the dresser, at the risk of falling off and
smashing to pieces; the glasses in the cupboard clinked together, to
drink the health of one and all. As to the forks, they chattered so
loudly with the knives that you could not hear yourself speak for the
noise....

There is no knowing what would have happened if the din had lasted
much longer. Daddy and Mummy Tyl would certainly have waked up.
Fortunately, when the romp was at its height, an enormous flame darted
out of the chimney and filled the room with a great red glow, as
though the house were on fire. Everybody bolted into the corners in
dismay, while Tyltyl and Mytyl, sobbing with fright, hid their heads
under the good Fairy's cloak.

"Don't be afraid," she said. "It's only Fire, who has come to join in
your fun. He is a good sort, but you had better not touch him, for he
has a hot temper."

Peeping anxiously through the beautiful gold lace that edged the
Fairy's cloak, the Children saw a tall, red fellow looking at them and
laughing at their fears. He was dressed in scarlet tights and
spangles; from his shoulders hung silk scarves that were just like
flames when he waved them with his long arms; and his hair stood up on
his head in straight, flaring locks. He started flinging out his arms
and legs and jumping round the room like a madman.

Tyltyl, though feeling a little easier, dared not yet leave his
refuge. Then the Fairy Bérylune had a capital idea: she pointed her
wand at the tap; and at once there appeared a young girl who wept like
a regular fountain. It was Water. She was very pretty, but she looked
extremely sad; and she sang so sweetly that it was like the rippling
of a spring. Her long hair, which fell to her feet, might have been
made of sea-weed. She had nothing on but her bed-gown; but the water
that streamed over her clothed her in shimmering colours. She
hesitated at first and gave a glance around her; then, catching sight
of Fire still whirling about like a great madcap, she made an angry
and indignant rush at him, spraying his face, splashing and wetting
him with all her might. Fire flew into a rage and began to smoke.
Nevertheless, as he found himself suddenly thwarted by his old enemy,
he thought it wiser to retire to a corner. Water also beat a retreat;
and it seemed as though peace would be restored once more.

The two Children, at last recovering from their alarm, were asking the
Fairy what was going to happen next, when a startling noise of
breaking crockery made them look round towards the table. What a
surprise! The milk-jug lay on the floor, smashed into a thousand
fragments, and from the pieces rose a charming lady, who gave little
screams of terror and clasped her hands and turned up her eyes with a
beseeching glance.

Tyltyl hastened to console her, for he at once knew that she was Milk;
and, as he was very fond of her, he gave her a good kiss. She was as
fresh and pretty as a little dairy-maid; and a delicious scent of hay
came from her white frock all covered with cream.

Meanwhile, Mytyl was watching the sugar-loaf, which also seemed to be
coming to life. Packed in its blue paper wrapper, on a shelf near the
door, it was swaying from left to right and from right to left without
any result. But at last a long thin arm was seen to come out,
followed by a peaked head, which split the paper, and by another arm
and two long legs that seemed never to end!... Oh, you should have
seen how funny Sugar looked: so funny, indeed, that the Children could
not help laughing in his face! And yet they would have liked to be
civil to him, for they heard the Fairy introducing him in these words:

"This, Tyltyl, is the soul of Sugar. His pockets are crammed with
sugar and each of his fingers is a sugar-stick."

How wonderful to have a friend all made of sugar, off whom you can
bite a piece whenever you feel inclined!

"Bow, wow, wow!... Good-morning! Good-morning, my little god!... At
last, at last we can talk!... Bark and wag my tail as I might, you
never understood!... I love you! I love you!"

Who can this extraordinary person be, who jostles everybody and fills
the house with his noisy gaiety? We know him at once. It is Tylô, the
good Dog who tries his hardest to understand mankind, the good-natured
Animal who goes with the Children to the forest, the faithful guardian
who protects the door, the staunch friend who is ever true and ever
loyal! Here he comes walking on his hind-paws, as on a pair of legs
too short for him, and beating the air with the two others, making
gestures like a clumsy little man. He has not changed: he still has
his smooth, mustard-coloured coat and his jolly bull-dog head, with
the black muzzle, but he is much bigger and then he talks! He talks as
fast as he can, as though he wanted in one moment to avenge his whole
race, which has been doomed to silence for centuries. He talks of
everything, now that he is at last able to explain himself; and it is
a pretty sight to see him kissing his little master and mistress and
calling them "his little gods!" He sits up, he jumps about the room,
knocking against the furniture, upsetting Mytyl with his big soft
paws, lolling his tongue, wagging his tail and puffing and panting as
though he were out hunting. We at once see his simple, generous
nature. Persuaded of his own importance, he fancies that he alone is
indispensable in the new world of Things.

After making all the fuss he wanted of the Children, he started going
the round of the company, distributing the attentions which he thought
that none could do without. His joy, now set free, found vent without
restraint; and, because he was the most loving of creatures, he would
also have been the happiest, if, in becoming human, he had not,
unfortunately, retained his little doggy failings. He was jealous! He
was terribly jealous; and his heart felt a pang when he saw Tylette,
the Cat, coming to life in her turn and being petted and kissed by the
Children, just as he had been! Oh, how he hated the Cat! To bear the
sight of her beside him, to see her always sharing in the affection of
the family: that was the great sacrifice which fate demanded of him.
He accepted it, however, without a word, because it pleased his little
gods; and he went so far as to leave her alone. But he had had many a
crime on his conscience because of her! Had he not, one evening, crept
stealthily into Goody Berlingot's kitchen in order to throttle her old
tom-cat, who had never done him any harm? Had he not broken the back
of the Persian cat at the Hall opposite? Did he not sometimes go to
town on purpose to hunt cats and put an end to them, all to wreak his
spite? And now Tylette was going to talk, just like himself! Tylette
would be his equal in the new world that was opening before him!

"Oh, there is no justice left on earth!" was his bitter thought.
"There is no justice left!"

In the meantime, the Cat, who had begun by washing herself and
polishing her claws, calmly put out her paw to the little girl.

She really was a very pretty cat; and, if our friend Tylô's jealousy
had not been such an ugly feeling, we might almost have overlooked it
for once! How could you fail to be attracted by Tylette's eyes, which
were like topaz set in emeralds? How could you resist the pleasure of
stroking the wonderful black velvet back? How could you not love her
grace, her gentleness and the dignity of her poses?

Smiling gently and speaking in well-chosen language, she said to
Mytyl:

"Good-morning, miss!... How well you look this morning!..."

And the Children patted her like anything.

Tylô kept watching the Cat from the other end of the room:

"Now that she's standing on her hind-legs like a man," he muttered,
"she looks just like the Devil, with her pointed ears, her long tail
and her dress as black as ink!" And he could not help growling between
his teeth. "She's also like the village chimney-sweep," he went on,
"whom I loathe and detest and whom I shall never take for a real man,
whatever my little gods may say.... It's lucky," he added, with a
sigh, "that I know more about a good many things than they do!"

But suddenly, no longer able to master himself, he flew at the Cat and
shouted, with a loud laugh that was more like a roar:

"I'm going to frighten Tylette! Bow, wow, wow!"

But the Cat, who was dignified even when still an animal, now thought
herself called to the loftiest destinies. She considered that the time
had come to raise a tall barrier between herself and the Dog, who had
never been more than an ill-bred person in her eyes; and, stepping
back in disdain, she just said:

"Sir, I don't know you."

Tylô gave a bound under the insult, whereupon the Cat bristled up,
twisting her whiskers under her little pink nose (for she was very
proud of those two pale blotches which gave a special touch to her
dark beauty); and then, arching her back and sticking up her tail, she
hissed out, "Fft! Fft!" and stood stock-still on the chest of drawers,
like a dragon on the lid of a Chinese vase.

Tyltyl and Mytyl screamed with laughter; but the quarrel would
certainly have had a bad ending if, at that moment, a great thing had
not happened. At eleven o'clock in the evening, in the middle of that
winter's night, a great light, the light of the noon-day sun, glowing
and dazzling, burst into the cottage.

"Hullo, there's daylight!" said the little boy, who no longer knew
what to make of things. "What will Daddy say?"

But, before the Fairy had time to set him right, Tyltyl understood;
and, full of wonderment, he knelt before the latest vision that
bewitched his eyes.

At the window, in the center of a great halo of sunshine, there rose
slowly, like a tall golden sheaf, a maiden of surpassing loveliness!
Gleaming veils covered her figure without hiding its beauty; her bare
arms, stretched in the attitude of giving, seemed transparent; and her
great clear eyes wrapped all upon whom they fell in a fond embrace.

"It's the Queen!" said Tyltyl.

"It's a Fairy Princess!" cried Mytyl, kneeling beside her brother.

"No, my Children," said the Fairy. "It is Light!"

Smiling, Light stepped towards the two little ones. She, the Light of
Heaven, the strength and beauty of the Earth, was proud of the humble
mission entrusted to her; she, never before held captive, living in
space and bestowing her bounty upon all alike, consented to be
confined, for a brief spell, within a human shape, so as to lead the
Children out into the world and teach them to know that other Light,
the Light of the Mind, which we never see, but which helps us to see
all things that are.

"It is Light!" exclaimed the Things and the Animals; and, as they all
loved her, they began to dance around her with cries of pleasure.

Tyltyl and Mytyl capered with joy. Never had they pictured so amusing
and so pretty a party; and they shouted louder than all the rest.

Then what was bound to happen came. Suddenly, three knocks were heard
against the wall, loud enough to throw the house down! It was Daddy
Tyl, who had been waked up by the din and who was now threatening to
come and put a stop to it.

"Turn the diamond!" cried the Fairy to Tyltyl.

Our hero hastened to obey, but he had not the knack of it yet;
besides, his hand shook at the thought that his father was coming. In
fact, he was so awkward that he nearly broke the works.

"Not so quick, not so quick!" said the Fairy. "Oh dear, you've turned
it too briskly: they will not have time to resume their places and we
shall have a lot of bother!"

There was a general stampede. The walls of the cottage lost their
splendour. All ran hither and thither, to return to their proper
shape: Fire could not find his chimney; Water ran about looking for
her tap; Sugar stood moaning in front of his torn wrapper; and Bread,
the biggest of the loaves, was unable to squeeze into his pan, in
which the other loaves had jumped higgledy-piggledy, taking up all the
room. As for the Dog, he had grown too large for the hole in his
kennel; and the Cat also could not get into her basket. The Hours
alone, who were accustomed always to run faster than Man wished, had
slipped back into the clock without delay.

Light stood motionless and unruffled, vainly setting an example of
calmness to the others, who were all weeping and wailing around the
Fairy:

"What is going to happen?" they asked. "Is there any danger?"

"Well," said the Fairy, "I am bound to tell you the truth: all those
who accompany the two Children will die at the end of the journey."

They began to cry like anything, all except the Dog, who was delighted
at remaining human as long as possible and who had already taken his
stand next to Light, so as to be sure of going in front of his little
master and mistress.

At that moment, there came a knocking even more dreadful than before.

"There's Daddy again!" said Tyltyl. "He's getting up, this time; I can
hear him walking...."

"You see," said the Fairy, "you have no choice now; it is too late;
you must all start with us.... But you, Fire, don't come near anybody;
you, Dog, don't tease the Cat; you, Water, try not to run all over the
place; and you, Sugar, stop crying, unless you want to melt. Bread
shall carry the cage in which to put the Blue Bird; and you shall all
come to my house, where I will dress the Animals and the Things
properly.... Let us go out this way!"

As she spoke, she pointed her wand at the window, which lengthened
magically downwards, like a door. They all went out on tip-toe, after
which the window resumed its usual shape. And so it came about that,
on Christmas Night, in the clear light of the moon, while the bells
rang out lustily, proclaiming the birth of Jesus, Tyltyl and Mytyl
went in search of the Blue Bird that was to bring them happiness.



CHAPTER II

AT THE FAIRY'S


The Fairy Bérylune's Palace stood at the top of a very high mountain,
on the way to the moon. It was so near that, on summer nights, when
the sky was clear, you could plainly see the moon's mountains and
valleys, lakes and seas from the terrace of the palace. Here the Fairy
studied the stars and read their secrets, for it was long since the
Earth had had anything to teach her.

"This old planet no longer interests me!" she used to say to her
friends, the giants of the mountain. "The men upon it still live with
their eyes shut! Poor things, I pity them! I go down among them now
and then, but it is out of charity, to try and save the little
children from the fatal misfortune that awaits them in the darkness."

This explains why she had come and knocked at the door of Daddy Tyl's
cottage on Christmas Eve.

And now to return to our travellers. They had hardly reached the
high-road, when the Fairy remembered that they could not walk like
that through the village, which was still lit up because of the
feast. But her store of knowledge was so great that all her wishes
were fulfilled at once. She pressed lightly on Tyltyl's head and
willed that they should all be carried by magic to her palace. Then
and there, a cloud of fireflies surrounded our companions and wafted
them gently towards the sky. They were at the Fairy's palace before
they had recovered from their surprise.

"Follow me," she said and led them through chambers and passages all
in gold and silver.

They stopped in a large room surrounded with mirrors on every side and
containing an enormous wardrobe with light creeping through its
chinks. The Fairy Bérylune took a diamond key from her pocket and
opened the wardrobe. One cry of amazement burst from every throat.
Precious stuffs were seen piled one on the top of the other: mantles
covered with gems, dresses of every sort and every country, pearl
coronets, emerald necklaces, ruby bracelets.... Never had the Children
beheld such riches! As for the Things, their state was rather one of
utter bewilderment; and this was only natural, when you think that
they were seeing the world for the first time and that it showed
itself to them in such a queer way.

The Fairy helped them make their choice. Fire, Sugar and the Cat
displayed a certain decision of taste. Fire, who only cared for red,
at once chose a splendid bright red dress, with gold spangles. He put
nothing on his head, for his head was always very hot. Sugar could not
stand anything except white and pale blue: bright colors jarred on his
sweet nature. The long blue and white dress which he selected and the
pointed hat, like a candle extinguisher, which he wore on his head
made him look perfectly ridiculous; but he was too silly to notice it
and kept spinning before the glass like a top and admiring himself in
blissful ignorance.

The Cat, who was always a lady and who was used to her dusky garments,
reflected that black always looks well, in any circumstance,
particularly now, when they were travelling without luggage. She
therefore put on a suit of black tights, with jet embroidery, hung a
long velvet cloak from her shoulders and perched a large cavalier hat,
with a long feather, on her neat little head. She next asked for a
pair of soft kid boots, in memory of Puss-in-Boots, her distinguished
ancestor, and put a pair of gloves on her fore-paws, to protect them
from the dust of the roads.

Thus attired, she took a satisfied glance at the mirror. Then, a
little nervously, with an anxious eye and a quivering pink nose, she
hastily invited Sugar and Fire to take the air with her. So they all
three walked out, while the others went on dressing. Let us follow
them for a moment, for we have already grown to like our brave little
Tyltyl and we shall want to hear anything that is likely to help or
delay his undertaking.

After passing through several splendid galleries, hung like balconies
in the sky, our three cronies stopped in the hall; and the Cat at once
addressed the meeting in a hushed voice:

"I have brought you here," she said, "in order to discuss the position
in which we are placed. Let us make the most of our last moment of
liberty...."

But she was interrupted by a furious uproar:

"Bow, wow, wow!"

"There now!" cried the Cat. "There's that idiot of a Dog! He has
scented us out! We can't get a minute's peace. Let us hide behind the
balustrade. He had better not hear what I have to say to you."

"It's too late," said Sugar, who was standing by the door.

And, sure enough, Tylô was coming up, jumping, barking, panting and
delighted.

The Cat, when she saw him, turned away in disgust:

"He has put on the livery of one of the footmen of Cinderella's
coach.... It is just the thing for him: he has the soul of a
flunkey!"

She ended these words with a "Fft! Fft!" and, stroking her whiskers,
took up her stand, with a defiant air, between Sugar and Fire. The
good Dog did not see her little game. He was wholly wrapped up in the
pleasure of being gorgeously arrayed; and he danced round and round.
It was really funny to see his velvet coat whirling like a
merry-go-round, with the skirts opening every now and then and showing
his little stumpy tail, which was all the more expressive as it had to
express itself very briefly. For I need hardly tell you that Tylô,
like every well-bred bull-dog, had had his tail and his ears cropped
as a puppy.

Poor fellow, he had long envied the tails of his brother dogs, which
allowed them to use a much larger and more varied vocabulary. But
physical deficiencies and the hardships of fortune strengthen our
innermost qualities. Tylô's soul, having no outward means of
expressing itself, had only gained through silence; and his look,
which was always filled with love, had become very eloquent.

To-day his big dark eyes glistened with delight; he had suddenly
changed into a man! He was all over magnificent clothes; and he was
about to perform a grand errand across the world in company with the
gods!

"There!" he said. "There! Aren't we fine!... Just look at this lace
and embroidery!... It's real gold and no mistake!"

He did not see that the others were laughing at him, for, to tell the
truth, he did look very comical; but, like all simple creatures, he
had no sense of humour. He was so proud of his natural garment of
yellow hair that he had put on no waistcoat, in order that no one
might have a doubt as to where he sprang from. For the same reason, he
had kept his collar, with his address on it. A big red velvet coat,
heavily braided with gold-lace, reached to his knees; and the large
pockets on either side would enable him, he thought, always to carry a
few provisions; for Tylô was very greedy. On his left ear, he wore a
little round cap with an osprey-feather in it and he kept it on his
big square head by means of an elastic which cut his fat, loose cheeks
in two. His other ear remained free. Cropped close to his head in the
shape of a little paper screw-bag, this ear was the watchful receiver
into which all the sounds of life fell, like pebbles disturbing its
rest.

He had also encased his hind-legs in a pair of patent-leather
riding-boots, with white tops; but his fore-paws he considered of such
use that nothing would have induced him to put them into gloves. Tylô
had too natural a character to change his little ways all in a day;
and, in spite of his new-blown honours, he allowed himself to do
undignified things. He was at the present moment lying on the steps of
the hall, scratching the ground and sniffing at the wall, when
suddenly he gave a start and began to whine and whimper! His lower lip
shook nervously as though he were going to cry.

