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Children's Blue Bird
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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
without taking the least pains or trouble, had found the Blue Bird in
in the most miraculous way. He had never pictured anything more
blue or brilliant; and he still felt it fluttering against his heart
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
vaults where the Animals and Things had been shut up. What a sight met
eyes! The wretches had eaten and drunk such a lot that they were lying
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
of the door made him prick up his ears. He opened one eye, but his
troubled by all that he had had to drink and he did not know his little
when he saw him. He dragged himself to his feet with a great effort,
round several times and then dropped on the floor again with a grunt of
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
of her senses. She sprang nimbly to the ground and stepped up to Tyltyl
"I have been longing to see
you," she said, "for I have
been very unhappy among all these vulgar people. They first drank all
and then started shouting and singing and dancing, quarrelling and
making such a noise that I was very glad when, at last, they fell into
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
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."
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
over her knees, opened the door and ran and bounded out into the
shall know, a little later, where treacherous Tylette was going so
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
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
them live as they were accustomed to on earth. So as not to injure
by altering their habits, she had set up their little beds in a part of
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
There were great sumptuous apartments in splendid marble, lit up by
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
live too much in its rays, which leave no room for soft and kindly
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
parents' cottage, where everything was so humble and peaceful. The
was very pure and clear, but always flickering and ready to go out at
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
through it, you saw lovely pictures, lovely flowers and lovely toys
were unable to take hold of. Laughing merrily, the children ran after
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
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
"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
dazzling lightning-flashes; and, at each flash, you saw out-of-the-way
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
hall with its violet columns and the gallery with its red rays. And the
of the columns was such a dark violet and the red of the rays such a
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.
the Children fell asleep without delay on two soft beds of clouds.