Calladon by Julian Hawthorne
If you were to take three hoops, the second
half as large round as the first, and the third
half as large round as the second, and lay
them on the floor one inside the other, you
would have a ground-plan of the house in
which Calladon lived. The outermost wall
was built of brick, and had five narrow windows;
the middle wall was of stone, and had
also five windows; the inner wall was of the
purest alabaster, and was a kind of window in
In the centre of the innermost room a
lamp was always burning, and the light
which it gave out was so soft and penetrating
that it glowed through the alabaster walls
and illuminated the room outside with a
pale white lustre, and some rays penetrated
through the windows of this room into the
outermost room of all, and there met the
darkness that streamed in through the outer
windows—for the house stood in that part of
the world where it is night all the year round.
The name of the innermost room was Abra,
that of the middle room was Cada, and that
of the outermost room was Bra. The whole
house, therefore, was called Abracadabra.
It was a curious thing about this house,
that if you were in Abra, you could see into
both Cada and Bra, but, if you were in Cada,
you could not see into Abra, and if you were
in Bra, you could not see into either Abra or
Cada. As a general thing, it is easier to see
from darkness towards light than from light
towards darkness. But there was probably
something peculiar about this light—and, for
the matter of that, about this darkness too.
As for Calladon himself, he was one of
the best-behaved boys ever known, and he
was not less good-looking than he was good.
He was a fine, straight-backed, rosy-cheeked
little fellow, with bright eyes, a cheerful voice,
and an obedient spirit. He was seven years
old, and knew as much as it is well for a boy
of his age to know. This was due to the
Master who had charge of him, and who had
put across his breast the gold sash, which
always pressed against his heart when he
wished to do wrong, and reminded him to
stop. The Master had lived with Calladon
ever since Calladon could remember, and
probably for a good while before that. The
Master had tended him in his illness, played
with him in his plays, helped him in his
studies, and sympathised with him in his
troubles. Calladon loved the Master as much
as if he had been his father and mother
in one. Who his father and mother might
be, he, however, did not know; but the
Master used to tell him that when his education
was finished he should see them.
Meantime he was obliged to live in
Abracadabra, and make the best of it. The
only one of the three rooms which he had
ever dwelt in, was the central one, Abra;
but there was plenty of entertainment to be
had there. In the first place, there was the
lamp, which lit up not the room only, but
Calladon's mind likewise, so that the more it
shone upon him, the better he understood
his studies. And the lamp was warm as well
as bright; so warm, that not only did it make
the room comfortable, but it warmed Calladon's
heart likewise, and made him loving
and generous. In the ceiling of the room a
large ball of crystal was hung on a sort of
pivot, on which it could be turned at pleasure.
This crystal ball had the power of reflecting
all the places best worth seeing in the world,
and casting the reflections on a white disc
arranged for the purpose underneath. It
was by this means that Calladon had studied
geography, and he had enjoyed the study
more than most boys do. At other times,
the ball would bring the images of the stars
on the disc, so that you would have thought
you were aloft in the sky, watching all the
myriad worlds of light, and their movements.
It may be imagined, therefore, that although
Abra did not appear to be a large room, yet
it must have been larger than it looked, since
it was able to contain within itself the whole
earth and heaven. Beyond doubt, Abra was
a wonderful place, which everybody ought to
see at some time of their lives. The air you
breathed there had a delicate but powerful
fragrance, as if it were life itself; and
strangely beautiful chords of music sounded
ever and anon through the room, coming
from no visible instrument, but seeming to
arise from the harmony and happiness in the
heart of him who listened to it. Moreover,
although there was not much furniture in the
room, nor many toys to play with, yet whenever
Calladon needed anything, he was sure
to find it ready to his hand. It is true that
he seldom wished for anything that he ought
not to have, and if he did, the pressure of the
golden sash across his heart warned him to
forbear. In short, nothing could be more
delightful and satisfactory than were all the
arrangements in Abra; and, up to the time he
was seven years old, Calladon had never
wished for anything that it could not give
Sometimes he would amuse himself with
looking through the alabaster walls into the
outer rooms, Cada and Bra. These had a
beauty of their own, but it was easy to see
that they were less beautiful than Abra. The
best use of them was, perhaps, to let it be
known that Abra was better than they. Calladon
once asked the Master about this, and
'If it were not for Abra, there could be
no Cada, and no Bra. But neither could
there be any Abra, if Cada and Bra did not
surround it. The alabaster wall would burst
asunder, and the flame of the lamp would
burn up the world.'