"What's the matter with the idiot now?" asked the Cat, who was
watching him out of the corner of her eye.

But she at once understood. A very sweet song came from the distance;
and Tylô could not endure music. The song drew nearer, a girl's fresh
voice filled the shadows of the lofty arches and Water appeared. Tall,
slender and white as a pearl, she seemed to glide rather than to walk.
Her movements were so soft and graceful that they were suspected
rather than seen. A beautiful silvery dress waved and floated around
her; and her hair decked with corals flowed below her knees.

When Fire caught sight of her, like the rude and spiteful fellow that
he was, he sneered:

"She's not brought her umbrella!"

But Water, who was really quite witty and who knew that she was the
stronger of the two, chaffed him pleasantly and said, with a glance at
his glowing nose:

"I beg your pardon?... I thought you might be speaking of a great red
nose I saw the other day!..."

The others began to laugh and poke fun at Fire, whose face was always
like a red-hot coal. Fire angrily jumped to the ceiling, keeping his
revenge for later. Meanwhile, the Cat went up to Water, very
cautiously, and paid her ever so many compliments on her dress. I need
hardly tell you that she did not mean a word of it; but she wished to
be friendly with everybody, for she wanted their votes, to carry out
her plan; and she was anxious at not seeing Bread, because she did not
want to speak before the meeting was complete:

"What can he be doing?" she mewed, time after time.

"He was making an endless fuss about choosing his dress," said the
Dog. "At last, he decided in favour of a Turkish robe, with a scimitar
and a turban."

[Illustration: They all looked at her with a bewildered air. They
understood that it was a solemn moment.]

The words were not out of his mouth, when a shapeless and ridiculous
bulk, clad in all the colours of the rainbow, came and blocked the
narrow door of the hall. It was the enormous stomach of Bread, who
filled the whole opening. He kept on knocking himself, without knowing
why; for he was not very clever and, besides, he was not yet used to
moving about in human beings' houses. At last, it occurred to him
to stoop; and, by squeezing through sideways, he managed to make his
way into the hall.

It was certainly not a triumphal entry, but he was pleased with it all
the same:

"Here I am!" he said. "Here I am! I have put on Blue-beard's finest
dress.... What do you think of this?"

The Dog began to frisk around him: he thought Bread magnificent! That
yellow velvet costume, covered all over with silver crescents,
reminded Tylô of the delicious horse-shoe rolls which he loved; and
the huge, gaudy turban on Bread's head was really very like a fairy
bun!

"How nice he looks!" he cried. "How nice he looks!"

Bread was shyly followed by Milk. Her simple mind had made her prefer
her cream dress to all the finery which the Fairy suggested to her.
She was really a model of humility.

Bread was beginning to talk about the dresses of Tyltyl, Light and
Mytyl, when the Cat cut him short in a masterful voice:

"We shall see them in good time," she said. "Stop chattering, listen
to me, time presses: our future is at stake...."

They all looked at her with a bewildered air. They understood that it
was a solemn moment, but the human language was still full of mystery
to them. Sugar wriggled his long fingers as a sign of distress; Bread
patted his huge stomach; Water lay on the floor and seemed to suffer
from the most profound despair; and Milk only had eyes for Bread, who
had been her friend for ages and ages.

The Cat, becoming impatient, continued her speech:

"The Fairy has just said it, the end of this journey will, at the same
time, mark the end of our lives. It is our business, therefore, to
spin the journey out as long as possible and by every means in our
power...."

Bread, who was afraid of being eaten as soon as he was no longer a
man, hastened to express approval; but the Dog, who was standing a
little way off, pretending not to hear, began to growl deep down in
his soul. He well knew what the Cat was driving at; and, when Tylette
ended her speech with the words, "We must at all costs prolong the
journey and prevent Blue Bird from being found, even if it means
endangering the lives of the Children," the good Dog, obeying only the
promptings of his heart, leapt at the Cat to bite her. Sugar, Bread
and Fire flung themselves between them:

"Order! Order!" said Bread pompously. "I'm in the chair at this
meeting."

"Who made you chairman?" stormed Fire.

"Who asked you to interfere?" asked Water, whirling her wet hair over
Fire.

"Excuse me," said Sugar, shaking all over, in conciliatory tones.
"Excuse me.... This is a serious moment.... Let us talk things over in
a friendly way."

"I quite agree with Sugar and the Cat," said Bread, as though that
ended the matter.

"This is ridiculous!" said the Dog, barking and showing his teeth.
"There is Man and that's all!... We have to obey him and do as he
tells us!... I recognise no one but him!... Hurrah for Man!... Man for
ever!... In life or death, all for Man!... Man is everything!..."

But the Cat's shrill voice rose above all the others. She was full of
grudges against Man and she wanted to make use of the short spell of
humanity which she now enjoyed to avenge her whole race:

"All of us here present," she cried, "Animals, Things and Elements,
possess a soul which Man does not yet know. That is why we retain a
remnant of independence; but, if he finds the Blue Bird, he will know
all, he will see all and we shall be completely at his mercy....
Remember the time when we wandered at liberty upon the face of the
earth!..." But, suddenly her face changed, her voice sank to a whisper
and she hissed, "Look out! I hear the Fairy and Light coming. I need
hardly tell you that Light has taken sides with Man and means to stand
by him; she is our worst enemy.... Be careful!"

But our friends had had no practice in trickery and, feeling
themselves in the wrong, took up such ridiculous and uncomfortable
attitudes that the Fairy, the moment she appeared upon the threshold,
exclaimed:

"What are you doing in that corner?... You look like a pack of
conspirators!"

Quite scared and thinking that the Fairy had already guessed their
wicked intentions, they fell upon their knees before her. Luckily for
them, the Fairy hardly gave a thought to what was passing through
their little minds. She had come to explain the first part of the
journey to the Children and to tell each of the others what to do.
Tyltyl and Mytyl stood hand in hand in front of her, looking a little
frightened and a little awkward in their fine clothes. They stared at
each other in childish admiration.

The little girl was wearing a yellow silk frock embroidered with pink
posies and covered with gold spangles. On her head was a lovely orange
velvet cap; and a starched muslin tucker covered her little arms.
Tyltyl was dressed in a red jacket and blue knickerbockers, both of
velvet; and of course he wore the wonderful little hat on his head.

[Illustration: Delighted with the importance of his duty, undid the
top of his robe, drew his scimitar and cut two slices out of his
stomach]

The Fairy said to them:

"It is just possible that the Blue Bird is hiding at your
grandparents' in the Land of Memory; so you will go there first."

"But how shall we see them, if they are dead?" asked Tyltyl.

Then the good Fairy explained that they would not be really dead until
their grandchildren ceased to think of them:

"Men do not know this secret," she added. "But, thanks to the diamond,
you, Tyltyl, will see that the dead whom we remember live as happily
as though they were not dead."

"Are you coming with us?" asked the boy, turning to Light, who stood
in the doorway and lit up all the hall.

"No," said the Fairy. "Light must not look at the past. Her energies
must be devoted to the future!"

The two Children were starting on their way, when they discovered that
they were very hungry. The Fairy at once ordered Bread to give them
something to eat; and that big, fat fellow, delighted with the
importance of his duty, undid the top of his robe, drew his scimitar
and cut two slices out of his stomach. The Children screamed with
laughter. Tylô dropped his gloomy thoughts for a moment and begged
for a bit of bread; and everybody struck up the farewell chorus.
Sugar, who was very full of himself, also wanted to impress the
company and, breaking off two of his fingers, handed them to the
astonished Children.

As they were all moving towards the door, the Fairy Bérylune stopped
them:

"Not to-day," she said. "The children must go alone. It would be
indiscreet to accompany them; they are going to spend the evening with
their late family. Come, be off! Good-bye, dear children, and mind
that you are back in good time: it is extremely important!"

[Illustration: Sugar also wanted to impress the company and, breaking
off two of his fingers, handed them to the astonished Children]

The two Children took each other by the hand and, carrying the big
cage, passed out of the hall; and their companions, at a sign from the
Fairy, filed in front of her to return to the palace. Our friend Tylô
was the only one who did not answer to his name. The moment he heard
the Fairy say that the Children were to go alone, he had made up his
mind to go and look after them, whatever happened; and, while the
others were saying good-bye, he hid behind the door. But the poor
fellow had reckoned without the all-seeing eyes of the Fairy Bérylune.

"Tylô!" she cried. "Tylô! Here!"

And the poor Dog, who had so long been used to obey, dared not resist
the command and came, with his tail between his legs, to take his
place among the others. He howled with despair when he saw his little
master and mistress swallowed up in the great gold staircase.



CHAPTER III

THE LAND OF MEMORY


The Fairy Bérylune had told the Children that the Land of Memory was
not far off; but to reach it you had to go through a forest that was
so dense and so old that your eyes could not see the tops of the
trees. It was always shrouded in a heavy mist; and the Children would
certainly have lost their way, if the Fairy had not said to them
beforehand:

"It is straight ahead; and there is only one road."

The ground was carpeted with flowers which were all alike: they were
snow-white pansies and very pretty; but, as they never saw the sun,
they had no scent.

Those little flowers comforted the Children, who felt extremely
lonely. A great mysterious silence surrounded them; and they trembled
a little with a very pleasant sense of fear which they had never felt
before.

"Let's take Granny a bunch of flowers," said Mytyl.

"That's a good idea! She will be pleased!" cried Tyltyl.

And, as they walked along, the Children gathered a beautiful white
nosegay. The dear little things did not know that every pansy (which
means "a thought") that they picked brought them nearer to their
grandparents; and they soon saw before them a large oak with a
notice-board nailed to it.

"Here we are!" cried the boy in triumph, as, climbing up on a root, he
read:

              "_The Land of Memory._"

They had arrived; but they turned to every side without seeing a
thing:

"I can see nothing at all!" whimpered Mytyl. "I'm cold!... I'm
tired!... I don't want to travel any more!"

Tyltyl, who was wholly wrapped up in his errand, lost his temper:

"Come, don't keep on crying just like Water!... You ought to be
ashamed of yourself!" he said. "There! Look! Look! The fog is
lifting!"

And, sure enough, the mist parted before their eyes, like veils torn
by an invisible hand; the big trees faded away, everything vanished
and, instead, there appeared a pretty little peasant's cottage,
covered with creepers and standing in a little garden filled with
flowers and with trees all over fruit.

[Illustration: Everything vanished and, instead, there appeared a
pretty little peasant's cottage]

The Children at once knew the dear cow in the orchard, the watch-dog
at the door, the blackbird in his wicker cage; and everything was
steeped in a pale light and a warm and balmy air.

Tyltyl and Mytyl stood amazed. So that was the Land of Memory! What
lovely weather it was! And how nice it felt to be there! They at once
made up their minds to come back often, now that they knew the way.
But how great was their happiness when the last veil disappeared and
they saw, at a few steps from them, Grandad and Granny sitting on a
bench, sound asleep. They clapped their hands and called out
gleefully:

"It's Grandad! It's Granny!... There they are! There they are!"

But they were a little scared by this great piece of magic and dared
not move from behind the tree; and they stood looking at the dear old
couple, who woke up gently and slowly under their eyes. Then they
heard Granny Tyl's trembling voice say:

"I have a notion that our grandchildren who are still alive are coming
to see us to-day."

And Gaffer Tyl answered:

"They are certainly thinking of us, for I feel queer and I have pins
and needles in my legs."

"I think they must be quite near," said Granny, "for I see tears of
joy dancing before my eyes and...."

Granny had not time to finish her sentence. The Children were in her
arms!... What joy! What wild kisses and huggings! What a wonderful
surprise! The happiness was too great for words. They laughed and
tried to speak and kept on looking at one another with delighted eyes:
it was so glorious and so unexpected to meet again like this. When the
first excitement was over, they all began to talk at once:

"How tall and strong you've grown, Tyltyl!" said Granny.

And Grandad cried:

"And Mytyl! Just look at her! What pretty hair, what pretty eyes!"

And the Children danced and clapped their hands and flung themselves
by turns into the arms of one or the other.

At last, they quieted down a little; and, with Mytyl nestling against
Grandad's chest and Tyltyl comfortably perched on Granny's knees, they
began to talk of family affairs:

"How are Daddy and Mummy Tyl?" asked Granny.

"Quite well, Granny," said Tyltyl. "They were asleep when we went
out."

Granny gave them fresh kisses and said:

"My word, how pretty they are and how nice and clean!... Why don't you
come to see us oftener? It is months and months now that you have
forgotten us and that we have seen nobody...."

"We couldn't, Granny," said Tyltyl, "and to-day it's only because of
the Fairy...."

"We are always here," said Granny Tyl, "waiting for a visit from those
who are alive. The last time you were here was on All-hallows...."

"All-hallows? We didn't go out that day, for we both had colds!"

"But you thought of us! And, every time you think of us, we wake up
and see you again."

Tyltyl remembered that the Fairy had told him this. He had not thought
it possible then; but now, with his head on the heart of the dear
Granny whom he had missed so much, he began to understand things and
he felt that his grandparents had not left him altogether. He asked:

"So you are not really dead?..."

The old couple burst out laughing. When they exchanged their life on
earth for another and a much nicer and more beautiful life, they had
forgotten the word "dead."

"What does that word 'dead' mean?" asked Gaffer Tyl.

"Why, it means that one's no longer alive!" said Tyltyl.

Grandad and Granny only shrugged their shoulders:

"How stupid the Living are, when they speak of the Others!" was all
they said.

And they went over their memories again, rejoicing in being able to
chat.

All old people love discussing old times. The future is finished, as
far as they are concerned; and so they delight in the present and the
past. But we are growing impatient, like Tyltyl; and, instead of
listening to them, we will follow our little friend's movements.

He had jumped off Granny's knees and was poking about in every corner,
delighted at finding all sorts of things which he knew and remembered:

"Nothing is changed, everything is in its old place!" he cried. And,
as he had not been to the old people's home for so long, everything
struck him as much nicer; and he added, in the voice of one who knows,
"Only everything is prettier!... Hullo, there's the clock with the big
hand which I broke the point off and the hole which I made in the
door, the day I found Grandad's gimlet...."

"Yes, you've done some damage in your time!" said Grandad. "And
there's the plum-tree which you were so fond of climbing, when I
wasn't looking...."

Meantime, Tyltyl was not forgetting his errand:

"You haven't the Blue Bird here by chance, I suppose?"

At the same moment, Mytyl, lifting her head, saw a cage:

"Hullo, there's the old blackbird!... Does he still sing?"

As she spoke, the blackbird woke up and began to sing at the top of
his voice.

"You see," said Granny, "as soon as one thinks of him...."

Tyltyl was simply amazed at what he saw:

"But he's blue!" he shouted. "Why, that's the bird, the Blue Bird!...
He's blue, blue, blue as a blue glass marble!... Will you give him to
me?"

The grandparents gladly consented; and, full of triumph, Tyltyl went
and fetched the cage which he had left by the tree. He took hold of
the precious bird with the greatest of care; and it began to hop about
in its new home.

"How pleased the Fairy will be!" said the boy, rejoicing at his
conquest. "And Light too!"

"Come along," said the grandparents. "Come and look at the cow and the
bees."

As the old couple were beginning to toddle across the garden, the
children suddenly asked if their little dead brothers and sisters were
there too. At the same moment, seven little children, who, up to then,
had been sleeping in the house, came tearing like mad into the garden.
Tyltyl and Mytyl ran up to them. They all hustled and hugged one
another and danced and whirled about and uttered screams of joy.

"Here they are, here they are!" said Granny. "As soon as you speak of
them, they are there, the imps!"

Tyltyl caught a little one by the hair:

"Hullo, Pierrot! So we're going to fight again, as in the old days!...
And Robert!... I say, Jean, what's become of your top?... Madeleine
and Pierrette and Pauline!... And here's Riquette!..."

Mytyl laughed:

"Riquette's still crawling on all fours!"

Tyltyl noticed a little dog yapping around them:

"There's Kiki, whose tail I cut off with Pauline's scissors.... He
hasn't changed either...."

"No," said Gaffer Tyl, in a voice of great importance, "nothing
changes here!"

But, suddenly, amid the general rejoicings, the old people stopped
spell-bound: they had heard the small voice of the clock indoors
strike eight!

[Illustration: The grandparents and grandchildren sat down to supper]

"How's this?" they asked. "It never strikes nowadays...."

"That's because we no longer think of the time," said Granny. "Was any
one thinking of the time?"

"Yes, I was," said Tyltyl. "So it's eight o'clock?... Then I'm off,
for I promised Light to be back before nine...."

He was going for the cage, but the others were too happy to let him
run away so soon: it would be horrid to say good-bye like that! Granny
had a good idea: she knew what a little glutton Tyltyl was. It was
just supper-time and, as luck would have it, there was some capital
cabbage-soup and a beautiful plum-tart.

"Well," said our hero, "as I've got the Blue Bird!... And cabbage-soup
is a thing you don't have every day!..."

They all hurried and carried the table outside and laid it with a nice
white table-cloth and put a plate for each; and, lastly, Granny
brought out the steaming soup-tureen in state. The lamp was lit and
the grandparents and grandchildren sat down to supper, jostling and
elbowing one another and laughing and shouting with pleasure. Then,
for a time, nothing was heard but the sound of the wooden spoons
noisily clattering against the soup-plates.

"How good it is! Oh, how good it is!" shouted Tyltyl, who was eating
greedily. "I want some more! More! More! More!"

"Come, come, a little more quiet," said Grandad. "You're just as
ill-behaved as ever; and you'll break your plate...."

Tyltyl took no notice of the remark, stood up on his stool, caught
hold of the tureen and dragged it towards him and upset it; and the
hot soup trickled all over the table and down upon everybody's lap.
The children yelled and screamed with pain. Granny was quite scared;
and Grandad was furious. He dealt our friend Tyltyl a tremendous box
on the ear.

