THE Fairy Bérylune had told the Children that the Land of Memory was not far off; but to reach it you had to go through a forest that was so dense and so old that your eyes could not see the tops of the trees. It was always shrouded in a heavy mist; and the Children would certainly have lost their way, if the Fairy had not said to them beforehand:
"It is straight ahead; and there is only one road."
The ground was carpeted with flowers which were all alike: they were snow-white pansies and very pretty; but, as they never saw the sun, they had no scent.
Those little flowers comforted the Children, who felt extremely lonely. A great mysterious silence surrounded them; and they trembled a little with a very pleasant sense of fear which they had never felt before.
"Let's take Granny a bunch of flowers," said Mytyl. "That's a good idea! She will be pleased!" cried Tyltyl. And, as they walked along, the Children gathered a beautiful white nosegay. The dear little things did not know that every pansy (which means "a thought") that they picked brought them nearer to their grandparents; and they soon saw before them a large oak with a notice-board nailed to it.
"Here we are!" cried the boy in triumph, as, climbing up on a root, he read:
"The Land of Memory."
They had arrived; but they turned to every side without seeing a thing:
"I can see nothing at all!" whimpered Mytyl. "I'm cold!... I'm tired!… I don't want to travel any more!"
Tyltyl, who was wholly wrapped up in his errand, lost his temper:
"Come, don't keep on crying just like Water!... You ought to be ashamed of yourself!" he said. "There! Look! Look! The fog is lifting!"
And, sure enough, the mist parted before their eyes, like veils torn by an invisible hand; the big trees faded away, everything vanished and, instead, there appeared a pretty little peasant's cottage, covered with creepers and standing in a little garden filled with flowers and with trees all over fruit.
Everything vanished and, instead, there appeared a pretty little peasant's cottage
The Children at once knew the dear cow in the orchard, the watch-dog at the door, the blackbird in his wicker cage; and everything was steeped in a pale light and a warm and balmy air.
Tyltyl and Mytyl stood amazed. So that was the Land of Memory! What lovely weather it was! And how nice it felt to be there! They at once made up their minds to come back often, now that they knew the way. But how great was their happiness when the last veil disappeared and they saw, at a few steps from them, Grandad and Granny sitting on a bench, sound asleep. They clapped their hands and called out gleefully:
"It's Grandad! It's Granny!... There they are! There they are!"
But they were a little scared by this great piece of magic and dared not move from behind the tree; and they stood looking at the dear old couple, who woke up gently and slowly under their eyes. Then they heard Granny Tyl's quavering voice say: