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The Blue Moon   By: (1865-1959)

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THE BLUE MOON

By Laurence Housman

CONTENTS

THE BLUE MOON A CHINESE FAIRY TALE THE WAY OF THE WIND A CAPFUL OF MOONSHINE THE MOON STROKE HOW LITTLE DUKE JARL SAVED THE CASTLE THE WHITE DOE THE GENTLE COCKATRICE THE RAT CATCHER'S DAUGHTER WHITE BIRCH

THE BLUE MOON

Nillywill and Hands pansy were the most unimportant and happy pair of lovers the world has ever gained or lost.

With them it had been a case of love at first blindness since the day when they had tumbled into each other's arms in the same cradle. And Hands pansy, when he first saw her, did not discover that Nillywill was a real princess hiding her birthright in the home of a poor peasant; nor did Nillywill, when she first saw Hands, see in him the baby beginnings of the most honest and good heart that ever sprang out of poverty and humble parentage. So from her end of their little crib she kicked him with her royal rosy toes, and he from his kicked back and laughed: and thus, as you hear, at first blindness they fell head over ears in love with one another.

Nothing could undo that; for day by day earth and sun and wind came to rub it in deeper, and water could not wash it off. So when they had been seven years together there could be no doubt that they felt as if they had been made for each other in heaven. And then something very big and sad came to pass; for one day Nillywill had to leave off being a peasant child and become a princess once more. People very grand and grown up came to the woodside where she flowered so gaily, and caught her by the golden hair of her head and pulled her up by her dear little roots, and carried her quite away from Hands pansy to a place she had never been in before. They put her into a large palace, with woods and terraces and landscape gardens on all sides of it; and there she sat crying and pale, saying that she wanted to be taken back to Hands pansy and grow up and marry him, though he was but the poor peasant boy he had always been.

Those that had charge of Nillywill in her high station talked wisely, telling her to forget him. "For," said they, "such a thing as a princess marrying a peasant boy can only happen once in a blue moon!"

When she heard that, Nillywill began every night to watch the moon rise, hoping some evening to see it grow up like a blue flower against the dusk and shake down her wish to her like a bee out of its deep bosom.

But night by night, silver, or ruddy, or primrose, it lit a place for itself in the heavens; and years went by, bringing the Princess no nearer to her desire to find room for Hands pansy amid the splendours of her throne.

She knew that he was five thousand miles away and had only wooden peasant shoes to walk in; and when she begged that she might once more have sight of him, her whole court, with the greatest utterable politeness, cried "No!"

The Princess's memory sang to her of him in a thousand tunes, like woodland birds carolling; but it was within the cage which men call a crown that her thoughts moved, fluttering to be out of it and free.

So time went on, and Nillywill had entered gently into sweet womanhood the comeliest princess that ever dropped a tear; and all she could do for love was to fill her garden with dark eyed pansies, and walk among their humble upturned faces which reminded her so well of her dear Hands Hands who was a long five thousand miles away. "And, oh!" she sighed, watching for the blue moon to rise, "when will it come and make me at one with all my wish?"

Looking up, she used to wonder what went on there. She and Hands had stolen into the woods, when children together, and watched the small earth fairies at play, and had seen them, when the moon was full, lift up their arms to it, making, perhaps, signals of greeting to far off moon brothers. So she thought to herself, "What kind are the fairies up there, and who is the greatest moon fairy of all who makes the blue moon rise and bring good will to the sad wishers of the human race? Is it," thought Nillywill, "the moon fairy who then opens its heart and brings down healing therefrom to lovers upon earth?"

And now, as happens to all those who are captives of a crown, Nillywill learned that she must wed with one of her own rank who was a stranger to her save for his name and his renown as the lord of a neighbouring country; there was no help for her, since she was a princess, but she must wed according to the claims of her station... Continue reading book >>




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