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 Very many years ago, in an age when departures from the regular line of thought were accounted but vagaries of a diseased brain, when science was a thing of dread, and great knowledge deemed but sorcery, Nordhung Nordjansen was born, and grew to early manhood on the far northern coast of Norway. Through all his boyhood days—whenever he could steal away from his father and his father’s plodding work—he would climb the bold crags which overlooked the Northern Sea, and gaze with hungry eyes over the vast expanse of water.
“If I could but know what lies beyond that cold horizon,” he would sigh.
He expressed this longing to his father.
“Get your mother a bundle of fagots, and pry not into the unknown,” answered his father, so sternly that Nordhung dared not mention it again, and being an obedient boy he went into the forest; but with every stick he gathered, he also gathered a doubt of his father’s wisdom.
“How can it be wrong to wish to know what lies in that beautiful beyond?”
8He gathered another stick or two, and idly twirling them in his hand, he murmured, “My father says it is a sin to pry into that which is hidden; perhaps it is not hidden, but just lies there waiting to be admired, as did our beautiful Norway, long, long ago.”
He piled the sticks in a little heap, and sat beside them, idly throwing pebbles at a little bird which sat on a branch, and mocked his restlessness with happy song.
“I wish that I could know what lies beyond my sight. The sky has stooped down to meet the waves, and they are so glad that they leap and dimple in the sunlight. Oh, it must be very beautiful in that far country! Why must the longing for all things beautiful be a sin? It is no sin to work, to pick up fagots to make the pot boil, but I do not like to do this! My father says it is a sin to sit on the crags, and look across the sea, and wish and wish that I were a bird, so that I could fly; but I love to do that. I wonder why the sinful cannot be ugly, and those things which are right be beautiful and nice to do!”
Thus the battle went on in this mind, thirsty for knowledge; a battle as old as man himself, with his ignorance, and the prejudice of false teaching.
One day Nordhung climbed the boldest of the crags overlooking Tana Fiord, and gazed long and wistfully over the many islands which lay along the coast.
A stately ship sailed out of Sylte Fiord, and made its way around the headland to the open 9sea. With fascinated gaze he watched it spread its white wings; the waves lapped and beat about its prow, it kept on its majestic way as though scorning their childish gambols. His heart swelled with eager desire; if he could but own that wonderful ship and sail away into the unknown! If he could but reach the home of the beautiful Aurora Borealis and search out its mysteries!
There sprang into life in that hour the firm resolve that some day he would know—that some day he would stand on the deck of a beautiful ship of his own, and proudly sail away into the pale glory of those northern skies, and discover the wonderful things lying beyond those opaline tints. Then the mist creeping up from the sea began to envelop him, and he cried aloud, thinking it a spirit sent to punish him for the sinfulness of his desires, and he ran home as fast as his legs could carry him.
Fifteen years later Neiharden Nordjansen, father of Nordhung Nordjansen, died and was buried in the little churchyard; he was born, he breathed, he ate, he slept, he died and was buried with his ancestors; what more could man desire? Before the tears were dried upon his cheeks Nordhung remembered that he was free, and his heart throbbed with impatience. Three years more passed by; he stood upon the deck of an outgoing ship, his shoulders thrown back, his head erect; proudly conscious that he was commander. He bawled arrogantly to the sailors; 10he cast his eyes over the great spread of canvas, set to catch ever little flurry of wind, and lifted his chin a trifle higher.
“Commander Nordjansen!” he murmured delightedly.
Away to the north-northeast he sailed. Threading his way carefully past the many rocky islands, he entered the frozen sea; ever in danger, trembling at the near approach of icebergs, or crouching awe-stricken in the shadow of their immensity, yet never did Nordhung forget that he was “Commander Nordjansen.”
After long, weary months of sailing, when provisions ran low, when cold and hunger had pinched the sailors sorely, they openly grumbled at Nordjansen’s rule; they wearied for home, for wives and sweethearts.
“Why seek further?” cried one; “we are already too far from home!”
“What do we seek?” said another bitterly.
“A fool’s desire! The commander’s Jack-o-lantern!” answered a third derisively.
But though they grumbled and cast many black looks, the tones were low and they were careful that they spoke behind his back.
Nordjansen paced his deck with fierce impatience; he strained his eyes for indication of that which he sought—the North Pole. The beautiful Aurora Borealis lighted his way with streaming flames of red, that quivered into golden glory, or faded into palest silver—only to flame, and shoot, and dart across the heavens again like fantastic, serpent tongues; he approached the beautiful wonder—it seemed to him not one jot 11nearer than in the beginning of his journey. His heart lay heavy within him.