Tyltyl was staggered for a moment; and then he put his hand to his
cheek with a look of rapture and exclaimed:

"Grandad, how good, how jolly! It was just like the slaps you used to
give me when you were alive!... I must give you a kiss for it!..."

Everybody laughed.

"There's more where that came from, if you like them!" said Grandad,
grumpily.

But he was touched, all the same, and turned to wipe a tear from his
eyes.

"Goodness!" cried Tyltyl, starting up. "There's half-past eight
striking!... Mytyl, we've only just got time!..."

Granny in vain implored them to stay a few minutes longer.

"No, we can't possibly," said Tyltyl firmly; "I promised Light!"

And he hurried to take up the precious cage.

"Good-bye, Grandad.... Good-bye, Granny.... Good-bye, brothers and
sisters, Pierrot, Robert, Pauline, Madeleine, Riquette and you, too,
Kiki.... We can't stay.... Don't cry, Granny; we will come back
often!"

Poor old Grandad was very much upset and complained lustily:

"Gracious me, how tiresome the Living are, with all their fuss and
excitement!"

Tyltyl tried to console him and again promised to come back very
often.

"Come back every day!" said Granny. "It is our only pleasure; and it's
such a treat for us when your thoughts pay us a visit!"

"Good-bye! Good-bye!" cried the brothers and sisters in chorus. "Come
back very soon! Bring us some barley sugar!"

There were more kisses; all waved their handkerchiefs; all shouted a
last good-bye. But the figures began to fade away; the little voices
could no longer be heard; the two Children were once more wrapped in
mist; and the old forest covered them with its great dark mantle.

"I'm so frightened!" whimpered Mytyl. "Give me your hand, little
brother! I'm so frightened!"

Tyltyl was shaking too, but it was his duty to try and comfort and
console his sister:

"Hush!" he said. "Remember that we are bringing back the Blue Bird!"

As he spoke, a thin ray of light pierced the gloom; and the little boy
hurried towards it. He was holding his cage tight in his arms; and the
first thing he did was to look at his bird.... Alas and alack, what a
disappointment awaited him! The beautiful Blue Bird of the Land of
Memory had turned quite black! Stare at it as hard as Tyltyl might,
the bird was black! Oh, how well he knew the old blackbird that used
to sing in its wicker prison, in the old days, at the door of the
house! What had happened? How painful it was! And how cruel life
seemed to him just then!

He had started on his journey with such zest and delight that he had
not thought for a moment of the difficulties and dangers. Full of
confidence, pluck and kindness, he had marched off, certain of
finding the beautiful Blue Bird which would bring happiness to the
Fairy's little girl. And now all his hopes were shattered! For the
first time, our poor friend understood the trials, the vexations and
the obstacles that awaited him! Alas, was he attempting an impossible
thing? Was the Fairy making fun of him? Would he ever find the Blue
Bird? All his courage seemed to be leaving him....

To add to his misfortunes, he could not find the straight road by
which he had come. There was not a single white pansy on the ground;
and he began to cry.

Luckily, our little friends were not to remain in trouble long. The
Fairy had promised that Light would watch over them. The first trial
was over; and, just as outside the old people's house a little while
ago, the mist now suddenly lifted. But, instead of disclosing a
peaceful picture, a gentle, homely scene, it revealed a marvellous
temple, with a blinding glare streaming from it.

On the threshold stood Light, fair and beautiful in her
diamond-coloured dress. She smiled when Tyltyl told her of his first
failure. She knew what the little ones were seeking; she knew
everything. For Light surrounds all mortals with her love, though none
of them is fond enough of her ever to receive her thoroughly and thus
to learn all the secrets of Truth. Now, for the first time, thanks to
the diamond which the Fairy had given to the boy, she was going to try
and conquer a human soul:

"Do not be sad," she said to the Children. "Are you not pleased to
have seen your grandparents? Is that not enough happiness for one day?
Are you not glad to have restored the old blackbird to life? Listen to
him singing!"

For the old blackbird was singing with might and main; and his little
yellow eyes sparkled with pleasure as he hopped about his big cage.

"As you look for the Blue Bird, dear Children, accustom yourselves to
love the grey birds which you find on your way."

She nodded her fair head gravely; and it was quite clear that she knew
where the Blue Bird was. But life is often full of beautiful
mysteries, which we must respect, lest we should destroy them; and, if
Light had told the Children where the Blue Bird was, well, they would
never have found him! I will tell you why at the end of this story.

And now let us leave our little friends to sleep on beautiful white
clouds under Light's watchful care.



CHAPTER IV

THE PALACE OF NIGHT


Some time after, the Children and their friends met at the first dawn
to go to the Palace of Night, where they hoped to find the Blue Bird.
Several of the party failed to answer to their names when the roll was
called. Milk, for whom any sort of excitement was bad, was keeping her
room. Water sent an excuse: she was accustomed always to travel in a
bed of moss, was already half-dead with fatigue and was afraid of
falling ill. As for Light, she had been on bad terms with Night since
the world began; and Fire, as a relation, shared her dislike. Light
kissed the Children and told Tylô the way, for it was his business to
lead the expedition; and the little band set out upon its road.

You can imagine dear Tylô trotting ahead, on his hind legs, like a
little man, with his nose in the air, his tongue dangling down his
chin, his front paws folded across his chest. He fidgets, sniffs
about, runs up and down, covering twice the ground without minding how
tired it makes him. He is so full of his own importance that he
disdains the temptations on his path: he neglects the rubbish heaps,
pays no attention to anything he sees and cuts all his old friends.

Poor Tylô! He was so delighted to become a man; and yet he was no
happier than before! Of course, life was the same to him, because his
nature had remained unchanged. What was the use of his being a man, if
he continued to feel and think like a dog? In fact, his troubles were
increased a hundred-fold by the sense of responsibility that now
weighed upon him.

"Ah!" he said, with a sigh, for he was joining blindly in his little
gods' search, without for a moment reflecting that the end of the
journey would mean the end of his life. "Ah," he said, "if I got hold
of that rascal of a Blue Bird, trust me, I wouldn't touch him even
with the tip of my tongue, not if he were as plump and sweet as a
quail!"

Bread followed solemnly, carrying the cage; the two Children came
next; and Sugar brought up the rear.

But where was the Cat? To discover the reason of her absence, we must
go a little way back and read her thoughts. At the time when Tylette
called a meeting of the Animals and Things in the Fairy's hall, she
was contemplating a great plot which would aim at prolonging the
journey; but she had reckoned without the stupidity of her hearers:

"The idiots," she thought, "have very nearly spoiled the whole thing
by foolishly throwing themselves at the Fairy's feet, as though they
were guilty of a crime. It is better to rely upon one's self alone. In
my cat-life, all our training is founded on suspicion; I can see that
it is just the same in the life of men. Those who confide in others
are only betrayed; it is better to keep silent and to be treacherous
one's self."

[Illustration: The road to the Palace of Night was rather long and
rather dangerous]

As you see, my dear little readers, the Cat was in the same position
as the Dog: she had not changed her soul and was simply continuing her
former existence; but, of course, she was very wicked, whereas our
dear Tylô was, if anything, too good. Tylette, therefore, resolved to
act on her own account and went, before daybreak, to call on Night,
who was an old friend of hers.

The road to the Palace of Night was rather long and rather dangerous.
It had precipices on either side of it; you had to climb up and climb
down and then climb up again among high rocks that always seemed
waiting to crush the passers-by. At last, you came to the edge of a
dark circle; and there you had to go down thousands of steps to reach
the black-marble underground palace in which Night lived.

The Cat, who had often been there before, raced along the road, light
as a feather. Her cloak, borne on the wind, streamed like a banner
behind her; the plume in her hat fluttered gracefully; and her little
grey kid boots hardly touched the ground. She soon reached her
destination and, in a few bounds, came to the great hall where Night
was.

It was really a wonderful sight. Night, stately and grand as a Queen,
reclined upon her throne; she slept; and not a glimmer, not a star
twinkled around her. But we know that the night has no secrets for
cats and that their eyes have the power of piercing the darkness. So
Tylette saw Night as though it were broad daylight.

Before waking her, she cast a loving glance at that motherly and
familiar face. It was white and silvery as the moon; and its unbending
features inspired both fear and admiration. Night's figure, which was
half visible through her long black veils, was as beautiful as that of
a Greek statue. She had long arms and a pair of enormous wings, now
furled in sleep, came from her shoulders to her feet and gave her a
look of majesty beyond compare. Still, in spite of her affection for
her best of friends, Tylette did not waste too much time in gazing at
her: it was a critical moment; and time was short. Tired and jaded and
overcome with anguish, she sank upon the steps of the throne and
mewed, plaintively:

"It is I, Mother Night!... I am worn out!"

[Illustration: Night sat up, all quivering. Her immense wings beat
around her; and she questioned Tylette in a trembling voice]

Night is of an anxious nature and easily alarmed. Her beauty, built up
of peace and repose, possesses the secret of Silence, which life is
constantly disturbing: a star shooting through the sky, a leaf falling
to the ground, the hoot of an owl, a mere nothing is enough to tear
the black velvet pall which she spreads over the earth each evening.
The Cat, therefore, had not finished speaking, when Night sat up, all
quivering. Her immense wings beat around her; and she questioned
Tylette in a trembling voice. As soon as she had learned the danger
that threatened her, she began to lament her fate. What! A man's son
coming to her palace! And, perhaps, with the help of the magic
diamond, discovering her secrets! What should she do? What would
become of her? How could she defend herself? And, forgetting that she
was sinning against Silence, her own particular god, Night began to
utter piercing screams. It was true that falling into such a commotion
was hardly likely to help her find a cure for her troubles. Luckily
for her, Tylette, who was accustomed to the annoyances and worries of
human life, was better armed. She had worked out her plan when going
ahead of the children; and she was hoping to persuade Night to adopt
it. She explained this plan to her in a few words:

"I see only one thing for it, Mother Night: as they are children, we
must give them such a fright that they will not dare to insist on
opening the great door at the back of the hall, behind which the Birds
of the Moon live and generally the Blue Bird too. The secrets of the
other caverns will be sure to scare them. The hope of our safety lies
in the terror which you will make them feel."

There was clearly no other course to take. But Night had not time to
reply, for she heard a sound. Then her beautiful features contracted;
her wings spread out angrily; and everything in her attitude told
Tylette that Night approved of her plan.

"Here they are!" cried the Cat.

The little band came marching down the steps of Night's gloomy
staircase. Tylô pranced bravely in front, whereas Tyltyl looked around
him with an anxious glance. He certainly found nothing to comfort him.
It was all very magnificent, but very terrifying. Picture a huge and
wonderful black marble hall, of a stern and tomb-like splendour. There
is no ceiling visible; and the ebony pillars that surround the
amphitheatre shoot up to the sky. It is only when you lift your eyes
up there that you catch the faint light falling from the stars.
Everywhere, the thickest darkness reigns. Two restless flames--no
more--flicker on either side of Night's throne, before a monumental
door of brass. Bronze doors show through the pillars to the right and
left.

The Cat rushed up to the Children:

"This way, little master, this way!... I have told Night; and she is
delighted to see you."

Tylette's soft voice and smile made Tyltyl feel himself again; and he
walked up to the throne with a bold and confident step, saying:

"Good-day, Mrs. Night!"

Night was offended by the word, "Good-day," which reminded her of her
eternal enemy Light, and answered drily:

"Good-day?... I am not used to that!... You might say, Good-night, or,
at least, Good-evening!"

Our hero was not prepared to quarrel. He felt very small in the
presence of that stately lady. He quickly begged her pardon, as nicely
as he could; and very gently asked her leave to look for the Blue Bird
in her palace.

"I have never seen him, he is not here!" exclaimed Night, flapping her
great wings to frighten the boy.

But, when he insisted and gave no sign of fear, she herself began to
dread the diamond, which, by lighting up her darkness, would
completely destroy her power; and she thought it better to pretend to
yield to an impulse of generosity and at once to point to the big key
that lay on the steps of the throne.

Without a moment's hesitation, Tyltyl seized hold of it and ran to the
first door of the hall.

Everybody shook with fright. Bread's teeth chattered in his head;
Sugar, who was standing some way off, moaned with mortal anguish;
Mytyl howled:

"Where is Sugar?... I want to go home!"

Meanwhile, Tyltyl, pale and resolute, was trying to open the door,
while Night's grave voice, rising above the din, proclaimed the first
danger.

"It's the Ghosts!"

"Oh, dear!" thought Tyltyl. "I have never seen a ghost: it must be
awful!"

The faithful Tylô, by his side, was panting with all his might, for
dogs hate anything uncanny.

At last, the key grated in the lock. Silence reigned as dense and
heavy as the darkness. No one dared draw a breath. Then the door
opened; and, in a moment, the gloom was filled with white figures
running in every direction. Some lengthened out right up to the sky;
others twined themselves round the pillars; others wriggled ever so
fast along the ground. They were something like men, but it was
impossible to distinguish their features; the eye could not catch
them. The moment you looked at them, they turned into a white mist.
Tyltyl did his best to chase them; for Mrs. Night kept to the plan
contrived by the Cat and pretended to be frightened. She had been the
Ghosts' friend for hundreds and hundreds of years and had only to say
a word to drive them in again; but she was careful to do nothing of
the sort and, flapping her wings like mad, she called upon all her
gods and screamed:

"Drive them away! Drive them away! Help! Help!"

But the poor Ghosts, who hardly ever come out now that Man no longer
believes in them, were much too happy at taking a breath of air; and,
had it not been that they were afraid of Tylô, who tried to bite their
legs, they would never have been put back indoors.

"Oof!" gasped the Dog, when the door was shut at last. "I have strong
teeth, goodness knows; but chaps like those I never saw before! When
you bite them, you'd think their legs were made of cotton!"

By this time, Tyltyl was making for the second door and asking:

"What's behind this one?"

Night made a gesture as though to put him off. Did the obstinate
little fellow really want to see everything?

"Must I be careful when I open it?" asked Tyltyl.

"No," said Night, "it is not worth while. It's the Sicknesses. They
are very quiet, the poor little things! Man, for some time, has been
waging such war upon them!... Open and see for yourself...."

Tyltyl threw the door wide open and stood speechless with
astonishment: there was nothing to be seen....

He was just about to close the door again, when he was hustled aside
by a little body in a dressing-gown and a cotton night-cap, who began
to frisk about the hall, wagging her head and stopping every minute to
cough, sneeze and blow her nose ... and to pull on her slippers, which
were too big for her and kept dropping off her feet. Sugar, Bread and
Tyltyl were no longer frightened and began to laugh like anything. But
they had no sooner come near the little person in the cotton night-cap
than they themselves began to cough and sneeze.

"It's the least important of the Sicknesses," said Night. "It's
Cold-in-the-Head."

"Oh, dear, oh, dear!" thought Sugar. "If my nose keeps on running like
this, I'm done for: I shall melt!"

[Illustration: Wagging her head and stopping every minute to cough,
sneeze and blow her nose]

Poor Sugar! He did not know where to hide himself. He had become very
much attached to life since the journey began, for he had fallen over
head and ears in love with Water! And yet this love caused him the
greatest worry. Miss Water was a tremendous flirt, expected a lot
of attention and was not particular with whom she mixed; but mixing
too much with Water was an expensive luxury, as poor Sugar found to
his cost; for, at every kiss he gave her, he left a bit of himself
behind, until he began to tremble for his life.

When he suddenly found himself attacked by Cold-in-the-Head, he would
have had to fly from the palace, but for the timely aid of our dear
Tylô, who ran after the little minx and drove her back to her cavern,
amidst the laughter of Tyltyl and Mytyl, who thought gleefully that,
so far, the trial had not been very terrible.

The boy, therefore, ran to the next door with still greater courage.

"Take care!" cried Night, in a dreadful voice. "It's the Wars! They
are more powerful than ever! I daren't think what would happen, if one
of them broke loose! Stand ready, all of you, to push back the door!"

Night had not finished uttering her warnings, when the plucky little
fellow repented his rashness. He tried in vain to shut the door which
he had opened: an invincible force was pushing it from the other side,
streams of blood flowed through the cracks; flames shot forth; shouts,
oaths and groans mingled with the roar of cannon and the rattle of
musketry. Everybody in the Palace of Night was running about in wild
confusion. Bread and Sugar tried to take to flight, but could not find
the way out; and they now came back to Tyltyl and put their shoulders
to the door with despairing force.

The Cat pretended to be anxious, while secretly rejoicing:

"This may be the end of it," she said, curling her whiskers. "They
won't dare to go on after this."

Dear Tylô made superhuman efforts to help his little master, while
Mytyl stood crying in a corner.

At last, our hero gave a shout of triumph:

"Hurrah! They're giving way! Victory! Victory! The door is shut!"

At the same time, he dropped on the steps, utterly exhausted, dabbing
his forehead with his poor little hands which shook with terror.

"Well?" asked Night, harshly. "Have you had enough? Did you see them?"

"Yes, yes!" replied the little fellow, sobbing. "They are hideous and
awful.... I don't think they have the Blue Bird...."

"You may be sure they haven't," answered Night, angrily. "If they had,
they would eat him at once.... You see there is nothing to be
done...."

Tyltyl drew himself up proudly:

"I must see everything," he declared. "Light said so...."

"It's an easy thing to say," retorted Night, "when one's afraid and
stays at home!"

"Let us go to the next door," said Tyltyl, resolutely. "What's in
here?"

"This is where I keep the Shades and the Terrors!"

Tyltyl reflected for a minute:

"As far as Shades go," he thought, "Mrs. Night is poking fun at me.
It's more than an hour since I've seen anything but shade in this
house of hers; and I shall be very glad to see daylight again. As for
the Terrors, if they are anything like the Ghosts, we shall have
another good joke."