'Where did the lamp come from?' asked
'It was here before Abracadabra or the
world existed,' the Master replied, smiling;
'and it will burn for ever.'
'Could not I put it out?'
'No; but you might wander away from
it into the darkness outside,' said the Master,
in a graver tone.
'But then could I not light a little lamp
of my own, to see my way about?' Calladon
'Yes, you might do so,' the Master replied.
'But such a lamp would in time burn
out, and then you could never again relight
it, and you would be lost.'
'I should not like that!' exclaimed Calladon.
But after a while he added, 'Still
I do not understand why those two other
rooms should be there, since I never go
'You live in them, even though you do
not go into them,' the Master answered. 'If
you did go into them, you would not live in
them so much as you do now, because you
could not take the light of the lamp with
Calladon said nothing more, but he became
THE LAW OF THE LAMP.
One morning, soon after Calladon's seventh
birthday, the Master called him to him and
'My dear Calladon, you have now arrived
at the age when I must leave you for awhile,
to think your own thoughts, and do your own
deeds. I am going away, and it is uncertain
when I may come back. Before I go I shall
tell you a few things which I hope you will
'But I should like to go with you,' said
'That may come to pass hereafter,' the
Master replied, 'but not now, and it will
depend upon what you do and think while I
am parted from you, whether or not it comes
to pass at all.'
'What is it that I must do?' inquired
'I cannot command you either to do or
not to do anything,' the Master said, 'for I
shall not be here to enforce obedience. But
I have already taught you many things, and,
if you have studied them with your whole
heart and mind, they will direct you as well
as I could direct you myself. All I shall do,
therefore, is to tell you what you had best
avoid doing, and then leave you to follow my
advice or not, as you choose.'
'Oh, there will be no trouble about that!'
exclaimed Calladon cheerfully, 'for will not
my golden sash press against my heart
whenever I go wrong, and remind me to
'No, for you will not wear the golden
sash any more,' replied the Master. 'You
are no longer a little child, and you must no
longer depend on what touches your heart
from the outside, but on what moves it from
'Well, I think I shall like that better, on
the whole,' said Calladon. 'It will make me
feel more like a man. But what is it that
I ought not to do, dear Master?'
'You ought not to lose faith in the lamp,'
answered the Master, 'for it gives you all you
have, and all you are. And you ought not
to leave Abra, for Abra only is Abracadabra.
And you ought not to light a lamp of your
own, for it would lead you into darkness.'
'Is that all?' asked Calladon.
'That is all I need tell you now,' said the
Master; 'for if you obey these three rules,
you will not need to know more, and if you
disobey them, nothing more that I could say
would help you.'
'I would have done all that without being
told,' said Calladon; 'and the only thing I
don't like is having nobody to see or to
'I have taken care about that,' replied
the Master, with a smile, 'and you will not
be left entirely alone. When you wake up
to-morrow morning, you will find a little girl
beside you. She is to be your playmate and
companion. She can help you to be happier
and better than you have ever been before;
but she can also make you worse and more
miserable than if you were left by yourself.
It will be according as you treat her.'
'Perhaps I had better not have her,' said
'You must run the risk; for without risk
nothing that is really good can be got,' replied
the Master. 'She will not suggest either
good or evil to you; but if your thoughts are
good she will know it, and will help you
to carry them out; and if your thoughts are
evil, she will think evil too, and will give
you the means of doing it.'
'Does she know all this?' Calladon
'She will know nothing except from you,
and as long as you are obedient to what I
have told you, she will be obedient to you.
But if you become disobedient, she will
sooner or later begin to rule you; and
whenever that happens you will be sure to
'Then it all depends on me?' said Calladon.
'If harm comes, you will have no right to
blame her,' the Master answered; 'but if
good comes, you will have no right to take
the credit to yourself.'
'Well,' said Calladon, after thinking awhile,
'the safest thing will be not to think of myself
'There is one thing more,' said the
Master, before taking leave of him. 'You
will find, hanging round Callia's neck (Callia
is the name of your playmate), a little mirror,
set in a frame of precious stones. This
mirror will always show you an image of
yourself, not as you think yourself to be, but
as you really are. If you trust to what the
mirror tells you, you will not know trouble;
but if you disregard it, you will be in danger.