He surprised the fierce, scowling glances of his sailors, as by twos and threes they grumbled together. He sternly ordered them about their business; they grumbled still more as they obeyed.
His heart sank with dread; the chill wind blew through the frozen cordage, and whistling shrilly, mocked the lure of his lifetime. Was all his effort to end in failure; were all his hopes and lofty ambitions to yield no fruition? Was he never—never to fathom the secret of the Unknown and the Wonderful?
For hours he paced the deck; true, at his command the sailors had slunk away, but with scowls of bitter hate; each heart filled with wrath and grievous longing. Habit of obedience is strong, and Nordjansen was commander, as he was careful that they should remember.
In his pacing to and fro he passed the compass; he paused in astonishment, the needle was vibrating strangely, and he became conscious that the vessel was no longer going steadily on her course—although the water appeared smooth—but was pitching in short, sudden lurches; now slightly to the right, then to the left; quivering—quivering—like some frightened living thing.
Strange thrills ran through his body; a terrible fear shook him.
The flames of the Aurora seemed to hang directly over the ship, and to be of a fiery hue, anon changing to all the prismatic colors of the 12rainbow, so brilliant as to frighten him; a thousand fiery tongues seemed to lick at the reeling ship, as though to devour her, and all contained therein. He covered his eyes with his shaking hands to shade his tortured eyeballs from their satanic gambolings.
One by one the terrified sailors crept on deck and huddled together, talking in awed whispers, or crouched around the mast in abject fear. At last three, more bold—or more desperate—than the others, walked up to Nordjansen; one, a grizzled old fellow, pulled his tangled forelock awkwardly.
“What do you wish?” asked Nordjansen sternly.
“If you please, sir, me and my mates wants to know if so be as you’ll turn back. We’ve naught to eat, and it’s sore goin’ without feed, when it’s growin’ cold—c-o-l-d-e-r e-v-e-r-y m-i-n-u-t-e,” his teeth chattering so that he could scarcely speak.
“Go below! You cowards!” shouted Nordjansen fiercely. “Cold! You are frightened! No wonder your teeth chatter like the boughs of the trees in the winter wind!” he shrieked, hoarse with rage. They crept away, more affrighted of his wrath than of the cold or the fiery phenomenon over their heads.
Nordjansen drew himself up proudly:
“Let them not presume to dictate to me; I am the commander! But it is c-o-l-d; y-e-s, c-o-l-d;” his lips trembled, and his teeth chattered so that his speech halted.
The strange thrills increased in force, and shot through him in more rapid succession.
13A wind had arisen, which each moment increased in velocity. Of a sudden the ship lurched wildly, then spun half around, and with an awful thud the iron sheathing of her bow adhered to the North Pole, as the cambric needle is attached to the magnet with which children play. One glimpse of icebergs so awful, so terrible in their magnitude; higher than the highest peaks of the Himalayas, numerous beyond computing; each one a perfect prism, lighted into a blinding radiance of color by the midnight sun. Nordjansen knew that he had found the home of the Aurora Borealis. He had scant time to notice these wonders; all that he saw in that fleeting glance made a horrible impression upon his awe-struck mind, yet no one thought was distinct or clearly defined—one awful throe of fear possessed him.
The wind had increased to a shrieking gale, and although the force of magnetism held the vessel sealed to the pole, it quivered, groaned, and strained for release like a living thing.
Nordjansen’s knees trembled; he turned his terror-stricken gaze away from the awful illumination—the dizzy commingling of rays of every hue—from the vast, unnumbered prisms of ice; his eyeballs ached with the glare; which, though so brilliant, was permeated with a chill more terrible than the rigor of death.
As in affright he turned his eyes away it was but to encounter another horror; before him lay a cavernous entrance, glooming downward and forward, into the very bowels of the earth; he loosed his hold upon the mast—to which he had 14been clinging for support—to wipe the cold drops of perspiration from his brow, brought there by terror. He wished his sailors were on deck that he might hear the sound of a human voice. He wished—he wished that he had been less harsh. When all is well we are filled with self-sufficiency, but when adversity comes upon us we crave human sympathy as much as does the little child who holds up a hurt hand for mother’s healing kiss.
