| In Story-land|
|by Elizabeth Harrison|
|A collection of fifteen original stories ideally suited for young children. Each of the stories features a light-filled being whose radiance illumines the path for those who follow. Meant to be suggestive to the parent or teacher of the types of stories that can be told to children to inspire them to grow in goodness. Ages 6-8 |
PRINCE HARWEDA AND THE MAGIC PRISON
 Little Harweda was born a prince. His father was King over all the
and his mother was the most beautiful Queen the world had
seen and Prince Harweda was their only child. From the day
his birth everything that love or money could do for him had
been done. The very wind of heaven was made to fan over
an æolian harp that it might enter his room, not as a
fresh breeze, but as a breath of music. Reflectors were
so arranged in the windows that twice as much moonlight
his crib as on that of any ordinary child. The
pillow on which his head rested was made out of the down
from humming birds breasts and the water in which his face
and hands were washed was always steeped in rose leaves
before being brought to the nursery. Everything that
could be done
was done, and nothing which could add to his ease or comfort
was left undone.
But his parents, although they were King and Queen, were not
wise, for they never
 thought of making the young prince think of anybody but
and he had never in all his life given up any one of his
that somebody else might have a pleasure. So, of course, he
to be selfish and peevish, and by the time he was five years
he was so disagreeable that nobody loved him. "Dear, dear!
what shall we do?" said the poor Queen mother and the King
only sighed and answered,
"Ah, what indeed!" They were both
very much grieved at heart for they well knew that little
although he was a prince, would never grow up to be a really
great King unless he could make his people love him.
At last they decided to send for his fairy god-mother and
she could suggest anything which would cure Prince Harweda
always thinking about himself. "Well, well, well!" exclaimed
god-mother when they had laid the case before
is a pretty state of affairs! and I his god-mother too! Why
I called in sooner?" She then told them that she would
think a day and a night and a day again before she could
any assistance. "But," added she, "if I take the child in
you must promise not to interfere for a whole year."
The King and Queen gladly promised
 that they would not speak to or even see their son for the
time if the fairy god-mother would only cure him of his
"We'll see about that," said the god-mother, "Humph,
be a King some day and not caring for anybody but
fine King he'll make!" With that off she flew and the King
saw nothing more of her for a day and a night and another
Then back she came in a great
hurry. "Give me the Prince," said she;
"I have his house all ready for him. One month
from to-day I'll bring him back to you. Perhaps
he'll be cured and perhaps he won't. If he is not cured
shall try two months next time. We'll see, we'll see."
Without any more ado she picked up the astonished young
flew away with him as lightly as if he were nothing but a
or a straw. In vain the poor queen wept and begged for a
Before she had wiped her eyes, the fairy god-mother and
Harweda were out of sight.
They flew a long distance until they reached a great forest.
When they had come to the middle of it, down flew the fairy,
and in a minute more the young prince was standing on the
green grass beside a beautiful pink
 marble palace that looked something like a good sized summer
"This is your home," said the god-mother, "in it you will
everything you need and you can do just as you choose with
time." Little Harweda was delighted at this for there was
in the world he liked better than to do as he pleased,
so he tossed his cap up into the air and ran into the lovely
house without so much as saying "Thank you" to his
"Humph," said she as he disappeared, "you'll have enough of
before you are through with it, my fine prince." With that
off she flew.
Prince Harweda had no sooner set his foot inside the small
rose-colored palace than the iron door shut with a bang and
itself. For you must know by this time that it was an
as of course, all houses are that are built by fairies.
Prince Harweda did not mind being locked in, as he cared
for the great beautiful outside world, and the new home
was to be all his own was very fine, and he was
eager and impatient to examine it. Then too he thought that
he was tired of it, all he would have to do would be to kick
door and a servant from somewhere would come
 and open it,—he had always had a servant ready to obey
his slightest command.
His fairy god-mother had told him that it was
house, therefore he was interested in looking at everything
The floor was made of a beautiful red copper that shone in
sunlight like burnished gold and seemed almost a dark red in
the shadow. He had never seen anything half so fine before.
The ceiling was of mother-of-pearl and showed a constant
changing of tints of red and blue and yellow and green,
all blending into the gleaming white, as only
From the middle of this handsome ceiling hung a large gilded
cage containing a beautiful bird, which just at this moment
was singing a glad song of welcome to the Prince.
Harweda, however, cared very little about birds, so he took
notice of the songster.
Around on every side were costly divans with richly
and on which were many sizes of soft down pillows.
"Ah," thought the Prince, "here I can lounge at my ease with
to call me to stupid lessons!" Wonderfully carved jars and
of wrought gold and silver stood about on the floor and each
filled with a different kind of perfume. "This is
deli-  cious," said Prince Harweda. "Now I can have all the sweet odors I
without the trouble of going out into the garden for roses
In the center of the room was a fountain of sparkling water
which leaped up and fell back into its marble basin with a
of rythmical sound that made a faint, dreamy music very
pleasant to listen to.