Our friend went to the door and opened it, before his companions had
time to protest. For that matter, they were all sitting on the floor,
exhausted with the last fright; and they looked at one another in
astonishment, glad to find themselves alive after such a scare.
Meanwhile, Tyltyl threw back the door and nothing came out:

"There's no one there!" he said.

"Yes, there is! Yes, there is! Look out!" said Night, who was still
shamming fright.

She was simply furious. She had hoped to make a great impression with
her Terrors; and, lo and behold, the wretches, who had so long been
snubbed by Man, were afraid of him! She encouraged them with kind
words and succeeded in coaxing out a few tall figures covered with
grey veils. They began to run all around the hall until, hearing the
Children laugh, they were seized with fear and rushed indoors again.
The attempt had failed, as far as Night was concerned, and the dread
hour was about to strike. Already, Tyltyl was moving towards the big
door at the end of the hall. A few last words took place between them:

"Do not open that one!" said Night, in awe-struck tones.

"Why not?"

"Because it's not allowed!"

"Then it's here that the Blue Bird is hidden!"

"Go no farther, do not tempt fate, do not open that door!"

"But why?" again asked Tyltyl, obstinately.

Thereupon, Night, irritated by his persistency, flew into a rage,
hurled the most terrible threats at him, and ended by saying:

"Not one of those who have opened it, were it but by a hair's breadth,
has ever returned alive to the light of day! It means certain death;
and all the horrors, all the terrors, all the fears of which men speak
on earth are as nothing compared with those which await you if you
insist on touching that door!"

"Don't do it, master dear!" said Bread, with chattering teeth. "Don't
do it! Take pity on us! I implore you on my knees!"

"You are sacrificing the lives of all of us," mewed the Cat.

"I won't! I sha'n't!" sobbed Mytyl.

"Pity! Pity!" whined Sugar, wringing his fingers.

All of them were weeping and crying, all of them crowded round Tyltyl.
Dear Tylô alone, who respected his little master's wishes, dared not
speak a word, though he fully believed that his last hour had come.
Two big tears rolled down his cheeks; and he licked Tyltyl's hands in
despair. It was really a most touching scene; and for a moment, our
hero hesitated. His heart beat wildly, his throat was parched with
anguish, he tried to speak and could not get out a sound: besides, he
did not wish to show weakness in the presence of his hapless
companions!

"If I have not the strength to fulfil my task," he said to himself,
"who will fulfil it? If my friends behold my distress, it is all up
with me: they will not let me go through with my mission and I shall
never find the Blue Bird!"

At this thought, the boy's heart leaped within his breast and all his
generous nature rose in rebellion. It would never do to be, perhaps,
within arm's length of happiness and not to try for it, at the risk of
dying in the attempt, to try for it and hand it over at last to all
mankind!

That settled it! Tyltyl resolved to sacrifice himself. Like a true
hero, he brandished the heavy golden key and cried:

"I must open the door!"

He ran up to the great door, with Tylô panting by his side. The poor
Dog was half-dead with fright, but his pride and his devotion to
Tyltyl obliged him to smother his fears:

"I shall stay," he said to his master, "I'm not afraid! I shall stay
with my little god!"

In the meantime, all the others had fled. Bread was crumbling to bits
behind a pillar; Sugar was melting in a corner with Mytyl in his arms;
Night and the Cat, both shaking with fury, kept to the far end of the
hall.

[Illustration: A wonderful garden lay before him, a dream-garden
filled with flowers that shone like stars]

Then Tyltyl gave Tylô a last kiss, pressed him to his heart and, with
never a tremble, put the key in the lock. Yells of terror came from
all the corners of the hall, where the runaways had taken shelter,
while the two leaves of the great door opened by magic in front of our
little friend, who was struck dumb with admiration and delight. What
an exquisite surprise! A wonderful garden lay before him, a
dream-garden filled with flowers that shone like stars, waterfalls
that came rushing from the sky and trees which the moon had clothed in
silver. And then there was something whirling like a blue cloud among
the clusters of roses. Tyltyl rubbed his eyes; he could not believe
his senses. He waited, looked again and then dashed into the garden,
shouting like mad:

"Come quickly!... Come quickly!... They are here!... We have them at
last!... Millions of blue birds!... Thousands of millions!... Come,
Mytyl!... Come, Tylô!... Come, all!... Help me!... You can catch them
by handfuls!..."

Reassured at last, his friends came running up and all darted in among
the birds, seeing who could catch the most:

"I've caught seven already!" cried Mytyl. "I can't hold them!"

"Nor can I!" said Tyltyl. "I have too many of them!... They're
escaping from my arms!... Tylô has some too!... Let us go out, let us
go!... Light is waiting for us!... How pleased she will be!... This
way, this way!..."

And they all danced and scampered away in their glee, singing songs of
triumph as they went.

Night and the Cat, who had not shared in the general rejoicing, crept
back anxiously to the great door; and Night whimpered:

"Haven't they got him?..."

"No," said the Cat, who saw the real Blue Bird perched high up on a
moonbeam.... "They could not reach him, he kept too high...."

Our friends in all haste ran up the numberless stairs between them and
the daylight. Each of them hugged the birds which he had captured,
never dreaming that every step which brought them nearer to the light
was fatal to the poor things, so that, by the time they came to the
top of the staircase, they were carrying nothing but dead birds.

Light was waiting for them anxiously:

"Well, have you caught him?" she asked.

"Yes, yes!" said Tyltyl. "Lots of them! There are thousands! Look!"

As he spoke, he held out the dear birds to her and saw, to his dismay,
that they were nothing more than lifeless corpses: their poor little
wings were broken and their heads drooped sadly from their necks! The
boy, in his despair, turned to his companions. Alas, they too were
hugging nothing but dead birds!

Then Tyltyl threw himself sobbing into Light's arms. Once more, all
his hopes were dashed to the ground.

"Do not cry, my child," said Light. "You did not catch the one that is
able to live in broad daylight.... We shall find him yet...."

"Of course, we shall find him," said Bread and Sugar, with one voice.

They were great boobies, both of them; but they wanted to console the
boy. As for friend Tylô, he was so much put out that he forgot his
dignity for a moment and, looking at the dead birds, exclaimed:

"Are they good to eat, I wonder?"

The party set out to walk back and sleep in the Temple of Light. It
was a melancholy journey; all regretted the peace of home and felt
inclined to blame Tyltyl for his want of caution. Sugar edged up to
Bread and whispered in his ear:

"Don't you think, Mr. Chairman, that all this excitement is very
useless?"

And Bread, who felt flattered at receiving so much attention,
answered, pompously:

"Never you fear, my dear fellow, I shall put all this right. Life
would be unbearable if we had to listen to all the whimsies of that
little madcap!... To-morrow, we shall stay in bed!..."

They forgot that, but for the boy at whom they were sneering, they
would never have been alive at all; and that, if he had suddenly told
Bread that he must go back to his pan to be eaten and Sugar that he
was to be cut into small lumps to sweeten Daddy Tyl's coffee and Mummy
Tyl's syrups, they would have thrown themselves at their benefactor's
feet and begged for mercy. In fact, they were incapable of
appreciating their good luck until they were brought face to face with
bad.

Poor things! The Fairy Bérylune, when making them a present of their
human life, ought to have thrown in a little wisdom. They were not so
much to blame. Of course, they were only following Man's example.
Given the power of speaking, they jabbered; knowing how to judge, they
condemned; able to feel, they complained. They had hearts which
increased their sense of fear, without adding to their happiness. As
to their brains, which could easily have arranged all the rest, they
made so little of them that they had already grown quite rusty; and,
if you could have opened their heads and looked at the works of their
life inside, you would have seen the poor brains, which were their
most precious possession, jumping about at every movement they made
and rattling in their empty skulls like dry peas in a pod.

Fortunately, Light, thanks to her wonderful insight, knew all about
their state of mind. She determined, therefore, to employ the Elements
and Things no more than she was obliged to:

"They are useful," she thought, "to feed the children and amuse them
on the way; but they must have no further share in the trials, because
they have neither courage nor conviction."

Meanwhile, the party walked on, the road widened out and became
resplendent; and, at the end, the Temple of Light stood on a crystal
height, shedding its beams around. The tired Children made the Dog
carry them pick-a-back by turns; and they were almost asleep when they
reached the shining steps.



CHAPTER V

THE KINGDOM OF THE FUTURE


Tyltyl and Mytyl woke up next morning, feeling very gay; with childish
carelessness, they had forgotten their disappointment. Tyltyl was very
proud of the compliments which Light had paid him: she seemed as happy
as though he had brought the Blue Bird with him:

She said, with a smile, as she stroked the lad's dark curls:

"I am quite satisfied. You are such a good, brave boy that you will soon
find what you are looking for."

Tyltyl did not understand the deep meaning of her words; but, for all
that, he was very glad to hear them. And, besides, Light had promised
him that to-day he would have nothing to fear in their new expedition.
On the contrary, he would meet millions and millions of little
children who would show him the most wonderful toys of which no one on
earth had the least idea. She also told him that he and his little
sister would travel alone with her this time and that all the others
would take a rest while they were gone.

That is why, at the moment when our chapter opens, they had all met in
the underground vaults of the temple. Light thought it as well to lock
up the Elements and Things. She knew that, if they were left to do as
they pleased, they might escape and get into mischief. It was not so
very cruel of her, because the vaults of her temple are even lighter
and lovelier than the upper floors of human houses; but you cannot get
out without her leave. She alone has the power of widening, with a
stroke of her wand, a little cleft in an emerald wall at the end of
the passage, through which you go down a few crystal steps till you
come to a sort of cave, all green and transparent like a forest when
the sunlight sweeps through its branches.

Usually, this great hall was quite empty; but now it had sofas in it
and a gold table laid with fruits and cakes and creams and delicious
wines, which Light's servants had just finished setting out. Light's
servants were very odd! They always made the Children laugh: with
their long white satin dresses and their little black caps with a
flame at the top, they looked like lighted candles. Their mistress
sent them away and then told the Animals and Things to be very good
and asked them if they would like some books and games to play with;
they answered, with a laugh, that nothing amused them more than
eating and sleeping and that they were very glad to stay where they
were.

[Illustration: Light's servants were very odd]

Tylô, of course, did not share this view. His heart spoke louder than
his greed or his laziness; and his great dark eyes turned in entreaty
on Tyltyl, who would have been only too pleased to take his faithful
companion with him, if Light had not absolutely forbidden it:

"I can't help it," said the boy, giving him a kiss. "It seems that
dogs are not admitted where we are going."

Suddenly, Tylô sprang up with delight: a great idea had struck him. He
had not left his real, doggy life long enough to forget any part of
it, especially his troubles. Which was the greatest of these? Was it
not the chain? What melancholy hours Tylô had spent fastened to an
iron ring! And what humiliation he endured when the woodcutter used to
take him to the village and, with unspeakable silliness, keep him on
the lead in front of everybody, thus depriving him of the pleasure of
greeting his friends and sniffing the smells provided for his benefit
at every street-corner and in every gutter:

"Well," he said to himself, "I shall have to submit to that
humiliating torture once again, to go with my little god!"

Faithful to his traditions, he had, in spite of his fine clothes,
kept his dog-collar, but not his lead. What was to be done? He was
once more in despair, when he saw Water lying on a sofa and playing,
in an absent-minded sort of way, with her long strings of coral. He
ran up to her as prettily as he could and, after paying her a heap of
compliments, begged her to lend him her biggest necklace. She was in a
good temper and not only did what he asked, but was kind enough to
fasten the end of the coral string to his collar. Tylô gaily went up
to his master, handed him this necklace chain and, kneeling at his
feet, said:

"Take me with you like this, my little god! Men never say a word to a
poor dog when he is on his chain!"

"Alas, even like this, you cannot come!" said Light, who was much
touched by this act of self-sacrifice; and, to cheer him up, she told
him that fate would soon provide a trial for the Children in which his
assistance would be of great use.

As she spoke these words, she touched the emerald wall, which opened
to let her pass through with the Children.

Her chariot was waiting outside the entrance to the temple. It was a
lovely shell of jade, inlaid with gold. They all three took their
seats; and the two great white birds harnessed to it at once flew off
through the clouds. The chariot travelled very fast; and they were not
long on the road, much to the regret of the Children, who were
enjoying themselves and laughing like anything; but other and even
more beautiful surprises awaited them.

The clouds vanished around them; and, suddenly, they found themselves
in a dazzling azure palace. Here, all was blue: the light, the
flagstones, the columns, the vaults; everything, down to the smallest
objects, was of an intense and fairy-like blue. There was no seeing
the end of the palace; the eyes were lost in the infinite sapphire
vistas.

"How lovely it all is!" said Tyltyl, who could not get over his
astonishment. "Goodness me, how lovely!... Where are we?"

"We are in the Kingdom of the Future," said Light, "in the midst of
the children who are not yet born. As the diamond allows us to see
clearly in this region which is hidden from men, we shall perhaps find
the Blue Bird here.... Look! Look at the children running up!"

From every side came bands of little children dressed from head to
foot in blue; they had beautiful dark or golden hair and they were all
exquisitely pretty. They shouted gleefully:

"Live Children!... Come and look at the little Live Children!"

"Why do they call us the little Live Children?" asked Tyltyl, of
Light.

"It is because they themselves are not alive yet. They are awaiting
the hour of their birth, for it is from here that all the children
come who are born upon our earth. When the fathers and mothers want
children, the great doors which you see over there, at the back, are
opened; and the little ones go down...."

"What a lot there are! What a lot there are!" cried Tyltyl.

"There are many more," said Light. "No one could count them. But go a
little further: you will see other things."

Tyltyl did as he was told and elbowed his way through; but it was
difficult for him to move, because a crowd of Blue Children pressed
all around them. At last, by mounting on a step, our little friend was
able to look over the throng of inquisitive heads and see what was
happening in every part of the hall. It was most extraordinary! Tyltyl
had never dreamed of anything like it! He danced with joy; and Mytyl,
who was hanging on to him and standing on tip-toe so that she might
see too, clapped her little hands and gave loud cries of wonder.

All around were millions of Children in blue, some playing, others
walking about, others talking or thinking. Many were asleep; many also
were at work; and their instruments, their tools, the machines which
they were building, the plants, the flowers and the fruits which they
were growing or gathering were of the same bright and heavenly blue as
the general appearance of the palace. Among the Children moved tall
persons also dressed in blue: they were very beautiful and looked just
like angels. They came up to Light and smiled and gently pushed aside
the Blue Children, who went back quietly to what they were doing,
though still watching our friends with astonished eyes.

One of them, however, remained standing close to Tyltyl. He was quite
small. From under his long sky-blue silk dress peeped two little pink
and dimpled bare feet. His eyes stared in curiosity at the little Live
Boy; and he went up to him as though in spite of himself.

"May I talk to him?" asked Tyltyl, who felt half-glad and
half-frightened.

"Certainly," said Light. "You must make friends.... I will leave you
alone; you will be more at ease by yourselves...."

So saying, she went away and left the two Children face to face, shyly
smiling. Suddenly, they began to talk:

"How do you do?" said Tyltyl, putting out his hand to the Child.

But the Child did not understand what that meant and stood without
moving.

"What's that?" continued Tyltyl, touching the Child's blue dress.

The Child, who was absorbed in what he was looking at, did not answer,
but gravely touched Tyltyl's hat with his finger:

"And that?" he lisped.

"That?... That's my hat," said Tyltyl. "Have you no hat?"

"No; what is it for?" asked the Child.

"It's to say How-do-you-do with," Tyltyl answered. "And then for when
it's cold...."

"What does that mean, when it's cold?" asked the Child.

"When you shiver like this: Brrr! Brrr!" said Tyltyl. "And when you go
like this with your arms," vigorously beating his arms across his
chest.

"Is it cold on earth?" asked the Child.

"Yes, sometimes, in winter, when there is no fire."

"Why is there no fire?..."

"Because it's expensive; and it costs money to buy wood...."

The Child looked at Tyltyl again as though he did not understand a
word that Tyltyl was saying; and Tyltyl in his turn looked amazed:

"It's quite clear that he knows nothing of the most everyday things,"
thought our hero, while the child stared with no small respect at "the
little Live Boy" who knew everything.

Then he asked Tyltyl what money was.

"Why, it's what you pay with!" said Tyltyl, scorning to give any
further explanation.

"Oh!" said the Child, seriously.

Of course, he did not understand. How _could_ he know, a little boy
like that, who lived in a paradise where his least wishes were granted
before he had learned to put them into words?

"How old are you?" asked Tyltyl, continuing the conversation.

"I am going to be born soon," said the Child. "I shall be born in
twelve years.... Is it nice to be born?"

"Oh, yes," cried Tyltyl, without thinking. "It's great fun!"

But he was very much at a loss when the little boy asked him "how he
managed." His pride did not allow him to be ignorant of anything in
another child's presence; and it was quite droll to see him with his
hands in his breeches-pockets, his legs wide apart, his face upturned
and his whole attitude that of a man who is in no hurry to reply. At
last, he answered, with a shrug of the shoulders:

"Upon my word, I can't remember! It's so long ago!"

"They say it's lovely, the earth and the Live People!" remarked the
Child.

"Yes, it's not bad," said Tyltyl. "There are birds and cakes and
toys.... Some have them all; but those who have none can look at the
others!"

This reflection shows us the whole character of our little friend. He
was proud and inclined to be rather high-and-mighty; but he was never
envious and his generous nature made up to him for his poverty by
allowing him to enjoy the good fortune of others.

[Illustration: Other Blue Children opened great big books]

The two Children talked a good deal more; but it would take too long
to tell you all they said, because what they said was sometimes only
interesting to themselves. After a while, Light, who was watching them
from a distance, hurried up to them a little anxiously: Tyltyl was
crying! Big tears came rolling down his cheeks and falling on his
smart coat. She understood that he was talking of his grandmother and
that he could not keep back his tears at the thought of the love which
he had lost. He was turning away his head, to hide his feelings;
but the inquisitive Child kept asking him questions:

"Do the grannies die?... What does that mean, dying?"

