He sprang up in his joy, and felt as though he had wings on his shoulders like Wild Star, and had only to spread them out to go beating around the world. For a second the Wind Creature and the Earth Child looked very much alike. And indeed, the only difference was that Wild Star had to wait for the wind, and Eric need wait for no wind or no season. His wings were inside of his head, but they were as strong as Wild Star’s. And he had only to spread them and lift them to go anywhere he wanted.
Now he wanted to get back to Helma and tell her all about it. Wild Star pointed him the shortest way, and off he ran, jumping the stream and the moss beds beyond, and disappearing into the underbrush.
“I’ll look for you next time the other side of the world!” Wild Star shouted after him.
It was twilight when he reached home. Helma and Ivra were sitting on the door stone, hand in hand. They made room for Eric. But he did not snuggle up. He stayed erect, his face lifted towards the first dim stars, and told Helma all about his wanting to go away from them out through the Forest and across the sea, and all that Wild Star had said about music and Earth People’s lives. And he told her, too, of the vision of success he had had when he caught Wild Thyme that first day by her bushy hair.
Helma listened quietly, and said nothing for many minutes after he was through. But at last she spoke, putting a hushing hand on Eric’s dreamful head.
“I understand,” she said. “I knew you would want to go on sometime. And I have a friend across there who will help us. He has a school for boys and I got to know him very well behind the gray stone wall. He asked me about the Forest and you children. And he said that Eric sometime would surely want to go back to humans, and when he did he would help him. He understands boys. It is to him you had better go, Eric, and when you are really ready I will tell you how, and start you on your way.”
Eric sighed with contentment, and leaned his head against Helma’s shoulder.
But Ivra stayed at her mother’s other side, as still and silent as a shadow. Soon the fireflies began their nightly dance in the garden. But Ivra did not go darting after them as usual to make their dance the swifter. And Eric’s head was too full of dreams and his eyes too full of visions of the sea to notice them at all.
MORE MAGIC IN A MIST
Indian summer had come round again before Eric really made up his mind to go. The flowers were asleep in the garden, and there was a steady, gentle shower of yellow leaves down the Forest. That morning when he woke the little house seemed suspended in a golden mist. As he stood in the doorway he felt as though it might drift away up over the trees and into space any minute. But after a little he knew it was not Helma’s little forest house that was to go swinging away into space and adventure,—it was himself. And suddenly he wanted to go then,—to the sea and over and beyond. He called the news in to Helma and Ivra, who were still within doors. Helma came swiftly out to him.