has chosen as the title for his new flay the most provocative word In the English language one which Mr. Rudyard Kipling has already used with great success IF. For a play such as the Irish gentleman Is wont to write no title could be more characteristic. Everything he has ever done has had a presupposed IF

IF one cannot


oneself In

phantasy ore

should not read Dunsany. IF one has no poetry In one's heart one should have no traffic with a writer who admits that he traffics with the fairies, v And, after his literary audience has got Itself used to expecting any possible IF, Lord Dunsany gives 'em IF, which is a phantasy after the realistic' school. It Is, I doubt not, a play which even
the dumbest of the government clerks and
officers In London can njoy, and in huge and applauding numbers.


which they

are, It concerns the



a missed


hero, ten years before, missed the 8:15 to town. That missing rankled for years. Finally, with the aid of a crystal, he was allowed to catch his train and live those ten years as he would have lived them If the door ofthe 8:16 hadn't been banged
In his face.


a thoroughly Intriguing Idea, living over ten years as they might They bring the hero a wild adventure, a sort of super Prisoner of Zenda-ish thing, which, properly played, must be as good a melodrama as the
It Is

have been.

best of 'em.

Lord Dunsany cannot write without a touch of poetry In his sentences. IF a whimsy, charming, beautifully written, which Is sheer romance, not only because it Is romantic there are many tales and plays which are merely that but because It sets one to thinking about the IF's in one's own life, and that, we must admit, is the height of romantic Imagining.







U. . 1915t BY LITTLE. BOKOK.S. PARKKILL ft Co. All rights reserved i. J.Copyright.. AND COMPANY. BROWN.A.





in the and tri- And still the poet made for her little chaplets of song. and said to her: "Lovely Fame. FAME singing sang. and still she laughed at him and wore the worthless wreaths. And after a while whenever these garlands died the poet came to her with his chaplets of song. passed the poet by. though they always died at evening. made out of perishable things. to deck her forehead in the still courts of Time: and she wore instead the worthless garlands. that boisterous citizens flung to her in the ways. with sordid advenfling as she turers.THE ASSIGNATION highways. And one day in his bitterness the poet rebuked her. even in the highways and the byways 9 you have not forborne to laugh and shout .

and. almost speaking in a whisper." and And Fame turned her back on him and in departing she looked walked away. and I have toiled for you and dreamed of you and you mock me and pass me by. said : "I will meet you in the graveyard at the back of the Workhouse in a hundred years.10 FIFTY-ONE TALES jest with worthless men. but over her shoulder and smiled at him as she had not smiled before." .

CHARON leaned forward and rowed. 11 his eyes could not It was strange that the dead nowadays . on the face of such a queen memory into perhaps as Cleopatra. and an old heaviness and a pain in the arms that had become for him part of the scheme that the gods had made and was of a piece It with Eternity. All things were one with riness. If the gods had even sent him a contrary wind it would have divided all time in his two equal slabs. but of wide floods of time. So grey were all things always where he was that if any radiance lingered a moment among the dead. have perceived it. his wea- was not with him a matter of years or of centuries.

They were coming in thousands where they used to come soul in fifties. the gods the knew best. Only one passenger. Charon It leaned forward and rowed. his It was neither Charon's to duty nor wont ponder in his grey why these things might be. grey river . But the gods knew best. and that could not failing die like the echoes of human sorrow on earthly hills. the sound of the river was like a in the beginning mighty sigh that Grief had among her sisters. Then the boat from the slow. silent. And the shade sat shivering on a lonely bench and the great boat pushed off. Then one man came little alone. was not usual for the gods to send no one down from Earth for such a space.12 FIFTY-ONE TALES were coming in such numbers. Then no one came for a while. but was as old as time and the pain in Charon's arms. And sighed shivering ghost. And great and weary Charon rowed on and on beside little.

CHARON loomed up to the coast of Dis and the silent 13 little. No before. . "I am the last." he said. shade still shivering stepped ashore. one had ever made Charon smile no one before had ever made him weep. that had been a man. Then the little shadow spoke. and Charon turned the boat to go wearily back to the world.

anon they saw him lying still and Horned Pan was his fur. that prone body. And. Arcadian maidens came. presently from a hamlet of some Arcadian valley." Pan huge And. they looked for long at memor- And And evening came and a small star appeared. with a sound of idle song. the travellers from London ento tered Arcady they lamented one stiff another the death of Pan. standing melancholy by able Pan.THE DEATH OF PAN WHEN And still. when they saw 14 there. suddenly in . and the dew was on is he had not the look of a live animal. "It true that And is then they said: dead.

Arcady rang with the sounds of . And. they stopped in their running and whispered " How silly he looks. and thereat they laughed a little. for as long as the and listened. And at the sound of their laughter Pan leaped up and the gravel flew from his hooves." among themselves. the crags and travellers stood the hill-tops of pursuit. that old recumbent god.THE DEATH OF PAN 15 the twilight. they said.

all about her that he 16 . There are temples has forgotten to spoil. is painted face. She had painted her face in order to ogle Time.THE SPHINX AT GIZEH IS AW the other day the Sphinx's painted face. And he has spared no other painted face in all the world but hers. De- Time hath less loved nothing but this worth- ugly. Time never wearies of her silly smile. and lilah is dust. I do not care that she Time dallies like a fool at her feet when he should be smiting cities. so that she only lure his secret from Time. nor that she has painted her face. Delilah was younger than she.

THE SPHINX AT GIZEH I saw an old 17 man go by. Time that has carried ! away the seven gates of Thebes She has eternal him with ropes of sand. have tried to bind him with song and We with old customs. When he is make dance. If she ever finds his secret we will put out his eyes. but they only held him for a little while. He lies there in the sand with his foolish hair all spread about her paws. she had hoped to oppress him tried to bind with the Pyramids. and he has always smitten us and mocked us. and Time never touched him. blind he shall dance to us and Great clumsy Time shall little stumble and children. who liked to kill daisies and can hurt even the no longer. Then shall our children laugh at him who . so that he shall find no more our beautiful things there are lovely gates in Florence that I fear he will carry away. sport.

and slowly pull down upon And him the House of Man. is shorn of his hours and his We will shut him up in the Pyramid of Cheops. r thy painted face. Thence we will lead him out when we give our feasts.18 FIFTY-ONE TALES slew Babylon's winged bulls. if thou wilt betray to us Time. We will kiss O Sphinx. yet I fear that in his ultimate anguish he may take hold blindly of the world and the moon. in the great chamber where the sarcophagus is. . and smote great numbers of the gods and fairies when he years. He shall ripen our corn for us and do menial w ork.

telling of many things. and the South. and all the poultry the departure of the hen. twittering uneasily to one another. for Autumn was afoot and the North wind And gone. along the farmyard gables the swallows sat a-row. and the year wore on and they sat again on the gables.THE HEN ALL waiting. And came the year wore on and the swallows again." said a hen. suddenly one day they were all quite And everyone spoke of the swallows shall "I think I go South myself next year. the wind being from the North. but thinking only of Summer and the South. discussed And very early one morning. the swallows all soared suddenly and felt the wind in their 19 .

And going South they went by glittering fog-banks and saw old islands lifting their heads above them. FIFTY-ONE TALES wings and a strength came upon them and a strange old knowledge and a more than faith. till there came in view the mountains that they sought and the sight of the peaks they knew and they descended into an austral valley. And she ran flutis "I think the wind tering out on to the road and some it until she came to a garden.20 . and steering by grey sea-currents went southward with the wind. and saw Summer sometimes sleeping and sometimes singing . and saw at last the huge and homeless sea. way down At evening she came back panting." said the hen. and she spread her wings and ran out of the poultry -yard. and divers seeking pearls. and lands at war. human song. about right. . and flying high they left the smoke of our cities and small remembered eaves. they saw the slow quests of the wandering ships.

" But there was a sea in the South: the poultry would not agree that "You should hear our hen. the high road. . and there were roses in it beautiful roses and the gardener himself was there with his braces on. and the bitter months went by. "and the valleys beyond the sea. and the swallows came again. and came to lands where the potato grew." they said. ! "How extremely interesting." the poultry said.THE HEN And in 21 poultry how the poultry-yard she told the she had gone South as far as and saw the great world's traffic going by. "We have been to the South. "and what a really beautiful descrip- tion!" And the Winter wore away. and the Spring of the year appeared. and at the end of the road had found a garden." they said. and saw the stubble upon which men live.

I overwhelm them suddenly in my strength. I drive them upon the rocks and feed the sea. for I am Winter's leader in his age-old war with the ships. silent fog that lay along the "Way for us. crawling 22 away from up ." said the North Wind." And trailed to his said the fog. Wherever I appear they bow to our lord the Winter.WIND AND FOG WAY And for us. There is in inland places when I have met mourning the ships. I cross an ocean while you move a mile. arrogant boasting nothing Only he rose up slowly and the sea and. or drive upon them the huge seafaring bergs. "O ineffectual fog. he saw before him the grey tides." said the North Wind as he came down the sea on an errand of old Winter.