"They go away one evening and do not come back."

"Has yours gone?"

"Yes," said Tyltyl. "She was very kind to me."

And, at these words, the poor little fellow began to cry again.

The Blue Child had never seen any one cry. He lived in a world where
grief did not exist. His surprise was great; and he exclaimed:

"What's the matter with your eyes?... Are they making pearls?"

To him those tears were wonderful things.

"No, it's not pearls," said Tyltyl, sheepishly.

"What is it then?"

But our poor friend would not admit what he looked upon as a weakness.
He rubbed his eyes awkwardly and put everything down to the dazzling
blue of the palace.

The puzzled Child insisted:

"What's that falling down?"

"Nothing; it's a little water," said Tyltyl, impatiently, hoping to
cut short the explanation.

But that was out of the question. The Child was very obstinate,
touched Tyltyl's cheeks with his finger and asked, in a tone of
curiosity:

"Does it come from the eyes?..."

"Yes, sometimes, when one cries."

"What does that mean, crying?" asked the Child.

"I have not been crying," said Tyltyl proudly. "It's the fault of that
blue!... But, if I had cried, it would be the same thing...."

"Do you often cry on earth?..."

"Not little boys, but little girls do.... Don't you cry here?"

"No, I don't know how...."

"Well, you will learn...."

At that moment, a great breath of wind made him turn his head and he
saw, at a few steps away from him, a large piece of machinery which he
had not noticed at first, as he was taken up with his interest in the
little Child. It was a grand and magnificent thing, but I cannot tell
you its name, because the inventions of the Kingdom of the Future will
not be christened by Man until they reach the earth. I can only say
that Tyltyl, when he looked at it, thought that the enormous azure
wings that whizzed so swiftly before his eyes were like the windmills
in his part of the world and that, if he ever found the Blue Bird,
its wings would certainly be no more delicate, dainty or dazzling.
Full of admiration, he asked his new acquaintance what they were.

"Those?" said the Child. "That's for the invention which I shall make
on earth."

And, seeing Tyltyl stare with wide-open eyes, he added:

"When I am on earth, I shall have to invent the thing that gives
happiness.... Would you like to see it?... It is over there, between
those two columns...."

Tyltyl turned round to look; but all the Children at once rushed at
him, shouting:

"No, no, come and see mine!..."

"No, mine is much finer!..."

"Mine is a wonderful invention!..."

"Mine is made of sugar!..."

"His is no good!..."

"I'm bringing a light which nobody knows of!..."

And, so saying, the last Child lit himself up entirely with a most
extraordinary flame.

Amid these joyous exclamations, the Live Children were dragged towards
the blue workshops, where each of the little inventors set his machine
going. It was a great blue whirl of disks and pulleys and straps and
fly-wheels and driving-wheels and cog-wheels and all kinds of wheels,
which sent every sort of machine skimming over the ground or shooting
up to the ceiling. Other Blue Children unfolded maps and plans, or
opened great big books, or uncovered azure statues, or brought
enormous flowers and gigantic fruits that seemed made of sapphires and
turquoises.

Our little friends stood with their mouths wide open and their hands
clasped together: they thought themselves in paradise. Mytyl bent over
to look at a huge flower and laughed into its cup, which covered up
her head like a hood of blue silk. A pretty Child, with dark hair and
thoughtful eyes, held it by the stalk and said, proudly:

"The flowers will all grow like that, when I am on earth!"

"When will that be?" asked Tyltyl.

"In fifty-three years, four months and nine days."

Next came two Blue Children bending under the weight of a pole from
which was slung a bunch of grapes each larger than a pear.

"A bunch of pears!" cried Tyltyl.

"No, they are grapes," said the Child. "They will all be like that
when I am thirty: I have found the way...."

Tyltyl would have loved to taste them, but another Child came along
almost hidden under a basket which one of the tall persons was helping
him to carry. His fair-haired, rosy face smiled through the leaves
that hung over the wicker-work.

[Illustration: Other Blue Children unfolded maps and plans, or brought
enormous flowers]

"Look!" he said. "Look at my apples...."

"But those are melons!" said Tyltyl.

"No, no!" said the Child. "They are my apples! They will all be alike
when I am alive! I have discovered the process!..."

I should never finish if I were to try and describe to my little
readers all the wonderful and incredible things that appeared before
our hero's eyes. But, suddenly, a loud burst of laughter rang through
the hall. A Child had spoken of the King of the Nine Planets; and
Tyltyl, very much puzzled and perplexed, looked on every side. All the
faces, bright with laughter, were turned to some spot which Tyltyl
could not see; every finger pointed in the same direction; but our
friend looked in vain. They had spoken of a king! He was looking for a
throne with a tall, dignified personage on it, wielding a golden
sceptre.

"Over there ... over there ... lower down ... behind you!" said a
thousand little voices together.

"But where is the King?" Tyltyl and Mytyl repeated, greatly
interested.

Then, suddenly, a louder and more serious voice sounded above the
silvery murmur of the others:

"Here I am!" it said proudly.

And, at the same time, Tyltyl discovered a chubby baby which he had
not yet remarked, for it was the smallest and had kept out of the way
till then, sitting at the foot of a column in an attitude of
indifference, seemingly rapt in contemplation. The little King was the
only one who had taken no notice of the "Live Children." His
beautiful, liquid eyes, eyes as blue as the palace, were pursuing
endless dreams; his right hand supported his head, which was already
heavy with thought; his short tunic showed his dimpled knees; and a
golden crown rested on his yellow locks. When he cried, "Here I am!"
the baby rose from the step on which he was sitting and tried to climb
on to it at one stride; but he was still so awkward that he lost his
balance and fell upon his nose. He at once picked himself up with so
much dignity that nobody dared make fun of him; and, this time, he
scrambled up on all fours and then, putting his legs wide apart, stood
and eyed Tyltyl from top to toe.

"You're not very big!" said Tyltyl, doing his best to keep from
laughing.

"I shall do great things when I am!" retorted the King, in a tone that
admitted of no reply.

"And what will you do?" asked Tyltyl.

"I shall found the General Confederation of the Solar Planets," said
the King, in a very pompous voice.

Our friend was so much impressed that he could not find a word to say;
and the King continued:

"All the Planets will belong to it, except Uranus, Saturn and Neptune,
which are too ridiculously far away."

Thereupon, he toddled off the step again and resumed his first
attitude, showing that he had said all that he meant to say.

Tyltyl left him to his meditations; he was eager to know as many more
of the Children as he could. He was introduced to the discoverer of a
new sun, to the inventor of a new joy, to the hero who was to wipe out
injustice from the earth and to the wiseacre who was to conquer
Death.... There were such lots and lots of them that it would take
days and days to name them all. Our friend was rather tired and was
beginning to feel bored, when his attention was suddenly aroused by
hearing a Child's voice calling him:

"Tyltyl!... Tyltyl!... How are you, Tyltyl, how are you?..."

A little Blue Child came running up from the back of the hall, pushing
his way through the crowd. He was fair and slim and bright-eyed and
had a great look of Mytyl.

"How do you know my name?" asked Tyltyl.

"It's not surprising," said the Blue Child, "considering that I shall
be your brother!"

This time, the Live Children were absolutely amazed. What an
extraordinary meeting! They must certainly tell Mummy as soon as they
got back! How astonished they would be at home!

While they were making these reflections, the Child went on to
explain:

"I am coming to you next year, on Palm Sunday," he said.

And he put a thousand questions to his big brother: was it comfortable
at home? Was the food good? Was Daddy very severe? And Mummy?

"Oh, Mummy is so kind!" said the little ones.

And they asked him questions in their turn: what was he going to do on
earth? What was he bringing?

"I am bringing three illnesses," said the little brother. "Scarlatina,
whooping-cough and measles...."

"Oh, that's all, is it?" cried Tyltyl.

He shook his head, with evident disappointment, while the other
continued:

"After that, I shall leave you!"

"It will hardly be worth while coming!" said Tyltyl, feeling rather
vexed.

"We can't pick and choose!" said the little brother, pettishly.

They would perhaps have quarrelled, without waiting till they were on
earth, if they had not suddenly been parted by a swarm of Blue
Children who were hurrying to meet somebody. At the same time, there
was a great noise, as if thousands of invisible doors were being
opened at the end of the galleries.

"What's the matter?" asked Tyltyl.

"It's Time," said one of the Blue Children. "He's going to open the
doors."

And the excitement increased on every side. The Children left their
machines and their labours; those who were asleep woke up; and every
eye was eagerly and anxiously turned to the great opal doors at the
back, while every mouth repeated the same name. The word, "Time!
Time!" was heard all around; and the great mysterious noise kept on.
Tyltyl was dying to know what it meant. At last, he caught a little
Child by the skirt of his dress and asked him.

"Let me be," said the Child, very uneasily. "I'm in a hurry: it may be
my turn to-day.... It is the Dawn rising. This is the hour when the
Children who are to be born to-day go down to earth.... You shall
see.... Time is drawing the bolts...."

"Who is Time?" asked Tyltyl.

"An old man who comes to call those who are going," said another
Child. "He is not so bad; but he won't listen or hear. Beg as they
may, if it's not their turn, he pushes back all those who try to
go.... Let me be! It may be my turn now!"

Light now hastened towards our little friends in a great state of
alarm:

"I was looking for you," she said. "Come quick: it will never do for
Time to discover you."

As she spoke these words, she threw her gold cloak around the Children
and dragged them to a corner of the hall, where they could see
everything, without being seen.

Tyltyl was very glad to be so well protected. He now knew that he who
was about to appear possessed so great and tremendous a power that no
human strength was capable of resisting him. He was at the same time a
deity and an ogre; he bestowed life and he devoured it; he sped
through the world so fast that you had no time to see him; he ate and
ate, without stopping; he took whatever he touched. In Tyltyl's
family, he had already taken Grandad and Granny, the little brothers,
the little sisters and the old blackbird! He did not mind what he
took: joys and sorrows, winters and summers, all was fish that came to
his net!...

Knowing this, our friend was astonished to see everybody in the
Kingdom of the Future running so fast to meet him:

"I suppose he doesn't eat anything here," he thought.

There he was! The great doors turned slowly on their hinges. There was
a distant music: it was the sounds of the earth. A red and green light
penetrated into the hall; and Time appeared on the threshold. He was a
tall and very thin old man, so old that his wrinkled face was all
grey, like dust. His white beard came down to his knees. In one hand,
he carried an enormous scythe; in the other, an hour-glass. Behind
him, some way out, on a sea the colour of the Dawn, was a magnificent
gold galley, with white sails.

"Are they ready whose hour has struck?" asked Time. At the sound of
that voice, solemn and deep as a bronze gong, thousands of bright
children's voices, like little silver bells, answered:

"Here we are!... Here we are!... Here we are!..."

And, in a moment, the Blue Children were crowding round the tall old
man, who pushed them all back and, in a gruff voice, said:

"One at a time!... Once again, there are many more of you than are
wanted!... You can't deceive me!"

Brandishing his scythe in one hand and holding out his cloak with the
other, he barred the way to the rash Children who tried to slip by
him. Not one of them escaped the horrid old man's watchful eye:

"It's not your turn!" he said to one. "You're to be born to-morrow!...
Nor yours either, you've got ten years to wait.... A thirteenth
shepherd?... There are only twelve wanted; there is no need for
more.... More doctors?... There are too many already; they are
grumbling about it on earth.... And where are the engineers?... They
want an honest man; only one, as a wonderful being."

Thereupon, a poor Child, who had hung back, until then, came forward
timidly, sucking his thumb. He looked pale and sad and walked with
tottering footsteps; he was so wretched that even Time felt a moment's
pity:

"It's you!" he exclaimed. "You seem a very poor specimen!"

[Illustration: And, in a moment, the Blue Children were crowding round
the tall old man]

And, lifting his eyes to the sky, with a look of discouragement, he
added:

"You won't live long!"

And the movement went on. Each Child, when denied, returned to his
employment with a downcast air. When one of them was accepted, the
others looked at him with envy. Now and then, something happened, as
when the hero who was to fight against injustice refused to go. He
clung to his playfellows, who called out to Time:

"He doesn't want to, Sir!"

"No, I don't want to go," cried the little fellow, with all his might.
"I would rather not be born."

"And quite right too!" thought Tyltyl, who was full of common-sense
and who knew what things are like on earth.

For people always get beatings which they have not deserved; and, when
they have done wrong, you may be sure that the punishment will fall on
one of their innocent friends.

"I wouldn't care to be in his place," said our friend to himself. "I
would rather hunt for the Blue Bird, any day!"

Meanwhile, the little seeker after justice went away sobbing,
frightened out of his life by Mr. Time.

The excitement was now at its height. The Children ran all over the
hall: those who were going packed up their inventions; those who were
staying behind had a thousand requests to make:

"Will you write to me?"

"They say one can't!"

"Oh, try, do try!"

"Announce my idea!"

"Good-bye, Jean.... Good-bye, Pierre!"

"Have you forgotten anything?"

"Don't lose your ideas!"

"Try to tell us if it's nice!"

"Enough! Enough!" roared Time, in a huge voice, shaking his big keys
and his terrible scythe, "Enough! The anchor's weighed...."

Then the Children climbed into the gold galley, with the beautiful
white silk sails. They waved their hands again to the little friends
whom they were leaving behind them; but, on seeing the earth in the
distance, they cried out, gladly:

"Earth! Earth!... I can see it!..."

"How bright it is!..."

"How big it is!..."

And, at the same time, as though coming from the abyss, a song rose, a
distant song of gladness and expectation.

Light, who was listening with a smile, saw the look of astonishment on
Tyltyl's face and bent over him:

"It is the song of the mothers coming out to meet them," she said.

At that moment, Time, who had shut the doors, saw our friends and
rushed at them angrily, shaking his scythe at them.

"Hurry!" said Light. "Hurry! Take the Blue Bird, Tyltyl, and go in
front of me with Mytyl."

She put into the boy's arms a bird which she held hidden under her
cloak and, all radiant, spreading her dazzling veil with her two
hands, she ran on, protecting her charges from the onslaught of Time.

In this way, they passed through several turquoise and sapphire
galleries. It was magnificently beautiful, but they were in the
Kingdom of the Future, where Time was the great master, and they must
escape from his anger which they had braved.

Mytyl was terribly frightened and Tyltyl kept nervously turning round
to Light.

"Don't be afraid," she said. "I am the only person whom Time has
respected since the world began. Only mind that you take care of the
Blue Bird. He's gorgeous! He is quite, quite blue!"

This thought enraptured the boy. He felt the precious treasure
fluttering in his arms; his hands dared not press the pretty
creature's soft, warm wings; and his heart beat against its heart.
This time, he held the Blue Bird! Nothing could touch it, because it
was given to him by Light herself. What a triumph when he returned
home!...

He was so bewildered by his happiness that he hardly knew where he was
going; his joy rang a victorious peal in his head that made him feel
giddy; he was mad with pride; and this, worse luck, made him lose his
coolness and his presence of mind! They were just about to cross the
threshold of the palace, when a gust of wind swept through the
entrance-hall, lifting up Light's veil and at last revealing the two
Children to the eyes of Time, who was still pursuing them. With a roar
of rage, he darted his scythe at Tyltyl, who cried out. Light warded
off the blow; and the door of the palace closed behind them with a
thud. They were saved!... But alas, Tyltyl, taken by surprise, had
opened his arms and now, through his tears, saw the Bird of the Future
soaring above their heads, mingling with the azure sky its dream-wings
so blue, so light and so transparent that soon the boy could make out
nothing more....



CHAPTER VI

IN THE TEMPLE OF LIGHT


Tyltyl had enjoyed himself thoroughly in the Kingdom of the Future. He
had seen many wonderful things and thousands of little playfellows and
then, without taking the least pains or trouble, had found the Blue
Bird in his arms in the most magical way. He had never pictured
anything more beautiful, more blue or brilliant; and he still felt it
fluttering against his heart and kept hugging his arms to his breast
as though the Blue Bird were there.

Alas, it had vanished like a dream!

He was thinking sadly of this latest disappointment as he walked
hand-in-hand with Light. They were back in the Temple and were going
to the vaults where the Animals and Things had been shut up. What a
sight met their eyes! The wretches had eaten and drunk such a lot that
they were lying on the floor quite tipsy! Tylô himself had lost all
his dignity. He had rolled under the table and was snoring like a
porpoise. His instinct remained; and the sound of the door made him
prick up his ears. He opened one eye, but his sight was troubled by
all that he had had to drink and he did not know his little master
when he saw him. He dragged himself to his feet with a great effort,
turned round several times and then dropped on the floor again with a
grunt of satisfaction.

Bread and the others were as bad; and the only exception was the Cat,
who was sitting up prettily on a marble and gold bench and seemed in
full possession of her senses. She sprang nimbly to the ground and
stepped up to Tyltyl with a smile:

"I have been longing to see you," she said, "for I have been very
unhappy among all these vulgar people. They first drank all the wine
and then started shouting and singing and dancing, quarrelling and
fighting and making such a noise that I was very glad when, at last,
they fell into a tipsy sleep."

The children praised her warmly for her good behaviour. As a matter of
fact, there was no great merit in this, for she could not stand
anything stronger than milk; but we are seldom rewarded when by rights
we ought to be and sometimes are when we have not deserved it.

After fondly kissing the children, Tylette asked a favour of Light:

"I have had such a wretched time," she whined. "Let me go out for a
little while; it will do me good to be alone."

[Illustration: The Cat at once draped her cloak round her, opened the
door and ran and bounded out into the forest]

Light gave her consent without suspecting anything; and the Cat at
once draped her cloak round her, put her hat straight, pulled up her
soft grey boots over her knees, opened the door and ran and bounded
out into the forest. We shall know, a little later, where treacherous
Tylette was going so gaily and what was the horrid plot which she was
mysteriously concocting.

