Part 2 out of 2
"Well, I'll go home and ask my mother. I don't know whether she'll let
"You won't stay long, will you?"
"No, I won't," promised Harriett. Then she put on her jacket and hat
and ran down-stairs.
Teddy went on with his painting by himself for a while, but it seemed to
him Harriett was gone a long time. He called his mother once, and she
came to the foot of the stairs and told him she couldn't come up just
Then Teddy began thinking of the Counterpane Fairy, and the stories she
had shown him. He wondered if she wouldn't come to see him to-day. She
always came when he was lonely, and he was quite sure he was getting
lonely now. Yes, he knew he was.
"Well," said a little voice just back of the counterpane hill, "it's not
quite so steep to-day, and that's a comfort." There was the little fairy
just appearing above the tops of his knees,--brown hood, brown cloak,
brown staff, and all. She sat down with her staff in her hand and nodded
to him, smiling. "Good-morning," she said.
"Good-morning," said Teddy. "Mrs. Fairy, I was wondering whether you
wouldn't like it if I kept my knees down, and then there wouldn't be any
"No," said the fairy, "I like to be up high so that I can look about me,
only it's hard climbing sometimes. Now, how about a story? Would you
like to see one to-day?"
"Oh, yes!" cried Teddy. "Indeed, I would."
"Then which square will you choose? Make haste, for I haven't much
"I think I'll take that red one," said Teddy.
"Very good," said the fairy, and then she began to count.
As she counted, the red square spread and glowed until it seemed to
Teddy that he was wrapped in a mist of ruddy light. Through it he heard
the voice of the Counterpane Fairy counting on and on, and as she
counted he heard, with her voice, another sound,--at first very
faintly, then more and more clearly: clink-clank! clink-clank!
clink-clank! It reminded him a little of the ticking of the clock on the
mantle, only it was more metallic.
"FORTY-NINE!" cried the Counterpane Fairy, clapping her hands.
* * * * * * * *
And now the sound rang loud and clear in Teddy's ears; it was the
beating of hammers upon anvils.
When Teddy looked about him he was standing on a road that ran along the
side of a mountain. All along this road were openings that looked like
the mouths of caverns, and from these openings poured the ceaseless
sound of beating, and a ruddy glow that reddened all the air and sky.
It all seemed very familiar to Teddy, and he had a feeling that he had
seen it before.
Stepping to the nearest cavern he looked in, and there he saw the whole
inside of the mountain was hollowed out into forges that opened into
each other be means of rocky arches. In every forge were little dwarfs
dressed in leather and hammering at pieces of red-hot iron that lay on
As Teddy stood looking in he was so tall that his head almost touched
the top of the doorway. He was dressed in a long red cloak, and under
that he wore a robe fastened about the waist with a girdle of rubies
that shone and sparkled in the light; upon his hand was a ruby ring. The
stone of the ring was turned inward toward the palm, but it was so
bright that the light shone through his fingers, and he drew his cloak
over his hand that the dwarfs might not see it, for it was not yet time
for them to know that he was King Fireheart.
After a while the iron that the little men were beating had to be put in
the fire again to heat, and then they turned and looked at Teddy.
"Good-day," said he.
"Good-day," answered the dwarfs, staring hard at him.
"What are you making there?" asked Teddy.
"A link," answered the dwarfs.
"A link!" said Teddy. "What for?"
"For a chain," answered the dwarfs, and then the iron was hot and they
took it out again and laid it on the anvil. Clink-clank! clink-clank!
clink-clank! went their hammers.
Teddy watched them at their work for a while, and then he went on to the
next forge, and there it was the same thing--more little dwarfs
hammering away at their anvils as if their lives depended on it.
"Good-day," said Teddy, as soon as they paused to heat the iron.
"Good-day," said the dwarfs.
"What are you making there?" asked Teddy.
"A link," answered the dwarfs.
"What for?" said Teddy.
"For a chain," answered the dwarfs, and then they set to work again.
Teddy went on and on through the forges, and in every one of them were
little dwarfs hammering away on links.
When he came to the last forge of all, they were just finishing a link,
and as they threw it into a tank of water a cloud of steam rose, almost
hiding them from view. They were so busy that they paid no attention to
Teddy when he spoke. "Make haste! Make haste!" they cried to each other.
"It is growing late and she will soon be here."
In a great hurry the dwarfs caught up the link from the water and laid
it on the anvil again, and then they all stood back from it. Every noise
has ceased through all the forges, and the dwarfs were waiting in
breathless stillness as though for something to happen.
Suddenly, in the silence, Teddy heard a faint tinkling as though of
icicles struck lightly together, and at the same moment he saw that a
woman all in white had entered the forge down at the other end. Her
dress shone with all different colors, just as icicles do when they hang
in the sunlight, and as the light of the fire caught it here and there,
it almost looked as though it were on fire. Her hair was very black, and
she wore a crown.
She stepped up to the anvil that was in the forge and laid her hand upon
it. She was too far away for Teddy to see what she did, but there was a
clink as of something breaking, and a low wail arose from the dwarfs
that stood near by. Then she passed on to the next anvil, and to the
next, and to the next, and at each one she paused and touched the link
that lay upon it, and always at that there was a clink, and a wail arose
from the dwarfs.
At last she came to the very forge where Teddy was, but he had drawn
back behind the stone archway and she did not see him. Gliding to the
anvil, she stretched out her white finger and laid it upon the link that
the dwarfs had made, and instantly, as soon as she touched it, the iron
flew into pieces with a clink.
The dwarfs burst into a low wail, but the woman with the crown struck
her hands together and stamped her foot in a rage. "Fools! fools!" she
cried. "Not yet one link that will not fly into pieces at a touch. But
you shall make the chain, though it should take your very hearts to do
Then, still scowling until her beautiful face was like a thunder-cloud,
and without a single glance at the trembling dwarfs, she glided from the
forge and was gone.
The dwarf who held the pincers drew his arm across his forehead to wipe
off the sweat. "Come," said he, "let us set to work, for now it's all to
be done over again."
"But tell me first," said Teddy, "what does this all mean, and who is
this woman with a crown who comes and breaks your links with a touch as
soon as you have finished them?"
"Ah! that is a long, sad story," said the dwarf who held the pincers.
"Yes, it is a long, sad story," echoed the others. "You tell him,
Leatherkin," they added.
"Well," said Leatherkin, sitting down on a rock that lay close by, "it's
this way. This mountain where we live is only one of many that are
called the Fire Mountains, because their rocks are so red, and because
they are all full of forges. Here we dwarfs used to live happily enough,
for our good King Fireheart was so rich and strong that no one dared to
make war on us, and we were left in peace to do what we would.