And I heard him telling infamously to himself the tale of his horrible "A hundred and fifteen galleons of spoils. a certain argosy that eight fisher-fleets that carried spice. . . and the fog began to mumble in the stillness. went from and ninety ships of Tyre.WIND AND FOG long valleys. took refuge 23 the hills. . among and night came down and everything was still. contamination. with their carronades. twelve warships under sail. three hundred and eightyseven river-craft. nine thousand ad" mirals he mumbled and chuckled on. twenty-one battle- modern time. forty-two merchantmen old Spain. ten triremes. the line. four quinquiremes. till I suddenly rose and fled from his fearful ships of the . thirty yachts.

they are like sailors that work at the rafts only to warm their hands and to distract their thoughts from their certain doom. its all around pest. very tranquillity deadlier than temHow little all our keels have troubled 24 . our names and a phrase or two and little else. They that whim of the write as a trade to please the day. They will not carry much over those tides. See now Oblivion shimmering us.THE RAFT-BUILDERS ALL doomed we who ships. their rafts go all to pieces before the ship breaks up. write put me in mind of upon sailors hastily making rafts When we break up under the heavy years all and go down into eternity with that is ours our thoughts like small lost rafts float on awhile upon Oblivion's sea.

THE RAFT-BUILDERS it. feeds on the littlest its small tunes and little unskilled songs of the olden. ships were all unseaworthy from the There goes the raft that Helen. things deeps swims like a monstrous like a whale. already their kings and queens are in the deeps among the weedy masses of old centuries that hide the sodden hulk of sunken Tyre and make a darkness round Persepolis. and something there that once was See now Nineveh. For the rest I dimly see the forms of foundered ships on the sea-floor strewn with crowns. Homer made for . whale and. Our first. golden evenings and anon turneth whale-like to overthrow whole ships. 25 Time in . the wreckage of Bahylon floating idly.

And that evening I thought of the man's folly. but the very pole on which he tried to scratch whatever of his name he had time for was certain to be burnt in a few weeks for fire- wood. And I could think of nothing but his folly in doing this futile thing. Then I went home for I had work to do. for not only would the man be unrecognizably dead in three seconds. He had time to try and do this for he must have had nearly three hundred feet to fall. till the thought hindered me from serious work. holding a knife and trying to cut his name on the scaffolding. all 26 .THE WORKMAN SAW a workman fall with I his scaffold- ing right from the summit of some vast And as he came down I saw him hotel.

. I spoke at last and asked what it was laughing at. but I could see the grey diaphanous form standing before me shuddering with laughter. faded back ." Then he fell to laughing again and this time audibly and." he said. It said: "I'm a-laughin' at you sittin' and workin' there." "And why." serious I said. the ghost of the workman stood floated my wall and before me laughing. go by like a wind. and then the ghost spoke. I heard no sound until after I spoke to it. "do you laugh at life 'ull work?" yer bloomin' "Why. laughing still. through the wall again and into the eternity from which he had come.THE WORKMAN And through late that night while I 27 was still at work. "and yer 'ole silly civilization 'ull be tidied up in a few centuries.

by letter a week before. so he was served alone. "I think you knew my father. Those at adjacent ticed the might have no- the young man continually addressing empty chair and carrying on a mono- logue with it throughout his elaborate dinner. "You probably won't see him till the cofalone. 28 "I sent for you this evening. but London. He was fee comes." he contin- ." he said to it over the soup. waiter asked him about the other guest." the young man tables told him. He had chosen the dinner very carefully.A A THE GUEST YOUNG man came into restaurant at an ornate in eight o'clock two places had been laid at the table which was reserved for him.

I should think he has altered very his "We you knew him. not that he spoiled his wine sively. After the Burgundy had been served he became more voluble in his monologue. by drinking exces- have several acquaintances in common. in fact want you to do me a good I must insist on it. I ordered dinner over a week ago. he must have prepared for you for years and years. certainly he was eating as good a dinner as any sane man could wish for. but as this she wouldn't I've asked you. I thought then that a lady might have come with me." There was nothing eccentric about the man except for this habit of addressing an empty chair. She may not after all be as lovely as Helen of Troy.THE GUEST ued. "I met King Seti a year ago in Thebes. little since Cheops has left the house that he built for your reception. I thought forehead a little low for a king's." he said. "because I 29 turn. Was . I suppose you have seldom been entertained like that.

"You never fairies knew the mermaids nor the that's He nor the lovely goddesses of long ago. gazing earnestly at the waiter and putting a soveher. It was going much too fast. If it hadn't been for London I probably shouldn't have met her. but rambled merrily on as soon as they left. where we have the best of you. still turned to the empty chair." was silent when the waiters came to his table. London I met the lady that I It hadn't been for wouldn't have had so London she probably much besides me to amuse It cuts both ways. and in if it I shall be glad enough to leave it." paused once to order coffee. But was was speaking about. You were lucky in Cleopatra.30 FIFTY-ONE TALES Not when you knew in Helen very lovely? her. You were on a motor bus going down Ludgate Hill. "You know I saw you here in London only the other day. He . perhaps. you must have known her when she was her prime. London is a good place.

"I don't suppose by a foot of the empty chair." he went on. "Well. "Don't be chicory. The young waiter brought the coffee. you probably want to be going. I haven't taken you much out of your way. there is plenty for you to do in London.THE GUEST reign into his 31 let it hand. . and a doctor who was dining in the room bent over him and announced to the anxious to the floor manager the visible presence of the young man's guest." Then having drunk his coffee he fell on into his cup. and the man dropped a tabloid of some sort you come here very often." said he.

And said to Her: "I am going to frighten Odysseus". And he came soon to Ithaca and the hall 32 Death with some solemnity . and bethe IN Death. "What are you up to now?" said Love. with an air and But one day Death appeared in the courts They all noticed it. and used to brood apart thinking only of his wrongs and of what he could do to end this intolerable treatment.DEATH AND ODYSSEUS Olympian courts Love laughed at because he was unsightly. and because She couldn't help it. and because he never did anything worth doing. cause She would. and drawing about him his grey traveller's cloak went out through the windy door with his jowl turned earthwards. And Death hated being laughed at.

and the And suddenly shouted. old servant. And Death came up behind him. Odysseus went on wanning his pale Then Death came close and began to mouth at him. shoulder. And hands. with his white fire. for he thought of the laughter of Love. they went together through the open door. and opened the door and saw there famous Odysseus. And "Well." said Odysseus. "lend and he leaning heavily on that bony joint." he said. wind through the open door blew bitterly on Odysseus. Then "Come now." me your . And after a while Odysseus turned and spoke. locks bending close over the trying to warm his hands.DEATH AND ODYSSEUS that 33 Athene knew. "have your masters been kind to you since I made you work for me round Ilion?" And Death for some while stood mute.

dark young men in a foreign southern land sat at a restaurant table with one woman.DEATH AND THE ORANGE TWO And heart. and a horror and an impotence came 34 . on the woman's plate was a small orange which had an evil laughter in its And both of the men would be looking at the woman all the time. and soon they were speaking swift words to one another. and they ate little and they drank much. And the woman was smiling equally at each. Then the small its orange that had the laughter in heart rolled slowly off the plate on to the floor. And the dark young men both sought for it at once. and they met suddenly beneath the table.

rose and came over to listen to the quarrel. . and Death. tete-a-tete with an old man. and the heart of the orange laughed and the woman went on smiling.DEATH AND THE ORANGE 35 over the Reason of each as she sat helpless at the back of the mind. who was sitting at another table.

the woods. was the voice of the flowers on the West "The woods have gone away.THE PRAYER OF THE FLOWERS IT wind. the woods. they clatter in their lairs continually. they glitter about us blemishing the night. "The woods are gone. men love us no longer. the lovable. Great engines rush over the beautiful fields. they have fallen and left us. and far away." I was standing by night between two railway embankments on the edge of a Mid36 . their ways land. going Greecewards. the old. O Pan. O Pan. we are lonely by moonlight. the lazy West wind. lie hard and terrible up and down the cities "The cancrous spread over the grass. blowing ceaselessly. And thou art far. blowing sleepily.

PRAYER OF THE FLOWERS land city. And then I heard. the trains five. and on went by twice in every Quite close were the glaring factories. once in every the other. and the sky above them wore the fearful look that it wears in dreams of fever. two minutes. the voice of Pan reproving them from Arcady "Be patient a little. and thence I heard The them sending up their cry. flowers were right in the stride of that advancing city." . beating musically up wind. 37 On one of them I saw the trains go by. these things are not for long.

for a mighty city that was weary and sick and too long had troubled the fields was sore in need of him. And when Time And at last he said: "That is not how I work. saw another doing his work he stood by him awhile and looked on critically. his dust of the ruin of cities. then turned and strode away. And there he saw a man darkening the wood of a chair with dye and beating it with chains and making imitation worm-holes in it.TIME AND THE TRADESMAN prowled ONCE grey not with weakness but with hair Time as he the world." and he turned the man's hair white and bent his little his back and put some furrows in cunning face. 38 . came to a furniture shop and entered the Antique department.

and only seemed to have a little smoke. and the sun caught the smoke and turned it golden. beyond. and the snow had come upon them tentatively. All round there lay a patchwork of small fields all over the slopes of the hills. when I It was a little city in And golden smoke.8 Goraghwood to suddenly saw the city. a valley. so that it looked like an old Italian picture where angels walk in the foreground and the rest is a blaze of gold. Far away some 39 little hills . as one could tell by the lie of land although one could not see through the from Drogheda.I THE LITTLE CITY WAS in the pre-destined 11. but already the birds of the waste had moved to the sheltered places for every omen boded more to fall. I knew that there lay the paths of the roving ships.

and wondered for how long there would be smoke in the valley and little fields on the hills. I saw those grey and watchful mountains sitting where they sat while the cities And when of the civilization of Araby and Asia like crocuses fell.40 FIFTY-ONE TALES blazed like an aureate bulwark broken off by age and fallen from the earthward rampart of Paradise. . And aloof and dark the mountains stared unconcernedly sea- wards. I arose like crocuses.