On a table near at hand were various baskets of the most
tempting pears and grapes and peaches, and near them
were dishes of all kinds of sweetmeats. "Good," said the
greedy young prince, "that is what I like best of all,"
and therewith he fell to eating the fruit and sweetmeats
as fast as he could cram them into his mouth. He
ate so much he had a pain in his stomach, but strange to
the table was just as full as when he began, for no sooner
he reach his hand out and take a soft mellow pear or a rich,
juicy peach than another pear or peach took its place in the
The same thing occurred when he helped himself to chocolate
drops or marsh-mallows or any of the other confectionery
upon the table. For, of course, if the little palace was
everything in it was enchanted also.
 When Prince Harweda had eaten until he could eat no more
he threw himself down upon one of the couches and an
hand gently stroked his hair until he fell asleep.
When he awoke he noticed for the first time the walls which,
by the way, were really the strangest part of his new home.
They had in them twelve long, checkered windows which
from the ceiling to the floor. The spaces between the
were filled in with mirrors exactly the same size as the
so that the whole room was walled in with windows and
looking glasses. Through the three windows that looked
to the north could be seen the far distant mountains
as they were called, towering high above the surrounding
sometimes their snow-covered tops were pink or creamy yellow
as they caught the rays of the sunrise; sometimes they were
dark purple or blue as they reflected the storm cloud.
From the three windows that faced the south could be seen
the great ocean, tossing and moving, constantly catching a
thousand gleams of silver from the moonlight. Again and
each little wave would be capped with white from its romp
with the wind. Yet, as the huge mountains seemed to
 than man could climb, so the vast ocean seemed to stretch
farther than any ship could possibly carry him.
The eastern windows gave each morning a glorious vision of
the darkness of the night slowly melted into the still gray
and that thawed into a golden glow and that in turn became
a tender pink. It was really the most beautiful as well as
mysterious sight on earth if one watched it closely.
The windows on the west looked out upon a great forest of
fir trees and at the time of sunset the glorious colors of
sky could be seen between the dark green branches.
But little Prince Harweda cared for none of these beautiful
In fact, he scarcely glanced out of the windows at all,
he was so taken up with the broad handsome mirrors, for
in each of them he could see himself reflected and he was
very fond of looking at himself in a looking glass.
He was much pleased when he noticed that the mirrors
were so arranged that each one not only reflected
his whole body, head, arms, feet and all, but that it also
reflected his image as seen in several of the other mirrors.
He could thus see his front and back and each side,
all at the same time. As he was a handsome boy he
 enjoyed these many views of himself immensely, and would
and sit and lie down just for the fun of seeing the many
of himself do the same thing.
He spent so much time looking at and admiring himself in the
wonderful looking-glasses that he had very little time for
books and games which had been provided for his amusement.
Hours were spent each day first before one mirror and then
and he did not notice that the windows were growing narrower
and the mirrors wider until the former had become so small
that they hardly admitted light enough for him to see
in the looking-glass. Still, this did not alarm him very
as he cared nothing whatever for the outside world.
It only made him spend more time before the mirror, as it
now getting quite difficult for him to see himself at all.
at last became mere slits in the wall and the mirrors grew
that they not only reflected little Harweda but all of the
besides in a dim, indistinct kind of a way.
Finally, however, Prince Harweda awoke one morning and found
himself in total darkness. Not a ray of light came from the
and of course, not an object in the room
 could be seen. He rubbed his eyes and sat up to make sure
was not dreaming. Then he called loudly for some one to come
a window for him, but no one came. He got up and groped his
to the iron door and tried to open it, but it was, as you
know, locked. He kicked it and beat upon it, but he only
fists and hurt his toes. He grew quite angry now. How dare
shut him, a prince, up in a dark prison like this! He abused
god-mother, calling her all sorts of horrid names. Then he
his father and mother, the King and Queen, for letting him
a god-mother. In fact, he blamed everybody and everything
but himself for his present condition, but it was of no use.
of his own voice was his only answer. The whole of the
world seemed to have forgotten him.
As he felt his way back to his couch he knocked over one of
golden jars which had held the liquid perfume, but the perfume
all gone now and only an empty jar rolled over the floor.
He laid himself down on the divan but its soft pillows had
removed and a hard iron frame-work received him.
He was dismayed and lay for a long time thinking of
 what he had best do with himself. All before him was
as black as the darkest night you ever saw. He reached
hand to get some fruit to eat, but only one or two withered
remained on the table—was he to starve to death?
Suddenly he noticed that the tinkling music of the fountain
ceased. He hastily groped his way over to it and he found in
of the dancing, running stream stood a silent pool of water.