"King Fireheart, however, was not contented, for he wanted to see the
world, so one day he set out on a journey, no one knew whither, leaving
the country in the charge of his foster-brother.
"While he was away the Ice-Queen came with all her white spearsmen and
attacked the country and conquered it. Then she set us all to work, for
she knew that in all the world there were no such smiths as the dwarfs
of the Fire King's country, and not until we have forged her the magic
chain that binds all but one's self will she set us free to go about out
own affairs again.
"That is why we are all working to forge the links, and if we could but
make one that would stand so much as a touch of her finger we would have
hopes of making it, but so far not one has been made but what flies into
pieces at her lightest touch.
"But there," he added; "we must set to work, for the days are all too
short for what we have to do."
"Wait a bit," said Teddy, "I should like to have a stroke at that chain
myself. Will you lend me a hammer and let me try?"
"No, no," cried the dwarfs, shaking their heads. "We have no time to
waste in lending out hammers and anvil."
"Look!" said Teddy, taking off his ruby girdle and holding it out to
them. "You shall have this if you will let me try."
The dwarfs' eyes glittered, and they took the girdle and all crowded
around to look and handle it, for they had never seen such fine rubies
before, not even down in the middle of the earth; and at last they told
Teddy that they would lend him their hammers awhile in exchange for the
ruby girdle. "Though what can you do with them?" they said, "for look at
your hands; they are white and smooth, and not hairy and strong like
"Never you mind," said Teddy, "for sometimes white, smooth hands can do
the work that others can't," and he took one of their hammers in his
hand as he spoke.
"What will you have to work with?" they asked.
"Oh, anything at all," said Teddy, "if it is no more than an old nail,
so that it is something to begin with."
The dwarfs laughed, and picking up an old nail that was on the floor
they laid it upon the anvil.
Then Teddy raised the hammer, and the ruby of the ring he wore throbbed
and burned until his hand was hot, and his arm was so strong that the
hammer was like a feather in his grasp.
As he beat and turned the nail he sang, and it seemed to him that the
fire sang with him, clear and thin, and sounding like the voice of the
"Hammer and turn!
The fire must burn,
The coals must glow,
The bellows blow.
Beat, good hammer, loud and fast;
So the chain will be made at last.
We forge the link.
My hammer bold,
This chain must hold.
The snow shall melt, the ice fly fast,
For the magic chain is wrought at last."
With these words Teddy threw down the hammer and lifted the chain he had
made, and it was as thin as a hair, as light as a breath, and yet so
strong that no power on earth could break it.
The dwarfs sprang forward with a shout and caught the chain in their
crooked fingers. "Wonderful! wonderful!" they cried. "It is indeed the
magic chain that we have been trying to make for all these years. Who
are you, wonderful stranger, for there is no smith among all the dwarfs
who can do what you have done?"
Then without a word Teddy raised his hand, and held it up with the palm
turned toward them so that they saw the ruby in his ring, and when they
saw it they shouted again in their wonder and joy. "It is King Fireheart
himself come back to rule the country!"
Then all the dwarfs, even from the farthest forges, came running up and
gathered about the archway of the forge where Teddy stood, and when they
saw that it was indeed King Fireheart they shouted and leaped and threw
their caps up into the air.
When they had grown quieter Teddy bade them take him to the Ice-Queen,
so all the dwarfs led him out, and up the mountain, on and on, until
they came to a great castle built of ice, but ruddy with the cold light
of the aurora borealis that shone behind it.
They went into the hall, past the rows of white spearsmen, and when the
spearsmen would have stopped them the dwarfs told them that they were
carrying the magic chain that binds all but one's self to the Queen, and
so they let the little men pass on, but all the while Teddy kept the
ruby ring hidden under his cloak.
At last they came to the great chamber, where the Queen sat on a
magnificent throne of ice, and when she saw the crowd she started to her
feet. "Have you brought it? Have you brought it?" she cried eagerly.
"Have you brought me the magic chain?"
"Yes," shouted the dwarfs all together, "we have brought it."
Then they stood still, and Teddy went on up the steps along.
"Where is it?" asked the Queen, and she stretched out her hands.
"It is here," said Teddy. Very slowly he drew it out from under his
cloak, and then suddenly he threw it over her. "And now take it!" he
It was in vain that the Queen struggled and cried; the more she strove,
the closer the chain drew about her, for it was a magic chain. At last
she stood still, panting. "Who are you?" she asked.
Then Teddy raised his hand, holding it open so that she could see the
ruby. "I am King Fireheart," he cried; "and now take your own real
shape, wicked enchantress that you are."
At these words the black-browed Queen gave a cry that changed, even as
she uttered it, to a croak, and a moment after she was nothing but a
great black raven that spread its wings, and flew away over the heads of
the dwarfs, out of the window and on out of sight.
Then Teddy turned and walked out of the great ice-chamber and down the
hall, followed in silence by the dwarfs. As he went, the spearsmen
started forward to lay hands upon him, but as soon as they saw the ruby
ring they stood, every man stiffened just as he was, some leaning
forward with outstretched arm, some with their spears lifted, some with
their mouths open, but all of them turned to ice.
When Teddy and the dwarfs had reached the mountain road again they
turned and looked back toward the castle.
A warm south wind was blowing, and the aurora borealis had faded away.
Already the castle was beginning to melt; the spires and turrets were
softening and dripping down. There was a warm red light over everything,
like the light of the rising sun.
"And now," cried the dwarfs, "will your Majesty come up to your own
"Yes," answered Teddy, "I will come."
* * * * * * *
"Quick! quick!" cried the Counterpane Fairy. "It's time to come back."
Teddy was at home once more. There was the flowered furniture, and the
fire burning red upon the hearth. "Tick-tock! tick-tock! tick-tock!"
said the clock.
"I must go," cried the fairy, hastily, "for I heard your little cousin
opening and shutting the side door."
"Oh, wait!" cried Teddy. "Won't you wait and let her see you too?" But
the fairy was already disappearing behind the counterpane hill. All he
could see was the top of her pointed hood. Then that too disappeared.
The door was thrown open and Harriett came running in bringing a breath
of fresh out-of-doors air with her. Her cheeks were red, and she looked
very pretty in her embroidered apron and pink ribbons.
THE RAINBOW CHILDREN.
IT was Sunday afternoon, and everything was very still.
Teddy had been allowed to sit up that morning for the first time since
he had been ill. He had put on the little blue dressing-gown that mamma
had made for him, and she was so funny about getting him into it, and
wheeling the chair over to the window, that Teddy had laughed and
After that he sat at the window looking out and watching the chickens in
the yard below, and the people going along the street.