The mirror is the only thing that will always
tell you the truth.'
'I will always believe it,' said Calladon;
and then the Master bade him good night,
and Calladon fell asleep.
CALLIA AND THE MIRROR.
The next morning, when Calladon woke up,
the first thing he saw was a lovely little girl
slumbering beside him.
For a moment he was greatly astonished,
for he had forgotten that the Master had gone,
and that he had promised him a companion.
But presently the memory of the day before
came back to him, and he recollected that
henceforth he was to take care of himself.
The thought made him feel quite brave and
manly; and with such a beautiful playmate as
this to keep him company, he felt sure that he
would be the happiest boy in the world. And
as he wanted his happiness, and hers, to begin
as soon as possible, he bent over and kissed
her on the lips.
She opened a pair of lovely blue eyes, and
yawned, and said—
'Where am I? Oh! Calladon, is that
you? How handsome you look, and how
good you are!'
'How did you know me?' asked Calladon.
'If I am Callia, you must be Calladon!'
replied she, laughing. 'Who else could you
'Now that I look in your eyes, it seems
as if I must have always known you!' said
'And I know you the same way,' said
'But how did you get here?' he asked.
'What a funny question! as if I had ever
been anywhere else!'
'It is very strange, however,' he said;
'for though I can remember living here for a
long time and not seeing you, still I cannot
imagine your ever having been away from me.
We seem always to have been together.'
'So we have,' replied Callia; 'and we
will always stay together, won't we?'
'Indeed we will,' said Calladon; 'so now
give me a kiss, and let us have our breakfast.'
Their breakfast was there waiting for them,
as was everything else they needed; and while
they were eating it they talked about what
they would do during the day. They soon
found out that the difficulty would be to make
a choice from the many pleasant things that
suggested themselves; and whatever one
proposed, the other declared to be more
delightful than anything yet. And after all,
what could be more delightful than simply to
be together? Calladon was more pleased in
knowing that Callia was pleased than he could
have been at anything that merely pleased
himself; and his pleasure gave greater pleasure
to Callia than any pleasure of her own
could have done. What they did, therefore,
on this first day, was not of nearly so much
importance to them as that they did it together;
and when the day came to an end (as
it did, more quickly than any day that either
of them could remember) all they knew was
that it had been one song of joy. As to doing
anything that the Master had warned them
against, they really had not had time so much
as to think of such a thing.
But night came at last, and they found
themselves getting sleepy. Before going to
bed, Calladon said—
'By the way, Callia, have you got a mirror
round your neck?'
'Do you mean this pretty little thing, set
in precious stones? Shall I give it to you,
'Oh, no; only the Master said that I was
to look in it every once in a while, to find out
what I really am.'
'You really are the handsomest and dearest
boy in the world, and so the mirror will
tell you,' said Callia; and she held it up before
him as she spoke. Calladon looked; and
certainly the mirror did show him the image
of a very charming little face and figure. It
told the truth, and the truth was very agreeable.
'I am glad of it for your sake, Callia,' said
Calladon. 'I hope I shall always be as handsome
as you want me to be.'
'I don't mind whether you are handsome
or not, as long as you are Calladon,' she
'It seems to me, Callia, that if I have you,
and you have me, we do not need anything
'And it would not make any difference
whether we were in Abra or not.'
'I should hardly mind even if the lamp
were to go out,' said Calladon.
'I only care for the lamp because it lets
me see you,' she answered.
'And because it lets me see myself in the
'Why should you believe the mirror more
than me?' asked Callia.
'Well, if you think I am handsome, it is
not so much matter whether the mirror tells
me I am or not,' returned Calladon.
And with this they kissed each other, and
THE OUTER ROOMS.
When they awoke next day, Calladon
stretched himself, and shivered a little. The
lamp seemed to be burning rather more dimly
than usual, and the air seemed thin and cold.
Glancing at Callia, who was lying with her
eyes still half closed, his eye caught the sparkle
of the mirror round her neck, and he took
a peep into it. It seemed to him that his
cheeks looked pale, and his eyes dull.
'Callia!' he exclaimed, 'Callia! wake up,
and tell me how I look.'
'You look just the same,' answered she,
opening her eyes and sitting up. 'But don't
you think it is colder than it was yesterday?'
'I was sure it was; and if you feel it too,
it must be so. But are you quite certain that
I look as well and handsome as when you
first saw me? because, in the mirror, I seemed
to be pale and dull.'