As on the other days, the Children had their dinner with Light in a
large room all encrusted with diamonds. The servants bustled around
them smiling and brought delicious dishes and cakes.

After dinner, our little friends began to yawn. They felt sleepy very
early, after all their adventures; and, Light--ever kind and
thoughtful--made them live as they were accustomed to on earth. So as
not to injure their health by altering their habits, she had set up
their little beds in a part of the temple where the darkness would
seem like night to them.

They went through any number of rooms to reach their bedroom. They had
first to pass all the lights known to Man and then those which Man did
not yet know.

There were great sumptuous apartments in splendid marble, lit up by
rays so white and strong that the children were quite dazzled.

"That is the Light of the Rich," said Light to Tyltyl. "You see how
dangerous it is. People run the risk of going blind when they live too
much in its rays, which leave no room for soft and kindly shade."

And she hurried them on so that they might rest their eyes in the
gentle Light of the Poor. Here, the Children suddenly felt as if they
were in their parents' cottage, where everything was so humble and
peaceful. The faint light was very pure and clear, but always
flickering and ready to go out at the least breath.

Next they came to the beautiful Light of the Poets, which they liked
immensely, for it had all the colours of the rainbow; and, when you
passed through it, you saw lovely pictures, lovely flowers and lovely
toys which you were unable to take hold of. Laughing merrily, the
children ran after birds and butterflies, but everything faded away as
soon as it was touched.

"Well, I never!" said Tyltyl, as he came panting back to Light. "This
beats everything! I can't understand it!"

"You will understand later," she replied, "and, if you understand it
properly, you will be among the very few human beings who know the
Blue Bird when they see him."

After leaving the region of the Poets, our friends reached the Light
of the Learned, which lies on the borders of the known and the unknown
lights:

"Let's get on," said Tyltyl. "This is boring."

To tell the truth, he was a little bit frightened, for they were in a
long row of cold and forbidding arches, which were streaked at every
moment by dazzling lightning-flashes; and, at each flash, you saw
out-of-the-way things that had no name as yet.

After these arches, they came to the Lights Unknown to Man; and
Tyltyl, in spite of the sleep that pressed upon his eyelids, could not
help admiring the hall with its violet columns and the gallery with
its red rays. And the violet of the columns was such a dark violet and
the red of the rays such a pale red that it was hardly possible to see
either of them.

At last, they arrived at the room of smooth, unflecked Black Light,
which men call Darkness because their eyes are not yet able to make it
out. And here the Children fell asleep without delay on two soft beds
of clouds.



CHAPTER VII

THE GRAVEYARD


When the Children were not going on an expedition, they played about
in the Realms of Light; and this was a great treat for them, for the
gardens and the country around the temple were as wonderful as the
halls and galleries of silver and gold.

The leaves of some of the plants were so broad and strong that they
were able to lie down on them; and, when a breath of wind stirred the
leaves, the Children swung as in a hammock. It was always summer there
and never a moment was darkened by the night; but the hours were known
by their different colours; there were pink, white, blue, lilac, green
and yellow hours; and, according to their hues, the flowers, the
fruits, the birds, the butterflies and the scents changed, causing
Tyltyl and Mytyl a constant surprise. They had all the toys that they
could wish for. When they were tired of playing, they stretched
themselves out on the backs of the lizards, which were as long and
wide as little boats, and quickly, quickly raced round the
garden-paths, over the sand which was as white and as good to eat as
sugar. When they were thirsty, Water shook her tresses into the cup of
the enormous flowers; and the Children drank straight out of the
lilies, tulips and morning-glories. If they were hungry, they picked
radiant fruits which revealed the taste of Light to them and which had
juice that shone like the rays of the sun.

There was also, in a clump of bushes, a white marble pond which
possessed a magic power: its clear waters reflected not the faces, but
the souls of those who looked into it.

"It's a ridiculous invention," said the Cat, who steadily refused to
go near the pond.

You, my dear little readers, who know her thoughts as well as I do,
will not be surprised at her refusal. And you will also understand why
our faithful Tylô was not afraid to go and quench his thirst there: he
need not fear to reveal his thoughts, for he was the only creature
whose soul never altered. The dear Dog had no feelings but those of
love and kindness and devotion.

When Tyltyl bent over the magic mirror, he almost always saw the
picture of a splendid Blue Bird, for the constant wish to find him
filled his mind entirely. Then he would run to Light and entreat her:

"Tell me where he is!... You know everything: tell me where to find
him!"

But she replied, in a tone of mystery:

"I cannot tell you anything. You must find him for yourself." And,
kissing him, she added, "Cheer up; you are getting nearer to him at
each trial."

Now there came a day on which she said to him:

"I have received a message from the Fairy Bérylune telling me that the
Blue Bird is probably hidden in the graveyard.... It appears that one
of the Dead in the graveyard is keeping him in his tomb...."

"What shall we do?" asked Tyltyl.

"It is very simple: at midnight you will turn the diamond and you
shall see the Dead come out of the ground."

At these words, Milk, Water, Bread and Sugar began to yell and scream
and chatter their teeth.

"Don't mind them," said Light to Tyltyl, in a whisper. "They are
afraid of the Dead."

"I'm not afraid of them!" said Fire, frisking about. "Time was when I
used to burn them; that was much more amusing than nowadays."

"Oh, I feel I am going to turn," wailed Milk.

"I'm not afraid," said the Dog, trembling in every limb, "but if you
run away.... I shall run away too ... and with the greatest
pleasure...."

The Cat sat pulling at her whiskers:

"I know what's what," she said, in her usual mysterious way.

"Be quiet," said Light. "The Fairy gave strict orders. You are all to
stay with me, at the gate of the graveyard; the Children are to go in
alone."

Tyltyl felt anything but pleased. He asked:

"Aren't you coming with us?"

"No," said Light. "The time for that has not arrived. Light cannot yet
enter among the Dead. Besides, there is nothing to fear. I shall not
be far away; and those who love me and whom I love always find me
again...."

She had not finished speaking, when everything around the Children
changed. The wonderful temple, the dazzling flowers, the splendid
gardens vanished to make way for a poor little country cemetery, which
lay in the soft moonlight. Near the Children were a number of graves,
grassy mounds, wooden crosses and tombstones. Tyltyl and Mytyl were
seized with terror and hugged each other:

"I am frightened!" said Mytyl.

"I am never frightened," stammered Tyltyl, who was shaking with fear,
but did not like to say so.

"I say," asked Mytyl, "are the Dead wicked?"

"Why, no," said Tyltyl, "they're not alive!..."

"Have you ever seen one?"

"Yes, once, long ago, when I was very young...."

"What was it like?"

"Quite white, very still and very cold; and it didn't talk...."

"Are we going to see them?"

Tyltyl shuddered at this question and made an unsuccessful effort to
steady his voice as he answered:

"Why, of course, Light said so!"

"Where are the Dead?" asked Mytyl.

Tyltyl cast a frightened look around him, for the Children had not
dared to stir since they were alone:

"The Dead are here," he said, "under the grass or under those big
stones."

"Are those the doors of their houses?" asked Mytyl, pointing to the
tombstones.

"Yes."

"Do they go out when it's fine?"

"They can only go out at night."

"Why?"

"Because they are in their night-shirts."

"Do they go out also when it rains?"

"When it rains, they stay at home."

"Is it nice in their homes?"

"They say it's very cramped."

"Have they any little children?"

"Why, yes, they have all those who die."

"And what do they live on?"

Tyltyl stopped to think, before answering. As Mytyl's big brother, he
felt it his duty to know everything; but her questions often puzzled
him. Then he reflected that, as the Dead live under ground, they can
hardly eat anything that is above it; and so he answered very
positively:

"They eat roots!"

Mytyl was quite satisfied and returned to the great question that was
occupying her little mind:

"Shall we see them?" she asked.

"Of course," said Tyltyl, "we see everything when I turn the diamond."

"And what will they say?"

Tyltyl began to grow impatient:

"They will say nothing, as they don't talk."

"Why don't they talk?" asked Mytyl.

"Because they have nothing to say," said Tyltyl, more cross and
perplexed than ever.

"Why have they nothing to say?"

This time, the little big brother lost all patience. He shrugged his
shoulders, gave Mytyl a push and shouted angrily:

"You're a nuisance!..."

Mytyl was greatly upset and confused. She sucked her thumb and
resolved to hold her tongue for ever after, as she had been so badly
treated! But a breath of wind made the leaves of the trees whisper and
suddenly recalled the Children to their fears and their sense of
loneliness. They hugged each other tight and began to talk again, so
as not to hear the horrible silence:

"When will you turn the diamond?" asked Mytyl.

"You heard Light say that I was to wait until midnight, because that
disturbs them less; it is when they come out to take the air...."

"Isn't it midnight yet...."

Tyltyl turned round, saw the church clock and hardly had the strength
to answer, for the hands were just upon the hour:

"Listen," he stammered, "listen.... It is just going to strike....
There!... Do you hear?..."

And the clock struck twelve.

Then Mytyl, frightened out of her life, began to stamp her feet and
utter piercing screams:

"I want to go away!... I want to go away!..."

Tyltyl, though stiff with fright, was able to say:

"Not now.... I am going to turn the diamond...."

"No, no, no!" cried Mytyl. "I am so frightened, little brother!...
Don't do it!... I want to go away!..."

Tyltyl vainly tried to lift his hand: he could not reach the diamond
with Mytyl clinging to him, hanging with all her weight on her
brother's arm and screaming at the top of her voice:

"I don't want to see the Dead!... They will be awful!... I can't
possibly!... I am much too frightened!..."

Poor Tyltyl was quite as much terrified as Mytyl, but at each trial,
his will and courage were becoming greater; he was learning to master
himself; and nothing could induce him to fail in his mission. The
eleventh stroke rang out.

"The hour is passing!" he exclaimed. "It is time!"

And releasing himself resolutely from Mytyl's arms, he turned the
diamond....

A moment of terrible silence followed for the poor little children.
Then they saw the crosses totter, the mounds open, the slabs rise
up....

Mytyl hid her face against Tyltyl's chest:

"They're coming out!" she cried. "They're there!... They're
there!..."

The agony was more than the plucky little fellow could endure. He shut
his eyes and only kept himself from fainting by leaning against a tree
beside him. He remained like that for a minute that seemed to him like
a century, not daring to move, not daring to breathe. Then he heard
birds singing; a warm and scented breeze fanned his face; and, on his
hands, on his neck, he felt the soft heat of the balmy summer sun. Now
quite reassured, but unable to believe in so great a miracle, he
opened his eyes and at once began to shout with happiness and
admiration.

From all the open tombs came thousands of splendid flowers. They
spread everywhere, on the paths, on the trees, on the grass; and they
went up and up until it seemed that they would touch the sky. They
were great full-blown roses, showing their hearts, wonderful golden
hearts from which came the hot, bright rays which had wrapped Tyltyl
in that summer warmth. Round the roses, birds sang and bees buzzed
gaily.

"I can't believe it! It's not possible!" said Tyltyl. "What has become
of the tombs and the stone crosses?"

Dazzled and bewildered, the two children walked hand in hand through
the graveyard, of which not a trace remained, for there was nothing
but a wonderful garden on every side. They were as glad and happy as
could be, after their terrible fright. They had thought that ugly
skeletons would rise from the earth and run after them, pulling horrid
faces; they had imagined all sorts of awful things. And now, in the
presence of the truth, they saw that all that they had been told was a
great big story and that Death does not exist. They saw that there are
no Dead and that Life goes on always, always, but under fresh forms.
The fading rose sheds its pollen, which gives birth to other roses,
and its scattered petals scent the air. The fruits come when the
blossoms fall from the trees; and the dingy, hairy caterpillar turns
into a brilliant butterfly. Nothing perishes ... there are only
changes....

Beautiful birds circled all round Tyltyl and Mytyl. There were no blue
ones among them, but the two Children were so glad of their discovery
that they asked for nothing more. Astonished and delighted, they kept
on repeating:

"There are no Dead!... There are no Dead!..."



CHAPTER VIII

THE FOREST


As soon as Tyltyl and Mytyl were in bed, Light kissed them and faded
away at once, so as not to disturb their sleep with the rays that
always streamed from her beautiful self.

It must have been about midnight, when Tyltyl, who was dreaming of the
little Blue Children, felt a soft velvet paw pass to and fro over his
face. He was surprised and sat up in bed in a bit of a fright; but he
was soon reassured when he saw his friend Tylette's glowing eyes
glittering in the dark.

"Hush!" said the Cat in his ear. "Hush! Don't wake anybody. If we can
arrange to slip out without being seen, we shall catch the Blue Bird
to-night. I have risked my life, O my dearest master, in preparing a
plan which will certainly lead us to victory!"

"But," said the boy, kissing Tylette, "Light would be so glad to help
us ... and besides I should be ashamed to disobey her...."

"If you tell her," said the Cat, sharply, "all is lost, believe me. Do
as I say; and the day is ours."

As she spoke these words, she hastened to dress him and also Mytyl,
who had heard a noise and was asking to go with them.

"You don't understand," groaned Tyltyl. "You are too small: you don't
know what a wicked thing we are doing...."

But the treacherous Cat answered all his arguments, saying that the
reason why he had not found the Blue Bird so far was just the fault of
Light, who always brought brightness with her. Let the Children only
go hunting by themselves, in the dark, and they would soon find all
the Blue Birds that make men's happiness. The traitress displayed such
cleverness that, before long, Tyltyl's disobedience became a very fine
thing in his own eyes. Each of Tylette's words provided a good excuse
for his action or adorned it with a generous thought. He was too weak
to set his will against trickery, allowed himself to be persuaded and
walked out of the temple with a firm and cheerful step. Poor little
fellow: if he could only have foreseen the terrible trap that awaited
him!

Our three companions set out across the fields in the white light of
the moon. The Cat seemed greatly excited, did nothing but talk and
went so fast that the children were hardly able to keep up with her:

"This time," she declared, "we shall have the Blue Bird, I am sure of
it! I asked all the Trees in the very oldest forest; they know him,
because he hides among them. Then, in order to have everybody there, I
sent the Rabbit to beat the assembly and call the principal Animals in
the country."

They reached the edge of the dark forest in an hour's time. Then, at a
turn in the road, they saw, in the distance, some one who seemed to be
hurrying towards them. Tylette arched her back: she felt that it was
her old time enemy. She quivered with rage: was he once more going to
thwart her plans? Had he guessed her secret? Was he coming, at the
last moment, to save the Children's lives?

She leaned over to Tyltyl and whispered to him, in her most honeyed
voice:

"I am sorry to say it is our worthy friend the Dog. It is a thousand
pities, because his presence will make us fail in our object. He is on
the worst of terms with everybody, even the Trees. Do tell him to go
back!"

"Go away, you ugly thing!" said Tyltyl, shaking his fist at the Dog.

Dear old faithful Tylô, who had come because he suspected the Cat's
plans, was much hurt by these hard words. He was ready to cry, was
still out of breath from running and could think of nothing to say.

"Go away, I tell you!" said Tyltyl again. "We don't want you here and
there's an end of it.... You're a nuisance, there!..."

The Dog was an obedient animal and, at any other time, he would have
gone; but his affection told him what a serious business it was and he
stood stock still.

"Do you allow this disobedience?" said the Cat to Tyltyl, in a
whisper. "Hit him with your stick."

Tyltyl beat the Dog, as the Cat suggested:

"There, that will teach you to be more obedient!" he said.

The poor Dog howled at receiving the blows; but there was no limit to
his self-sacrifice. He went up to his young master pluckily and,
taking him in his arms, cried:

"I must kiss you now you've beaten me!"

Tyltyl, who was a good-hearted little fellow, did not know what to do;
and the Cat swore between her teeth like a wild beast. Fortunately,
dear little Mytyl interfered on our friend's behalf:

"No, no; I want him to stay," she pleaded. "I'm frightened when Tylô's
not with us."

Time was short and they had to come to a decision.

"I'll find some other way to get rid of the idiot!" thought the Cat.
And, turning to the Dog, she said, in her most gracious manner, "We
shall be _so_ pleased if you will join us!"

As they entered the great forest, the Children stuck close together,
with the Cat and the Dog on either side of them. They were awed by the
silence and the darkness and they felt much relieved when the Cat
exclaimed:

"Here we are! Turn the diamond!"

Then the light spread around them and showed them a wonderful sight.
They were standing in the middle of a large round space in the heart
of the forest, where all the old, old Trees seemed to reach up to the
sky. Wide avenues formed a white star amidst the dark green of the
wood. Everything was peaceful and still; but suddenly a strange shiver
ran through the foliage; the branches moved and stretched like human
arms; the roots raised the earth that covered them, came together,
took the shapes of legs and feet and stood on the ground; a tremendous
crash rang through the air; the trunks of the Trees burst open and
each of them let out its soul, which made its appearance like a funny
human figure.

Some stepped slowly from their trunks; others came out with a jump;
and all of them gathered inquisitively round our friends.

The talkative Poplar began to chatter like a magpie:

"Little Men! We shall be able to talk to them! We have done with
silence!... Where do they come from?... Who are they?"

And so he rattled on.

The Lime-tree, who was a jolly, fat fellow, came up calmly, smoking
his pipe; the conceited and dandified Chestnut-tree screwed his glass
into his eye to stare at the Children. He wore a coat of green silk
embroidered with pink and white flowers. He thought the little ones
too poor-looking and turned away in derision.

"He thinks he's everybody, since he has taken to living in town! He
despises us!" sneered the Poplar, who was jealous of him.

"Oh, dear, oh, dear!" wept the Willow, a wretched little stunted
fellow, who came clattering along in a pair of wooden shoes too big
for him. "They have come to cut off my head and arms for firewood!"

Tyltyl could not believe his eyes. He never stopped asking the Cat
questions:

"Who's this?... Who's that?..."

And Tylette introduced the soul of each Tree to him.