Teddy's mamma was going to church, but his father stayed home with the
little boy, and told him stories, and drew pictures with a blue pencil
on a writing-pad; pictures of "David Killing Goliath," and of "Daniel in
the Lions' Den."
Then he drew a picture of the house in the real country where he and
mamma and Teddy were going to live some time--a house with a barn, and
horses, and cows, and pigs, and a pony that Teddy could ride when he
came in to town to school.
The morning flew by so quickly that the little boy was surprised when
mamma came back from church, and said it was almost time for luncheon.
She looked at the pictures that papa had drawn, and smiled when Teddy
told her about them; but very soon she began to talk seriously with
papa. She told him she had stopped in at Mrs. McFinney's on her way
home, and that she had been wondering whether something couldn't be done
for little Ellen McFinney's lameness. She felt so sorry for her.
Papa said the child ought to be sent to a hospital, and he thought that
if that were done she could be cured. Mamma said that she thought so
too; but that someone had been talking to little Ellen, and frightened
her so that she cried whenever the hospital was talked of, and her
mother would not send her unless she felt willing to go.
Then mamma spoke of how lonely it must be for the little girl there in
the house by herself all the day, while her mother was out at work, with
so little to amuse her.
"Mamma," said Teddy, "why can't little Ellen have some of my books to
amuse her--some I had when I was sick? Because, you know, I'm well now,
and don't need them any more."
"That's a very good idea," said mamma, looking pleased. "You may choose
the ones you will give her, and perhaps papa will leave them with her
when he goes out for a walk this afternoon."
"Well," cried Teddy, eagerly, "I think I'll give her the Ali Baba book
and Robinson Crusoe, and I think, maybe, I'll give her Little Golden
Mamma brought the books, and they tied them up in a neat package, and
just as they finished there was a little rattle of china outside the
door, and in came Hannah with Teddy's luncheon, and a great yellow
orange that Aunt Pauline had sent him.
After luncheon mamma made Teddy lie down for a while to rest. The
Venetian shutters were drawn, so that all the room was dimly green, and
then mamma and papa went out and left him alone.
Teddy lay there for what seemed to him a long time. The house was very
still, and the afternoon sun shone in through the slats of the shutters
in golden chinks and lines.
Teddy wondered where mamma was, and why she didn't come back, for it
seemed to him that he had been alone almost all the afternoon, though
really it had not been for long.
Presently he heard someone humming cheerfully back of the counterpane
hill, and as soon as he heard it he felt sure that the Counterpane Fairy
must be coming.
Sure enough in a few minutes she appeared at the top and stood looking
down at him with a pleasant smile. "Oh, Mrs. Fairy, I knew that was
you!" cried Teddy.
"Did you?" said the fairy, sitting down on top of his knees. "And then
did you think, 'Now I shall see another story'?"
"Oh, yes!" cried Teddy, eagerly. 'I hoped you would show me one."
"Then I suppose I'll have to," said the fairy. "And what square shall
it be this time?"
"There's one close by you," said Teddy, "and it's most every color, like
a rainbow. Will you show me that story?"
"Yes," said the fairy, "I'll show you that. Now fix your eyes on it."
Then she began to count.
"FORTY-NINE!" she cried.
* * * * * * * *
Teddy and little Ellen McFinney were running along, hand in hand, over a
rainbow that stretched across the shining sky like a bridge. The clouds
above them shone like opals, and far, far below was the green world,
with shining rivers, and houses that looked no larger than walnuts.
"Can't we run fast?" said Teddy. "I think we go as fast as an express
train; don't you, Ellen?"
"I know a faster way to go than this," said the little girl.
"Yes, I do. Let go of my hand, and I'll show you." She drew her hand
away from Teddy, and very slowly she leaned back against the air as
though it were a pillow, then she gave herself a little push with her
feet, and away she floated so lightly and easily that Teddy could hardly
keep up with her.
"Oh, Ellen!" cried Teddy, "will you teach me to do that?"
"Yes, I will," said Ellen. So she stood up and showed Teddy how to take
a long breath, and how to push himself, and then he found he could do it
quite well, and when Ellen began to float too, they could go along
together hand in hand just as they had before.
Suddenly a thought crossed Teddy's mind, and he cried, "Why, Ellen, I
thought you were lame!"
"So I am," said the little girl.
"But you can run and float."
"Yes, I know, but that's because I'm dreaming."
"Why, no, Ellen, you can't be dreaming," said Teddy, "for I'm here too."
"Well, I don't know," said Ellen, "but I think I'm dreaming, because
I've often dreamed this way before."
Teddy thought of this for a little while, but it was not pleasant to
think that he was in a dream. After a while he said: "Ellen, don't you
know, if you're lame you ought to go to a hospital? My mamma says so,
and my papa says so too."
An ugly expression came into Ellen's face. "That's all you know about
it," she cried. "You don't catch me going to a hospital. Why, I heard of
a girl that went to a hospital and--"
She was interrupted by a soft burst of laughter, and looking about Teddy
saw that he and she had floated right into midst of a group of little
children, who were running along the rainbow bridge. They were all such
pretty little children, with soft shining faces and bare feet, but they
did not quite look like any children that Teddy had ever seen before.
Each little child carried in its hand a bunch of flowers, and they were
such flowers as the little boy had never dreamed of. Some of them moved
on their stalks, opening and closing their petals softly like the wings
of butterflies, some shone like jewels, and some seemed to change and
throb as if with a hidden pulse of life.
Ellen, who had stopped floating, caught Teddy by the coat and hung back
timidly when she saw the children, but Teddy spoke to the one nearest to
him. "Where did you get your flowers?" he asked.
"From the garden at the other end of the rainbow," said the little
child, smiling at him.
"Give me one?"
"Oh, no, I can't!" answered the child, staring at him with big eyes.
"They're for someone else."
"Whom are they for?"
"You can come along and see."
"Oh, say," whispered Ellen to Teddy, "let's go back!" But Teddy
answered: "No, no! Come on and see where they're going." So Ellen
reluctantly followed him, and they joined the other little children
journeying along the rainbow.
The strange little children seemed very happy, and they laughed and
talked together in their soft, clear voices, though Teddy could not
always understand what they said. He could understand best the little
boy to whom he had spoken first. Teddy asked him again where they were
going, and this time the little boy (he seemed to be the captain of the
band) told him that they were going down to the earth. He said that
every week they had a holiday, and then they crossed the rainbow bridge,
and carried the flowers from their flower-beds down to the little earth
"But what little children?" asked Teddy, curiously.