"We tains. the grey ones. "Far. Time on our THUS we .THE UNPASTURABLE FIELDS spake the mountains: "Behold us. rocks shall break his staff and stumble: and even as now. hearof the sea. who nurses the bones of her children and weeps for the things she has done. we stand above all things. even us the old ones. ing the sound still shall sit majestic. our old coeval sister. far. and crag on crag and mountain upon mountain in the likeness of Caucasus upon Himalaya came riding past the sunlight upon the backs of storms and looked 41 . be- friending the little cities until they grow old and leave us to go among the myths." are the most imperishable mounfrom And softly the clouds foregathered far places. that wear the feet of Time.

and snorts and sees far-future wonderful creases wars rage in the and the folds of the togas that cover the knees of the gods." .42 FIFTY-ONE TALES idly down from their golden heights upon the crests of the mountains. Pegasus and browses prances. And breathing the dawn-wind in dilated nostrils. "Ye And pass away. the clouds answered. indeed or fancied. gallops which the larks bring to him upon song every morning from far terrestrial fields. "We we pass away. but upon our unpasturable fields Here Pegasus His hoof-beats ring upon our slopes at sunrise as though our fields were of silver. as I dreamed pass away." said the mountains. he stands and stares from our tremendous heights. with head tossed upwards and with quivering wings.

" &iva iroXv^Xourftouo murmured the angel. together they looked upon the kings worm met and kingdoms. They saw the old men heavy in their chairs and heard the children singing in the fields. and youths and maidens and the cities of men. And the worm Trapa spake to the angel saying: "Behold my food. for they walked by the sea. and the pomp of kings. and the people of all the lands that the sunlight knew.THE WORM AND THE ANGEL AS And he crawled from the tombs of the fallen a with an angel. They saw far wars and warriors and walled towns. wisdom and wickedness. "and can you destroy that too?" And the worm paled in his anger to a 43 .

for for three thousand years he had tried to destroy that line and still its melody was ringing in his head. .44 FIFTY-ONE TALES greyness ill to behold.

And he lamented gently for the nation that had not little foolish songs to sing to itself at evening." And for some days he made for them aimless songs such as may maidens sing on the hills in the older happier countries. and you may . that are somewhat akin to the wind in the vales of my childhood 45 .THE SONGLESS COUNTRY THE which any poet came unto a great country in there were no songs. And at last he said: "I will make for foolish songs so them myself some that they little be merry in the lanes and happy by the fireside. Then he went to some of that nation as they sat weary with the work of the day and said to them: "I have made you some aimless songs out of the small unreasonable legends.

" And they said to him: "If you think we have time for that kind of nonsense nowadays you cannot know much of the progress of modern commerce." ." And "Alas ! then the poet wept for he said: They are damned.46 care to FIFTY-ONE TALES sing them in your disconsolate evenings.

the water. colossal barns stood near which the ancients had stored with grain. banks He crouched by orchards numerous with apples in a happy land of flowers. But his back was to all He crouched and watched the And whatever the river chanced to the unclean. these things. still and indeed are. and the sun was golden on serene far hills behind the level lands. And whenever the odor of these came down the river before them the unclean47 .I THE LATEST THING SAW an unclean-feeder by the of the river of Time.feeder clutched send him down at greedily with his arms. and from them fearfully nameless things came floating shapelessly by. wading out into Now there were in those days. certain uncleanly cities upon the river of Time. river.

feeder." the that poison the river. in that evil-smelling river. I think he saw the sea." "But those I said to him. Indeed from the upper reaches there came down sometimes the fallen rhododendron's petal. his head was lifted and his look was afar." of Fate the river terribly . And if he opened his mouth one saw these things on his lips. up to his waist "Look." I said to the poet. less sometimes a rose. poet walked beside the river's bank. "The current poet said.48 FIFTY-ONE TALES feeder plunged into the dirty water and stood far out. I saw the unclean- A feeder standing voracious. but they were useto the unclean. and when he saw them he growled. cities He answered: hills "Whenever the centuries melt on the floods. expectant. will sweep him away. and the hills of Fate from which the river ran.

And the Saint looked sorrowfully at them both. said the Saint to her of the "I wanted money." said the demagogue. '' stood unflinchingly on the plank of popular representation. "And you?" demi-monde." said the demi-mondaine. "I stood for those principles that have made us what are and have endeared our Party to the In a word I great heart of the people. And after some moments' thought the 49 . "Why were you a demagogue?" he said to the first.THE DEMAGOGUE AND THE DEMI-MONDE A we DEMAGOGUE and a demi-mon- daine chanced to arrive together at the gate of Paradice. "Because.

" But to the demagogue he said: "We genuinely regret that the limited space at our disposal and our unfortunate lack of interest in those Questions that you have gone so far to inculcate and have so ably upheld in the past. come in." And he shut the golden door. .50 FIFTY-ONE TALES "Well. though you Saint said: don't deserve to. prevent us from giving you the support for which you seek.

There used to be woods along the I knew. But there were no woods when I went back. and as it waved it hummed "Remember not. no fairies nor distant glimpse of Ilion or plains of Roncesvalles. and there when no one watched the fairies danced. only one giant poppy waved in the wind. dressed like a shepherd and playing an ancient tune softly upon a pipe." And by its oak-like stem a poet sat. I tops of those hills with clearings in them where the moonlight fell. He and is said: "The poppy has grown apace Its fumes killing gods and fairies. I asked him if the fairies had passed that way or anything olden.THE GIANT POPPY DREAMT that I went back to the hills whence on a clear day you can see the walls of Ilion and the plains of Roncesvalles. 51 .

" roots drain And I asked him why he sat on the an olden tune. . We think we have saved Aga- memnon.52 FIFTY-ONE TALES its are suffocating the world. and it of its beautiful strength. playing is And he answered: "Because the tune bad for the poppy." Then he fell to piping again that olden tune. which would otherwise grow more swiftly. and because if the brotherhood of which I am one were to cease to pipe on the hills men would stray over the world and be lost or come to terrible ends. while the wind among the poppy's sleepy petals murmured Remember not." "Remember not. hills I knew.

Two hun- dred generations ago (generations.ROSES 1KNOW blooms There is a roadside where the wild rose with a strange abundance. of roses) this was a village street. I hope that men and women whose homes when London defeated 53 is clean passed away and the fields come back . I mean. there was a floral decadence ple life and the ness to clamber round houses of men. a taint of deeper pink that shocks the Puritan flowers. Of of the all all the memories of that the cottages that stood there. nothing remains but a more beautiful blush on the faces of the roses. a beauty in the blossoms too of an almost exotic kind. when they left their simroses came from the wilderlittle village. of all they were.

like an exiled people returning after a war.54 FIFTY-ONE TALES again. because we have loved a little that swart old city. . they may find some beautiful thing to remind them of it all.

with his face to the His ships. skin had the dark tint of the southern men: the deep black hairs of his moustache were whitened a little with salt. that I saw leaning against a wall. if I mistake not. and saw and marvelled at the queenly ships come newly from the sea. and came to its docks and saw its slimy wharves going down green and steep into the water. and saw the huge grey river slipping by and the lost things that went with it turning over and over. So much IT at least certain that I turned one day from the traffic of a city. It was then. and I thought of the nations and unpitying Time. a man with golden ear-rings.THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN EAR-RINGS may be that I dreamed is this. he wore a dark 55 .

I asked him what ship he had come by. hand I do not know how many I ." am the last of the pirates. And I shook him by the times. I asked him what line he worked on. The like were there with their sails all still furled and their masts straight and . he seemed to be beholding the farthest things. but the look in his eyes was further afield than the ships. Then I asked him where he worked and what he was. Even when I spoke to him he did not call home his that look. for there were many sailing ships there. for he was clearly a sailor. And he said: "I work in the Sargasso Sea. but he did not know them. and I the last left alive. a wintry forest the steamers were there. puffing up idle well-known lines. I mentioned great liners. and smoke into the twilight. He answered he had come by none of them. but answered stare me as dreamily with that same fixed though thoughts were heaving on far and lonely seas.56 FIFTY-ONE TALES blue jacket such as sailors wear. and the long boots of seafarers.



feared you were dead. feared you were dead." And he answered sadly: "No. No. I have sinned too deeply



on the Spanish

seas: I


not allowed to









"I very clearly saw last night the

Though partly she queenly Vava-Nyria. was hidden by great clouds that swept continually by her, rolling over and over, yet her
face was unhidden and shone, being full of

moonlight. "I said to her:

'Walk with me by the

great pools in many-gardened, beautiful Istrakhan where the lilies float that give delectable dreams; or, drawing aside the curtain

of hanging orchids, pass with



from the pools by a

secret path

through the

impassable jungle that fills the only way between the mountains that shut in Istrait

khan. They shut


and look on it with joy



morning and

at evening


the pools

are strange with light, till in their gladness sometimes there melts the deadly snow that

upon lonely

heights the mountaineer.

