Storm's Journal

---| Lady of the Silver Moon |---

'I could give you twenty names more to call me, Curdie, and not one
of them would be a false one. What does it matter how many names if
the person is one?'

'Ah! But it is not names only, ma’am. Look at what you were like last
night, and what I see you now!'

'Shapes are only dresses, Curdie, and dresses are only names. That
which is inside is the same all the time.'

'But then how can all the shapes speak the truth?'

'It would want thousands more to speak the truth, Curdie; and then
they could not. But there is a point I must not let you mistake about.
It is one thing the shape I choose to put on, and quite another the
shape that foolish talk and nursery tale may please to put upon me.
Also, it is one thing what you or your father may think about me, and
quite another what a foolish or bad man may see in me. For instance,
if a thief were to come in here just now, he would think he saw the
demon of the mine, all in green flames, come to protect her treasure,
and would run like a hunted wild goat. I should be all the same, but
his evil eyes would see me as I was not.'

'I think I understand,' said Curdie...

'Do you think you will know me again?'

'I think so. But how can I tell what you may look like next?'

'Ah, that indeed! How can you tell? Or how could I expect you should?
But those who know me well, know me whatever new dress or shape or
name I may be in; and by and by you will have learned to do so too.'

'But if you want me to know you again, ma’am, for certain sure,' said
Curdie, 'could you not give me some sign, or tell me something about
you that never changes—or some other way to know you, or thing to know
you by?'

'No, Curdie; that would be to keep you from knowing me. You must know
me in quite another way from that. It would not be the least use to
you or me either if I were to make you know me in that way. It would
be but to know the sign of Me—not to know me myself. it would be no
better than if I were to take this emerald out of my crown and give it
to you to take home with you, and you were to call it me, and talk to
it as if it heard and saw and loved you. Much good that would do you,
Curdie! No; you must do what you can to know me, and if you do, you
will. You shall see me again in very different circumstances from
these, and, I will tell you so much, it may be in a very different
shape. But come now, I will lead you out of this cavern; my good Joan
will be getting too anxious about you. One word more: you will allow
that the men knew little what they were talking about this morning,
when they told all those tales of Old Mother Wotherwop; but did it
occur to you to think how it was they fell to talking about me at all?
It was because I came to them; I was beside them all the time they
were talking about me, though they were far enough from knowing it,
and had very little besides foolishness to say.'

As she spoke she turned and led the way from the cavern, which, as if
a door had been closed, sank into absolute blackness behind them. And
now they saw nothing more of the lady except the green star, which
again seemed a good distance in front of them, and to which they came
no nearer, although following it at a quick pace through the mountain.
Such was their confidence in her guidance, however, and so fearless
were they in consequence, that they felt their way neither with hand
nor foot, but walked straight on through the pitch-dark galleries.
When at length the night of the upper world looked in at the mouth of
the mine, the green light seemed to lose its way among the stars, and
they saw it no more.

(George MacDonald, The Princess and Curdie, Chapter 2)


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SUBMIT AN ARTICLE posted: august 22, 2003