"Oh, you'll see!" answered the little boy, laughing, and then he began
to talk with the others, and Teddy could no longer understand him.
It was not long after this that Teddy saw before him the end of the
rainbow, and where should it go but right through the window of a great
square yellow house, set back of a high wall and in the middle of a
"Oh dear! we can't get to the end of it after all," cried Teddy, and the
next thing he knew the little children were walking through the window
just as if nothing were there, and he and Ellen were following them.
"Where are we?" asked Ellen, looking about her, half frightened and yet
"I can't think," said Teddy. "Seems as if I knew, but I can't think."
They were in a long, bare, clean room, and on each side of it were rows
of little white beds, and in each bed lay or sat a little child. A few
of the children were asleep, most of them were awake, but all looked
pale and thin. Here and there at the sides of the beds grown-up people
were sitting, sometimes showing the children pictures or books, and
sometimes reading to them.
The children from the rainbow walked slowly up the aisle between the row
of beds, and, strangely enough, no one seemed to look at them or pay the
least attention, any more than if they had not been there, and at last
Teddy began to believe that they could not see them.
Often the little strange children stopped to smooth a pillow or to
softly stroke the cheek or hand of one of the little earth children.
Here and there one would linger behind the others, by some bed, and
after a moment would lay its bunch of flowers on the pillow. Then the
little child in the bed would turn its head and smile, even if it were
asleep, and its face would shine as if with some inward happiness. The
whole room seemed filled with the perfume of flowers, and Teddy wondered
that no one paid any attention to it.
At last they came to a bed where a little child was lying fast asleep,
and a woman was sitting beside the child and fanning it. Suddenly its
eyes opened, and the moment they turned toward the rainbow children,
Teddy knew that it saw them.
It lay looking for a moment and then it smiled and feebly tried to wave
its hand. "What is it, dear?" asked the woman, bending over the child,
but it paid no attention to her, for it was gazing at the rainbow
"Oh, he sees us! he sees us!" they cried, clapping their hands joyfully.
"He'll be coming across the rainbow soon."
Then the rainbow children gathered about the bed and began talking to
the child, but Teddy could not understand what they said to it. The
little child on the bed seemed to understand them though, and it smiled
and tried to nod its head.
"Come soon! Come soon!" cried the little children, waving their hands to
it as they moved away, and the eyes of the child on the bed followed
them wistfully, as though it were eager to follow.
Teddy and Ellen still went with the other little children, and a moment
after they were out on the rainbow bridge again, high up above the
world, but they were alone, for the little strange children were gone.
Ellen stood still and drew a long breath. "Oh! wasn't that lovely?" she
sighed. "I wonder where it was!"
"I know where it was!" cried Teddy suddenly. "I remember now, for I saw
a picture of it in one of papa's magazines. That was a hospital, Ellen."
"A hospital!" cried the little girl.
"Yes, a hospital."
Ellen did not say anything for some time, but at last she drew another
deep breath. "Well, if that's a hospital I shouldn't mind going to a
place like that," she said.
The rainbow had faded away, and Teddy was back in the great high-post
bedstead again, with the silk coverlet drawn up over his knees, and the
Counterpane Fairy still sitting on top of the hill. Teddy lay looking at
her for a while in silence. "Mrs. Fairy, was that a true story like the
others?" he asked her at last.
"How should I know?" asked the fairy. "Do I look as though I knew
anything about rainbow children? You'd better ask Ellen McFinney; maybe
she can tell you."
"Well, I will," said Teddy. "I mean to ask her just as soon as ever I'm
He did not have to wait for that, however, for the very next day his
mother told him that little Ellen had at last consented to be taken to
the hospital, and that perhaps when he saw the little girl again she
would be able to walk and run about almost like other children.
TEDDY had begged mamma to ask Harriett to come over and play with him
after school, but not to tell her that now he was no longer in bed, so
when the little girl came running in she was very much surprised. "Why,
Teddy, you're well again, aren't you?" she cried.
"Yes, now I'm well again," said Teddy "and mamma says we may each have a
little sponge-cake, and she's going to let us blow soap-bubbles. Would
you like to blow soap-bubbles, Harriett?"
"Yes, I guess so," said Harriett.
So mamma made them a bowl of strong suds, and brought out two pipes, and
the children played together very happily for quite a time. Sometimes
they threw the bubbles into the air and tried to blow them up to the
ceiling; sometimes the children put their pipes close together, so that
the bubbles they blew were joined in one lopsided globe.
Last of all they set the bowl on a chair, and kneeling beside it put
their pipes into the suds, and blew and blew until quite a soap-bubble
castle rose up and touched their noses with wet suds.
Teddy felt a little tired and soapy by that time, so mamma put all the
things away, and read them some stories from Grimm's Fairy Tales.
After that Harriett said she must go home, and indeed it was almost
supper-time, so mamma helped her put on her little hat and coat and
kissed her good-bye.
Teddy was very tired by the time supper was over; he felt quite willing
to be put to bed, and as soon as he was there he sank into a doze.
When he awoke again he was alone; it was quite dark outside, but mamma
had set a lamp behind the screen. By its dim light Teddy saw the
Counterpane Fairy's brown hood appearing above the hill, and he heard
her sighing to herself: "Oh dear! oh dear!"
"Oh, Mrs. Fairy!" cried the little boy, almost before she had reached
the top of the hill, "I'm so glad you've come, for I don't know when
mamma will be here. Won't you show me a story?"
"In a minute! in a minute!" said the fairy. "As soon as I can catch my
Teddy was so afraid that mamma would come in that he could hardly wait,
and when the Counterpane Fairy told him that she was ready and that he
might choose a square, he made haste and pointed out a silvery gray one.
Then the fairy began to count. "FORTY-NINE!" she cried.
* * * * * * * *
Teddy was walking down a long, smooth, gray road. There was a silvery
mist all about him, so that it was almost as though he were walking
through the sky, and the road seemed to begin and end in grayness.
He knew that somewhere behind him lay his home, and that in front was
the place where he was going, but he did not know what that place was.
At last he reached the edge of a wide gray lake as smooth and as shining
as glass. Beside him on the beach a little gray bird was crouching.
"Peet-weet! peet-weet!" cried the little gray bird.
It was so close to Teddy's feet that it seemed to him that with a single
movement he could stoop and catch it. Very softly he reached out his
hand and the little bird did not stir. "Peet-weet! peet-weet!" it cried.
