Ivra returned to shore, her face shining. There had been no doubt of it—the baby had seen her at once, and had had no doubts. He had laughed and reached his hands to her. The little Fairy Child almost hugged herself with delight. . . .
They built themselves shelters of drift wood when night fell. Eric’s was just large enough for him to crawl into and lie still. One whole side of it was open to the sea. Soft fir boughs made his bed, and Helma had left a kiss with him. But he did not sleep for a long while. He lay on his side looking out over the star-sprinkled water and up at the star-flowering sky. And he could not have told how or from where the command had come, but he knew as he looked that he must cross that sea and go into the new world beyond it and see all things for himself. World Stories were good. But they were not enough.
How he was to go, or how live when he got there—he did not once think of that. Just that he was to go filled his whole mind. He forgot that he had said he would not go without Helma and Ivra. He did not think of them at all. He just lay still listening to the sea’s command to go beyond and beyond.
OVER THE TREE TOPS
He was waked by Ivra’s joyous cries just at dawn, and rolled out of his shelter, rubbing his eyes and stretching his arms and legs. But as soon as his eyes were well open he jumped up and uttered a cry of joy himself. For hanging just above the water on the edge of the sea was a great blue sea-shell air-boat with blue sails; and the Tree Mother stood in it, talking to Helma and Ivra who had run down to the water’s edge.
The boat and the sails were blue. Tree Mother’s gown was blue. The sea and the sky were blue. Tiny white caps feathered the water. Tiny white clouds feathered the sky. And Tree Mother’s hair was whiter and more feathery than either. Her eyes were dark like the Tree Man’s, only keener and softer, both. And in spite of her being a grandmother her face was brown and golden like a young out-of-door girl’s, and she was slim and quick and more than beautiful. Eric stood beside Ivra, his face lifted up to the Tree Mother’s, aglow and quivering.
“She is going to take us home,” Ivra said softly.
Then Tree Mother turned the boat, and it drifted in and down on the sand. The children and Helma climbed in. The Tree Mother said very little on the long ride, but her presence was enough. The three were almost trembling for joy, for the Tree Mother’s companionship is rare, and one of the splendidest things that can happen to a Forest Person.
The minute they were in the boat, it shot up and away towards home.
“Where are the Blue Water Children?” Eric cried, suddenly remembering their playmates of yesterday.
“Have you been playing with Blue Water Children?” asked Tree Mother. “They are gypsy-folk and you never know where you will find them next. They are probably miles away by now.”