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Somewhere Or Nowhere?
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I looked up also, but could see nothing save a little dark cloud, the edges of which were red, as if with the light of the sunset.
"Surely the sun is not going down!" I exclaimed, struck with amazement.
"Oh, no!" returned the raven. "That red belongs to the worm."
"You see what comes of making creatures forget their origin!" I cried with some warmth.
"It is well, surely, if it be to rise higher and grow larger!" he returned. "But indeed I only teach them to find it!"
"Would you have the air full of worms?"
"That is the business of a sexton. If only the rest of the clergy understood it as well!"
In went his beak again through the soft turf, and out came the wriggling worm. He tossed it in the air, and away it flew.
I looked behind me, and gave a cry of dismay: I had but that moment declared I would not leave the house, and already I was a stranger in the strange land!
"What right have you to treat me so, Mr. Raven?" I said with deep offence. "Am I, or am I not, a free agent?"
"A man is as free as he chooses to make himself, never an atom freer," answered the raven.
"You have no right to make me do things against my will!"
"When you have a will, you will find that no one can."
"You wrong me in the very essence of my individuality!" I persisted.
"If you were an individual I could not, therefore now I do not. You are but beginning to become an individual."
All about me was a pine-forest, in which my eyes were already searching deep, in the hope of discovering an unaccountable glimmer, and so finding my way home. But, alas! how could I any longer call that house HOME, where every door, every window opened into OUT, and even the garden I could not keep inside!
I suppose I looked discomfited.
"Perhaps it may comfort you," said the raven, "to be told that you have not yet left your house, neither has your house left you. At the same time it cannot contain you, or you inhabit it!"
"I do not understand you," I replied. "Where am I?"
"In the region of the seven dimensions," he answered, with a curious noise in his throat, and a flutter of his tail. "You had better follow me carefully now for a moment, lest you should hurt some one!"
"There is nobody to hurt but yourself, Mr. Raven! I confess I should rather like to hurt you!"
"That you see nobody is where the danger lies. But you see that large tree to your left, about thirty yards away?"
"Of course I do: why should I not?" I answered testily.
"Ten minutes ago you did not see it, and now you do not know where it stands!"
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