Suddenly with a quick movement he clutched it. For a moment he thought
that he felt it in his fingers, all feathery and soft and warm, and then
the voice of the Counterpane Fairy cried, "Take care! you're rumpling my
Teddy dropped the bird as though it had burned him, and there it was not
a bird at all, but the Counterpane Fairy, who stood smoothing down her
cloak and frowning. "Oh! I didn't know that was you; I thought it was a
bird," cried Teddy.
"A bird!" cried the fairy. "Do I look like a bird?"
Teddy thought that she did, for her nose was long and thin, and her eyes
were bright like those of a sparrow, but he did not like to say so. All
he said was, "I wonder why I came here?" for now he knew that this was
the place that he had been coming to.
"I suppose you came to see the dreams go by," said the Counterpane
Fairy. "I often come for that myself."
"The dreams go by!" said Teddy. "I don't know what you mean."
"Do you see that castle over yonder?" asked the fairy, pointing out
across the lake. Teddy looked as hard as he could, and after a while he
thought he did see the shadowy roofs and turrets of a great gray castle
through the mist.
"I think I do," he said.
"Well," said the fairy, "that is where the dreams live, and every
evening they go sailing past here, on their way to the people who are
asleep, and I generally come down to see them go by. Look! look! There
goes one now."
A little boat, as pale and light as a bubble, was gliding through the
mist; in it was seated a gray figure, and as it passed the island it
turned its face toward them and waved a shadowy hand. Presently two more
boats slid silently by, and then another. "Oh, I know that dream!" cried
Teddy; "I dreamed that dream once myself."
Now there was a little pause, and then the dreams began to go past so
fast that Teddy lost count of them.
At last one of the boats gilded out of the line of the rest, and over
toward where Teddy was standing, running up smoothly onto the gray
beach, and out of it hopped a queer, ugly little dream, with pop eyes
and big hands and feet. As soon as he found himself on shore he cut a
caper and cracked his shadowy fingers.
"Who are you?" asked Teddy, curiously.
"Oh, I'm just a dream," said the little figure.
"Well, what are you coming here for?" asked Teddy; "I'm not asleep."
"I know you're not," said the dream, "and I'm not coming to you. I'm
going to a little girl named Harriett."
"Oh, I know her!" cried Teddy. "She's my cousin. But why are you her
dream? You're not pretty."
"I know I'm not pretty," answered the dream, "and that's why I'm going
to her. She was to have had such a pretty dream to-night, but she ate a
piece of plum-cake before she went to bed, so now I'm going to her
instead of the other one."
"What was the other one like?" asked Teddy.
"There it is," said the dream, pointing toward the boat. And now Teddy
saw that another gray figure was in it. As he looked, it slowly and
sorrowfully stepped from the boat and came up the beach toward them. It
was very beautiful, and in its hand it carried a great bunch of shining
bubbles, fastened to a stick by parti-colored ribbons, just as Teddy had
seen Italians carrying balloons, only these bubble-balloons were growing
and shrinking and changing every moment, just as though they were alive.
As she came toward them the ugly dream frowned and shook his hands at
her. "Go away! Go away!" he cried. "There's no use your following me
around this way. You sha'n't be dreamed to-night."
"I think you might let me go into her dream with you,' said the pretty
dream, sorrowfully. "She didn't know she oughtn't to eat the plum-cake."
"Well, you sha'n't," said the ugly dream. "She ain't going to have any
dream but me, and I'm going to look just as ugly as I can. I'm going to
do this way," and the naughty little dream put his thumbs in the corners
of his mouth, drawing it wide, and at the same time drew down the
outside corners of his eyes with his forefingers, just as Teddy had seen
the boys at school do sometimes. Then the dream hopped up into the air
and cut a caper. "Ho, ho!" he cried, "won't it be fun? You can come
along and see me frighten her, if you want to." This last he said to
Teddy thought him a very naughty, ugly-tempered little dream, but still
he went with him, wondering all the time how he could induce him to let
the pretty dream go to Harriett, and as they walked up the road together
the pretty dream still followed them, carrying her bunch of bubbles.
They went on and on, until they came to a place where the ground was
rough, and broken up with a number of black holes. The ugly dream went
from one to another of these, pausing, and laying his ear to their
"What are you doing?" asked Teddy.
"Hush! can't you see I'm listening?" said the dream crossly.
At last, after pausing at one of them, he turned to Teddy and nodded his
head. "This is it," he said; "this is where Harriett lives."
"Why, it isn't at all!" cried Teddy, indignantly. "My cousin Harriett
doesn't live in a hole! She lives in a great big house with doors and
"Well, anyway, this is her chimney," said the dream, "and it's the only
way to get into her house from here. If you want to come, come; and if
you don't want to, why, stay," and the dream sat down on the edge of the
Teddy hesitated. "If I went down that way, I think I'd fall and hurt
myself," he said at last.
"Pooh! No, you wouldn't if you took my hand," said the dream. "I always
go this way, and it's as easy as anything."
So Teddy sat down on the edge of the hole, and grasped the dream's
shadowy fingers in his. Then they pushed themselves off the edge, and
down they went through the darkness.
Teddy felt so frightened for a minute that he quite lost his breath, but
he held on tight to the dream's fingers, and soon they landed, as softly
and lightly as a feather, right in the nursery of Aunt Paulina's house,
and the pretty dream was still following them.
"And now begins the fun," whispered the dream.
The house was very still, for everyone was fast asleep. The moon shone
in through the window, making the room bright, and beyond the open
closet door Teddy could see the toys all arranged in order just as
Harriett had left them, (for she was a tidy little girl), and Harriett
herself was tucked into her little white bed in the room beyond.
Teddy felt so sorry to think of her having such an ugly dream that he
stood still. "You won't frighten her very much, will you?" he asked.
"Yes, I shall!" said the ugly dream. "I'll frighten her just as much as
ever I can; I'll make her cry."
"No, you mustn't," said Teddy, almost crying himself. "I won't let you."
"You can't help it," cried the dream, tauntingly.
Suddenly a bright thought came into Teddy's mind. "Anyway, you're not so
very ugly," he said. "Harriet has a Jack-in-the-box that's a great
deal--oh! ever so much uglier than you."
"I don't believe it," said the dream.
"Yes, she has," said Teddy; "and it's right there in the closet."
"Then I'll get it, and make myself look like it." With that the dream
crawled into the closet, and pushed back the hook of the box where Jack
lived, and pop! up shot the most hideous little man that ever was seen,
with a bright red face and white whiskers. "Hi! he is ugly!" cried the
dream with delight, and sitting down before the box he began to make his
face like the Jack's.
Then softly and quickly Teddy closed the closet door, and turned the key
in the lock, fastening the dream in. "Hi there! let me out! let me out!"
cried the dream, beating softly on the door with its shadowy hands.