He had no sooner loosed his hold upon the mast than the strong wind lifted him bodily, and carried him—feet foremost—into the terrors of the abyss which swallowed him up in darkness. He had no time for thought as he was borne rapidly forward; swept along as a feather is borne on the autumn gale; he lay on his back, as the swimmer floats on the water, his arms pressed closely to his sides, his feet held stiffly together. The strange incongruous thought occurred to him: “This is the position in which I shall be placed when I am dead; my feet will lie thus, side by side; my hands should be crossed upon my breast—” he tried to raise his hands and so place them, but found that he had no power to stir them. “I wonder if I am dead! Is this the dread change?” He laughed whimsically, for at this instant the strong wind, sweeping his hair backward, made his head itch; that was no post-mortem sensation.
A strange rumbling noise greeted his ears; the clank of ponderous machines, the whirr of enormous belts, as the earth turned on her axis. The wind, which had been bitterly cold, grew 15gradually warmer; a strange, dreamy lassitude stole over him, a wavy, half-light helped to soothe his senses.
On—on, he floated; how long he knew not; days—weeks—he had no idea as to time. A desperate hunger assailed him; he fancied that trees loaded with luscious fruits mocked him as he was swept by; odors strange but delightful seemed to fill his whole being with longing; his mouth dripped with moisture. Oh, how dreadful the onward sweeping! Would it never end?
All sound had died away—I should say—had been left behind; no more creaking and groaning of the horribly ponderous machinery; but a silence still more horrible reigned. We have little realization of what perfect silence would be. Our world is one vast hubbub. Who ever knew the day or night, the time or place, that we did not hear the rush of the wind among the treetops; the calls of birds; the lowing of cattle; the bark of a dog, or the blow of an ax; perhaps the crack of a whip? Noise, noise everywhere, and at all times. Were perfect silence to reign for one hour, the tones of the human voice would strike upon the ear with the force of a blow.
Nordhung must have swooned; how long he remained in this unconscious state he had no means of knowing; indeed, he felt that here time was not. As his faculties once more became active, he noticed, first, that he was being carried forward much more slowly; secondly, that instead of going straight ahead, he was describing an immense circle, with an occasional sharp 16turn. He also observed that the wavering light had increased to a steady white glow, a brilliancy almost blinding to his unaccustomed eyes; faint sounds came to him from time to time, not like the ponderous noises which had affrighted him, but human sounds—laughter—a child’s cry—but with something strange in the tone. His heart swelled rapturously! Was he nearing the earth’s surface again? Oh, that he might once more sit on the crags of Norway, and look upon his beautiful land!
We are prone to consider that most beautiful which we looked upon while the heart was young; then, all the world was fair, and we loved much.
When disappointments have come to us, and hope has grown jaded, we look back, even upon a rocky desolation, and say in all sincerity, “How beautiful it was,” not knowing that it was but our hearts’ hopes that were beautiful. Alas, that were!
Nordhung sadly thought: “My father was right, and I am well punished for prying into the unknown.”
Sounds became more distinctly audible; the wind had fallen to a gentle breeze, and he felt himself settling, settling as you have seen a balloon descend as the gas gradually escaped.
Gently he floated into the midst of an excited group, who scattered with cries of fear and wonder. Strange sounds issued from these strange beings; tones of dismay, and astonishment, in which no one voice differed from another; a thin sound, lacking timbre; as the wind 17blows with the angry force of the storm, or gently sighs of a placid summer day—so these voices were in anger high and shrill, in joy softly reaching the consciousness. Their bodies—if that could be called a body which possessed no substance—were as strange as their voices, being but a vapor surrounding the soul—the shadow of a form; each emotion, thought or impulse was therefore plainly discernible. Of speech there was no need, consequently there was none; all sound emitted was but that of spontaneity; laughter, cries of wonder, horror, and the like.
The shriek of amazement that greeted his ears; the strange appearance of the people; the weird surroundings so impressed Nordjansen that little, cold shivers chased each other down his spine. He saw their thought, their wonder and fear; as I have said, there was no need of language; each spirit saw, and perfectly comprehended the thought of the other; it was cause of amazement to these people that they could not see his thought—the working of his mind; this wonderful fact—much more than the mode of his advent, or of his presence—dominated each intelligence.
He raised upon his elbow, and watched their growing awe; presently, he saw this thought leap into one mind: “It is a God!” Instantly half a dozen minds followed suit, the spark igniting the tinder as readily in these strange intelligences, as it does among us. He watched with fascinated curiosity the skepticism, the doubt, 18the hesitation, changing to a slow growth of belief in the various understandings.