They have

among them

older than

the wrinkles in the moon.

'Come with me thence or linger with me there and either we shall come to romantic

lands which the

men of

the caravans only

speak of in song; or else we shall listlessly walk in a land so lovely that even the butterflies

that float about


when they

see their

images flash in the sacred pools are


their beauty,

and each night we

shall hear

the myriad nightingales all in one chorus

sing the stars to death.



and I


send heralds far from here with tidings of
thy beauty; and they shall run and come to

Sendara and men






herd brown sheep; and from Sendara the


shall spread on,



bank of



the holy river of Zoth,

the people that


wattles in the plains shall hear of it sing but the heralds shall go northward

along the hills until they come to Sooma. And in that golden city they shall tell the
kings, that

in their lofty alabaster house,

of thy strange and sudden smiles. And often in distant markets shall thy story be

by merchants out from Sooma

as they to their

telling careless tales to lure



'And the heralds passing thence shall come even to Ingra, to Ingra where they



there they shall tell of thee,

so that thy

name long hence

be sung

in that joyous city.


there they shall

borrow camels and pass over the sands and go by desert ways to distant Nirid to tell of
thee to the lonely


in the

mountain mon-


'Come with me even now for




KING KARNA-VOOTRA "And 61 as I said this she faintly yet per- ceptibly shook her head. And it was only then I remembered my youth was gone. and she dead forty years." .

and hid the 62 little . as the sea doth. And then there arose a wave that was very strong. And the sea made a great and very triumphing voice. And because of its un- couth rig and it its lonely air and the look that had of coming from strangers' lands they "It is said: sire." And sea up and the and ship wont of the from afar was in his as is the hands. neither a ship to greet nor de- nor yet to succor when in the hands of the sea rose little the sea. frailer than ever seemed its feeble masts with their sails of fantastic cut and their alien flags. even the ninth-born son of the hurricane and the tide.THE STORM THEYand sea saw a little ship that was far at that went by the name of the Petite Esperance.

silver covered with cloth of gold with age-old parrots that had known the troubadours. a galleon glided into port. are you. "far-trav- wonderful ship?" . laden with . alien ship and it is sunk at sea. shutting the sunlight from the merchantmen: and lo! it loomed the equal of the cliffs. and it is good and : . And many years went by.THE STORM 63 ship and hid the whole of the far parts of the sea. alds . Thereat said those who stood on the good dry land 'Twas but a little worthless. with a hold full of emerillustrious . And at last with decks and bulwarks merchantmen. right that the storm have spoil. ing songs and preening their feathers of gold." And they turned and watched the course of the and appeasing spice year after year they cheered them into port and praised their goods and their familiar sails. and rubies all silken with Indian loot furling as it came in its way-worn alien sails." they asked. sing. "Who elled.

64 FIFTY-ONE TALES said: And they "O." ." "Sunk at sea?" sang the sailors." said "The Petite Esperance" people on shore. the "We thought you were sunk at sea. "We could not be sunk at sea we had the gods on board.

and many kneeled unto her in the dirt of the road. "Who are you?" Fame said to "I am Fame. as and she was most meet. led them. to her native Pit. Then Fame stole softly away one knew she had gone. 65 ." said Notoriety.A MISTAKEN IDENTITY FAME saw as she walked at evening in a city the painted face of Notoriety flaunting beneath a gas-lamp. so that no And all Notoriety presently went forth and her worshippers rose and followed after. her.

was nearly war among the beasts. the forces of estrangement and disorder perpetually postponed a decisive contest. a time there was doubt with among the beasts as to whether the Hare or the Tortoise could run Some said the Hare was the swifter of the two because he had such long ears. and others said that the Tortoise was the swifter because anyone whose shell was so hard as that should be able to run hard too. And lo. at last an arrangement was come to and it was decided that the Hare and the Tortoise should run a race of five hundred yards so that all should see who was right. 66 .THE TRUE HISTORY OF THE HARE AND THE TORTOISE FOR long acrimony the swifter. there But when "Ridiculous nonsense!" said the Hare.

" they said. But the Hare said noth- "I am and cross.HARE AND TORTOISE 67 and it was all his backers could do to get him to run." said the supporters of the And "run hard" became a kind of catch- phrase which everybody repeated to one an- . how his backers cheered." "Run Tortoise. Some of his supporters deserted him then and went to the other side. "I shall not shirk it." O. who were loudly cheering ing. Feeling ran high on the day of the race. absolutely confident of success. "We shall not "A be disappointed in him. beast with such long ears is bound to win. Both sides spoke loudly of the approaching victory up to the very moment of the race. he looked bored the Tortoise's inspiriting words. hard." said the Tortoise. But many remained with the Hare." said the Tortoise. "The contest is most welcome to me. the goose rushed at the fox and nearly pecked him.



and hard



what the country wants. Run hard," they And these words were never uttered said. but multitudes cheered from their hearts. Then they were off, and suddenly there was a hush.

The Hare dashed
his rival was.

off for about a


yards, then he looked round to see where



rather absurd," he said, "to race

with a Tortoise."


he sat

down and




hard!" shouted some.

"Let him rest," shouted others. And "let him rest" became a catch-phrase too. And after a while his rival drew near to

"There comes that damned Tortoise," said the Hare, and he got up and ran as hard as he could so that he should not let the Tortoise beat him.

"Those ears "Those ears

will win," said his friends.


win; and establish upon



an incontestable footing the truth of what we have said." And some of them turned to the backers of the Tortoise and said:

"What about your beast now?" "Run hard," they replied. "Run hard." The Hare ran on for nearly three hundred
yards, nearly in fact as far as the winningpost, when it suddenly struck him what a
fool he looked running races with a Tortoise

who was nowhere in sight, and he sat down again and scratched. "Run hard. Run hard," said the crowd,
and "Let him rest." "Whatever is the use of it?" said the Hare, and this time he stopped for good.

Some say he


There was desperate excitement for an hour or two, and then the Tortoise won.

"Run hard. Run hard," shouted his back"Hard shell and hard living: that's er*.
what has done it." And then they asked the Tortoise what his achievement signified, and he went and asked the Turtle. And



the Turtle said:

a glorious victory for the forces of swiftness." And then

the Tortoise repeated it to his friends. And all the beasts said nothing else for years.


even to


day "a glorious victory for

the forces of swiftness"
in the house of the snail.

a catch-phrase


the reason that this version of the

not widely known is that very few of those that witnessed it survived the great

happened shortly after. It came up over the weald by night with a great wind. The Hare and the Tortoise and a very few of the beasts saw it far off from a high bare hill that was at the edge of the trees, and they hurriedly called a meeting to decide what messenger they should
send to warn the beasts in the forest.

forest-fire that


sent the Tortoise.

the lily looked too large and the 71 . And I said: I will take a wreath. but not from the sight of the moon nor from those that dream in his rays. as rumor has it. among the flowers for my wreath of And when mourning. I said: I will go from here by ways of dream and I will come to that valley and enter in And and mourn there for the good years that are dead. are all the years that are dead. a wreath of mourning. I sought about among the flowers. there a certain valley shuts them in And and hides them. and lay it at their feet in token of my sorrow for their dooms.ALONE THE IMMORTALS HEARD I here. from the world. it said that far away from on the wrong side of the deserts of Cathay and in a country dedicate to winter.

an And at last I in the made a slender wreath of daisies manner that I had seen them made is in one of the years that dead. And when I found there searched among nothing in the grass I said: "Time has shattered them and swept them away not even any faint remains." and left But looking upwards in the blaze of the moon and I suddenly saw colossi sitting near." of lies close to the mountainous moon.72 FIFTY-ONE TALES solemn and I found nothas frail laurel looked too ing enough nor slender to serve offering to the years that were dead. where the valley that rumor told ten years. scarce less fragile or less frail than one of those delicate forgot- "This." said I. I the grass for those poor slight years for whom I brought my sorrow and my wreath. "is Then I took my wreath in my hand and went from here. and at . And when I had come by paths of mystery to that romantic land. and towering up and blotting out the stars filling the night with blackness .

alone the immortals. all are flying pebbles that They have already . all earthly kings gods have created. but I came to shed my tears And and little to offer flowers at the feet of certain not come years that are dead and may again. Neither the smoke of incense burning reached those heads.ALONE THE IMMORTALS those idols' feet I 73 saw praying and making obeisance kings and the days that are and all times and all cities and all nations and all their gods. not to be overthrown. I said: "Who are those?" the Immortals. they sat there not to be measured. the worlds They have crowned." He that answered me: "These are the years are dead. all years to be are Their children They fashioned their smiles and their laughter. not to be sacrifice nor of the colossal worn away. all the events to be flow They down from Their feet like a river." One answered: "Alone I said sadly: "I came not to see dread gods.

