Calladon by Julian Hawthorne

 

CHAPTER I.

ABRACADABRA.

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 itself.

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 him.

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 he answered:

'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 Calladon.

'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 inquired.

'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 into them.'

'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 you.'

Calladon said nothing more, but he became thoughtful.


CHAPTER II.

THE LAW OF THE LAMP.

One morning, soon after Calladon's seventh birthday, the Master called him to him and said:

'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 remember.'

'But I should like to go with you,' said Calladon.

'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 Calladon.

'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 turn back?'

'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 within.'

'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 speak 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 Calladon.

'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 asked.

'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 suffer.'

'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 at all.'

'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.


CHAPTER III.

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 be?'

'Now that I look in your eyes, it seems as if I must have always known you!' said Calladon.

'And I know you the same way,' said Callia.

'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, dearest Calladon?'

'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 answered.

'It seems to me, Callia, that if I have you, and you have me, we do not need anything else.'

'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 mirror.'

'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 fell asleep.


CHAPTER IV.

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 any difference.'

'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 away.'

'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 room beyond.

'It seems rather dark; don't you think so?' remarked Calladon, drawing back after a moment.

'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 own.'

'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 lost!'

'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 darkness.

'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 find.'

'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 our explorations.'

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 obscure corner.

'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 nearer.'

'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 them all.'

'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.


CHAPTER V.

REGENERATION.

'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 him.

'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 ugly.'

'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 before.

'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 bosom.'

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.