Above all his wonder, above all his curiosity—a minimum of awe, and much gratified vanity—one fact made itself felt; he was hungry, and he said so.
The panic was terrible! A multitudinous shriek answered him; no variation in sound, no distinction of voices—a single, horrible note of fear—and they flitted away—I cannot say walk, or run—for how can a vapor do either?—they floated away in affright.
He, seeing their dismayed thought, laughed; he arose to his feet, stretched his muscles; it seemed enjoyable to stand upright once more after lying inert for so long a time.
As he moved about another shriek arose; the sound held an element of the horrible in that one level, unvarying tone, and sent a fresh shiver adown his spine. Soon, however, curiosity overcame their fear, and one by one they timidly floated toward him; one, more courageous than the rest, came so close that the vapory body half-encircled him; a wonderfully pleasant sensation went through all his being; a moist warmth, which conveyed a sense of fellowship—a kinship of soul, pure and delightful.
One after another gained courage, and approached, until he was completely enveloped in the living mist. He saw the growing worship in every mind; that adoration of the mysterious, which ofttimes serves for a worship of the divine.
“It is well,” thought Nordjansen, “Nordhung, 19people always look up to you; these people recognize your superiority!”
Notwithstanding his satisfaction, and self-laudation, he did not forget that he was very hungry; he opened his mouth and pointed down his throat, and used his jaws as though masticating; only bewilderment greeted his most eloquent pantomime. How could they understand? Being without body or substance they needed no food except that which entered each vapory environment by absorption. Then occurred a strange thing to Nordjansen; he cried out in anguish: “My God! Must I starve?”
He sighed; a long, deep inspiration, and was instantly conscious of a delicious sweetness in his mouth, a taste like a strange, but most luscious fruit. He repeated the indrawing process until he felt perfectly satisfied, without the unpleasantness which repletion gives.
He wandered around a space which seemed inclosed, to which he could find no limit; he had no conception of distance, perspective was lost in a bewildering unreality of all surroundings; for instance, Nordhung thought that he beheld a most beautiful tree, he desired a nearer view; he wandered on and on until exhausted before he realized that here, space, like time, had no known law; such being the case, of course, Nordjansen had no means of knowing how long he dwelt in this strange place.
All these fantastic beings, with one exception, worshiped him as a God sent among them for some great, but unknown purpose; he, seeing their awe and worship, took pains to foster and 20increase it. To himself he said: “Nordhung, you are indeed great; these beings know it; they are fine creatures!” He lifted his shoulders a trifle more, and endeavored to assume a godlike tread.
The one exception of which I have spoken was a female; she worshiped him as a woman often does, when she should but love. She hovered around him by night and by day, she enveloped him, she would have permeated him; she watched his every act, she hung upon, and learned to interpret his looks; she suited herself to his moods, and her thoughts to his desires as nearly as she could divine them; in fact, she would have thought his thoughts could she have seen them as he saw hers.
He learned many things which to him were very strange; he found the source of the illumination of this place, a light that shone with steady radiance; not as our sun shines for a few hours which we call day, and kindly gives place to the darkness of night, that many may rest from toil, and a few may sneak into evil under cover of its shadow. The two poles, one entering from the north, the other from the south, here formed a positive and a negative; which, with the power engendered as the world turns on her axis, was made to produce an electric light of wonderful brilliancy. He also learned to communicate his desires to these beings with whom he mingled. Their amazement at his flesh, bone, sinews, hidden mind, in fact, his entire personality grew continually; they could not understand how such a condition could exist; he was to them a miracle, consequently to be worshiped.
21Nordjansen grew to admire these souls, so perfectly pure; so free from all deceit, and truthful perforce; loving and faithful, as no taint of evil could find lodgment in their transparent minds.
Pure and sweet as they were, his heart at times grew sick for his own kind, and instead of the faint, moist, languorous atmosphere, with never a disturbing storm, he longed for the rocky promontories of his Norway; the reverberation of the rolling thunder among the hills, and the wild lashing of the sea on the rocky base of the cliffs. Sometimes he dreamed—half-awake, half-asleep—that the briny spray was dashing in his face, and thought that he could taste the pungent savor of the salt, and awoke to find the tears trickling down his cheek, moistening his tongue. His heart grew faint unto sickness for the light of the sun, and the shifting shadows of the clouds on the distant hills, where the grass grew like a flower-decked carpet, and the white sheep bleated lovingly to one another. And oh! for a sight of the stately, white-robed ships as they sailed away into the unknown which he now deplored. He numbly wondered what had become of his good ship, Nord Rhyn.
