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The Lost Prince Frances Hodgson Burnett

XIV Marco Does Not Answer

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What did she and her companion want to do--what could they do if they knew the things they were trying to force him to tell?

Marco braced his back against the wall stoutly.

``What will it be best to think about first?''

This he said because one of the most absorbingly fascinating things he and his father talked about together was the power of the thoughts which human beings allow to pass through their minds--the strange strength of them. When they talked of this, Marco felt as if he were listening to some marvelous Eastern story of magic which was true. In Loristan's travels, he had visited the far Oriental countries, and he had seen and learned many things which seemed marvels, and they had taught him deep thinking. He had known, and reasoned through days with men who believed that when they desired a thing, clear and exalted thought would bring it to them. He had discovered why they believed this, and had learned to understand their profound arguments.

What he himself believed, he had taught Marco quite simply from his childhood. It was this: he himself--Marco, with the strong boy-body, the thick mat of black hair, and the patched clothes-- was the magician. He held and waved his wand himself--and his wand was his own Thought. When special privation or anxiety beset them, it was their rule to say, ``What will it be best to think about first?'' which was Marco's reason for saying it to himself now as he stood in the darkness which was like black velvet.

He waited a few minutes for the right thing to come to him.

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``I will think of the very old hermit who lived on the ledge of the mountains in India and who let my father talk to him through all one night,'' he said at last. This had been a wonderful story and one of his favorites. Loristan had traveled far to see this ancient Buddhist, and what he had seen and heard during that one night had made changes in his life. The part of the story which came back to Marco now was these words:

``Let pass through thy mind, my son, only the image thou wouldst desire to see a truth. Meditate only upon the wish of thy heart, seeing first that it can injure no man and is not ignoble. Then will it take earthly form and draw near to thee. This is the law of that which creates.''

``I am not afraid,'' Marco said aloud. ``I shall not be afraid. In some way I shall get out.''

This was the image he wanted most to keep steadily in his mind --that nothing could make him afraid, and that in some way he would get out of the wine-cellar.

He thought of this for some minutes, and said the words over several times. He felt more like himself when he had done it.

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The Lost Prince
Frances Hodgson Burnett

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