|Newspaper Title||The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1871 - 1912)|
|Trove Title||Mother's Story|
By Alice Eyton.
' You promised us a story, mother,' said Lilian, as she aud her brother sat by their mother's side at sunset. ' Did I, dear f ' was the reply. ' What shall it be — a giant story, a true 6tory, or a wonderful fairy tele F ' ' A fairy tale, please.' ' Well, then, once open a time, when the old world was a young world, and when people never grew aged, there lived, in a quaint village called Simpleland, a beautiful Princess named Curioso.
Kimpieiana was a smau pjace, uaviug uuiy uurea hundred inhabitants. It was governed by Curioso's father, King Content. A stranger entering the vil lage might have noticed a liigh, square, brick wall, above which appeared the turrets of a castle. Had he taken the trouble to walk round this wall, he would also have, discovered that there was no en trance to the place. He would wonder, as the vil lagers once wondered, at this. Theu perhaps he would conclude, as tbey had long ago concluded, that, since it was impossible to climb the walls, there was little use troubling further over the matter. ' But, if Content's merry subjects had no wish to explore the Forbidden Ground,' his daughter Curioso had every desire to do so. 'In fact, she was the only person in Simpleland who was not entirely happy. The constant worry ing over this mystery had made her quite irritable. ' ' I cannot imagine,' she said to her father, 4 why thou dost not find Bome way of getting into that place.' ' Content, who was laughing gaily with his courtiers, turned. ' ' What place, sweet Princess ? ' ' ' Oh, thou knowest ; the Forbidden Ground.' *' The King was weary of his daughter's continual harping on this theme. ' ' Why,' he asked ; ' attempt the impossible ? ' ' ' There is naught impossible to the King, my father.' ' Content laughed. ' ' Thou art a true woman, my daughter.' ' At which Curioso frowned, and accompanied by her maidens left the court. 'A little later she sat musing disconsolately by ?/ her window, when a lady approached and said : V ' ' Pardon, your Highness, but why not try the N Wishing Pond 't ' ' The Princess started ; then exclaimed joyfully : ''Of course — the Wishing Pond ! How stupid of me not to have thought of that. Thanks, friend.' ' Without wailing for her attendants, she lifted her train, hurried from the room, down the stairs, and into an open courtyard, in the centre of which was a small pond. . ' This pond was placed in the palace by Curioso's godmother, who called it the Wishing Pond, ' for,' ' ' said she. ' if ever Curioso has a desire which cannot be satisfied by anyone in Simpleland, all she need do is to sit here and think on that desire,' which shall immediately be granted her. But,' she added, * only once can the pond exercise its power. It would be well, therefore, that Cuiioso should pause ere she uses my gift lightly.' ' But Curioso did not pause. Sitting by the pond, she thought of what lay behind those mysterious walls and of her own desire to get there. ' After a few moments every single drop of water in the pond separated, becoming quite solid. These commenced moving quickly, one sticking to another as they touched. Before the Princess had realised what was happening there lay a little glass boat, with little glass oars, ready for her to step into. And— most wonderful of all — a tiny fairy dropped -,i j from above into the boat, beckoned Curioso to enter, M seifced the oars, ' and off she rowed — over the court yard, over the palace, aw.iy into the Forbidden Ground. ' Alas, for the Princess ! She made one mistake. She deeired of the pond only to send her over the walls. She never once thought of the castle. So, when the boat put her down inside these wished-for grounds, she was quite dismayed to observe how far away the castle still was. It had looked so near from the other side. ' ' Why,' she exclaimed, of course I meant the caBtle ! Anyone would know that ! ' ' She turned to get into the boat again, but found ? . that it had entirely disappeared. Uttering a few words of annoyance, she proceeded to walk the dis I tance. ' The Princess strolled quietly on, stopping occa sionally to note the beautiful bloBSomB which grew around her. The path she trod appeared at first to lead straight to the castle, but, on reaching the ;» end of it, she found that this was not so. In fact, there lay another pathway, very similar to the first, and the castle itself seemed as far off as ever. ' JFeeling considerably put out, as well as very hot (the sun beat directly on her head), she stopped and looked round for a seat. To the right of her was a queer, three-cojuered summer-house covered with clematis. Entering this, she threw herself on a comfortable lounge, made apparently of many coloured flowers, and was thinking sadly of what 'Content would say to his daughter, the beautiful Curioso, wandering unattended in a strange land, when a tired voice broke languidlj^in upon her reverie. ' 1 Good-day, Curioso.' ' Curioso looked up Btartled. She Baw a maiden in White, with serious grey eyes, who held in her hand
a wreath of half-faded flowers. What was it the stranger said ? Good-day P Well, in Simpleland folk sometimes used the word ' good ; ' but ' day.' They had no Buch expression as ' day ' in their language. ' ' I greet thee, gentle maiden. But what dost thou mean by ' good-day ? ' ' replied the Princess. ' ' Ah, I forgot ; thou comest from Simpleland. Soon thou wilt know what a day is, and after — but there ! ' Good-day ' means in my land ' I greet thee.' See,' she pointed to where the sun was already commencing to die, ' thou hast been nearly a day in coming hither.' ' ' But,' said the Princess, ' I am no nearer the castle than when I started, and am very tired. I think I will go hack to court.' ' The maiden smiled. ' Thou canst not do that,' she said. ' There is no going backward here. To-morrow thou wilt con tinue thy way.' ' ' To-morrow ? ? What is to-morrow ? ' ' ' To-morrow when thou seest it will be to-day. And thou wilt then have a fresh to-morrow ; and thou wilt have to-days, and yesterdays, and to morrows until thou passeth us all many timeB and oft. Afterwards —well, I cannot tell thee what lies afterwards.' ' The Princess looked puzzled, and was aboufcio ask some other question, when the maiden spoke again. ' ' Thou,' she said, ' hast seen the last of summer. Poor summer ! ' She touched the faded flowers re gretfully. ' And I go to my death. But we shall meet again. Farewell ! ' ' ' ' Stay ! ' exclaimed the Princess. ' Let me know thy name.' ' ' January,' answered the maiden, and vanished. ' Poox Curioso ! Her desire had cost her dearly. It was quite daik now. She was afraid to turn back even 'had she been able to do so. She lay on the flower- woven lounge, and commenced to weep— a thing no man or woman in Simpleland ever did. She thought lovingly of her father, of all her friends iat home, ana, thinking thus, she fell asleep.' (To be continued.')