Alas, that he had not been content with his father’s land, and his father’s homely ways!
He grew unutterably weary of the unreality of all things surrounding him, he longed for the interchange of day and night; he longed for food—actual food—with a throe of maddening pain, so keen was his desire; he longed for creatures of flesh and blood, with their inborn predilection for evil, which gave the doing of right 22things so much sweeter flavor. He wearied of the love of the She which so completely enveloped him, as men ever tire of that which is so wholly their own that they cannot for one fascinating hour escape it; it is worse than a diet of sweets, although the effect is the same, a nauseated surfeit.
She, poor soul! She learned to dread his scowling brow, his harsh tone; to shrink and tremble in wild affright whenever he ordered her away; she sought ever to win a more kindly regard by added devotion, by hanging more fondly and constantly about him. After all she differed not so greatly from her sisters on the face of the earth. He grew more intolerant of her presence, and violently ordered her to leave him; he noted her agony of fear, her deathless devotion, and her hopeless pain with indifference, as with a cry of despair she turned away.
He seized the opportunity and fled, whither he knew not; he could but die, which meant surcease from all the wild longings that so beset him. On, ever onward! How far! How long! Oh, it was terror not to know—to have no account of time—no knowledge of distance; it was like sailing a ship through eternal void, no landmarks—no limit—just on, and on—so far as he had knowledge of it.
Ah! A change came over him. The spirit of the explorer stirred once more within him. He felt that he was once again describing an immense circle, as had been his experience upon entering; he felt that there was a reason for this, and his mind became busy trying to solve the problem.
23“There is some purpose in this; come to think of it, there is a purpose in most things, and I shall arrive at an understanding of this one,” he murmured complacently.
His surroundings were visibly changing, distance seemed tangible, all things more real. A strange awesome stillness had fallen around him like a mantle of dread, and every instant seemed to deepen its intensity; the air, from being languorously balmy, had grown chill, and a strong current hurried him forward.
His perplexed mind began to grasp the solution which had evaded him; were it not for these many turnings, and the immensity of the circle, the cold draught from Pole to Pole would sweep through with all the devastating force of a cyclone. He stopped and straightened himself, bringing his hands together with a resounding thwack: “To be sure! Why, of course! Nordhung, I thought you would master the problem; there is very little that baffles you!” he cried approvingly.
His voice sounded horrible; it echoed, and re-echoed like the laughter of a thousand demons; in wild affright he started to run, but stumbled and fell; a groan was wrung from his lips as he tried to rise; he thought he heard a soft sigh, and a moist, warm vapor swept his bruised cheek like a tender, clinging kiss. He stumbled to his feet regardless of his wounds, and screamed out, as he struck furiously into the darkness: “Go back; go to your own kind; I hate you!” he screamed, crazed with rage and his fear of restraint, and as he was—as purely animal fear 24ever is—brutal. A single, sad note answered him; sad as the wail of the autumn wind when the last leaf floats down to earth; sad as the cry of the Soul which—seeing Heaven’s wide-open gate—must still pass by on the other side; as sad—oh, saddest of all, as when all love’s hopes lie slain by one’s best beloved. Adieu! adieu!
His hand was again lifted to strike, and—“Ah!” he caught his breath in a sharp gasp; a gust of wind lifted him off his feet, precisely as in entering, forcing his hands close to his sides, feet pressed together—toes up—like the feet of the dead. Swift, swifter he sped; all thought, all feeling lost in that mad rush; a vague consciousness alone remained to him. It seemed that for ages he was borne along, then into his dim consciousness entered the same rumbling sounds; heavy, jarring, indistinguishable noises; cold, colder grew the atmosphere, the wind pierced to the marrow of his bones; his very vitals seemed freezing. Happily he lost consciousness.
For many days a wild storm swept the far southern sea, and a half-dozen sailors, with their small boat, were thrown upon a rocky point which was continually lashed by the icy waves; there they found a gaunt, white-haired old man, who sobbed at sight of them. When, after weeks of suffering from cold and hunger, they again put to sea in their small boat, they took the old man with them.