"No, I won't," cried Teddy. "You can just stay in there, you ugly dream,
for the pretty dream is going to Harriett now." Then he turned to the
pretty dream and took her by the hand, and her face shone as brightly as
one of her own bubbles.
Together they ran into Harriett's room, and there she lay in her little
white bed, with her eyes closed and her curls spread out over the
pillow, and when they came in she smiled in her sleep.
The dream shook the bubbles above the bed, and the dimples came into
Harriett's cheeks. "Oh! pretty, pretty!" she whispered with her eyes
still closed. "Oh, Teddy? isn't it pretty?"
"Yes, it is pretty!" cried Teddy.
* * * * * * * *
"Did you call me, dear?" asked mamma, opening the door.
Teddy was back in his own room, and all he could see of the Counterpane
Fairy was the tip of her brown hood disappearing behind the counterpane
hill, and that was gone in an instant.
"Oh, Mamma! it was such a pretty dream," cried Teddy.
"Was it, darling?" said mamma. "Try to go to sleep again, dear, for it
is very late, and you can tell me all about it to-morrow. Good-night, my
DOWN THE RAT-HOLE.
THE next day Teddy was allowed to go about and follow mamma into the
sewing-room, where he had the little cutting-table drawn out and his
toys put on it, and played for a long time.
In the afternoon Harriett stopped for a little while, and as soon as
Teddy saw her his thoughts went back to the Counterpane Fairy and the
story, and he cried out: "Oh, Harriett! I know what you dreamed last
"What did I dream?" asked Harriett.
"Why, you dreamed about the soap-bubbles and me; didn't you?"
"How did you know I dreamed that?" asked Harriett.
Then Teddy told her all about standing by the lake and seeing the dreams
go past, and how he had shut the ugly one up in the toy-closet.
Harriett listened with great interest. "Wasn't that a funny dream?" she
cried when he had ended.
"A dream!" said Teddy. "Why, that wasn't a dream, Harriett. That's the
story the Counterpane Fairy showed me. And don't you know you did dream
about the bubbles?"
Harriet was silent awhile as if pondering it, and then she said, "My
canary-bird flew away this morning."
"Who let it out?" asked Teddy, with interest. "Did you?"
Harriett hesitated. "Well, I didn't exactly let it out," she said. "I
guess I forgot to close the door after I cleaned its cage." Then she
added hastily: "But mamma hung the cage outside the window, and she says
she thinks maybe it'll come back unless someone has caught it."
Teddy wanted to hear a great deal more about the canary, but Harriett
said she must go now, so he was left alone again to play with his toys.
After dinner his mother went down-town to buy a present for Harriett,
for the next day was to be the little girl's birthday. Teddy wanted to
get her a bag of marbles, but she thought perhaps she would be able to
find something Harriett would like better than that. She would look
about and see.
Before she went she made Teddy lie down on the bed, and covered him over
with the silk quilt, so that he might rest for a while. Then she kissed
him and told him to try to take a nap, and promised to be back soon.
After she had gone Teddy dozed comfortably for a while. Then he grew
wide awake again, and turning over on his back he raised his knees into
a hill, and lay looking out of the window, and wondering when mamma
would come home, and what she would bring with her.
"You're not asleep, are you?' asked a little voice from his knees.
"Oh, Counterpane Fairy, I'm so glad you've come," cried Teddy, "for
mamma has gone down-town, and I was just beginning to get lonely."
There was the familiar little figure in the brown cloak and hood, seated
on top of the counterpane hill, and as he spoke she looked down on him
smilingly. "I suppose the next thing will be a story," she said.
"Oh! will you show me one?" cried Teddy. "I wish you would, for I don't
know when mamma will be home."
"Very well," said the fairy. "Perhaps I can show you one before she
comes back. Which square shall it be this time?"
"I've had the red, and the yellow, and the green, and ever so many: I
wonder if that brown one has a good story to it."
"You might choose it and see," said the fairy. So Teddy chose that one,
and then the fairy began to count. "One, two, three, four, five," she
counted, and so on and on until she reached "FORTY-NINE!"
* * * * * * * *
"Why, how funny!" cried Teddy.
He was nowhere at all but on the back door-step, and he sat there just
as naturally as though he were not in a story at all. Then the back gate
opened, and in through it came a little withered old woman, wearing a
brown cloak, and a brown hood drawn over her head. "Why, Counterpane
Fairy!" cried Teddy, but when she raised her head and looked at him he
saw that it was not the Counterpane Fairy after all, but an old Italian
woman carrying a basket on her arm.
"You buy something, leetle boy?" she said.
"I can't," said Teddy. "I haven't any money except what's in my bank,
but I'll ask Hannah and maybe she will."
So saying he ran into the kitchen. The clock was ticking on the wall,
and the room smelled of fresh-baked bread, but it was empty. Opening the
door of the stairway, Teddy called, "Hannah! Hannah!" There was no
answer; it all seemed strangely still upstairs. "She must have gone
out," Teddy said to himself.
When he went back to the outside door the old Italian had put down her
basket and was sitting on the step beside it. She did not seem at all
surprised when he told her he could not find anyone. "You not find
anyone, and you not have money," she said. "Then I tell you what I do;
you put your hand in dis baskit, and I give you what you take; I make
what you call 'present.'"
"Will you really?" cried Teddy.
"Yis," said the little old woman, smiling, and her smile was just like
the smile of the Counterpane Fairy.
"And you'll give me whatever I take?"
"Yis," said the little old woman again.
Teddy put his hand in under the cover and caught hold of something hard
and cold. He pulled and pulled at it, and out it came; it was a little
"You take something more," said the little old woman. Teddy hesitated,
but when he looked at her again he saw that she really meant it, so he
put his hand in and this time he pulled out a large iron key.
"Now try once more," said the little old woman, and this third time it
was a rat-trap baited with cheese, that Teddy drew from the basket.
"But what shall I do with them?" he asked.
"You keep dem," said the old Italian, "and you find you need dem by and
by." Then she rose, and pulling her cloak over the basket she took her
staff in her other hand and hobbled down the pathway.
Teddy slipped the key into his pocket, and holding the shovel and the
trap he ran down to the gate to open it for her. He stood looking after
her as she went on down the street, her staff striking the bricks
sharply, tap! tap! tap! Her back was certainly exactly like the
As he walked slowly up the path swinging his shovel by the handle, he
noticed that there was a rat-hole just back of the rain-butt, and he
thought what fun it would be to dig it out, so he put the cage down on
the ground and set to work with his shovel.
The earth broke away from the rat-hole in great clods, and he found it
so easy to dig that very soon he had made quite a big hole.