'The mirror must be wrong, then,' said
Callia; 'for I can see you with my own eyes,
and of course I should know if there were
'Well,' said Calladon, 'I suppose it is
time we had our breakfast.'
The breakfast was there, but it was neither
so good nor so plentiful as before; and Calladon
and Callia felt comparatively little appetite.
This displeased them; and they began
to ask each other how they should contrive
to amuse themselves during the day. They
proposed many things, but afterwards rejected
them, either because they had done
them yesterday, or because they did not find
them any longer attractive.
'This is rather a small room, after all, for
two people to pass their lives in,' remarked
Calladon at last.
'Especially when there are two other
larger ones outside,' added Callia.
'It would be good fun to explore them,
wouldn't it?' said Calladon.
'Why shouldn't we do it?' asked Callia.
'It makes me feel quite lively again to
think of it,' exclaimed Calladon, springing to
his feet. 'Only,' he added, 'that is one of
the things the Master told us not to do.'
'Oh, I don't believe the Master would
mind,' said Callia. 'Besides, how should he
ever know anything about it? He has gone
'Of course, too, it is our own affair,' observed
Calladon. 'If any harm comes of it,
it will be to ourselves, and not to him.'
'I am not afraid,' said Callia. 'Are you?'
'Not in the least. By the way, though, I
am not sure that I know the way out of Abra.
There doesn't seem to be any door.'
'I think I can find the way, if that is all,'
returned Callia. 'I don't know how I happened
to think of it—but since we have been
talking about going, it has seemed to me that
if we were to push against that little carved
knob in the wall, it would open a passage into
the room outside. Shall we try it?'
'Yes,' said Calladon; 'it can do no harm
to see whether you are right, at all events.'
So they went to the knob, and Calladon gave
it a push.
'Not that way; you should push it sideways;
see—like this,' said Callia; and she
shoved it a little towards the right. Sure
enough, a part of the alabaster wall slid back,
so that the children were able to look into the
'It seems rather dark; don't you think
so?' remarked Calladon, drawing back after a
'We must take a lamp along with us,' said
Callia. 'That lamp that burns in the centre
of the room will be no use to us. We shan't
be able to see anything without a lamp of our
'Well, I suppose we must,' said Calladon.
'Now I think of it, though, that was another of
the things the Master said we ought not to do.'
'What did he say would happen to us if
we did do it?'
'I don't remember his saying anything.'
'Of course he didn't! because nothing will
happen, except that we shall know more than
we could know by staying here. He was
only trying whether he could frighten you.'
'You shall see that I am not so easily
frightened,' said Calladon. 'I am a man now,
and able to take care of myself. Come, let us
light a lamp of our own and go. I will show
you the way.'
'Here is a lamp,' said Callia. 'I just
found it on this little shelf in the corner,
though I had not seen it there before. But
how shall we light it?'
'We must light it from the great lamp;
there is no other way.'
'But then it will be the light of that great
lamp that will guide us, after all.'
'No,' said Calladon, 'because the part of
the flame that we take away will become our
own, and would keep on burning even if the
great lamp were to go out.'
They lit the lamp accordingly. As they
did so, the air around them grew colder than
before, and a gust of strangely melancholy
music sighed through the room. From the
crystal ball in the roof overhead there came a
red reflection, as of some terrible fire burning
in the world without; and then a white flash,
as if an angel's sword had suddenly been thrust
down into the room. Now the sword seemed
to be brandished about the great lamp, its
point against the children, who shrank back
in fear towards the alabaster wall. Still the
sword threatened them; and there was a
violent rush of icy wind, which forced them
to the opening leading to the outer chamber.
For a moment they tried to struggle against
it, and not to be driven from the alabaster
room in which they had lived so happily; but
the blast grew stronger, and the sword came
nearer; and at last Callia cried out:
'Let us go, Calladon, or our light will be
'Come, then!' said he; and hand in hand
they staggered through the opening, which
closed behind them with a hollow sound.
Then there was silence. Save for the wavering
flame of their little lamp they were in
'What have you done, Callia?' said Calladon.
'It is your doing as much as mine,' she
answered. 'Well, I suppose we must make
the best of it. At any rate, it is not so cold
here as it was in the other room.'
'No, and there is not that terrible light to
dazzle our eyes. And that sword—we are
safe from that!'
