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Lilith George MacDonald

The Waking

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A wind began to moan in pulsing gusts.

"You hear his wings now!" said Adam; and I knew he did not mean the wings of the morning.

"It is the great Shadow stirring to depart," he went on. "Wretched creature, he has himself within him, and cannot rest!"

"But is there not in him something deeper yet?" I asked.

"Without a substance," he answered, "a shadow cannot be--yea, or without a light behind the substance!"

He listened for a moment, then called out, with a glad smile, "Hark to the golden cock! Silent and motionless for millions of years has he stood on the clock of the universe; now at last he is flapping his wings! now will he begin to crow! and at intervals will men hear him until the dawn of the day eternal."

I listened. Far away--as in the heart of an Šonian silence, I heard the clear jubilant outcry of the golden throat. It hurled defiance at death and the dark; sang infinite hope, and coming calm. It was the "expectation of the creature" finding at last a voice; the cry of a chaos that would be a kingdom!

Then I heard a great flapping.

"The black bat is flown!" said Mara.

"Amen, golden cock, bird of God!" cried Adam, and the words rang through the house of silence, and went up into the airy regions.

At his AMEN--like doves arising on wings of silver from among the potsherds, up sprang the Little Ones to their knees on their beds, calling aloud,

"Crow! crow again, golden cock!"--as if they had both seen and heard him in their dreams.

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Then each turned and looked at the sleeping bedfellow, gazed a moment with loving eyes, kissed the silent companion of the night, and sprang from the couch. The Little Ones who had lain down beside my father and mother gazed blank and sad for a moment at their empty places, then slid slowly to the floor. There they fell each into the other's arms, as if then first, each by the other's eyes, assured they were alive and awake. Suddenly spying Lona, they came running, radiant with bliss, to embrace her. Odu, catching sight of the leopardess on the feet of the princess, bounded to her next, and throwing an arm over the great sleeping head, fondled and kissed it.

"Wake up, wake up, darling!" he cried; "it is time to wake!"

The leopardess did not move.

"She has slept herself cold!" he said to Mara, with an upcast look of appealing consternation.

"She is waiting for the princess to wake, my child," said Mara.

Odu looked at the princess, and saw beside her, still asleep, two of his companions. He flew at them.

"Wake up! wake up!" he cried, and pushed and pulled, now this one, now that.

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