." And when I heard this I turned away with my wreath. and Time and all his centuries behind him kneel there with bended crests in token of vassalage at Their potent feet.74 FIFTY-ONE TALES thrown. and went back to my own land comforted.

but not the fanciful kind as that might corrupt the thoughts of the very young. and those that those who hated loved the dance respected him too. he liked. Some kinds of poetry. He always dressed in black. 75 . they said "He is a pure. his was a And there loved him all of the dance. He was interested in morality and was and there grew to be much respect on Earth for his honest face and quite sincere his flowing pure-white beard. And for 1 his principles zealous life." He did much to discourage dancing and helped to close several Sunday entertainments. he labored hard. good man and acts ac- cording to his lights. he said.A MORAL LITTLE TALE fTHHERE was once an earnest Puritan A who held it wrong to dance.

and whispering after dances under the moon. " me 'friend." "Dare not to call said the Devil. "Come. come. "Have you not done my work? Have you not put apart the couples that would dance? Have you not checked their laughter and their accursed mirth? Have you not worn my to livery of black? O friend." said the Puritan." and he fell to cursing fearfully. not yours. friend." said that earnest man.76 FIFTY-ONE TALES One night the Devil appeared unto him in a dream and said "Well done." And "He the Devil laughed contemptuously and spoke. "No. and singing in theatres and singing in the fields." he said. . "that put is into their hearts the evil desire to dance." "Avaunt. you it is do not know what a detestable thing sit and hear people being happy. and black God's own livery. friend. no. only made the silly colors." said the Devil.' he an- swered bravely. friend. in hell "It is you.

and the warm mad West wind. and foolish maidens coming out to dance. and the doors shut behind them and still they went arm And . that send the village fools muttering and whispering two by two in the woods when the harvest moon is high. and butterflies flapping along them as soon as the sun rose high. "I have mistaken right for wrong." "O." said the Devil. it's as much as I can bear even to see them dancing." "You somewhere far away Hell's black steel doors were opened." said the Devil. no you don't." said the man. don't wake up out of this sleep. but as soon as I wake I will fight you yet." "Then. and worst of all that pernicious influence Love. and arm in arm those two were drawn within." And when Love the Devil said that God made bed and that earnest man sat up in shouted "Blasphemy! Blasphemy!" "It isn't I "It's true.A MORAL LITTLE TALE "and useless 77 dawns on hill-slopes facing South.

78 FIFTY-ONE TALES and further into in arm. . and it was that Puritan's punishment to know that those that he cared for on Earth would do evil as he had done. trudging further the deeps of Hell.

THE RETURN OF SONG one another the gods. and up and up from it looking larger and larger came a flock of white. innumerable swans. "What is it?" I said ble among the gods." said to some fair and far Valhalla. I saw below me an iridescent bubble not greatly larger than a star shine beautifully but faintly. for my dreams had taken me to THE swans are singing again. to one that was hum- "Only a world has ended. singing and singing and singing." said he that was humble among 79 ." he said to me* "and the swans are coming back to the gods returning the gift of song. till it seemed as though even the gods were wild ships swimming in music." "A whole world dead!" I said. And looking downwards. "Dead.

" said. ." And down I looked and saw the larks. "Look! Look!" he a "There will be new one soon.80 FIFTY-ONE TALES "The worlds is the gods. going from the gods. are not for ever. only song immortal.

Still tingled the fingers of the passers-by still their breath was visible. yet the throne of Winter tottered. And not any longer as a those streets. but he sat there with a little wind 81 . a wind. these things still were. and still they huddled their chins into their coats when turning a corner they met with a new windows lighted early sent out the street the thought of romantic comstill fort by evening fires .SPRING IN TOWN and played with AT and wind. king did Winter appear in as when the city was decked with gleaming white to greet him as a conqueror and he rode in with his glittering icicles and haughty retinue of prancing winds. and every breeze brought tidings of further fortresses lost on lakes or boreal hill-slopes. Winter disconsolate. into a street corner sat.

And as to some old blind beggar Death approaches." said Winter to her. Nevertheless he drew about him his grey and battered cloak and rose and called to his little bitter up a away. "There is nothing for you to do here. "Begone. from some neighboring garden. then he marched homeward over plains and sea and heard his old winds howling as he . He turned then and called to Spring: "You can do nothing in this city. and the alert ears of the sightless man prophetically hear his far-off footfall." said Spring. of Spring daisies. so there came suddenly to Winter's ears the sound." he said.82 FIFTY-ONE TALES some old at the corner of the street like blind beggar with his hungry dog. side street wind and that led northward strode Pieces of paper and tall clouds of dust went with him as far as the city's outer gate. approaching as she walked on And Spring approaching looked at huddled inglorious Winter.

draping himself anew with old grey clouds.83 marched. and they sang the arboreal song that only trees can hear. So the town was left to Spring. so she sang to him and he gambolled. Now he took like went a clarion. and far before him the geese's triumphant cry Greater and greater grew his stature as he went northwards and ever more kingly his mien. and the green . And she peered about to see what she could do with it. To left and to right of him flew the flocks of the sea-birds. baronies at a stride and now counties and came again to the snow-white frozen lands where the wolves came out to meet him and. two old ice barriers swinging on pillars of ice that had never known the sun. Presently she saw a dejected dog coming prowling down the road. The ice broke up behind him and foundered like navies. I saw him next day strutting by with something of an air. Where there were trees she went to them and whispered. strode through the gates of his invincible home.

84 FIFTY-ONE TALES buds came peeping out as stars while yet it She went is twilight. to appear in the coats of the . secretly one by one." Children began to in know that daisies blew unfrequented corners. there with a little grass. "Be joyous. In little patches bare and desolate she called up like a flame the golden crocus. She gladdened the graceto gardens backs of untidy houses. and awaked from dreaming the warm maternal earth. or its purple brother like an emperor's ghost. Buttonholes be- gan young men. The work of Spring was accomplished. She said to less the air. here with a weed.

And the date of its doom was known and the gate by which it would enter. Meanwhile Thlunrana.HOW THE ENEMY CAME THLUNRANA TO had been prophesied of old and foreseen from the ancient days that its enemy would come upon Thlunrana. that secret lamaserai. it stood and of all lands round about it. So narrow and high were the windows and lighted at night that they seemed to regard men with the demoniac so strange when leer of something that had a secret in the dark. that chief cathedral of wizwas the terror of the valley in which ardry. yet none had IT prophesied of the enemy who he was save that he was of the gods though he dwelt with men. Who were the magicians and the 85 deputy-magicians and the great arch-wizard .

scaring the drifting bats: but on the last night of all the man from the black-thatched Whom cottage by the five pine-trees came. yet that rocky edifice Thlunrana remained dark. should come against it and it should be no more. mysterious still.86 FIFTY-ONE TALES of that furtive place nobody knew. It was not often that anyone dared wander near to Thlunrana by night when the moan of the magicians invoking we know not rose faintly from inner chambers. terrible. southward door that was named the Gate of the Doom. but that dwelt with man. venerable. Up the dark valley he went like a bold man. his bravery bore their weight but . but his fears were thick upon him . and dreadfully crowned with her doom. for they went veiled and hooded and cloaked completely in black. Though her doom was close upon her and the enemy of prophecy should come that very night through the open. because he would see Thlunrana once again before the enemy that was divine.

is He went in at the southward gate that named the Gate of the Doom.THLUNRANA stooped a little 87 beneath them. third Only one taper burned in the chamber. heavy curtains still of black velvet and came into a chamber of black marble where noth- ing stirred. with a gloom in it that was blacker than anything they could account for. seen through a vacant archway. magicians with lighted tapers plied their wizardry and whispered incantations. On the smooth floor and under the smooth wall a . go- ing whimpering down the stairway. there were no windows. The man from the black-thatched cottage passed that second chamber the magicians through did not look at him and did not cease to : He passed from them through whisper. All the rats in the place were passing away. At the top a curtain of black velvet hung and he passed into a chamber heavily hung with curtains. hall. He came into a dark to see and up a marble stairway passed the last of Thlunrana. In a sombre chamber beyond.

88 FIFTY-ONE TALES stood with its silk pavilion curtains drawn holies close together: this was the holy of of that ominous place. its inner mystery. but the magicians passed and fled through the open fields wailing and beating their breasts. and with a bold and nervous clutch of the hand drew one of the and saw the inner mystery. And the prophecy was fulfilled. and it is of their terrific away from halls the gods but dwells with man. ror to the valley. either of men or women or cloaked stone. . One on each side of it dark figures crouched. and laughed. When the awful of the mystery was more than he could bear the man from the blackstillness thatched cottage by the five pine-trees went up to the silk pavilion. for laughter was the enemy that was doomed to come against Thlunrana through her southward gate (that was named the Gate of the Doom). and Thlunrana was never more a tercurtains aside. or of beasts trained to be silent.

