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The Lost Prince Frances Hodgson Burnett

XXI "Help!"

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``What did he say?'' asked The Rat hoarsely.

``He only said, `Rise, my son. I awaited thee. Go and eat the food I prepared for thee, and then we will speak together.' He didn't move or speak again until my father had eaten the meal. He only sat on the moss and let his eyes rest on the shadows over the abyss. When my father went back, he made a gesture which meant that he should sit near him.

``Then he sat still for several minutes, and let his eyes rest on my father, until he felt as if the light in them were set in the midst of his own body and his soul. Then he said, `I cannot tell thee all thou wouldst know. That I may not do.' He had a wonderful gentle voice, like a deep soft bell. `But the work will be done. Thy life and thy son's life will set it on its way.'

``They sat through the whole night together. And the stars hung quite near, as if they listened. And there were sounds in the bushes of stealthy, padding feet which wandered about as if the owners of them listened too. And the wonderful, low, peaceful voice of the holy man went on and on, telling of wonders which seemed like miracles but which were to him only the `working of the Law.' ''

``What is the Law?'' The Rat broke in.

``There were two my father wrote down, and I learned them. The first was the law of The One. I'll try to say that,'' and he covered his eyes and waited through a moment of silence.

It seemed to The Rat as if the room held an extraordinary stillness.

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``Listen!'' came next. ``This is it:

`` `There are a myriad worlds. There is but One Thought out of which they grew. Its Law is Order which cannot swerve. Its creatures are free to choose. Only they can create Disorder, which in itself is Pain and Woe and Hate and Fear. These they alone can bring forth. The Great One is a Golden Light. It is not remote but near. Hold thyself within its glow and thou wilt behold all things clearly. First, with all thy breathing being, know one thing! That thine own thought--when so thou standest--is one with That which thought the Worlds!' ''

``What?'' gasped The Rat. ``MY thought--the things _I_ think!''

``Your thoughts--boys' thoughts--anybody's thoughts.''

``You're giving me the jim-jams!''

``He said it,'' answered Marco. ``And it was then he spoke about the broken Link--and about the greatest books in the world--that in all their different ways, they were only saying over and over again one thing thousands of times. Just this thing--`Hate not, Fear not, Love.' And he said that was Order. And when it was disturbed, suffering came--poverty and misery and catastrophe and wars.''

``Wars!'' The Rat said sharply. ``The World couldn't do without war--and armies and defences! What about Samavia?''

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The Lost Prince
Frances Hodgson Burnett

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