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Children's Blue Bird
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WEEKS and months had passed since the children's departure on
the hour of separation was at hand. Light had been very sad lately; she
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,
Tyltyl and Mytyl sleeping by her side. Much had happened in the past
months; but the life of the Animals and Things, which had no
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
chair. Fire's nasty temper had made him quarrel with everybody and he
very lonely and unhappy in consequence. Water, who had no will of her
ended by yielding to Sugar's sweet entreaties: they were now married;
presented a most piteous sight. The poor fellow was reduced to a shadow
former self, shrank visibly day by day and was sillier than ever, while
in marrying, had lost her principal charm, her simplicity. The Cat had
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
nothing of all the wonders that surrounded them in my peaceful temple;
either quarrelling with one another or over-eating themselves until
ill. They were too foolish to enjoy their happiness and they will
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
dove was the Fairy Bérylune's messenger. Light opened the
letter and read these
"Remember that the year is
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
tree-tops. Tyltyl and Mytyl, whom Light was fondly supporting with her
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
"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
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
"What hour?" asked the boy.
"The hour of separation,"
Light answered, sadly.
"What!" said Tyltyl, in great
distress. "Are you leaving
"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
Night's are dead, those in the Graveyard were not blue and I could not
one in the Forest!... Will the Fairy be angry?.... What will she
"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
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
it; but she was not allowed to say this, for it was a beautiful
Tyltyl had to solve for himself. She turned to the Animals and Things,
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
"In the name of all, I crave
"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
.... Your eyes are about to close to the invisible life of Things; but
be always there, in the bread-pan, on the shelf, on the table, beside
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
"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
"I am loving and gentle,"
said Water. "I am kind to human
"What about those you drown?"
But Water pretended not to
"Love the wells, listen to
the brooks," she said. "I shall
always be there. When you sit down in the evening, beside the springs,
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
for tears, he said,
were not in harmony with his temperament.
"Humbug!" cried Bread.
Caramel!" yelped Fire.
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
dishevelled, her clothes were torn and she was holding a handkerchief
cheek, as though she had the tooth-ache. She uttered terrible groans
closely pursued by the Dog, who overwhelmed her with bites, blows and
others rushed in between them to separate them, but the two enemies
insult and glare at each other. The Cat accused the Dog of pulling her
putting tin tacks in her food and beating her. The Dog simply growled
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
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
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
shall learn to read and write and play dominoes!... And I shall always
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
looked like grins, to kiss her. Tylette, who did not possess his spirit
self-sacrifice, leapt back and took refuge by Mytyl's side. Then Mytyl
"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
There was a pause.
"And now," said Light, "let
me, in my turn, give you a
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
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....
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
never forgot. Long after, when they were a grandfather and grandmother
turn, Tyltyl and Mytyl still remembered them and used to repeat them to
Here are Light's touching
"Listen, Tyltyl. Do not
forget, child, that everything that you see
in this world has neither beginning nor end. If you keep this thought
heart and let it grow up with you, you will always, in all
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
him to the end of his days... Never forget that I am speaking to you in
spreading moonbeam, in every twinkling star, in every dawn that rises,
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
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 ....