"Come. and should not be surly." he said again. come." if I were losing yet I But Death remained unfriendly watching his bowl of wine and gave no word in answer. he sat with his jowl morosely over an ominous wine. And still Death was gloomy and cross 89 . come." and would not sipped at his infamous wine and look up at Man and would not be companionable. with Death gave no in a tavern Man met face to skull Man entered gaily but greeting. "we have been antagonists long. "you must not resent defeat. speaking cheerily still.A LOSING GAME ONCE Death. Then Man solicitously moved nearer to him and. "Come." said Man.

90 FIFTY-ONE TALES But Man hated gloom either in beast or god. he could never repeat on Earth his triumph over the Moon. and presently Man wept arose and went wondering away. all the more because he was the cause. or whether because perhaps. game was over and Man . "Have you not put out the Moon? sound Death and nothing said. for he knew not if Death wept out of pity for his opponent." And with a dry and barking was gone. for some hidden reason. and it made him unhappy to see his adversary's discomfort. and still he tried to cheer him. "Have you not slain the Dinatherium?" he said. or because he knew that he should not have such sport again when the old Why! you will beat me yet.

so that I stopped and asked one what they were doing. I a joke." 91 see. usual in June?" They seemed to be "But "Is it "We are not what we seem.TAKING UP PICCADILLY down GOING nearing my memory is Piccadilly one day and Grosvenor Place I saw. said he. with their coats off They had pickaxes in their hands and wore corduroy trousers and that little leather band below the knee that goes by the astonishing name of "York-to-London." "Oh. some workmen or so they seemed." I said. "We are taking up Piccadilly. if not at fault. it "you are doing for ." he said to me. at this time of year?" I said." working with peculiar vehemence.

" They were taking up gether. and though it was broad daylight over my head it was darkness stars." said he." said he that wore corduroy trousers.92 FIFTY-ONE TALES "Well not exactly that. "For a bet?" I said. And then I looked at the bit that they had already picked. "We are not what we appear. "Not precisely. all full of the southern "It was noisy and bad and we grew aweary of it. down there. Piccadilly alto- ." he answered me.

happened which had been so long in happening and the world that uncharted star. silent and windowless." one huge places.AFTER THE FIRE WHEN hit a black. 93 ." "It was the mammoth. And to remember. "in these has been here. staring like empty skulls. presently they saw man's temples. "Some great thing said." said another. And then they found that the greatest thing in the world had been the dreams of said one. certain tremen- dous creatures out of some other world came peering among the cinders to see if there were anything there that it were worth while They spoke of the great things that the world was known to have had. they mentioned the mammoth." "Something greater than he. man.

"It can do business well they are gone. "Who are these men?" I said to my glit- tering leader.THE CITY IN far time as well as in space my fancy roams me once to the from here. We now." they said." my fancy answered. men well they are gone." 94 "The . It was evening. Presently I saw men by threes and fours come softly stealing out of that city's gate to the number of about twenty. "The poets. I heard the hum is of men's voices speaking at evening. cliffs It led edge of certain that were low and red and rose up out of a desert: a little way off in the desert there was a city. poets and artists. is "It well they are gone." And the that had left the city sped away over the It is sand and so passed into the twilight. and I sat and watched the city.

And then I also departed." I heard the wrangling voices. even of what had been that city. and there was nothing. . something has going warned them and they have stolen away.THE CITY "Why do they "And why have gone?" steal 95 away?" I said to him. are the people glad that they He said: "It must be some doom that is on the city. among the weeds. to fall Nothing may warn the people. glad with commerce. for there was an ominous look on the face of the sky. rise up from the city. And that only a thousand years later I passed way.

and the tinned meats of Chicago. and a little the paper. with a pinch of our modsalt. 96 . They carried him (in into the dining-room of a great hotel that close atmosphere Death breathed more freely) and there they gave him their cheap . Death drank it up. whitened with alum. Indian tea. they gave him the foods that it recommended for invalids. They borax. such as children drink in England.THE FOOD OF DEATH DEATHbread him ern substitute for was sick. and strode medicine as prescribed in gave him some milk and again through the cities. strong. Death arose ravening. They brought him a bottle of wine that they called champagne. that the But they brought modern bakers make. They bought a newspaper and looked up the patent medicines.

and he had been a god). know thou that here in little "O 97 . holding a little scourge that the years had broken (and no one heeded the scourge and no one prayed and no one came with squealing sacrifice. a little swine-faced idol to whom no one prayed. idol said : in- "O of the hard pale stone. and humbled myself and idol. pale-green image whose wanderings are from far. it as perhaps they prayed long before the coming of the strange dark since. vincible to the years. give ear for behold I pray. And when I saw his melancholy case as he sat cross-legged at receipt of prayer. then I took pity on the little forgotten thing and prayed to ships.THE LONELY IDOL HAD from a friend an old outlandish I stone. O scourge-holder.

too far off is fame and the years are gathered too soon. every- where falling. the pleas- ant ancient voices that come to our ears no more. and there dims with the speed of the years even the mind's own eye. strugdying and weeping.98 FIFTY-ONE TALES i Europe and in other lands near by. the very gardens of our childhood fade. for the silent hurry of his malevolent feet have trodden down what's fairest. and all that is beautiful hath not remained but is even as the gle. glory of morning upon the water. too soon there pass from us the sweets and song and the lion strength of youth too soon do their cheeks fade. brittle is beauty. "Even our memories are gathered too with the sound of the ancient voices. there are leaves. failure there is. there is autumn among men. their hair grow grey and : our beloved die too . "O be not any more the friend of Time. autumn and reaping. I almost hear the whimper of the years running be- . leaves falling.

is beautiful he crushes down as man tramples is daisies. and be not him but pity us.faced no one kneeled.THE LONELY IDOL hind him hound-like. all that is fair- How very fair are the little children of men. idol to whom . who will not let us be. and let lovely things live on for the sake of our tears. It stars autumn with to see it." Thus prayed I out of compassion one good to windy day to the snout. and tear us. and the weep "Therefore no longer be the friend of Time. it 99 takes few to "All that a big est. all the world.

and then to the forests and the desert places. and therefore they went to the menageries. by a woman she knew so they had to search the world again for a sphinx. But they were not men to baffle. So she besought them to bring her a live sphinx. And still there was none. she had gold and dividends and trains and houses. in that it is easy found a sphinx a desert at evening watching a ruined and at last they 100 . and she had pets to play with.THE SPHINX HERE IN THEBES (MASSACHUSETTS) was a woman in a steel-built city who had all that money could buy. And she would have been content with a little lion but that one was already owned . but she had no sphinx. and yet could find no sphinx.

and softly asked a And And knows the woman could not answer. and she died. the sphinx is silent again and none what she will do. And city.THEBES (MASSACHUSETTS) 101 temple whose gods she had eaten hundreds of years ago when her hunger was on her. stillness. who was still with an ominous and took her westwards with them and brought her home. so the sphinx came to the steel-built And the woman was : very glad that she owned a sphinx but the sphinx stared long into her eyes one day riddle of the woman. And they cast chains on her. .

will it?" I said. half -buried things with shapeless edges. and there was a huge angel with a hammer building in plaster and steel. said the angel. ONE'S than spirit it The place was foul with cinders and castoff things. 102 "It won't be as bad as the old hell. I hesitated. Wandering once by night from a factory city I came to the edge of Hell. The angel did not answer." "Don't be too hard on them. then asked him what he was building." he said." . I wondered what he did in that dreadful place. "Worse. "to keep times. "We Hell.THE REWARD goes further in dreams does by day. and jagged." I said. are adding to pace with the for I had just come out of a compromising age and a weakening country.

the great new yeast.) "They have invented a new cheap yeast." I said. "Do never rest from doing this terrible you "You work?" "I rested one Christmas Day." "They said." The angel went on hammering the into place huge steel uprights. the words were written in flame. I looked at the legend on the walls of the angel was building. are very revengeful." I said. shall look at it for ever." I said. and something more." said the angel. it builds up body and brain. "to such a punishment?" (They talked like this in the city whence I had come and I inflict could not avoid the habit of it." the angel . "Yeasto. every fifteen seconds hell that the they changed their color.THE REWARD "How 103 can you reconcile it with your conscience as a Minister of Grace. "the law allowed it." the angel "But they drove a perfectly legitimate trade.

the yeast as . FIFTY-ONE TALES "and looked and saw lit." And the angel made no answer but went on building his hell. the fires are I shall go on now "It is very hard to prove." little children until dying of cancer.104 said." I said." I said." "After all. "they must live. "that is bad as you think.

