sit grinning like that–and I sha’n’t tell oo no more!”
“Indeed and indeed, Bruno, I didn’t mean to grin. See, I’m quite grave
But Bruno only folded his arms, and said “Don’t tell me.
I see a little twinkle in one of oor eyes–just like the moon.”
“Why do you think I’m like the moon, Bruno?” I asked.
“Oor face is large and round like the moon,” Bruno answered, looking at
me thoughtfully. “It doosn’t shine quite so bright–but it’s more
I couldn’t help smiling at this. “You know I sometimes wash my face,
Bruno. The moon never does that.”
“Oh, doosn’t she though!” cried Bruno; and he leant forwards and added
in a solemn whisper, “The moon’s face gets dirtier and dirtier every
night, till it’s black all across. And then, when it’s dirty all
over–so–” (he passed his hand across his own rosy cheeks as he spoke)
“then she washes it.”
“Then it’s all clean again, isn’t it?”
“Not all in a moment,” said Bruno. “What a deal of teaching oo wants!
She washes it little by little–only she begins at the other edge,
By this time he was sitting quietly on the dead mouse with his arms
folded, and the weeding wasn’t getting on a bit: so I had to say “Work
first, pleasure afterwards: no more talking till that bed’s finished.”
After that we had a few minutes of silence, while I sorted out the
pebbles, and amused myself with watching Bruno’s plan of gardening.
It was quite a new plan to me: he always measured each bed before he
weeded it, as if he was afraid the weeding would make it shrink;
and once, when it came out longer than he wished, he set to work to
thump the mouse with his little fist, crying out “There now! It’s all
gone wrong again! Why don’t oo keep oor tail straight when I tell oo!”
“I’ll tell you what I’ll do,” Bruno said in a half-whisper, as we
worked. “Oo like Fairies, don’t oo?”
“Yes,” I said: “of course I do, or I shouldn’t have come here.
I should have gone to some place where there are no Fairies.”
Bruno laughed contemptuously. “Why, oo might as well say oo’d go to
some place where there wasn’t any air–supposing oo didn’t like air!”
This was a rather difficult idea to grasp. I tried a change of subject.
“You’re nearly the first Fairy I ever saw. Have you ever seen any people
“Plenty!” said Bruno. “We see’em when we walk in the road.”
“But they ca’n’t see you. How is it they never tread on you?”
“Ca’n’t tread on us,” said Bruno, looking amused at my ignorance.
“Why, suppose oo’re walking, here–so–” (making little marks on the
ground) “and suppose there’s a Fairy–that’s me–walking here. Very
well then, oo put one foot here, and one foot here, so oo doosn’t tread
on the Fairy.”
This was all very well as an explanation, but it didn’t convince me.
“Why shouldn’t I put one foot on the Fairy?” I asked.
“I don’t know why,” the little fellow said in a thoughtful tone.
“But I know oo wouldn’t. Nobody never walked on the top of a Fairy.
Now I’ll tell oo what I’ll do, as oo’re so fond of Fairies.
I’ll get oo an invitation to the Fairy-King’s dinner-party.
I know one of the head-waiters.”
I couldn’t help laughing at this idea.
“Do the waiters invite the guests?” I asked.
“Oh, not to sit down!” Bruno said. “But to wait at table.
Oo’d like that, wouldn’t oo? To hand about plates, and so on.”
“Well, but that’s not so nice as sitting at the table, is it?”
“Of course it isn’t,” Bruno said, in a tone as if he rather pitied my
ignorance; “but if oo’re not even Sir Anything, oo ca’n’t expect to be
allowed to sit at the table, oo know.”
I said, as meekly as I could, that I didn’t expect it, but it was the
only way of going to a dinner-party that I really enjoyed. And Bruno
tossed his head, and said, in a rather offended tone that I might do as