|Newspaper Title||The Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. : 1866 - 1939)|
|Trove Title||Astera-kesphoros; The Star of Healing|
Astera-kesphoros: The Star of Healing. By MARY HANNAY FOOTT.
Fran in the midst of a friendly group of the Star people followed Ken and those who were carrying him to the meadow, where, though it was but sunrise, numbers of others were already
busy setting breakfast at small low tables, that looked like giant mushrooms sprung up amidst the grass. Notwithstanding her long voyage from Earth with Ken held fast all the while in her arms Fran felt not the slightest fatigue, and hastened after the bearers at such a pace that just as they were about to lay Ken down on a bed of dried grass—one of many which were spread a little way from the tables in readiness, as it seemed, for any one who might arrive—she overtook them. Much to her surprise she noticed that Ken's eyes which had been open and fixed in a vacant gaze were now closed as if in sleep; the flush had left his brow, which was now of its old colour, a fine sunburnt hue; his cheeks were ruddy-brown like, if there ever had been such a thing, a well-tanned ribstone pippin; his breathing was soft and regular, and his hair, which after the accident had clung dank and straight about his head, once more curled crisp and shining in the morning rays. "Let him sleep awhile," said the young man who knew the Earth speech. "It will be time enough for his breakfast when you have had your own. Come Fran." Fran knelt for a moment by Ken's side, weeping tears of joy as she gave thanks in her heart for the blessed change that had befallen him, and then suffered herself to be led by the hand to a pretty table beneath a tree, where breakfast awaited her. The young man stood by and attended to her wants, explaining to her that though all the dishes contained fruits of different kinds only, she would be able to choose from among them such a breakfast as she was used to at home. "Besides these fruits you see, which are the same as those of the Earth star," he said, "there are others which do not taste like your fruits, but have the flavour of meats, fish, poultry, game, and various sorts of bread and cakes. This, for instance," he continued, handing her a dish of a pale-cream- coloured fruit shaped like a rather flat pear,"is the roast-chicken fruit. In the core is a small globule containing a substance with which to flavour it, resembling a mixture of mustard and salt. The square silver dish opposite you contains fried-cutlet-fruit. The rind is eaten with it; you will find it exactly like the egg- and-crumb coating Earth people are fond of with their cutlets. If you prefer grilled cutlets let me give you one of these brown ones. They are quite hot. They grow so." "Thank you," said Fran, "I think I will have one of the roast-chicken fruits, if I may." The young man helped her and then went off for a moment to a bush close by, and, taking a small basket which hung on one of the twigs, gathered a few of its berries, which were of a pretty pink colour, and brought them to the table. "This is the ham-berry," he said, "let me give you some with your chicken. Perhaps, though, you prefer tongue. If so, there is a tongue-grape vine close by." "Thank you very much," said Fran, smiling, "I will have some of the ham-berries, please. Is there any bread-bush within reach?" she inquired, laughing outright. The young man laughed too as he replied:
"Yes, plenty—excuse my forgetting it—that is to say, if you care for rolls. They grow on bushes. If you would rather have bread here is some," he said, handing her as he spoke a round china box containing a large nut-like fruit. "This grows on the loaf-tree," he said, "and the toast-orange grows on a ground vine like your melons. Here is some. When it is peeled the pieces of toast-orange come apart just as your orange-quarters do. The butter plum—this yellow fruit—is always grown as well in the bread orchards. Those pale yellow plums are not ripe; they are scarcely butter yet, only cream." "Tea, I suppose, is not admitted to the Star of Healing," said Fran. "I believe some people say it is slow poison." The young man laughed again. "Poisons have no effect here," he said, "but I do not know that tea is a poison. Here is a tea-melon. Shall I give you some?" "If you please," replied Fran, and the young man cut a small hole in the side of the melon, placed a little silver tube in it, then made another hole in the top of the melon, and poured out a cup of tea for Fran, handing her with it cream-plums and sugar-berries, and very much she enjoyed it, for, although it came from a melon, it was nice and hot. After breakfast Fran went back to Ken, had some bread-and-milk-fruit brought, fed him with it, and let him sleep again until noon. This life went on for some days, Ken every day growing stronger, and by the end of the week he was able to sit up on his grassy bed and play with the Star-children, who looked upon him with great admiration, and were very good to him in every way. [TO BE CONCLUDED NEXT WEEK.]