THE TROUBLE IN LEAFY GREEN STREET went to the idol-shop in Moleshill Street. she answered him as was meet: "Give me a god to worship when it is wet." is The old man reminded her of the heavy penalties that rightly attach to idolatry and. Now it may be that long confinement to or 105 the house affects adversely the liver. when he had enumerated all. where the old man mumbles. as the old man mumbled. . The God of Rainy Cheerfulness." he went to the back places of his shop and sought out and brought her a god. The same was carved of grey stone and wore And a propitious look and was named. and said: "I want a god to worship when it SHE wet.

but certain that on a rainy day her spirits so far that those cheerful creatures these things it is descended came within sight of the Pit. in the prosperous house at the corner. she bethought her of Moleshill Street and the mumbling man. and. the God of Rainy Cheerfulness (who knows with what ceremony or what lack of it?). and she paid him there and then his preposterous price and took the idol away. and so brought down on her in Leafy Green Street.106 FIFTY-ONE TALES may be of the soul. And on the next wet day that there ever was she prayed to the grey-stone idol that she had bought. that doom of which all men speak. . He brought the grey idol forth and mumbled of guarantees. although he put nothing on paper. having tried cigarettes to no good end.

and now are dead." And the mist came up weeping. And the mist went into the high places and the hollows. and I said to him: "Why does the mist come up weeping into the Downs when it goes into the high places and the hollows?" "The mist is the company of a multitude of souls who never saw the Downs. who are dead and never saw them. who loved Downs. Therefore they come up weeping into the Downs.mist said unto the mist: JL "Let us go up into the Downs." he answered: 107 And . one ghostly in the haze. And clumps But I went the of trees in the distance stood to a prophet.

FURROW-MAKER HE "We was all in black. Always changing. He uneasy. "And you?" A change not. but his friend was dressed in brown. man went by in the distance riding a is bicycle." "He "So changes the way he builds his house." he said. family say. "They say he has changed of late. members of two old families. "of late almost every century. 108 . "No change." "They say he takes much to cities?" the my brown one said. "Is there any change in the way you build your houses?" said he in black." said the other. does he not?" said the brown one. "He is always changing." said the other." said the one in black.

"Yes. He has been foolish of is sick. he has played with smoke and engines have wearied him and evil." there he grows lean?" said the one. We must not lose furrow-maker. But in a few centuries he will forget his folly and we Time out of shall not lose furrow-maker." said the black one. he grows lean. His his cities are Yes. "Caw. He will not die. he is very sick." said the black one. no. late. do they not?" said the . "Furrowmaker will not die. mind he has delved and my family have got their food from the raw earth behind him. "He says he is much in cities." said the black it true that he cannot live many cen- turies ?" "No." "Is it true what they say?" said the brown "Is one." "But they say. one.FURROW-MAKER "My "And brown cousin 109 who lives in belfries tells me so.

"his cities are noisome." the brown one answered. and that it is with him as it is with us when we grow too many. all dirty. Dog. will kill each other We know what and what each may sur- . He He his thinks that Man will die. he will die. "He brown "Who came back to the too." says it?" replied the black one. dirty fellow!" He will die too. the "Pigeon and Hare!" said the black one. and the grass has the bitter taste in the rainy season. and our young grow bloated and die. and wicked friend Dog with him. "Who told me !" the black family and his one said. went down edge of the Man was too says it sick to chase him. "We shall not lose furrow-maker. "Pigeon. and that he grows sick in them and can run no longer." "Who told you he will not die?" his brown friend said. And Hare cities once. That nasty fellow Dog.110 FIFTY-ONE TALES one. "My follies have understood each other times out of mind.

" said the die. all up and go back to the woods. And Man to it said in his heart: "Just one invention more." "He will "Caw. said the other." something I want and then I will give is . There do with petrol yet. 111 will not and I say that furrow-maker die." brown one.FURROW-MAKER vive.

stout leather boots. My fingers and wrists were aching. but on the sheer face of the wall itself. was along no battlements or terrace edge I was climbing. So far below me that in the tranquil twilight and clear air of those lands I could only barely see them lay the craggy tops of the mountains. but though I was in my night-shirt I had on and their edges somehow held in those narrow cracks. getting what foothold I It could where the boulders joined. Had it been possible to stop for a moment I might have been lured to give a second look at the fearful peaks of the mountains 112 . Had my feet been bare I was done.LOBSTER SALAD WAS I climbing round the perilous outside of the Palace of Colquonhombros.

fatal. Some were too sharp to hold and some too flush with the wall.LOBSTER SALAD down there in the twilight. strange what different sensations there can be in different boulders every one gleaming with the same white light and every one chosen to match the rest by minions of ancient kings when your life de- pends on the edges of every one you come to. Those edges seemed strangely different. those whose hold was the best crumone. fore. for the next . all 113 this and must beside have been the point. Then I went It is on. It was of no avail to overcome the terror of would give you a hold in quite a different way or hand you over to death in a different manner. but That the thing was a dream is We it is have fallen in dreams be- well known that if in one of : those falls you ever hit the ground you die I had looked at those menacing mountain- tops and knew well that such a fall as the one I feared must have such a termination.

It was time to drop and be done with it or stop and await those apes. and hurrying. and lying now if no evil chance had removed it on a chest of drawers by my bed. nor did I know what the king would do along whose wall I was climbing. The apes were very the evening. had pursued me all In any case I could have gone no farther. for certain sable apes that I have not mentioned as yet. And then it was that I remembered a pin. things that had tigerish teeth and were born and bred on that wall. close. thrown carelessly down out of an eveningtie in another world to the one where grew that glittering wall. And came to a breach made long ago by earthquake. each rock had terror : different and then there were those things that at last I followed behind me.114 FIFTY-ONE TALES its bled the soonest. for they knew my . lightning or war: I should have had to go down a thousand feet to get round it and they would come up with me while I was doing that.

I found itl I ran. Saved! . and the cruel peaks of those infernal mountains seemed surer than the apes. I groped about. I reached out with a desperate effort of will towards where the of me pin lay on the chest of drawers.LOBSTER SALAD 115 fingers were into my arm.

" said the one-eyed man with the spear." the one with the hammer said. and their hands looked like leather." "O' course we might.THE RETURN OF THE EXILES THE hill. man with a hammer and the one-eyed man with a spear were seatold ed by the roadside talking as I came up the "It isn't as though they hadn't asked us. But whatever they were they were English. "There ain't it. knows about "Twenty's twenty." said the first. "After all these years. "After all these years. We might go back just once." no more than twenty as said the other." said the other. and this was 116 . the one with the hammer had a leather apron full of holes and blackened. Their clothes were old even for laborers.

" I was bicycling there myself to see the place so I pointed out the way and rode on at once. twenty as knows. When I came to Stonehenge I saw a group of about a score of men standing among the stones." he said. and . I thought that very likely they had done long terms of penal servitude." mumbled the "There's not more than other plaintively. They asked me with some solemnity if I was expecting anyone. "Might we make so bold. "We way to Stonehenge?" never ought to go..RETURN OF EXILES i 117 pleasant to see after all the motors that had passed me that day with their burden of mixed and doubtful nationalities. "as to ask the sir. When they saw me the one with the ham- mer touched his greasy cap. but . They seemed by their wretched mien to have been persecuted or utterly neglected for many years.. for there servile was something about them so utterly both that I did not care for their company.

and all the people knelt on the grass before them. killed the two old men hammer and spear and the And And then still kneeling they goat by the altar. and when the two old men saw this they came up with many excuses and eagerly sniffed the blood. "It used to be men. was three miles back where I left those strange old men. but I had not been in the stone circle long when they appeared. When they saw them all the people took off their hats and acted very strangely. and the plaint of the And men began .118 FIFTY-ONE TALES I said when It No they spoke to me no more." he lamented. and I saw that they had a goat which they led up then to the old altar stone. the twenty "It used to be men. came up with their began apologizing plaintively for the liberty they had taken in coming back to that place. But soon the one with the spear began to whimper." looking uneasily at each other. And at first this made them happy. coming with great strides along the road.

" . tive voice "But after all these years. " .. . "After all these years. but there are moments when it is clearly time to go. . I do not or know who the two old men were what any of them were doing." I heard him crying. and I left them there and then. And the one with the spear said: .RETURN OF EXILES 119 one-eyed man went on in that tearful voice. "Yes.. and all of a sudden they all looked at me. after three thousand years. And just as I got up on to my bicycle I heard the plainof the one with the hammer apologizing for the liberty he had taken in coming back to Stonehenge.

weeping. from which she continually winced as she hobbled on. utragged. it might be hot or 120 cold. an ill-used spirit tried to keep Continually she plucked him and cried out to him as she by panted after and he strode resolute on. He that strode on in front seemed to care for nothing. whining. but the trams and the ugly shops and the glare of the factories. reproaching. the sleeve be the cold that she feared. and the pavement hurt her feet. terly Behind him stooping.NATURE AND TIME rpHROUGH the streets of Coventry one -I* winter's night strode a triumphant spirit. It was a bitter night. ill-clad though she was. silent . yet it did not seem to pace with him. wearing the clothes and look that outcasts have. unkempt.

you scarcely heard it for the noise of the traffic. I heard her speak in her un- And happy voice. pavement or open had the air of striding on." she "all my woods are fallen and still the grow. cities anemones are dead for miles. almost stopping in that stride of his that began when the stars were made. My child Man is unhappy and still my other children are dying. and the cities grow and you have forgotten mel" And then he turned angrily on her. fields. And he gruffly told her to keep pace with him and that he did not forsake her. "You have forsaken me here. And she went on with her piticities ful lamentation." She pointed to Coventry with a wide wave of her arm and seemed to indicate other beyond. 121 he merely she caught up and clutched him by the elbow." she complained to him.NATURE AND TIME or noisy. "When have I ever forgotten you?" he . "My said. "You have forgotten me.

