my prayer, and give me what I seek,” she said, turning gently to
the fiery Spirits, who were hovering fiercely round her.
“You must bring us each a jewel that will never vanish from our hands
as these have done,” they said, “and we will each give of our fire;
and when the child is brought to life, you must bring hither all the
jewels you can gather from the depths of the sea, that we may try them
here among the flames; but if they melt away like these, then we shall
keep you prisoner, till you give us back the light we lend. If you
consent to this, then take our gift, and journey home again; but
fail not to return, or we shall seek you out.”
And Ripple said she would consent, though she knew not if the jewels
could be found; still, thinking of the promise she had made, she
forgot all else, and told the Spirits what they asked most surely
should be done. So each one gave a little of the fire from their
breasts, and placed the flame in a crystal vase, through which
it shone and glittered like a star.
Then, bidding her remember all she had promised them, they led her
to the golden arch, and said farewell.
So, down along the shining path, through mist and cloud, she
travelled back; till, far below, she saw the broad blue sea she left
so long ago.
Gladly she plunged into the clear, cool waves, and floated back
to her pleasant home; where the Spirits gathered joyfully about her,
listening with tears and smiles, as she told all her many wanderings,
and showed the crystal vase that she had brought.
“Now come,” said they, “and finish the good work you have so bravely
carried on.” So to the quiet tomb they went, where, like a marble
image, cold and still, the little child was lying. Then Ripple placed
the flame upon his breast, and watched it gleam and sparkle there,
while light came slowly back into the once dim eyes, a rosy glow shone
over the pale face, and breath stole through the parted lips; still
brighter and warmer burned the magic fire, until the child awoke
from his long sleep, and looked in smiling wonder at the faces bending
Then Ripple sang for joy, and, with her sister Spirits, robed the
child in graceful garments, woven of bright sea-weed, while in
his shining hair they wreathed long garlands of their fairest flowers,
and on his little arms hung chains of brilliant shells.
“Now come with us, dear child,” said Ripple; “we will bear you safely
up into the sunlight and the pleasant air; for this is not your home,
and yonder, on the shore, there waits a loving friend for you.”
So up they went, through foam and spray, till on the beach, where
the fresh winds played among her falling hair, and the waves broke
sparkling at her feet, the lonely mother still stood, gazing wistfully
across the sea. Suddenly, upon a great blue billow that came rolling
in, she saw the Water-Spirits smiling on her; and high aloft, in their
white gleaming arms, her child stretched forth his hands to welcome
her; while the little voice she so longed to hear again cried gayly,–
“See, dear mother, I am come; and look what lovely things the
gentle Spirits gave, that I might seem more beautiful to you.”
Then gently the great wave broke, and rolled back to the sea, leaving
Ripple on the shore, and the child clasped in his mother’s arms.
“O faithful little Spirit! I would gladly give some precious gift
to show my gratitude for this kind deed; but I have nothing save
this chain of little pearls: they are the tears I shed, and the sea
has changed them thus, that I might offer them to you,” the happy
mother said, when her first joy was passed, and Ripple turned to go.
“Yes, I will gladly wear your gift, and look upon it as my fairest
ornament,” the Water-Spirit said; and with the pearls upon her breast,
she left the shore, where the child was playing gayly to and fro,