HOW DIAMOND GOT HOME AGAIN
HEN one at the back of the north wind wanted to know how things
were going with any one he loved, he had to go to a certain tree,
climb the stem, and sit down in the branches. In a few minutes,
if he kept very still, he would see something at least of what was
going on with the people he loved.
One day when Diamond was sitting in this tree, he began to long very
much to get home again, and no wonder, for he saw his mother crying.
Durante says that the people there may always follow their wishes,
because they never wish but what is good. Diamond's wish was to
get home, and he would fain follow his wish.
But how was he to set about it? If he could only see North Wind!
But the moment he had got to her back, she was gone altogether from
his sight. He had never seen her back. She might be sitting
her doorstep still, looking southwards, and waiting, white and thin
and blue-eyed, until she was wanted. Or she might have again become
a mighty creature, with power to do that which was demanded of her,
and gone far away upon many missions. She must be somewhere, however.
He could not go home without her, and therefore he must find her.
She could never have intended to leave him always away from his mother.
If there had been any danger of that, she would have told him,
and given him his choice about going. For North Wind was right honest.
How to find North Wind, therefore, occupied all his thoughts.
In his anxiety about his mother, he used to climb the tree every day,
and sit in its branches. However many of the dwellers there did so,
they never incommoded one another; for the moment one got into
the tree, he became invisible to every one else; and it was such
a wide-spreading tree that there was room for every one of the
people of the country in it, without the least interference with
each other. Sometimes, on getting down, two of them would meet
at the root, and then they would smile to each other more sweetly
than at any other time, as much as to say, "Ah, you've been up there too!"
One day he was sitting on one of the outer branches of the tree,
looking southwards after his home. Far away was a blue shining sea,
dotted with gleaming and sparkling specks of white. Those were
the icebergs. Nearer he saw a great range of snow-capped mountains,
and down below him the lovely meadow-grass of the country, with the
 flowing and flowing through it, away towards the sea.
As he looked he began to wonder, for the whole country lay beneath him
like a map, and that which was near him looked just as small as that
which he knew to be miles away. The ridge of ice which encircled it
appeared but a few yards off, and no larger than the row of pebbles
with which a child will mark out the boundaries of the kingdom he
has appropriated on the sea-shore. He thought he could distinguish
the vapoury form of North Wind, seated as he had left her, on the
other side. Hastily he descended the tree, and to his amazement
found that the map or model of the country still lay at his feet.
He stood in it. With one stride he had crossed the river;
with another he had reached the ridge of ice; with the third he
stepped over its peaks, and sank wearily down at North Wind's knees.
For there she sat on her doorstep. The peaks of the great ridge
of ice were as lofty as ever behind her, and the country at her back
had vanished from Diamond's view.
North Wind was as still as Diamond had left her. Her pale face
was white as the snow, and her motionless eyes were as blue
as the caverns in the ice. But the instant Diamond touched her,
her face began to change like that of one waking from sleep.
Light began to glimmer from the blue of her eyes.
A moment more, and she laid her hand on Diamond's head, and began
playing with his hair. Diamond took hold of her hand, and laid
his face to it. She gave a little start.
"How very alive you are, child!" she murmured. "Come nearer to me."
By the help of the stones all around he clambered
 up beside her,
and laid himself against her bosom. She gave a great sigh,
slowly lifted her arms, and slowly folded them about him,
until she clasped him close. Yet a moment, and she roused herself,
and came quite awake; and the cold of her bosom, which had pierced
Diamond's bones, vanished.
"Have you been sitting here ever since I went through you,
dear North Wind?" asked Diamond, stroking her hand.
"Yes," she answered, looking at him with her old kindness.
"Ain't you very tired?"
"No; I've often had to sit longer. Do you know how long you
"Oh! years and years," answered Diamond.
"You have just been seven days," returned North Wind.
"I thought I had been a hundred years!" exclaimed Diamond.
"Yes, I daresay," replied North Wind. "You've been away
from here seven days; but how long you may have been in
there is quite another thing. Behind my back and before
my face things are so different! They don't go at all by the same rule."
"I'm very glad," said Diamond, after thinking a while.
"Why?" asked North Wind.
