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The Golden Windows by  Laura E. Richards


 

 

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[120]

O NCE in these later days, there came to this earth a Child who had been here once before. The day was cold, and late the hour, and the Child wandered far and wide, as if seeking something. As he went, the little foxes peeped from their holes, and said, "Where are you going, little Master?" and the Child answered. "I am seeking something, but I cannot well tell what," and he wandered further.

By and by he came to a great door, from which came sounds of music, sweet and solemn. He pushed the door open and looked in; and there was a great place full of dim, rich light, and the music flowing through it in waves as of a sea. [121] Here and there men and women were kneeling on the marble floor, looking up at a figure that hung carved upon a cross, fixed as in pain and anguish; and, before this figure men in rich garments passed to and fro, muttering prayers and offering perfumes.

The Child looked at the figure, which hung in unending pain. "That is something that I have known," he said, "but it is not what I am seeking;" and he wandered further.

After a time he came to a tall house, and here again he heard sounds of music, women's voices singing thin and sweet.

He pushed the door open and looked in; and here were many women, robed and veiled in black, kneeling and singing before the picture of a woman with seven swords in her heart; and the women sang:

"For He that is mighty hath done to me great things, and holy is His name."

The Child looked at the picture of the Woman, and said, "This, too, is something that I have known, but it is not what I am seeking;" and he wandered further.

[122] And as he went, the little birds peeped from their nests and said, "Where are you going, little Master?'"

And the Child answered, "I am seeking something, but I cannot yet tell what."

Now it was growing very late, and the Child was cold and weary; and as he went, he heard yet once more the sound of music, but this time it was one voice that sang, and that a low one; it came from a humble cabin that stood beside the way, and from the cabin window came a gleam of light that lay bright across the bare road.

The Child pushed open the door and looked in. There by a small bright fire sat a woman with a child on her knee, and another leaning beside her, and a third lying in the cradle beyond her; and the woman stirred the fire as she sat, and sang to the babe in her lap. And as she sang, it chanced that she turned her head, and saw the Child standing in the doorway.

"Little one," said the woman, "come in, and let me warm the little cold feet of you by the fire, and the little cold [123] hands of you in my bosom; and drink warm milk, and then sleep beside the babe in the cradle here."

"Oh! Mary Mother!" said the Child, "now I know: I was seeking where to lay my head."

And he entered in.


[Illustration]

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