There was the Elm, who was a sort of short-winded, paunchy, crabby
gnome; the Beech, an elegant, sprightly person; the Birch, who looked
like the ghosts in the Palace of Night, with his white flowing
garments and his restless gestures. The tallest figure was the
Fir-tree: Tyltyl found it very difficult to see his face perched right
at the top of his long, thin body; but he looked gentle and sad,
whereas the Cypress, who stood near him, dressed all in black,
frightened Tyltyl terribly.

However, so far nothing very dreadful had happened. The Trees,
delighted at being able to talk, were all chattering together; and our
young friend was simply going to ask them where the Blue Bird was
hidden, when, all of a sudden, silence reigned. The Trees bowed
respectfully and stood aside to make way for an immensely old Tree,
dressed in a long gown embroidered with moss and lichen. He leaned
with one hand on a stick and with the other on a young Oak Sapling who
acted as his guide, for the Old Oak was blind. His long white beard
streamed in the wind.

"It's the King!" said Tyltyl to himself, when he saw his mistletoe
crown. "I will ask him the secret of the forest."

And he was just going up to him, when he stopped, seized with surprise
and joy: there sat the Blue Bird before him, perched on the old Oak's
shoulder.

"He has the Blue Bird!" cried the boy, gleefully. "Quick! Quick! Give
him to me!"

"Silence! Hold your tongue!" said the greatly shocked Trees.

"Take off your hat, Tyltyl," said the Cat. "It's the Oak!"

The poor Child at once obeyed with a smile; he did not understand the
danger that threatened him and he did not hesitate to answer, "Yes,
Sir," when the Oak asked him if he was Tyl the woodcutter's son.

Then the Oak, trembling with rage, began to lay a terrible charge
against Daddy Tyl:

"In my family alone," he said, "your father has put to death six
hundred of my sons, four hundred and seventy-five uncles and aunts,
twelve hundred cousins of both sexes, three hundred and eighty
daughters-in-law and twelve thousand great-grandsons!"

No doubt his anger made him exaggerate a little; but Tyltyl listened
without protest and said, very politely:

"I beg your pardon, Sir, for disturbing you.... The Cat said that you
would tell us where the Blue Bird is."

The Oak was too old not to know all there was to know about Men and
Animals. He smiled in his beard when he guessed the trap laid by the
Cat and he felt very glad at it, for he had long wished to revenge the
whole forest for the slavery to which Man had subjected it.

"It's for the Fairy Bérylune's little girl, who is very ill," the boy
continued.

"Enough!" said the Oak, silencing him. "I do not hear the Animals....
Where are they?... All this concerns them as much as us.... We, the
Trees, must not assume the responsibility alone for the grave measures
that have become necessary."

"Here they come!" said the Fir-tree, looking over the top of the other
Trees. "They are following the Rabbit.... I can see the souls of the
Horse, the Bull, the Ox, the Cow, the Wolf, the Sheep, the Pig, the
Goat, and the Bear...."

All the Animals now arrived. They walked on their hind-legs and were
dressed like human beings. They solemnly took up their positions in a
circle among the Trees, all except the frivolous Goat, who began to
skip down the avenues, and the Pig, who hoped to find some glorious
truffles among the roots that had newly left the ground.

"Are all here present?" asked the Oak.

"The Hen could not leave her eggs," said the Rabbit, "the Hare was out
for a run, the Stag has pains in his horns and his corns, the Fox is
ill--here is the doctor's certificate--the Goose did not understand
and the Turkey flew into a passion...."

"Look!" whispered Tyltyl to Mytyl. "Aren't they funny? They are just
like the rich children's fine toys in the windows at Christmas-time."

The Rabbit especially made them laugh, with his cocked hat over his
big ears, his blue, embroidered coat and his drum slung in front of
him.

Meanwhile, the Oak was explaining the situation to his brothers the
Trees and to the Animals. Treacherous Tylette had been quite right in
reckoning on their hatred.

"The child you see before you," said the Oak, "thanks to a talisman
stolen from the powers of Earth, is able to take possession of our
Blue Bird and thus to snatch from us the secret which we have kept
since the origin of life.... Now we know enough of Man to entertain no
doubt as to the fate which he reserves for us, once he is in
possession of this secret.... Any hesitation would be both foolish and
criminal.... It is a serious moment; the child must be done away with
before it is too late...."

"What is he saying?" asked Tyltyl, who could not make out what the old
Tree was driving at.

The Dog was prowling round the Oak and now showed his fangs:

"Do you see my teeth, you old cripple?" he growled.

"He is insulting the Oak!" said the Beech indignantly.

"Drive him out!" shouted the Oak, angrily. "He's a traitor!"

"What did I tell you?" whispered the Cat to Tyltyl. "I will arrange
things.... But send him away."

"Will you be off!" said Tyltyl to the Dog.

"Do let me worry the gouty old beggar's moss slippers!" begged Tylô.

Tyltyl tried in vain to prevent him. The rage of Tylô, who understood
the danger, knew no bounds; and he would have succeeded in saving his
master, if the Cat had not thought of calling in the Ivy, who till
then had kept his distance. The Dog pranced about like a madman,
abusing everybody. He railed at the Ivy:

"Come on, if you dare, you old ball of twine, you!"

The onlookers growled; the Oak was pale with fury at seeing his
authority denied; the Trees and the Animals were indignant, but, as
they were cowards, not one of them dared protest; and the Dog would
have settled all of them, if he had gone on with his rebellion. But
Tyltyl threatened him harshly; and, suddenly yielding to his docile
instincts, Tylô lay down at his master's feet. Thus it is that our
finest virtues are treated as faults, when we exercise them without
discrimination.

From that moment, the Children were lost. The Ivy gagged and bound
the poor Dog, who was then taken behind the Chestnut-tree and tied to
his biggest root.

"Now," cried the Oak, in a voice of thunder, "we can take counsel
quietly.... This is the first time that it is given us to judge Man! I
do not think that, after the monstrous injustice which we have
suffered, there can remain the least doubt as to the sentence that
awaits him...."

One cry rang from every throat:

"Death! Death! Death!"

The poor Children did not at first understand their doom, for the
Trees and Animals, who were more accustomed to talking their own
special language, did not speak very distinctly; and, besides, the
innocent Children could never imagine such cruelty!

"What is the matter with them?" asked the boy. "Are they displeased?"

"Don't be alarmed," said the Cat. "They are a little annoyed because
Spring is late...."

And she went on talking into Tyltyl's ear, to divert his attention
from what was happening.

While the trusting lad was listening to her fibs, the others were
discussing which form of execution would be the most practical and the
least dangerous. The Bull suggested a good butt with the horns; the
Beech offered his highest branch to hang the little Children on; and
the Ivy was already preparing a slip-knot! The Fir-tree was willing to
give the four planks for the coffin and the Cypress the perpetual
grant of a tomb.

"By far the simplest way," whispered the Willow, "would be to drown
them in one of my rivers."

And the Pig grunted between his teeth:

"In my opinion, the great thing would be to eat the little girl....
She ought to be very tender...."

"Silence!" roared the Oak. "What we have to decide is which of us
shall have the honour of striking the first blow!"

"That honour falls to you, our King!" said the Fir-tree.

"Alas, I am too old!" replied the Oak. "I am blind and infirm! To you,
my evergreen brother, be the glory, in my place, of striking the
decisive blow that shall set us free."

But the Fir-tree declined the honour on the pretext that he was
already to have the pleasure of burying the two victims and that he
was afraid of rousing jealousy. He suggested the Beech, as owning the
best club.

"It is out of the question," said the Beech. "You know I am
worm-eaten! Ask the Elm and the Cypress."

Thereupon the Elm began to moan and groan: a mole had twisted his
great toe the night before and he could hardly stand upright; and the
Cypress excused himself and so did the Poplar, who declared that he
was ill and shivering with fever. Then the Oak's indignation flared
up:

"You are afraid of Man!" he exclaimed. "Even those unprotected and
unarmed little Children inspire you with terror!... Well, I shall go
forth alone, old and shaky and blind as I am, against the hereditary
enemy!... Where is he?..."

And groping his way with his stick, he moved towards Tyltyl, growling
as he went.

Our poor little friend had been very much afraid during the last few
minutes. The Cat had left him suddenly, saying that she wanted to
smooth down the excitement, and had not come back. Mytyl nestled
trembling against him; and he felt very lonely, very unhappy among
those dreadful people whose anger he was beginning to notice. When he
saw the Oak marching on him with a threatening air, he drew his
pocket-knife and defied him like a man:

"Is it I he's after, that old one, with his big stick?" he cried.

But, at the sight of the knife, Man's irresistible weapon, all the
Trees shook with fright and rushed at the Oak to hold him back. There
was a struggle; and the old King, conquered by the weight of years,
threw away his stick:

"Shame on us!" he shouted. "Shame on us! Let the Animals deliver
us!..."

The Animals were only waiting for this! All wanted to be revenged
together. Fortunately, their very eagerness caused a scrimmage which
delayed the murder of the dear little ones.

Mytyl uttered piercing screams.

"Don't be afraid," said Tyltyl, doing his best to protect her. "I have
my knife."

"The little chap means to die game!" said the Cock.

"That's the one I shall eat first," said the Pig, eyeing Mytyl
greedily.

"What have I done to all of you?" asked Tyltyl.

"Nothing at all, my little man," said the Sheep. "Eaten my little
brother, my two sisters, my three uncles, my aunt, my grandpapa and my
grandmamma.... Wait, wait, when you're down, you shall see that I have
teeth also...."

And so the Sheep and the Horse, who were the greatest cowards, waited
for the little fellow to be knocked down before they dared take their
share in the spoil.

While they were talking, the Wolf and the Bear treacherously attacked
Tyltyl from behind and pushed him over. It was an awful moment. All
the Animals, seeing him on the ground, tried to get at him. The boy
raised himself to one knee and brandished his knife. Mytyl uttered
yells of distress; and, to crown all, it suddenly became dark.

Tyltyl called wildly for assistance:

"Help! Help!... Tylô! Tylô!... To the rescue!... Where is Tylette?...
Come! Come!..."

The Cat's voice was heard in the distance, where she was craftily
keeping out of sight:

"I can't come!" she whined. "I'm wounded!"

All this time, plucky little Tyltyl was defending himself as best he
could, but he was alone against all of them, felt that he was going to
be killed and, in a faltering voice, cried once more:

"Help!... Tylô! Tylô!... I can't hold out!... There are too many of
them!... The Bear!... The Pig! The Wolf! The Fir-tree! The Beech!...
Tylô! Tylô! Tylô!..."

Then the Dog came leaping along, dragging his broken bonds and
elbowing his way through the Trees and Animals and flung himself
before his master, whom he defended furiously:

"Here, my little god! Don't be afraid! Have at them! I know how to use
my teeth!"

All the Trees and Animals raised a loud outcry:

"Renegade!... Idiot!... Traitor!... Felon!... Simpleton!... Sneak!...
Leave him!... He's a dead man!... Come over to us!..."

The Dog fought on:

"Never! Never!... I alone against all of you!... Never! Never!... True
to the gods, to the best, to the greatest!... Take care, my little
master, here's the Bear!... Look out for the Bull!"

Tyltyl vainly tried to defend himself:

"I'm done for, Tylô! It was a blow from the Elm! My hand's bleeding!"
And he dropped to the ground. "No, I can hold out no longer!"

"They are coming!" said the Dog. "I hear somebody!... We are saved! It
is Light!... Saved! Saved!... See, they're afraid, they're
retreating!... Saved, my little king!..."

And, sure enough, Light was coming towards them; and with her the dawn
rose over the forest, which became light as day.

"What is it?... What has happened?" she asked, quite alarmed at the
sight of the little ones and their dear Tylô covered with wounds and
bruises. "Why, my poor boy, didn't you know? Turn the diamond
quickly!"

Tyltyl hastened to obey; and immediately the souls of all the Trees
rushed back into their trunks, which closed upon them. The souls of
the Animals also disappeared; and there was nothing to be seen but a
cow and a sheep browsing peacefully in the distance. The forest became
harmless once more; and Tyltyl looked around him in amazement:

"No matter," he said, "but for the Dog ... and if I hadn't had my
knife!..."

Light thought that he had been punished enough and did not scold him.
Besides, she was very much upset by the horrible danger which he had
run.

Tyltyl, Mytyl and the Dog, glad to meet again safe and sound,
exchanged wild kisses. They laughingly counted their wounds, which
were not very serious.

Tylette was the only one to make a fuss:

"The Dog's broken my paw!" she mewed.

Tylô felt as if he could have made a mouthful of her:

"Never mind!" he said. "It'll keep!"

"Leave her alone, will you, you ugly beast?" said Mytyl.

Our friends went back to the Temple of Light to rest after their
adventure. Tyltyl, repenting of his disobedience, dared not even
mention the Blue Bird of which he had caught a glimpse; and Light said
to the Children, gently:

"Let this teach you, dears, that Man is all alone against all in this
world. Never forget that."

[Illustration: A regular waterfall of tears came gushing from her
eyes, flooding all around her]



CHAPTER IX

THE LEAVE-TAKING


Weeks and months had passed since the children's departure on their
journey; and the hour of separation was at hand. Light had been very
sad lately; she had counted the days in sorrow, without a word to the
Animals and Things, who had no idea of the misfortune that threatened
them.

On the day when we see them for the last time, they were all out in
the gardens of the temple. Light stood watching them from a marble
terrace, with Tyltyl and Mytyl sleeping by her side. Much had happened
in the past twelve months; but the life of the Animals and Things,
which had no intelligence to guide it, had made no progress, on the
contrary. Bread had eaten so much that he was now not able to walk:
Milk, devoted as ever, dragged him along in a Bath chair. Fire's nasty
temper had made him quarrel with everybody and he had become very
lonely and unhappy in consequence. Water, who had no will of her own,
had ended by yielding to Sugar's sweet entreaties: they were now
married; and Sugar presented a most piteous sight. The poor fellow
was reduced to a shadow of his former self, shrank visibly day by day
and was sillier than ever, while Water, in marrying, had lost her
principal charm, her simplicity. The Cat had remained the liar that
she always was; and our dear friend Tylô had never been able to
overcome his hatred for her.

"Poor things!" thought Light, with a sigh. "They have not gained much
by receiving the benefit of life! They have travelled and seen nothing
of all the wonders that surrounded them in my peaceful temple; they
were either quarrelling with one another or over-eating themselves
until they fell ill. They were too foolish to enjoy their happiness
and they will recognize it for the first time presently, when they are
about to lose it...."

At that moment, a pretty dove, with silver wings, alighted on her
knees. It wore an emerald collar round its neck, with a note fastened
to the clasp. The dove was the Fairy Bérylune's messenger. Light
opened the letter and read these few words:

"Remember that the year is over."

Then Light stood up, waved her wand and everything disappeared from
sight.

A few seconds later, the whole company were gathered together outside
a high wall with a small door in it. The first rays of the dawn were
gilding the tree-tops. Tyltyl and Mytyl, whom Light was fondly
supporting with her arms, woke up, rubbed their eyes and looked around
them in astonishment.

"What?" said Light to Tyltyl. "Don't you know that wall and that
little door?"

The sleepy boy shook his head: he remembered nothing. Then Light
assisted his memory:

"The wall," she said, "surrounds a house which we left one evening
just a year ago to-day...."

"Just a year ago?... Why, then...." And, clapping his hands with glee,
Tyltyl ran to the door. "We must be near Mummy!... I want to kiss her
at once, at once, at once!"

But Light stopped him. It was too early, she said: Mummy and Daddy
were still asleep and he must not wake them with a start.

"Besides," she added, "the door will not open till the hour strikes."

"What hour?" asked the boy.

"The hour of separation," Light answered, sadly.

"What!" said Tyltyl, in great distress. "Are you leaving us?"

"I must," said Light. "The year is past. The Fairy will come back and
ask you for the Blue Bird."

"But I haven't got the Blue Bird!" cried Tyltyl. "The one of the Land
of Memory turned quite black, the one of the Future flew away, the
Night's are dead, those in the Graveyard were not blue and I could not
catch the one in the Forest!... Will the Fairy be angry?... What will
she say?..."

"Never mind, dear," said Light. "You did your best. And, though you
did not find the Blue Bird, you deserved to do so, for the good-will,
pluck and courage which you showed."

Light's face beamed with happiness as she spoke these words, for she
knew that to deserve to find the Blue Bird was very much the same
thing as finding it; but she was not allowed to say this, for it was a
beautiful mystery, which Tyltyl had to solve for himself. She turned
to the Animals and Things, who stood weeping in a corner, and told
them to come and kiss the Children.

Bread at once put down the cage at Tyltyl's feet and began to make a
speech:

"In the name of all, I crave permission...."

"You sha'n't have mine!" cried Fire.

"Order!" cried Water.

"We still have tongues of our own!" roared Fire.

"Yes! Yes!" screamed Sugar, who, knowing that his end was at hand,
kept kissing Water and melting before the others' eyes.

Poor Bread in vain tried to make his voice heard above the din. Light
had to interfere and command silence. Then Bread spoke his last words:

"I am leaving you," he said, between his sobs. "I am leaving you, my
dear Children, and you will no longer see me in my living form....
Your eyes are about to close to the invisible life of Things; but I
shall be always there, in the bread-pan, on the shelf, on the table,
beside the soup, I who am, if I may say so, the most faithful
companion, the oldest friend of Man...."

"Well, and what about me?" shouted Fire, angrily.

"Silence!" said Light. "The hour is passing.... Be quick and say
good-bye to the Children...."

Fire rushed forward, took hold of the Children, one after the other,
and kissed them so violently that they screamed with pain:

"Oh! Oh!... He's burning me!..."

"Oh! Oh!... He's scorched my nose!..."

"Let me kiss the place and make it well," said Water, going up to the
children gently.

This gave Fire his chance:

"Take care," he said, "you'll get wet."

