THE grandfather's clock in Tyl the woodcutter's cottage had struck eight; and his two little Children, Tyltyl and Mytyl, were still asleep in their little beds. Mummy Tyl stood looking at them, with her arms akimbo and her apron tucked up, laughing and scolding in the same breath:
"I can't let them go on sleeping till mid-day," she said. "Come, get up, you little lazybones!"
But it was no use shaking them, kissing them or pulling the bed-clothes off them: they kept on falling back upon their pillows, with their noses pointing at the ceiling, their mouths wide open, their eyes shut and their cheeks all pink.
At last, after receiving a gentle thump in the ribs, Tyltyl opened one eye and murmured:
"What?.... Light?…Where are you?…. No, no, don't go away…”
"Light!" cried Mummy Tyl, laughing. "Why, of course, it's light.... Has been for ever so long!… What's the matter with you?… You look quite blinded…"
"Mummy!... Mummy!" said Tyltyl, rubbing his eyes. "It's you!..."
"Why, of course, it's I!... Why do you stare at me in that way?… Is my nose turned upside down, by any chance?”
Tyltyl was quite awake by this time and did not trouble to answer the question. He was beside himself with delight! It was ages and ages since he had seen his Mummy and he never tired of kissing her.
Mummy Tyl began to be uneasy. What could the matter beg Had her boy lost his senses? Here he was suddenly talking of a long journey in the company of the Fairy and Water and Milk and Sugar and Fire and Bread and Light! He made believe that he had been away a year!...”
"But you haven't left the room!" cried Mummy Tyl, who was now nearly beside herself with fright. "I put you to bed last night and here you are this morning! It's Christmas Day: don't you hear the bells in the village?...."
"Of course, it's Christmas Day," said Tyltyl, obstinately, "seeing that I went away a year ago, on Christmas Eve!… You're not angry with meg … Did you feel very sad?... And what did Daddy say?..."
"Come, you're still asleep!" said Mummy Tyl, trying to take comfort. "You've been dreaming!... Get up and put on your breeches and your little jacket ...."
"Hullo, I've got my shirt on!" said Tyltyl.
And, leaping up, he knelt down on the bed and began to dress, while his mother kept on looking at him with a scared face.
The little boy rattled on:
"Ask Mytyl, if you don't believe me.... Oh, we have had such adventures!... We saw Grandad and Granny... yes, in the Land of Memory... it was on our way. They are dead, but they are quite well, aren't they, Mytyl?”
And Mytyl, who was now beginning to wake up, joined her brother in describing their visit to the grand-parents and the fun which they had had with their little brothers and sisters.