And he strode away.122 said. my children?" "Soon." he said: then they were silent. will the fields come back and the grass for comfort. FIFTY-ONE TALES "or I is when forsaken you ever? Did not throw down Babylon for you? And not Nineveh gone? that troubled you? Where Where Persepolis Tarshish and is Tyre? And you And at this she have said I forget you. and all the clocks in the towers chimed as he passed. . soon. look"When ing wistfully at her companion. she limping along behind him." seemed to take a little I heard her speak once more.

knew "It really was the most extraordinary thing. "It was like this. She was not an ordinary sheblackbird.THE SONG OF THE BLACKBIRD AS the poet passed the thorn-tree the blackbird sang. I made that song last Spring. her feathers were blacker than the seen. and nothing was as yellow as her beak she could fly much faster than the . One day last like her at all." said the blackbird. Spring when it got warm again 123 it had been . Her night itself. There was the most beauti- ful she-blackbird that the world has ever eyes were blacker than lakes are at night. I did not dare go near her because she was so wonderful. for he bird language. there has never been any other lightning. it came to me all of a sudden. "How ever do you do it?" the poet said.

and there had never been anything like it before. "Yes. FIFTY-ONE TALES we ate berries." And an old wanderer walking with a stick came by and the blackbird flew away. and then this song came. flew right up to me and sat quite close to me on the same tree. that I opened my beak to give a shout. the most amazing occurrence of that marvellous day. and as I was saying . the song came in a moment. but Spring came and it got warm one day I was thinking how wonderful seemed so extraordinary to think that I should ever have seen her. was that no sooner had I sung the song than that very bird. the very song that I just sang now...124 cold. the most wonderful she-blackbird in the world. the it she was and only really wonderful she-blackbird in the world. and luckily I remembered it. and . But what is so extraordi- nary. I never remember such won- derful times as those. things were quite differ- ent then.

It was new then. "That song new?" said the wanderer. God made it years ago. it All the blackbirds used to sing was young." when I . "Not a bit of it.SONG OF BLACKBIRD the poet told the old 125 man the blackbird's wonderful story.

message. "to the Golden Town." Thus sang the Muses. Not to such as me speak the Muses. But the man said: "They do not call to me.THE MESSENGERS ONE wandering nigh Parnassus chasing hares heard the high Muses. though he would fain have left it to other men and chased the fleet hares still in happy valleys." And the man was downcast for he would have chased hares. "Take us a message." And the Muses called him by name." they said. "Take us a message to the Golden Town. valleys or on high of the hills he still heard the Muses crags he went at last to them and heard their And the Muses called And when whether in again. 126 .

cross-legged they sat before their houses reading from parchments a message of the Muses that they sent long before. Otherwise spake they. and his cloak floated behind him." And they stoned him and he died." the man went from that place and that dressed in scarlet silks as befitted one that came from the high Muses. and read it in their temples on holy days. they of the Golden Town." they said. "they shall know And you come from the Muses. And the young man cried his message from the Muses. they rose up and said: "Thou art not from the Muses. And afterwards they carved his message upon gold. "By this. And When will the Muses rest? When are .THE MESSENGERS And 127 they gave him a wreath of laurels carved out of emeralds as only the Muses can carve. All silent sat the wise men and the aged. And through the gateway of the Golden Town he ran and cried his message.

even as they had stoned the last so And afterwards they it carved his message on gold and laid in their temples." he came through the gateway of the Golden Town with the message he had for its And people. And they gave him a wand of ivory to carry in his hand with they weary? all the beautiful stories of the world won- drously carved thereon. as only the Muses can carve. Muses could have carved it. And they rose up at once in the they rose from reading the message that they had carved upon gold.128 FIFTY-ONE TALES They sent another messenger to the Golden Town. "came with Golden street." they "they shall know that you come from the Muses. You are not from the Muses. said." they said. up are When will the Muses rest? When they weary ? Even yet once again they sent ." And also they stoned him. "The last who came. a wreath of laurels carved out of emeralds. And only the "By this.

And for all that he wore a garland of gold that the high Muses gave him. "Go take our message. yet fashioned of pure gold and by whom but the Muses. and they cried out a third time: "Go take our message. But morning and night they cried and through long evenings.THE MESSENGERS 129 a messenger under the gateway into the Golden Town. a garland of kingcups soft and yellow on his head." But I would not go. since I heard for some while them call to me. "Go take our message." they I would not go. "unto the Golden Town. yet did they stone him in the Golden Town. said. When will the Muses rest? When are they weary? And when they would not cease . And they spake a second time. and what care the Muses? And yet they will not rest." And though they cried a third time I still And would not go. But they had the message." they said.

cried. said to the I heard their message I made excuses. And believe I said: None will me. there is no ease in its streets." take our message." they "What is your message?" I high Muses." . It is become a dark town full of trouble. dreading to speak such things in the Golden go. and again they bade me "I will not go. And I said to the high Muses: "Go "You do not understand. And when Town. they have They have sold their made coins out of their golden doors." "Go take our message." they cried.130 FIFTY-ONE TALES me I went to them and I said: is to call to "The Golden Town the Golden Town no longer. You have no message for the Golden Town. beauty has left it and the old songs are gone. pillars for brass and their temples for money. the holy city no longer.

still 131 all the Muses cry to me night should They do not understand.THE MESSENGERS And long. they know? How .

There he sat Problem. This glory of Man's achievement. a poor old woman begging. whom 132 they always turned . this city was not for her. And to the furthest always they turned her away.THE THREE TALL SONS raised on high the of his civilization. there was no more toil for man. towering Softly beneath him in the deeps of the AND at last Man final earth purred his machinery fulfilling all his needs. came to his outer door. It was Nature that thus came begging fields. in from the away. the glory edifice of the ultimate city. came rampart of the final glory of Man. at ease discussing the Sex And ten sometimes painfully out of forgotthere fields.

But her in.THE THREE TALL SONS And away fields. obsessed with his civilization. And these are Nature's sons. 133 she went again alone to her And came these one day she came again. "Even my sons to your city." three tall sons "These shall go she said. and never hearing their tread as those three came up behind." And the three tall sons went in. War. too. Famine and in there Plague. . and again they sent her hence. Yea and they went and found poring over Man his unawares in his city still Problems. the forlorn one's terrible children.

And down in the deeps of the earth. gorgeous home. There they feasted and fought and called their city immortal. mumbled goaded the earthquake to try his strength with that city. None heeded the earth- quake in all those joyous streets.COMPROMISE THEY of city built their earthquake. and would not do their pleasure and would not stir from thence. and what 134 And down . their glory. for who knew who they were who danced all day where he rumbled. gold in the shining youth of the world. they that would conquer Man mumbled long and in the darkness. above the lair of the They built it of marble and and danced and sang songs to the gods. in those grimy deeps the earthquake answered them. to go forth blithely at night and to gnaw its pillars like bones. on the black feet of the abyss.

they sent down garlands and propitious berries. girls. and their thin white sacred newly drawn from sea. and made plans one with another and sought to avert the danger. they that had sung in that city. and ointment and strange oriental dyes. on and on round the world. and boys with burning spices. "Oho. arrows and armor and the cats with collars of pearls all rings of their queen. and one day they that had danced.COMPROMISE if the lords ! 135 of that city that had no fear of his anger were haply even the gods And the centuries plodded by. They sent down singing and priests with oats and wine. sought to appease the earth- quake and turn his anger away. they sent huge diamonds down in coffers of teak. down by dark steps to the black depths of the earth." said the earthquake in the coolth of the earth. "so they are not the gods. they sent peacocks newly slain." . remembered the lair of the earthquake in the deeps down under their feet.

"If only. he looked at them and wept. so nutritious." he said.WHAT WE HAVE COME TO saw the cathedral spires over the downs in the distance. "this were an advertisement of Beefo. try WHEN in the advertiser it your soup. ladies like it." 186 . so nice.

said, "that old-time


SEEING," us now make a tomb for him is dead, let
and a monument, that the dreadful worship of long ago may be remembered and avoided

said the people of the enlightened lands. And they built a white and mighty


tomb of marble.



rose under the

hands of the builders and longer every evening after sunset it gleaned with rays of the
departed sun.

And many mourned



while the


reviled him.


and to weep for Pan and others called them to leave no memorial at all of so infamous a god. But the builders built on steadily. And one day all was finished, and the
called the builders to cease



tomb stood there like a steep sea-cliff. And Pan was carved thereon with humbled head and the feet of angels pressed upon his neck. And when the tomb was finished the sun had already set, but the afterglow was rosy on the huge bulk of Pan.
presently all the enlightened people came, and saw the tomb and remembered


Pan who was

dead, and


deplored him and

wicked age. But a few wept apart because of the death of Pan.


at evening as he stole out of the for-

est, and slipped like a shadow softly along the hills, Pan saw the tomb and laughed.






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