"Because I've been such a long time there, and such a little while away
from mother. Why, she won't be expecting me home from Sandwich yet!"
"No. But we mustn't talk any longer. I've got my orders now,
and we must be off in a few minutes."
 Next moment Diamond found himself sitting alone on the rock.
North Wind had vanished. A creature like a great humble-bee or
cockchafer flew past his face; but it could be neither, for there
were no insects amongst the ice. It passed him again and again,
flying in circles around him, and he concluded that it must be
North Wind herself, no bigger than Tom Thumb when his mother put
him in the nutshell lined with flannel. But she was no longer
vapoury and thin. She was solid, although tiny. A moment more,
and she perched on his shoulder.
"Come along, Diamond," she said in his ear, in the smallest and highest
of treble voices; "it is time we were setting out for Sandwich."
Diamond could just see her, by turning his head towards
his shoulder as far as he could, but only with one eye,
for his nose came between her and the other.
"Won't you take me in your arms and carry me?" he said in a whisper,
for he knew she did not like a loud voice when she was small.
"Ah! you ungrateful boy," returned North Wind, smiling "how dare
you make game of me? Yes, I will carry you, but you shall walk
a bit for your impertinence first. Come along."
She jumped from his shoulder, but when Diamond looked for her upon
the ground, he could see nothing but a little spider with long legs
that made its way over the ice towards the south. It ran very fast
indeed for a spider, but Diamond ran a long way before it, and then
waited for it. It was up with him sooner than he had expected,
however, and it had
 grown a good deal. And the spider grew and grew
and went faster and faster, till all at once Diamond discovered
that it was not a spider, but a weasel; and away glided the weasel,
and away went Diamond after it, and it took all the run there was
in him to keep up with the weasel. And the weasel grew, and grew,
and grew, till all at once Diamond saw that the weasel was not
a weasel but a cat. And away went the cat, and Diamond after it.
And when he had run half a mile, he found the cat waiting for him,
sitting up and washing her face not to lose time. And away went
the cat again, and Diamond after it. But the next time he came
up with the cat, the cat was not a cat, but a hunting-leopard.
And the hunting-leopard grew to a jaguar, all covered with spots
like eyes. And the jaguar grew to a Bengal tiger. And at none
of them was Diamond afraid, for he had been at North Wind's back,
and he could be afraid of her no longer whatever she did or grew.
And the tiger flew over the snow in a straight line for the south,
growing less and less to Diamond's eyes till it was only a black
speck upon the whiteness; and then it vanished altogether.
And now Diamond felt that he would rather not run any farther,
and that the ice had got very rough. Besides, he was near the
precipices that bounded the sea, so he slackened his pace to a walk,
saying aloud to himself:
"When North Wind has punished me enough for making game of her,
she will come back to me; I know she will, for I can't go much
farther without her."
"You dear boy! It was only in fun. Here I am!" said North Wind's
voice behind him.
 Diamond turned, and saw her as he liked best to see her,
standing beside him, a tall lady.
"Where's the tiger?" he asked, for he knew all the creatures from
a picture book that Miss Coleman had given him. "But, of course,"
he added, "you were the tiger. I was puzzled and forgot. I saw
it such a long way off before me, and there you were behind me.
It's so odd, you know."
"It must look very odd to you, Diamond: I see that. But it
is no more odd to me than to break an old pine in two."
"Well, that's odd enough," remarked Diamond.
"So it is! I forgot. Well, none of these things are odder to me
than it is to you to eat bread and butter."
"Well, that's odd too, when I think of it," persisted Diamond.
"I should just like a slice of bread and butter! I'm afraid to say
how long it is—how long it seems to me, that is—since I had anything
"Come then," said North Wind, stooping and holding out her arms.
"You shall have some bread and butter very soon. I am glad to find
you want some."
Diamond held up his arms to meet hers, and was safe upon her bosom.
North Wind bounded into the air. Her tresses began to lift and
rise and spread and stream and flow and flutter; and with a roar
from her hair and an answering roar from one of the great glaciers
beside them, whose slow torrent tumbled two or three icebergs
at once into the waves at their feet, North Wind and Diamond went