A hush had fallen upon everything about him, a dead silence
in the room. He threw himself down upon the floor and
wished that he were dead also. He lay there for a long, long
At last he heard, or thought he heard, a faint sound.
He listened eagerly. It seemed to be some tiny creature not
from him, trying to move about. For the first time for
nearly a month
he remembered the bird in its gilded cage. "Poor little
he cried as he sprang up, "You too are shut within this
terrible prison. This thick darkness must be
as hard for you to bear as it is for me." He went towards
and as he approached it the bird gave a sad little chirp.
"That's better than nothing," said the boy, "you must need
water to drink, poor
 thing," continued he as he filled its drinking cup.
"This is all I have
to give you."
Just then he heard a harsh, grating sound, as of rusty bolts
with difficulty out of their sockets, and then faint rays of
not wider than a hair began to shine between the heavy plate
Prince Harweda was filled with joy. "Perhaps, perhaps,"
softly, "I may yet see the light again. Ah, how beautiful
world would look to me now!"
The next day he was so hungry that he began to eat one
of the old withered apples, and as he bit it he thought of
his fellow-prisoner. "You must be hungry, too, poor little
said he as he divided his miserable food and put part of it
the bird's cage. Again came the harsh, grating sound, and
noticed that the cracks of light were growing larger.
Still they were only cracks, nothing of the outside world
be seen. Still it was a comfort not to
have to grope about in total darkness. Prince Harweda felt
sure that the cracks of light were a little wider, and on
to one and putting his eye close to it as he would to a
pinhole in a
paper, he was rejoiced to find that he could tell the
 of the grass from the blue of the sky. "Ah, my pretty bird,
pretty bird!" he cried joyfully, "I have had a glimpse of
great beautiful outside world and you shall have it too."
With these words he climbed up into a chair and loosening
from the golden chain by which it hung, he carried it
to the nearest crack of light and placed it close to the
opening. Again was heard the harsh, grating sound and the
moved a bit and the windows were now at least an inch wide.
At this the poor Prince
clasped his hands with delight. He sat himself down near
the bird cage and gazed out of the narrow opening.
Never before had the trees looked so tall and stately, or
the white clouds floating through the sky so lovely.
The next day as he was carefully cleaning the bird's cage
so that the little creature might be somewhat more
the walls again creaked and groaned and the mirrors grew
narrower by just so many inches as the windows widened.
But Prince Harweda saw only the flood of sunshine that
and the added beauty of the larger landscape. He cared
whatever now for the stupid mirrors which could only reflect
 placed before them. Each day he found something new
and beautiful in the view from the narrow windows.
Now it was a squirrel frisking about and running up some
tree trunk so rapidly that Prince Harweda could not follow
his eyes; again it was a
mother bird feeding her young. By this time
the windows were a foot wide or more. One day as two
white doves suddenly soared aloft in the blue sky the poor
canary who had now become the tenderly cared for comrade of
the young Prince, gave a pitiful little trill. "Dear little
cried Prince Harweda,
"do you also long for your freedom? You
shall at least be as free as I am." So saying, he opened
the cage door and the bird flew out. The Prince laughed as
watched it flutter about from chair to table and back to
He was so much occupied with the bird that he did not notice
the walls had again shaken and the windows were now their
full size, until the added light caused him to look around.
and saw the room looking almost exactly as it did the day
he entered it with so much pride because it was all his own.
Now it seemed close and stuffy and he would gladly have
exchanged it for the humblest home in
 his father's kingdom where he could meet people and hear
talk and see them smile at each other, even if they should
no notice of him. One day soon after this the little bird
against the window pane and beat his wings against it in a
effort to get out. A new idea seized the young Prince, and
taking up one of the golden jars he went to the window and
struck on one of its checkered panes of glass with all his
shall be free, even if I can not," said he to the bird.
Two or three strong blows slivered the small pane and the
bird swept out into the free open air beyond. "Ah, my pretty
how glad I am that you are free at last," exclaimed the
he stood watching the flight of his fellow-prisoner. His
bright with the glad, unselfish joy over the
bird's liberty. The small, pink marble palace shook from top
to bottom, the iron door flew open and the fresh wind from
the sea rushed in and seemed to catch the boy in its
Prince Harweda could hardly believe his eyes as he sprang
to the door. There stood his fairy god-mother, smiling and
with her hand reached out toward him. "Come, my god-child,"
said she gently, "we shall now go back to your father and
 and Queen, and they will rejoice with us that you have been
cured of your terrible disease of selfishness."
Great indeed was the rejoicing in the palace when Prince
was returned to them a sweet, loving boy, kind and
thoughtful to all
about him. Many a struggle he had with himself and many a
conquest over the old habit of selfishness, but as time
he grew to be a great and wise king, loving and tenderly
caring for all his people and loved by them in return.
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