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0105_001E The Source Henry van Dyke

Section II.

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So I went on through the street, where all the passers-by seemed in haste and wore weary countenances, until I came to the house where I had lodged. There was a little basin here against the wall, with a slender stream of water still flowing into it, and a group of children standing near with their pitchers, waiting to fill them.

The door of the house was closed; but when I knocked, it opened and a maiden came forth. She was pale and sad in aspect, but a light of joy dawned over the snow of her face, and I knew by the youth in her eyes that it was Ruamie, who had walked with me through the vineyards long ago.

With both hands she welcomed me, saying: "You are expected. Have you found the Blue Flower?"

"Not yet," I answered, "but something drew me back to you. I would know how it fares with you, and I would go again with you to visit the Source."

At this her face grew bright, but with a tender, half-sad brightness.

"The Source!" she said. "Ah, yes, I was sure that you would remember it. And this is the hour of the visitation. Come, let us go up together."

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Then we went alone through the busy and weary multitudes of the city toward the mountain-path. So forsaken was it and so covered with stones and overgrown with wire-grass that I could not have found it but for her guidance. But as we climbed upward the air grew clearer, and more sweet, and I questioned her of the things that had come to pass in my absence. I asked her of the kind old man who had taken me into his house when I came as a stranger. She said, softly, "He is dead."

"And where are the men and women, his friends, who once thronged this pathway? Are they also dead?"

"They also are dead."

"But where are the younger ones who sang here so gladly as they marched upward? Surely they, are living?"

"They have forgotten."

"Where then are the young children whose fathers taught them this way and bade them remember it. Have they forgotten?"

"They have forgotten."

"But why have you alone kept the hour of visitation? Why have you not turned back with your companions? How have you walked here solitary day after day?"

She turned to me with a divine regard, and laying her hand gently over mine, she said, "I remember always."

Then I saw a few wild-flowers blossoming beside the path.

We drew near to the Source, and entered into the chamber hewn in the rock. She kneeled and bent over the sleeping spring. She murmured again and again the beautiful name of him who had died to find it. Her voice repeated the song that had once been sung by many voices. Her tears fell softly on the spring, and as they fell it seemed as if the water stirred and rose to meet her bending face, and when she looked up it was as if the dew had fallen on a flower.

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The Blue Flower
Henry van Dyke

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