"I am loving and gentle," said Water. "I am kind to human beings...."

"What about those you drown?" asked Fire.

But Water pretended not to hear:

"Love the wells, listen to the brooks," she said. "I shall always be
there. When you sit down in the evening, beside the springs, try to
understand what they are trying to say...."

Then she had to break off, for a regular waterfall of tears came
gushing from her eyes, flooding all around her. However, she resumed:

"Think of me when you see the water-bottle.... You will find me also
in the ewer, the watering-can, the cistern and the tap...."

Then Sugar came up, with a limping walk, for he could hardly stand on
his feet. He uttered a few words of sorrow, in an affected voice and
then stopped, for tears, he said, were not in harmony with his
temperament.

"Humbug!" cried Bread.

"Sugar-plum! Lollipop! Caramel!" yelped Fire.

[Illustration: Closely pursued by the Dog, who overwhelmed her with
bites, blows and kicks]

And all began to laugh, except the two children, who were very sad:

"Where are Tylette and Tylô gone to?" asked our hero.

At that moment, the Cat came running up, in a terrible state: her hair
was on end and dishevelled, her clothes were torn and she was holding
a handkerchief to her cheek, as though she had the tooth-ache. She
uttered terrible groans and was closely pursued by the Dog, who
overwhelmed her with bites, blows and kicks. The others rushed in
between them to separate them, but the two enemies continued to insult
and glare at each other. The Cat accused the Dog of pulling her tail
and putting tin tacks in her food and beating her. The Dog simply
growled and denied none of his actions:

"You've had some," he kept saying, "you've had some and you're going
to have some more!"

But, suddenly, he stopped and, as he was panting with excitement, it
could be seen that his tongue turned quite white: Light had told him
to kiss the Children for the last time.

"For the last time?" stammered poor Tylô. "Are we to part from these
poor Children?"

His grief was such that he was incapable of understanding anything.

"Yes," said Light. "The hour which you know of is at hand.... We are
going to return to silence...."

Thereupon the Dog, suddenly realizing his misfortune, began to utter
real howls of despair and fling himself upon the Children, whom he
loaded with mad and violent caresses:

"No! No!" he cried. "I refuse!... I refuse!... I shall always talk!...
And I shall be very good.... You will keep me with you and I shall
learn to read and write and play dominoes!... And I shall always be
very clean.... And I shall never steal anything in the kitchen
again...."

He went on his knees before the two Children, sobbing and entreating,
and, when Tyltyl, with his eyes full of tears, remained silent, dear
Tylô had a last magnificent idea: running up to the Cat, he offered,
with smiles that looked like grins, to kiss her. Tylette, who did not
possess his spirit of self-sacrifice, leaped back and took refuge by
Mytyl's side. Then Mytyl said, innocently:

"You, Tylette, are the only one that hasn't kissed us yet."

The Cat put on a mincing tone:

"Children," said she, "I love you both as much as you deserve."

There was a pause.

"And now," said Light, "let me, in my turn, give you a last kiss...."

As she spoke, she spread her veil round them as if she would have
wrapped them for the last time in her luminous might. Then she gave
them each a long and loving kiss. Tyltyl and Mytyl hung on to her
beseechingly:

"No, no, no, Light!" they cried. "Stay here with us!... Daddy won't
mind.... We will tell Mummy how kind you have been.... Where will you
go all alone?"...

"Not very far, my Children," said Light. "Over there to the Land of
the Silence of Things."

"No, no," said Tyltyl. "I won't have you go...."

But Light quieted them with a motherly gesture and said words to them
which they never forgot. Long after, when they were a grandfather and
grandmother in their turn, Tyltyl and Mytyl still remembered them and
used to repeat them to their grandchildren.

Here are Light's touching words:

"Listen, Tyltyl. Do not forget, child, that everything that you see in
this world has neither beginning nor end. If you keep this thought in
your heart and let it grow up with you, you will always, in all
circumstances, know what to say, what to do and what to hope for."

And, when our two friends began to sob, she added, lovingly:

"Do not cry, my dear little ones.... I have not a voice like Water; I
have only my brightness, which Man does not understand.... But I watch
over him to the end of his days.... Never forget that I am speaking to
you in every spreading moonbeam, in every twinkling star, in every
dawn that rises, in every lamp that is lit, in every good and bright
thought of your soul...."

At that moment, the grandfather's clock in the cottage struck eight
o'clock. Light stopped for a moment and then, in a voice that grew
suddenly fainter, whispered:

"Good-bye!... Good-bye!... The hour is striking!... Good-bye!"

Her veil faded away, her smile became paler, her eyes closed, her form
vanished and, through their tears, the children saw nothing but a thin
ray of light dying away at their feet. Then they turned to the others
... but these had disappeared....



CHAPTER X

THE AWAKENING


The grandfather's clock in Tyl the woodcutter's cottage had struck
eight; and his two little Children, Tyltyl and Mytyl, were still
asleep in their little beds. Mummy Tyl stood looking at them, with her
arms akimbo and her apron tucked up, laughing and scolding in the same
breath:

"I can't let them go on sleeping till mid-day," she said. "Come, get
up, you little lazybones!"

But it was no use shaking them, kissing them or pulling the
bed-clothes off them: they kept on falling back upon their pillows,
with their noses pointing at the ceiling, their mouths wide open,
their eyes shut and their cheeks all pink.

At last, after receiving a gentle thump in the ribs, Tyltyl opened one
eye and murmured:

"What?... Light?... Where are you?... No, no, don't go away...."

"Light!" cried Mummy Tyl, laughing. "Why, of course, it's light....
Has been for ever so long!... What's the matter with you?... You look
quite blinded...."

"Mummy!... Mummy!" said Tyltyl, rubbing his eyes. "It's you!..."

"Why, of course, it's I!... Why do you stare at me in that way?... Is
my nose turned upside down, by any chance?"

Tyltyl was quite awake by this time and did not trouble to answer the
question. He was beside himself with delight! It was ages and ages
since he had seen his Mummy and he never tired of kissing her.

Mummy Tyl began to be uneasy. What could the matter be? Had her boy
lost his senses? Here he was suddenly talking of a long journey in the
company of the Fairy and Water and Milk and Sugar and Fire and Bread
and Light! He made believe that he had been away a year!...

"But you haven't left the room!" cried Mummy Tyl, who was now nearly
beside herself with fright. "I put you to bed last night and here you
are this morning! It's Christmas Day: don't you hear the bells in the
village?..."

"Of course, it's Christmas Day," said Tyltyl, obstinately, "seeing
that I went away a year ago, on Christmas Eve!... You're not angry
with me?... Did you feel very sad?... And what did Daddy say?..."

"Come, you're still asleep!" said Mummy Tyl, trying to take comfort.
"You've been dreaming!... Get up and put on your breeches and your
little jacket...."

"Hullo, I've got my shirt on!" said Tyltyl.

And, leaping up, he knelt down on the bed and began to dress, while
his mother kept on looking at him with a scared face.

The little boy rattled on:

"Ask Mytyl, if you don't believe me.... Oh, we have had such
adventures!... We saw Grandad and Granny ... yes, in the Land of
Memory ... it was on our way. They are dead, but they are quite well,
aren't they, Mytyl?"

And Mytyl, who was now beginning to wake up, joined her brother in
describing their visit to the grandparents and the fun which they had
had with their little brothers and sisters.

This was too much for Mummy Tyl. She ran to the door of the cottage
and called with all her might to her husband, who was working on the
edge of the forest:

"Oh, dear, oh, dear!" she cried. "I shall lose them as I lost the
others!... Do come!... Come quick...."

Daddy Tyl soon entered the cottage, with his axe in his hand; he
listened to his wife's lamentations, while the two Children told the
story of their adventures over again and asked him what he had done
during the year.

"You see, you see!" said Mummy Tyl, crying. "They have lost their
heads, something will happen to them; run and fetch the doctor...."

But the woodcutter was not the man to put himself out for such a
trifle. He kissed the little ones, calmly lit his pipe and declared
that they looked very well and that there was no hurry.

At that moment, there came a knock at the door and the neighbour
walked in. She was a little old woman leaning on a stick and very much
like the Fairy Bérylune. The Children at once flung their arms around
her neck and capered round her, shouting merrily:

"It's the Fairy Bérylune!"

The neighbour, who was a little hard of hearing, paid no attention to
their cries and said to Mummy Tyl:

"I have come to ask for a bit of fire for my Christmas stew.... It's
very chilly this morning.... Good-morning, children...."

Meanwhile, Tyltyl had become a little thoughtful. No doubt, he was
glad to see the old Fairy again; but what would she say when she heard
that he had not the Blue Bird? He made up his mind like a man and
went up to her boldly:

"Fairy Bérylune, I could not find the Blue Bird...."

"What is he saying?" asked the neighbor, quite taken aback.

Thereupon Mummy Tyl began to fret again:

"Come, Tyltyl, don't you know Goody Berlingot?"

"Why, yes, of course," said Tyltyl, looking the neighbor up and down.
"It's the Fairy Bérylune."

"Béry ... what?" asked the neighbor.

"Bérylune," answered Tyltyl, calmly.

"Berlingot," said the neighbor. "You mean Berlingot."

Tyltyl was a little put out by her positive way of talking; and he
answered:

"Bérylune or Berlingot, as you please, ma'am, but I know what I'm
saying...."

Daddy Tyl was beginning to have enough of it:

"We must put a stop to this," he said. "I will give them a smack or
two."

"Don't," said the neighbor; "it's not worth while. It's only a little
fit of dreaming; they must have been sleeping in the moonbeams.... My
little girl, who is very ill, is often like that...."

Mummy Tyl put aside her own anxiety for a moment and asked after the
health of Neighbor Berlingot's little girl.

"She's only so-so," said the neighbor, shaking her head. "She can't
get up.... The doctor says it's her nerves.... I know what would cure
her, for all that. She was asking me for it only this morning, for her
Christmas present...."

She hesitated a little, looked at Tyltyl with a sigh and added, in a
disheartened tone:

"What can I do? It's a fancy she has...."

The others looked at one another in silence: they knew what the
neighbor's words meant. Her little girl had long been saying that she
would get well if Tyltyl would only give her his dove; but he was so
fond of it that he refused to part with it....

"Well," said Mummy Tyl to her son, "won't you give your bird to that
poor little thing? She has been dying to have it for ever so long!..."

"My bird!" cried Tyltyl, slapping his forehead as though they had
spoken of something quite out of the way. "My bird!" he repeated.
"That's true, I was forgetting about him!... And the cage!... Mytyl,
do you see the cage?... It's the one which Bread carried.... Yes, yes,
it's the same one, there it is, there it is!"

[Illustration: "It's the Blue Bird we were looking for! We have been
miles and miles and miles and he was here all the time!"]

Tyltyl would not believe his eyes. He took a chair, put it under the
cage and climbed on to it gaily, saying:

"Of course, I'll give him to her, of course, I will!..."

Then he stopped, in amazement:

"Why, he's blue!" he said. "It's my dove, just the same, but he has
turned blue while I was away!"

And our hero jumped down from the chair and began to skip for joy,
crying:

"It's the Blue Bird we were looking for! We have been miles and miles
and miles and he was here all the time!... He was here, at home!...
Oh, but how wonderful!... Mytyl, do you see the bird? What would Light
say?... There, Madame Berlingot, take him quickly to your little
girl...."

While he was talking, Mummy Tyl threw herself into her husband's arms
and moaned:

"You see?... You see?... He's taken bad again.... He's wandering...."

Meantime, Neighbor Berlingot beamed all over her face, clasped her
hands together and mumbled her thanks. When Tyltyl gave her the bird,
she could hardly believe her eyes. She hugged the boy in her arms and
wept with joy and gratitude:

"Do you give it me?" she kept saying. "Do you give it me like that,
straight away and for nothing?... Goodness, how happy she will be!...
I fly, I fly!... I will come back to tell you what she says...."

"Yes, yes, go quickly," said Tyltyl, "for some of them change their
color!"

Neighbour Berlingot ran out and Tyltyl shut the door after her. Then
he turned round on the threshold, looked at the walls of the cottage,
looked all around him and seemed wonderstruck:

"Daddy, Mummy, what have you done to the house?" he asked. "It's just
as it was, but it's much prettier."

His parents looked at each other in bewilderment; and the little boy
went on:

"Why, yes, everything has been painted and made to look like new;
everything is clean and polished.... And look at the forest outside
the window!... How big and fine it is!... One would think it was quite
new!... How happy I feel here, oh, how happy I feel!"

The worthy woodcutter and his wife could not make out what was coming
over their son; but you, my dear little readers, who have followed
Tyltyl and Mytyl through their beautiful dream, will have guessed what
it was that altered everything in our young hero's view.

It was not for nothing that the Fairy, in his dream, had given him a
talisman to open his eyes. He had learned to see the beauty of things
around him; he had passed through trials that had developed his
courage; while pursuing the Blue Bird, the Bird of Happiness that was
to bring happiness to the Fairy's little girl, he had become
open-handed and so good-natured that the mere thought of giving
pleasure to others filled his heart with joy. And, while travelling
through endless, wonderful, imaginary regions, his mind had opened out
to life.

The boy was right, when he thought everything more beautiful, for, to
his richer and purer understanding, everything must needs seem
infinitely fairer than before.

Meanwhile, Tyltyl continued his joyful inspection of the cottage. He
leaned over the bread-pan to speak a kind word to the Loaves; he
rushed at Tylô, who was sleeping in his basket, and congratulated him
on the good fight which he had made in the forest.

Mytyl stooped down to stroke Tylette, who was snoozing by the stove,
and said:

"Well, Tylette?... You know me, I see, but you have stopped talking."

Then Tyltyl put his hand up to his forehead:

"Hullo!" he cried. "The diamond's gone!... Who's taken my little green
hat?... Never mind, I don't want it any more!... Ah, there's Fire!
Good-morning, sir! He'll be crackling to make Water angry!" He ran to
the tap, turned it on and bent down over the water. "Good-morning,
Water, good-morning!... What does she say?... She still talks, but I
don't understand her as well as I did.... Oh, how happy I am, how
happy I am!..."

"So am I, so am I!" cried Mytyl.

And our two young friends took each other's hands and began to scamper
round the kitchen.

Mummy Tyl felt a little relieved at seeing them so full of life and
spirits. Besides, Daddy Tyl was so calm and placid. He sat eating his
porridge and laughing:

"You see, they are _playing_ at being happy!" he said.

Of course, the poor dear man did not know that a wonderful dream had
taught his little children not to play at being happy, but to _be_
happy, which is the greatest and most difficult of lessons.

"I like Light best of all," said Tyltyl to Mytyl, standing on tip-toe
by the window. "You can see her over there, through the trees of the
forest. To-night, she will be in the lamp. Dear, oh, dear, how lovely
it all is and how glad I feel, how glad I...."

He stopped and listened. Everybody lent an ear. They heard laughter
and merry voices; and the sounds came nearer.

"It's her voice!" cried Tyltyl. "Let me open the door!"

As a matter of fact, it was the little girl, with her mother, Neighbor
Berlingot.

"Look at her," said Goody Berlingot, quite overcome with joy. "She can
run, she can dance, she can fly! It's a miracle! When she saw the
bird, she jumped, just like that...."

And Goody Berlingot hopped from one leg to the other at the risk of
falling and breaking her long, hooked nose.

The Children clapped their hands and everybody laughed.

The little girl was there, in her long white night-dress, standing in
the middle of the kitchen, a little surprised to find herself on her
feet after so many months' illness. She smiled and pressed Tyltyl's
dove to her heart.

Tyltyl looked first at the child and then at Mytyl:

"Don't you think she's very like Light?" he asked.

"She is much smaller," said Mytyl.

"Yes, indeed!" said Tyltyl. "But she will grow!..."

And the three Children tried to put a little food down the Bird's
beak, while the parents began to feel easier in their minds and looked
at them and smiled.

Tyltyl was radiant. I will not conceal from you, my dear little
readers, that the Dove had hardly changed colour at all and that it
was joy and happiness that decked him with a magnificent bright blue
plumage in our hero's eyes. No matter! Tyltyl, without knowing it, had
discovered Light's great secret, which is _that we draw nearer to
happiness by trying to give it to others_.

But now something happened. Everybody became excited, the Children
screamed, the parents threw up their arms and rushed to the open door:
the Bird had suddenly escaped! He was flying away as fast as he could.

"My bird! My bird!" sobbed the little girl.

But Tyltyl was the first to run to the staircase and he returned in
triumph:

"It's all right!" he said. "Don't cry! He is still in the house and we
shall find him again."

And he gave a kiss to the little girl, who was already smiling through
her tears:

"You'll be sure to catch him again, won't you?" she asked.

"Trust me," replied our friend, confidentially. "I now know where he
is."

You also, my dear little readers, now know where the Blue Bird is.
Dear Light revealed nothing to the woodcutter's Children, but she
showed them the road to happiness by teaching them to be good and kind
and generous.

Suppose that, at the beginning of this story, she had said to them:

"Go straight back home. The Blue Bird is there, in the humble cottage,
in the wicker cage, with your dear father and mother who love you."

The Children would never have believed her:

"What!" Tyltyl would have answered. "The Blue Bird, my dove? Nonsense:
my dove is grey!... Happiness, in the cottage? With Daddy and Mummy?
Oh, I say! There are no toys at home and it's awfully boring there: we
want to go ever so far and meet with tremendous adventures and have
all sorts of fun...."

That is what he would have said; and he and Mytyl would have set out
in spite of everything, without listening to Light's advice, for the
most certain truths are good for nothing if we do not put them to the
test ourselves. It only takes a moment to tell a child all the wisdom
in the world, but our whole lives are not long enough to help us
understand it, because our own experience is our only light.

Each of us must seek out happiness for himself; and he has to take
endless pains and undergo many a cruel disappointment before he learns
to become happy by appreciating the simple and perfect pleasures that
are always within easy reach of his mind and heart.

            THE END





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