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The Princess and Curdie George MacDonald

Curdie's Mission

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No sooner was he in than he saw that the great revolving wheel in the sky was the princess's spinning wheel, near the other end of the room, turning very fast. He could see no sky or stars any more, but the wheel was flashing out blue - oh, such lovely sky-blue light! - and behind it of course sat the princess, but whether an old woman as thin as a skeleton leaf, or a glorious lady as young as perfection, he could not tell for the turning and flashing of the wheel.

'Listen to the wheel,' said the voice which had already grown dear to Curdie: its very tone was precious like a jewel, not as a jewel, for no jewel could compare with it in preciousness.

And Curdie listened and listened.

'What is it saying?' asked the voice.

'It is singing,' answered Curdie.

'What is it singing?'

Curdie tried to make out, but thought he could not; for no sooner had he got hold of something than it vanished again.

Yet he listened, and listened, entranced with delight.

'Thank you, Curdie, said the voice.

'Ma'am,' said Curdie, 'I did try hard for a while, but I could not make anything of it.'

'Oh yes, you did, and you have been telling it to me! Shall I tell you again what I told my wheel, and my wheel told you, and you have just told me without knowing it?'

'Please, ma'am.'

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Then the lady began to sing, and her wheel spun an accompaniment to her song, and the music of the wheel was like the music of an Aeolian harp blown upon by the wind that bloweth where it listeth. Oh, the sweet sounds of that spinning wheel! Now they were gold, now silver, now grass, now palm trees, now ancient cities, now rubies, now mountain brooks, now peacock's feathers, now clouds, now snowdrops, and now mid-sea islands. But for the voice that sang through it all, about that I have no words to tell. It would make you weep if I were able to tell you what that was like, it was so beautiful and true and lovely. But this is something like the words of its song:

The stars are spinning their threads, And the clouds are the dust that flies, And the suns are weaving them up For the time when the sleepers shall rise.

The ocean in music rolls, And gems are turning to eyes, And the trees are gathering souls For the day when the sleepers shall rise.

The weepers are learning to smile, And laughter to glean the sighs; Burn and bury the care and guile, For the day when the sleepers shall rise.

oh, the dews and the moths and the daisy red, The larks and the glimmers and flows! The lilies and sparrows and daily bread, And the something that nobody knows!

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The Princess and Curdie
George MacDonald

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