'I think, upon the whole, we are better off
where we are; and I am glad we came,' said
Callia. 'It is more mysterious here, and I
like mystery. If you can see everything
around you merely by opening your eyes, it
is stupid. Here we have the excitement of
going about and not knowing what we may
'It is strange it should be so dark!' remarked
Calladon. 'On which side of us is
the alabaster wall? No light comes through
either side; and yet, when we were in Abra,
it seemed to shine through and illuminate
both the outer rooms.'
'The great lamp must have gone out;
all lamps go out after a while, I suppose,'
replied Callia. 'But that is no harm; when
we go back we can light it again from our
own. It does not seem so dark here as it
was at first.'
'I can see better, too!' exclaimed Calladon.
'Our lamp seems to be getting brighter.
By and by, perhaps, it will be as bright as
the great lamp was.'
'Meanwhile,' said Callia, 'let us begin
Holding the lamp before them, they advanced
together curiously through the gloom;
but, as Calladon had said, their lamp seemed
continually to grow brighter, or else their
eyes became more accustomed to the darkness,
so that presently they were able to see
their way with little difficulty. The walls of
the room they were in were sombre and rich;
there were carved panels and cornices of
metal or stone, encrusted here and there with
what appeared to be precious stones, gleaming
with a dusky red lustre. There was gold,
too, here and there; but not bright and resplendent,
like the gold of Abra, but dull and
tarnished, so that it might almost have been
mistaken for rusty brass. As they went
along, the black smoke from their candle rose
in the air, and collected in clouds beneath the
heavy groined roof, until it hung above them
like a murky canopy. From this canopy a
stifling odour descended, and was diffused
about the room; but, strange to say, the
children seemed to breathe it with pleasure,
and to grow stronger and livelier under its
influence. At length they came to a great
heap of some dark substance, piled up in an
'What is this?' said Calladon, stirring it
with his foot.
Callia stooped down and took up a piece
of it in her hand. 'It shines,' she said. 'It
must be something valuable. Hold the lamp
'It is certainly some kind of jewel,' said
Calladon, after they had examined it. 'Perhaps
it is a ruby, or a black diamond. Such
things are very precious.'
'We had better take what we can get,
then,' said Callia; 'we shall not find anything
like this in Abra—of that I am sure.
How foolish you were, Calladon, never to
have thought of coming in here before. It is
ten times better than the other place!'
'I will fill my pockets now, at all events,'
replied Calladon, 'and make up for lost time.
What a heap of them! and how heavy they
are! I'm afraid we shan't be able to carry
'I can hold a great many in my apron,'
said Callia; 'and we can take them to some
safe place, and then come back for more. I
wonder whom they belong to?'
'They belong to us, since we have found
them,' returned Calladon; 'and if anyone
says they are his, we can say it is not true.
Who has more right here than we?'
'I don't see why we should go back at all,'
observed Callia. 'I feel much more comfortable
and happy in this pleasant light and
smoke than I did in that glaring white Abra,
with its cold air and its tiresome music. Suppose
we make our home here?'
'I was going to propose the same thing,'
answered Calladon. 'And I have been thinking,
Callia, that perhaps this is the real Abra
that we are in now. For what can be better
than what we like best?'
As Callia was about to reply, they heard
a flapping sound in the air above their heads;
and looking up, they saw a hideous great
bird—or perhaps it was a bat—with black
wings outstretched, fiery eyes, and a long
hooked beak, that it kept opening and shutting
with a snap. At this sight the children
were much terrified, and started to run away;
but the horrid bird followed them in the air,
swooping downwards every now and then,
and pecking at them with its beak, or trying
to tear them with its ugly claws. At length,
however, they managed to conceal themselves
behind a buttress in the wall; and the bird
flapped by, and left them.
'It will not do to stay here,' said Calladon,
as soon as he had caught his breath. 'That
creature probably owns the jewels, and we
should never be safe from him. And I have
lost ever so many of the stones while——'
Here Calladon broke off suddenly, and
uttered a cry.
'What is the matter?' asked Callia. 'Is
the creature here again?'
But Calladon was staring at the mirror
which still hung round Callia's neck, and
he looked as if he had seen a ghost.
'Tell me, Callia,' he said; 'tell me quick!
Am I the same as I was before?'
'Just the same, except that you look very
much scared at something.'