Then he saw that down in this hole there was a flight of stone steps
leading into the earth. "Why, isn't that funny!" said Teddy. "Right in
the back yard, too. I wonder where they go!"
Tucking the shovel under his arm and taking the trap in his hand, Teddy
stepped into the rat-hole and began to go down the stairs.
He went on down and down and down, and at last he came to an iron door,
and it was locked. Teddy tried it and knocked, but there was no answer.
He listened with his ear against it, but he heard nothing, and he was
just about to turn and go up the stairs again, when he remembered the
key the little old woman had given him.
He pulled it out of his pocket, and when he tried it in the keyhole it
fitted exactly. He turned it, the door flew open, and Teddy stepped
Beyond was a cave, just such as he had often wished he could live in,
with a rough table and chair, old kegs, and a heap of rubbish in one
corner. On each side of the cave was a heavy door studded with iron
nails. "I will just see where these doors lead to," said Teddy to
himself, laying his trap and his shovel behind one of the kegs.
As he reached the first door and put his hand on it he heard someone
singing the other side of it as sweetly and clearly as a bird, and this
is what the voice sang:
"In field and meadow the grasses grow;
The clouds are white and the winds they blow.
Out in the world there is much to see,
If I were but free! If I were but free!
"My wings were bright and my wings were strong;
I plumed myself and I sang a song:
Where is the hero to rescue me,
And set me free? And set me free?"
The song ended and Teddy opened the door.
Within was another room that looked almost like the first, only there
was a fireplace in it, and in front of this fireplace a young girl was
As soon as Teddy opened the door she looked over her shoulder, and when
she saw him she sprang to her feet with a glad cry and clasped her
hands. "Oh!" she cried, "have you come to rescue me?"
"Who are you?" asked Teddy, wondering at her.
She was very beautiful. Her eyes were as bright and black as a sloe, her
hair shone like threads of pure gold, and she wore a long cloak of
golden feathers over her shoulders.
When Teddy spoke she answered him, "I am Avis, the Bird-maiden."
"And how did you come here?" asked Teddy.
Then the Bird-maiden told him how she used to live in a golden castle
that was all her own; how she ate from crystal dishes and bathed every
morning in a little marble bath-tub, and had nothing to do all day but
swing in her golden swing and sing for her own pleasure. But after a
while she grew tired of all this and began to wonder what the outside
world was like, and one the day the sun was so bright and the air so
sweet that she left her home and flew out into the wide, wide world.
That was all very pleasant until she grew tired and sat down on a stone
to rest. Then a great brown robber came and caught her and carried her
down into his den, and there he kept her a prisoner in spite of her
tears and prayers, and there she must wait on him and keep his house in
order; every day he went out and left her along, coming back loaded down
with food or golden treasure that he had stolen.
"But why don't you run away?" asked Teddy. "I would."
"Alas! I can't," said the Bird-maiden, "for whenever the robber-magician
goes out he locks the door after him, and I have no key to open it."
Then Teddy told her that he had a key that would unlock the door and
that he would save her.
The Bird-maiden was very glad, but she said they must make haste, for it
was almost time for the robber to come home; so she wrapped her cloak
around her, and Teddy took her by the hand and together they ran to the
They had hardly reached the outer cave, however, when Teddy heard a loud
bang that echoed and re-echoed from the walls.
"Alas! Alas!" cried the Bird-maiden, shrinking back and beginning to
wring her hands, "we are too late. There comes the robber, and now we
will never escape."
She had scarcely said this when in marched the robber-magician sure
enough. He wore a great soft hat pulled down over his face, and he had a
long brown nose and little black beads of eyes. His mustache stuck out
on each side like swords, and he carried a great sack over his shoulder.
The robber-magician threw the sack down on the floor and frowned at
Teddy from under his hat. "How now!" he cried. "Who's this who has come
down into my cavern without even so much as a 'by your leave'?"
Teddy felt rather frightened, but he spoke up bravely. "I'm Teddy," he
said, "and I didn't know this was your cave. I thought it was just a
"A rat-hole!" cried the robber-magician, bursting into a roar of
laughter. "A rat-hole! My cave a rat-hole! Ho! ho! ho!'
"Yes, I did," said Teddy, "and I didn't know it was yours, but if you
want me to go I will."
"Not so fast," said the robber. "Sometimes it is easier to come into my
cave than to go out, and you must sit down and have some supper with me
now that you are here."
Teddy was quite willing to do that, for he was really hungry, so he and
the robber drew chairs up to the table, and the Bird-maiden, at a
gesture from the robber, picked up the sack that he had thrown upon the
ground, and out from it she drew some pieces of bread and some bits of
cold meat. It did not look particularly good, but it seemed to be all
there was, so when the robber began to eat Teddy helped himself too.
The robber-magician did not take off his hat, and he ate very fast;
after a while he leaned back in his chair and began to tell Teddy what a
great magician he was, and about his treasure chamber.
"There," he said, "is where I keep my gold. I have gold, and gold, and
gold, great bars and lumps and crusts of gold, all piled up in my
treasure chamber." At last he rose, pushed back his chair, and bade
Teddy follow him and he should see how great and rich he was.
Leading the way across the cave, he unlocked the third door, and
flinging it open stepped back so that Teddy might look in. As he opened
it a very curious smell came out.
Teddy stared and stared about the treasure chamber. "But where is the
gold?" he said.
"There, right before your eyes," said the robber. "Don't you see it?"
"Why, that isn't gold. That's nothing but cheese," cried Teddy.
"Cheese! cheese!" cried the robber-magician, stamping his foot in a
rage; "I tell you it's gold."
"It isn't! it's cheese!" said Teddy. "Look! I have some just like it;
I'll show you," and running to the keg where he had left his trap he
pulled it out and held it up for the robber to see.
As soon as the robber-magician saw the cheese in the trap his fingers
began to work and his mouth to water. "Oh, what a fine rich piece of
gold!" he cried. "How do you get it out?"
"I don't know," said Teddy. "I don't think it comes out."
"There must be some way," cried the robber. "Let me see," and taking the
trap from Teddy he put it down on the floor and began to pick and pry at
the bars, but he could not get the cheese out, and the more he tried the
more eager he grew. "There's one way," he muttered to himself, looking
up at Teddy suspiciously from under his slouch hat.
"How is that?' asked Teddy.
"If one were only a rat one could get at it fast enough," said the
"Yes, but you're not," said Teddy.
"All the same it might be managed," said the magician. Again he tore and
tore at the bars, and he grew so eager that he seemed to forget about
everything but the cheese. "I'll do it," he cried, "yes, I will." Then
he laid of his great soft hat, and crossing his forefingers he cried:
"Innocent me! Innocent me!
