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A VOYAGE TO FAIRYLAND.
A VOYAGE TO FAIRYLAND.
Dora closed the book she had been reading with a slightly impatient gesture, as it was now growing quite dark. "I don't believe there are fairies and things really," she said aloud, although there was no one else in the room, as she placed her chin on her hand and gazed abstractedly into the nursery fire. Now Dora loved fairies and fairy tales, but she had just finished reading such a particularly choice one that, growing somewhat envious of the good life the fairies led, she had given vent to this skeptical remark to ease her feelings. The lights had not yet been brought in, and the flicker of the fire threw fantastic shifting shadows on the walls and floor.
When Dora expressed her disbelief in "fairies and things," it must not be supposed that she dismissed them from her mind. Oh, no! her thoughts were very busy now; and, gazing intently into the dancing flames, she there discovered all sorts of lovely fairy corners. Goblins skipped about and danced in rare abandon, while dainty little fairies with bright hair and smiling faces, and clothed in flower petals, strolled about in a manner most sedate and queenly for people so very small. Her attention was strangely attracted by a number of goblins dancing wildly, with hands clasped, round a timid little fairy, who seemed greatly amused and somewhat embarrassed. Quickly and more quickly they went round, until the rate was really dazzling, and Dora trembled lest one of them should tumble or let go. "There! I thought so," she cried excitedly, with a start; "I knew you would do that;" for one of them had broken loose and been hurled right out of the circle on to Dora's shoulder, where he lay gasping like a fish out of water.
"Here's a go," said the goblin at last, in a funny squeaky little voice, as he crouched there and hung on to her pretty auburn hair. Dora gazed at him with open-mouthed astonishment, as with eager eyes fixed on hers, he commenced gingerly to climb down her arm on to the rug.
"I hope I haven't hurt you," he continued, "but it wasn't my fault exactly; you see…"
"Don't trouble to explain," said Dora, who was growing accustomed to the situation. "I saw it all. You're a fairy, aren't you?" she added abruptly.
"You put it rather bluntly, but I suppose I am," returned the goblin, who had now reached the rug, and was leaning against Dora's knee; "but there! I must be going."
"Where?" asked Dora.
"Back," replied the goblin, jerking his head over his shoulder as an accompaniment to his rather vague answer.
"Please be a little more definite; where's back?"
"Oh, Fairyland, you know."
"Then take me with you, please; I'll be so good," cried Dora, so suddenly that it made the goblin jump.
"Well, you're rather a lot to look after, but come along," he replied; and taking her by the hand they vanished through the wall in a twinkling.
Dora was not surprised or startled, somehow, even when she observed that she now appeared no bigger than her companion, for she had something else to wonder at. They were standing amid a mass of lovely many-colored flowers, with everything around bright and dazzling. The sun was shining in a deep blue sky, while along the flowery slopes, across a belt of yellow sand, lay the sea, shimmering in the sunlight.
"Oh, how lovely!" cried Dora, clasping her hands. "Is this Fairyland?"
"Oh, dear no; Fairyland is over there," replied her companion, pointing across the shining water. "This is only one of the branches, so to speak."
They glided across the smooth sand down to the water's edge.
"How are we going to get there ~." Dora remarked. "Well, I think I'd better call a ship," he said; and holding up his hand and giving a low whistle, a queer. looking ship approached them.
When Dora got on board she found several other children there who were about to make the same voyage. Slowly they sailed across the harbor into the open sea. Dora was lost in enchantment. The water was divided into bands of purple and blue, and gray and green; and the deep blue of the sky was made to appear more intense by little fleecy white clouds blown by gentle zephyrs across the sky, while right in the midst of a purple stretch of water nestled a group of golden-rimmed islands like jewels in their settings.
"What glorious color!" exclaimed Dora under her breath to her companion.
"Yes, it isn't bad; but you see I get it every day," he added, noticing the reproach in her eyes; and with this he left her and went below.
Birds of gay plumage darted in front of them, and seemed to disappear into the little white blotches of surf that the sea was flecked with. Amid the sighing of the winds and she splashing of the water, as the ship plowed on, Dora thought she distinguished the sound of faint music, and looking intently in front, she perceived that what at first she had taken to be a gathering of mist had resolved itself into two fairy figures playing on fairy instruments and singing softly. As they proceeded, the music grew more distinct and more lovely, and Dora was quite carried out of herself.
She was brought back, however, by the little man, who had returned, and was digging her in the side.
"You see, we don't steer our ships as you do in your world; we are drawn to our destination by the music of Fairyland."
"How sweet," murmured Dora; and looking over the side she saw lovely mermaids with golden hair besporting themselves in the blue; she was sure also she could see little fairies riding ou the tops of the waves. The coast of Fairyland appeared very distinct now, and the music which filled the air was loud and sweet. On a little promontory stood a crowd of dainty people in dresses of flowers waiting to receive the voyagers. Sweetly they smiled on Dora as she stepped ashore, and Dora could hardly keep the tears back for very joy. Soon the crowd of fairies divided, and coming toward her appeared the Queen more radiant than them all; and as she took Dora by the hand, the music, which had been growing continually louder and more sweet, burst into a flood of melody. But then, as the face of the Queen drew near to Dora's to kiss her, the joy became so intense that she must have swooned, for everything seemed to fade right away, and then…
"Come, you must go to bed, dear," said a voice in her ear. Dora had awakened in nurse's arms.
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