Calladon gave a shudder. 'Then the
glass tells what is false,' said he. 'It makes
me seem like a hideous little deformed dwarf,
with a hump on my back, and one shoulder
higher than the other, and a hateful face all
covered with sores and bruises. If I look
like that, I must be more horrible than anything
we are likely to see here.'
'The mirror tells lies, that is all,' replied
Callia, scornfully. 'If I were you, I would
not look in it again. I can tell you all you
need to know about yourself. But I think
we had better attend to getting away from
here now. There seems to be a hole through
the wall just where we are standing. It
must lead into the next room.'
'Let us creep through then,' said Calladon.
'That flying creature will not be likely
to follow us there; and as well as I can see,
it looks more comfortable there than here.
At all events, it is further from Abra, and
that is reason enough for going.'
'Mind that the lamp doesn't go out, then,'
said Callia, 'and come along!'
They crawled through the opening (which
was, in reality, one of the five windows of
Cada) and found themselves standing in
something soft and slippery, like mud. The
walls were covered with damp mould an
inch thick; spotted toadstools grew in the
crevices of the stones, and festoons of decaying
weeds hung from the roof. There
was a low crackling sound in the air, like the
noise of burning wood, and hot puffs of
steamy vapour were wafted into the children's
faces, smelling like the inside of a pig-sty.
Strange to say, however, neither Calladon
nor Callia appeared to find this odour disagreeable,
but quite the contrary; and they
went onwards with evident gratification.
'The more I think about it, Callia,' said
Calladon, 'the surer I am that this must be
the real Abra. Could anything be more
delightful than this thick air, that you can see
as well as breathe; and this floor, all soft and
sticky—not hard and dry like the other;
and these beautiful walls, covered with that
curious green stuff; and then the toadstools
and the weeds? What a lucky thing that
we thought of coming!'
'And how much wiser we are than we
were before!' added Callia. 'When I was in
that dreadful white place, I used to feel as if
I knew almost nothing, and as if the great
lamp were the only light in the world. But
now that we have a light of our own, it is
easy to see that we know almost everything,
and by the time we have explored this place,
there will be nothing we do not know.'
'This mud must be very valuable,' said
Calladon, after a while; 'for I never saw
anything like it before. Don't you think it
would be a good thing if we were to smear
ourselves all over with it, and then hang some
of those lovely weeds round our necks?'
Callia was delighted with this idea, and
the two forthwith sat themselves down in
the softest mud-heap they could find, and
began to cover themselves with mud very
diligently. After this had gone on for some
time, however, Callia suddenly gave a shriek.
'What is the matter?' asked Calladon.
'The snake! the snake!' cried Callia. 'It
is winding itself all round me!'
'And round me too!' screamed Calladon.
'Oh, what shall we do?'
In fact, the mud with which they had
covered themselves had become alive, and
was coiling itself tightly about them in the
form of serpents. There were already scores
of them, and more seemed to be coming to
life every moment. They tried to run away,
but the serpents twined about their limbs and
tripped them up. There seemed to be no
escape; and now, to make matters worse,
Calladon's lamp flickered and went out.
'We shall die!' moaned the children.
'Oh, will no one help us!'
Then a sound was heard like an earthquake,
and the walls that separated them
from Abra were rent asunder, and a terrible
white light streamed forth, and fell upon the
unhappy children. In that light they looked
at one another, and saw that they were deformed
and hideous beyond the power of
words to describe. The next instant the
walls closed together again, but a faint illumination
still remained, in which Calladon and
Callia again seemed to themselves to resume
their natural form. But even then, Calladon
caught a glimpse of himself in the enchanted
mirror; and there was once more the crook-backed,
grisly-faced dwarf that had frightened
him in Cada, now made more ugly yet by the
serpent-mud of Bra.
'Oh, Callia, it is the truth!' groaned he.
'Our own eyes have deceived us, and our
lamp has led us astray; but in the mirror is
the light of the great lamp, and it shows me
as I really am.'
'Yes, it is the truth!' answered Callia.
'It must be so!'
'It is well that you have found it out,
even so late as this,' said a stern voice close
behind them; and looking round, the children
saw a tall, threatening figure, with angry
eyes, and in his hand a heavy whip.
'Who is it?' faltered the children to each
other, with trembling voices.
'I am he who built Abracadabra,' replied
he of the angry eyes, brandishing his whip.