As I was once again I will be."
And now the magician's nose grew longer, his mustache grew thin and
stiff like whiskers, his sword changed to a long tail, and in a minute
he was nothing at all but a great brown rat that ran into the trap.
"Click!" went the trap, and there he was fastened in with the cheese.
It was in vain that he shook the bars and squeaked.
"Quick! quick!" cried the Bird-maiden. "let us escape before he can use
his spells." She caught Teddy by the hand, and together they ran to the
door that led to the stairway. "Your key! Oh, make haste!" cried the
In a moment Teddy had unlocked the door they had passed through, and it
had swung to behind them. Up the stairs they ran, and there they were
standing in the sunlight near the rain-butt.
"I am free! I am free!" cried the Bird-maiden, joyously. "Oh! thank you,
little boy. And now for home." She caught the edges of her cloak and
spread it wide, and as she did so it changed to wings, her head grew
round and covered with feathers, and with a glad cry she sprang from the
earth and flew up and away and out of sight through the sunlight.
"Why, it's Harriett's canary!" cried Teddy.
* * * * * * * *
"And now I must go," said the Counterpane Fairy.
Teddy was back in the India-room. The sun was low, and a broad band of
pale sunlight lay across the foot of the bed. The fairy was just
starting down the counterpane hill.
"Was it really Harriett's canary?" asked Teddy.
"I haven't time to talk of that now," cried the Counterpane Fairy, "for
I hear your mother coming. Good-bye! good-bye!"
And sure enough she had scarcely disappeared behind the counterpane hill
when his mamma came in.
"Oh, Mamma!" cried Teddy, "do you think Harriett's canary came back?
"I don't know, dear," said his mother. Then she put a little package
into his hand. "Do you think Harriett will like that?" she asked.
When Teddy opened the bundle he saw a cunning little bisque doll that
sat in a little tin bath-tub. You could take the doll out and dress it,
or you could really bathe it in the tub.
"Oh! isn't that cute!' cried Teddy, with delight. "Won't little Cousin
Harriett be pleased!"
"I hope she will," said mamma.
THE COUNTERPANE FAIRY SAYS GOOD-BYE.
TEDDY was to go out-doors the next day if it was mild and pleasant. The
doctor had come in that morning for the last time to see him. "Well, my
little man," he had said, giving Teddy's cheek a pinch, "can't be
pretending you're a sick boy any longer with cheeks and eye like these.
Now we'll have you back at school in no time, and then I suppose you'll
be up to all your old tricks again."
Later on the little boy had gone downstairs for dinner, for the first
time since he had been ill. Everything there had looked very strange to
him, and as if he had not seen it for years.
He had felt just as well as ever until he tried to chase the cat,
Muggins, down the hall, and then his legs had given way in a funny, weak
fashion that made him laugh.
After dinner Muggins followed him upstairs, and curling down under a
chair went fast asleep. Teddy took his blocks and built them about the
chair, so that when the cat woke he found himself built up inside a
However, a door had been left, and he poked his nose and his paw through
it, and then the whole front wall went down with a noisy clatter, and
Muggins scampered down to the kitchen with his tail on end. Teddy had to
laugh; he looked so funny.
Papa came home from his office earlier than usual that afternoon,
bringing with him a bundle of long, smooth sticks and a roll of tissue
papers, and spent all the rest of the time between that and supper in
making a great kite for Teddy. He told the little boy that if the next
day were fine he would fly it for him, and that he might ask some of the
boys to come and help.
Teddy had never seen such a large kite before. When papa stood it up it
was a great deal taller than the little boy himself. The gold star that
was pasted on where the sticks crossed was just on a level with his
So much seemed to have happened that day that very soon after supper
Teddy felt tired and was quite willing to let mamma undress him and put
him to bed.
It felt very good to lie down between the cool sheets again, and very
soon Teddy's eyelids began to blink heavily, and he was already drifting
off into that blissful feeling that comes just as one is going to sleep,
when he became dimly conscious of a faint sound of music.
At first, half asleep as he was, he thought that it must be little
Cousin Harriett winding up the music-box in the room, and then he
suddenly started into consciousness with the remembrance that he was
alone and that it couldn't be Cousin Harriett. She was at home; in bed
The music seemed to sound quite near him, and it was very sweet and
soft. Now that he was awake it sounded more like the voice of the
singing garden than anything else.
Suddenly a faint rosy light appeared at the foot of the bed, and
standing in it was the most beautiful lady that Teddy had ever seen. She
was quite tall,--as tall as his own mother, and not even the fairy
Rosine, or the Bird-maiden,--no, nor the Princess Aureline herself, had
been half as beautiful.
But though the lady was so lovely there was something very familiar
about her face. "Why, Counterpane Fairy!" cried Teddy.
The Counterpane Fairy, for it was indeed she, did not speak, but smiling
at Teddy she moved softly and smoothly, as though swept along by the
music to the side of the bed, and, still smiling, she bent above the
As he looked up into the face that leaned above him, it seemed to change
in some strange way, and now it was the old Italian woman who had given
him the presents from her basket; a moment after it was the face of the
little child who had talked with him upon the rainbow; no, it was not;
it was really the Counterpane Fairy herself, and no one else.
Closer and closer she leaned above him, seeming to enfold him with faint
music and light and perfume. "Good-bye," she whispered softly.
"Good-bye! little boy."
"Oh, Counterpane Fairy! where are you going? Don't go away!" cried
"I'm not going away," said the fairy. "I shall be beside you still just
as often as ever, only you won't see me."
"But won't there be any more stories?" cried Teddy, in dismay.
"Sometime, perhaps," said the Counterpane Fairy, "but not now, for
to-morrow you'll be out and playing with the other boys, and after that
it will be your school and your games that you'll be thinking of."
"Oh, Counterpane Fairy, don't go!" cried Teddy again, reaching out his
arms toward her; but they touched nothing but empty air. Waving her hand
to him and still smiling, the Counterpane Fairy slowly, slowly faded
away. With her too, faded the rosy light and the perfume that had filled
the room; only the faint sound of music was left. Then it too died away.
Teddy sat up and looked about him. The room was very still and dim. He
heard nothing but the ticking of the clock. The half-moon had sailed up
above the dark tops of the pine-trees on the lawn outside, and by its
light he saw the great kite that papa had made him, as it stood propped
up on the mantle. The gilt star in the middle of it shone.
It was true that he was no longer a little sick child. To-morrow he
would be out-of-doors again, and shouting and playing with all the other