WHEN the Children were not going on an expedition, they played about in the Realms of Light; and this was a great treat for them, for the gardens and the country around the temple were as wonderful as the halls and galleries of silver and gold.
The leaves of some of the plants were so broad and strong that they were able to lie down on them; and, when a breath of wind stirred the leaves, the Children swung as in a hammock. It was always summer there and never a moment was darkened by the night; but the hours were known by their different colours; there were pink, white, blue, lilac, green and yellow hours; and, according to their hues, the flowers, the fruits, the birds, the butterflies and the scents changed, causing Tyltyl and Mytyl a perpetual surprise. They had all the toys that they could wish for. When they were tired of playing, they stretched themselves out on the backs of the lizards, which were as long and wide as little boats, and quickly, quickly raced round the garden-paths, over the sand which was as white and as good to eat as sugar. When they were thirsty, Water shook her tresses into the cup of the enormous flowers; and the Children drank straight out of the lilies, tulips and convolvuluses. If they were hungry, they picked radiant fruits which revealed the taste of Light to them and which had juice that shone like the rays of the sun.
There was also, in a clump of bushes, a white marble pond which possessed a magic power: its clear waters reflected not the faces, but the souls of those who looked into it.
"It's a ridiculous invention," said the Cat, who steadily refused to go near the pond.
You, my dear little readers, who know her thoughts as well as I do, will not be surprised at her refusal. And you will also understand why our faithful Tyl? was not afraid to go and quench his thirst there: he need not fear to reveal his thoughts, for he was the only creature whose soul never altered. The dear Dog had no feelings but those of love and kindness and devotion.
When Tyltyl bent over the magic mirror, he almost always saw the picture of a splendid Blue Bird, for the constant wish to find him filled his mind entirely. Then he would run to Light and entreat her:
"Tell me where he is!... You know everything: tell me where to find him!"
But she replied, in a tone of mystery:
"I cannot tell you anything. You must find him for yourself." And, kissing him, she added, "Cheer up; you are getting nearer to him at each trial."
Now there came a day on which she said to him:
"I have received a message from the Fairy Bérylune telling me that the Blue Bird is probably hidden in the graveyard... It appears that one of the Dead in the grave-yard is keeping him in his tomb...."
"What shall we do?" asked Tyltyl.
"It is very simple: at midnight you will turn the diamond and you shall see the Dead come out of the ground."
At these words, Milk, Water, Bread and Sugar began to yell and scream and chatter their teeth like anything.