'I built it clean and wholesome, and you
have made it a place of mud and serpents,
and all unclean things. This dirt in which
you have wallowed is the evil that has come
out of your own minds and hearts, and these
snakes were called into life by the light of
the lamp which you stole from the lamp of
Abra. Therefore your doom is, to repair the
mischief you have done. You shall cleanse
these rooms that you have defiled, until they
are as pure as they appeared when you looked
on them through the alabaster wall. From this
hour, too, you shall see each other no more
until your work is done. As you were given
to each other for happiness, so, since you have
disobeyed the law by which alone your happiness
could be everlasting, you shall be separated
to do your penance. And I will stand
over you with the whip; and every time you
pause to breathe or rest, you shall be driven
onwards with a blow.'
Scarcely had the tall man uttered these
awful words, than Calladon saw Callia suddenly
vanish from his side; and at the same
moment he felt the heavy stroke of the whip
across his shoulders, and heard the stern
voice bidding him work. So to work he
went with all his might; and with his bare
hands—for no tools were given him—he
strove to scrape away the mud from the floor,
and to clear the mould from the walls, and to
pull down the decaying weeds that dangled
from the roof. But, for a long time, he
seemed to make no progress; the mud rose
before him in mountains; the mould collected
on the walls as fast as he swept it down,
and the weeds hung from the roof in thicker
masses. Nevertheless, if he stopped to take
breath or rest, down came the heavy whip
with relentless blows; his skin was cut and
bleeding, his face was bruised, and the bones
of his back were broken. With tears and
groans he struggled on; and ever and anon
in the darkness near him his ear caught the
sound of sobbing and piteous cries, and the
voice that uttered them reminded him of the
voice of Callia.
Thus he strove for many weary hours;
and at last it seemed to him that he could
strive no more, yet half his work was still
undone. But the thought that, unless it were
finished, he would see Callia no more, gave
him new strength, and he fell to again, and
worked like a whirlwind; and the mountains
of mud gave way before him, and the mould
fell from the walls in showers, and the
dangling weeds were swept down in mighty
heaps. And although the blows of the whip
still fell, they no longer weakened him as
before, but made his strength greater. Indeed,
it seemed to him as if he were inspired
with a strength not his own, and as if, when
the work were done, it would be the achievement
not of himself, but of a mightier than
he. In the midst of these thoughts the gloom
suddenly brightened, and he saw that his
work was done.
'Well, Calladon, what do you think of
yourself?' said the tall man, in a somewhat
less stern tone than before. 'Are you as
handsome as you once were?'
So Calladon looked at himself; and he
saw that he was begrimed with dirt, and that
his back had been broken by the whip, and
one shoulder made higher than the other;
and his face was bruised and covered with
sores. There was nothing beautiful about
'I have become what the mirror has
already showed me that I was,' he said
humbly. 'But I would rather seem as ugly
as I am, than seem beautiful when I am
'Calladon,' said the tall man again, 'your
work is done, and you deserve some reward.
You may choose what it shall be; but I will
tell you beforehand that, if you choose to be
made beautiful again as you were before, it
shall be done.'
'I would rather be made happy.' replied
Calladon, 'and it would make me happy if I
could see Callia once more.'
'So be it!' said the tall man, kindly.
'Come with me!'
He took Calladon by the hand, and instantly
the light grew brighter; the dark
walls grew white; there was a sound of
music in the air, and a delicate perfume of
flowers came to Calladon's nostrils. He
looked up and saw that he was in Abra;
and the great lamp burned in the centre as
'Oh, not here!' he exclaimed, shrinking
back and hiding his face. 'I am not fit to
be seen in the light of Abra!'
'Take courage,' said his guide. 'Callia
is here. See, she is asleep. Go to her,
Calladon, and look in the mirror on her
So Calladon drew near, and looked into
the magic mirror. But instead of a hideous
and misshapen little dwarf, it showed him the
image of a noble and beautiful boy, with rosy
cheeks and bright eyes. At the same
moment Callia awoke; and seeing Calladon,
she sprang up with a cry of joy and kissed
him. She was as lovely as the day.
'The mirror tells you the truth now as
always, Calladon,' said the Master's loving
voice—for it was he. And he laid his hand
upon him, and instantly the deformed shell
in which Calladon was clothed fell from him,
and he was more beautiful than ever. From
that time forth there was no unhappiness
for either Callia or Calladon, because they
had learnt that the light of Abra was the
only true light, and that their strength was
not their own.