After many days of suffering—days which were like a horrible dream of cloudless sky and 25lapping water, with never a drop to quench their thirst; a ball of fire by day, which yet gave no grateful warmth, and a maddening calm of moon at night; a nightmare of wandering thoughts, and gibbering tongues, amid which the face of Nordjansen looked like a fabled Gorgon, with eyes of restless fire—after many days of this inexpressible horror they were taken on board a ship bound for the East Indies.
Nordjansen had crouched down by a coil of rope, his long gray beard hung in matted strings, his scant white hair tossed wildly in the breeze. A seaman, attending to his duty, stumbled over a loose end of the rope and came near falling; he gave vent to an impatient exclamation in his native tongue—Norwegian. No matter how fluently one speaks a foreign language, in moments of emotion the tongue falls naturally into its national speech.
Nordjansen sprang to his feet, his eyes glowing wildly; his words came tumbling over each other in voluble incoherency; he clasped his compatriot’s knees and kissed the hands that would have pushed him away; the fiery light died out of his eyes, leaving them sad and pathetic; at last the man understood, and lifting him to his feet said kindly:
“Tell me what you wish?”
“I want to go to my Norway! I wish for my friends! I am weary of strange lands, and stranger things! I long for the land of my birth, and would once more hear our beloved language spoken by all!” he poured forth volubly.
26“Yes, yes!” answered his friend soothingly, as he hurried away.
Nordjansen’s eyes followed him hungrily, and from that time he watched the leaping waves with glad delight as he stood for hours at the prow of the boat.
“Fly! Begone! Away with you, that the more speedily I may see my beloved land,” he would cry with all the happy abandon of childhood.
He waylaid Varman, and plied him with endless questions until the man took every means of keeping out of his sight.
Day followed day in sickening monotony, until Nordjansen laid his aching head upon his coil of rope and wept in weariness of heart.
“I shall never see my land again; Varman is deceiving me. I wish that I had been less unkind to She; I should know her thought; She would not deceive me!”
He was so soon regretting that which he had cast side so carelessly, forgetful that dead love knows no resurrection; neither can the divine passion be put on or off as easily as we can reconsider our decision as to cast-off garments.
Thus he fretted until the hours were as days, and the days interminable; when they hailed a passing ship, and he was transferred to the homeward-bound vessel, and thus at last he reached the haven of his desire—Norway.
As his old feet tottered through the streets of his native place, all things looked sad and strange; he looked piteously around, seeking a familiar countenance, and when he found not 27one, he hid his face in his shaking hands and wept aloud.
Little children hid in their mothers’ gowns, and the old people shook their heads stolidly when he asked in trembling tones if they knew his old-time friends, and they replied, in accents of wonder:
“We know them not; we heard never the names.”
He asked but one more question: “Did you know my beautiful ship, the Nord Rhyn, and her goodly crew? I was her commander!” with a sad attempt at his old air of pride.
“No, no! We never heard of such a ship,” they answered impatiently. He sighed deeply and sadly, as he turned away, and climbed to the summit of the crags his memory held so dear.
At last he stood on the rocky height and looked around with saddened eyes; it seemed as though the sun shone less bright, and that the hills had grown bald and ugly; and as he looked toward the north which had so fascinated him in the long ago, it appeared cold and forbidding. He sank down forlornly, and with hand closed over his dim eyes he watched ever the white-clad ships sailing past, and eagerly peered at each to learn her name.
“The Nord Rhyn will soon come into port; my sailors must have heard of their commander’s return; they will know, and welcome me,” he would repeat again and again, persistently clinging to this last hope.
At times when the autumn winds sighed he 28would start up tremulously; “It is She! I hear her voice! I wish that she would come!” He sighed sorrowfully for the jewel which he had thrown away.
One sweet spring morn found him, still with that quietude which ends all weariness; he had found rest on the highest crag overlooking Tana Fiord, on the same spot where he had sat and wished with restless heart in his boyhood days. A sweet moisture rested on his cheek, a happy smile touched his lips and the careworn wrinkles had smoothed away from his brow. Perhaps She had known his sad longing, and with love’s tender forgiving had answered his call in that last hour; the hour in which with clearer vision and unselfish thought he stood on the threshold of the higher plane.
With kindly hands the simple people laid him away, afraid to neglect or despise one of “God’s Children,” as they called those of unbalanced mind; and as they passed around the open grave, each cast in a flower and whispered pityingly: “God receive the poor old lunatic!”

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