But I almost think the children liked the sands on the shore as well as the gardens, though they loved both. Not that there was any amusement astir by the water side there, as you have seen in other places where there are boats and fishermen and nets, and great coils of ropes, and an endless variety of entertaining sights connected with the seafaring business going on. Nay, in some places where there is not a very good shore for landing, it is an amusement of itself to see each boat or fishing yawl come in. There is such a contrast between the dark tarred wood and the white surf that dashes up all round it; and the fishermen are so clever in watching the favourable moment for a wave to carry them over their difficulties; that I think this is one of the prettiest sights one can see. But no such thing was ever seen on the shore by the old Sea Castle, for there was no fishing there. People thought the sea was too rough and the landing too difficult, and so no fishing village had ever been built, and no boats ever attempted to come within many miles of the place.
Nobody cared to ask further, or try to account for the wildness of the sea on that coast; but I can tell you all about it, although it must be in a sort of half whisper—The place was on the borders of Fairy Land! that is to say, many many unknown numbers of miles out at sea, right opposite to the Castle, there was a Fairy Island, and it was the Fairies who kept the sea so rough all round them, for fear some adventurous sailor should approach the island, or get near enough to fish up some of the pearls and precious stones they kept in a crystal palace underneath the water.
So now you know the reason why the sea was so rough, and there was no fishing going on at the Sea Castle Home.
If you want to know whether any body ever saw the Fairy Island, I must say, yes; but very seldom. And never but in the evening when the sun was setting, and that under particular circumstances—namely, when he went down into a dark red bank of clouds, or when there was a lurid crimson hue over the sky just above the horizon. Then occasionally you might see the dim hazy outline as of a beautiful mountainous island against the clouds, or the deep-coloured sky. There is an island sometimes seen from our western coast, under similar circumstances, but which you strain your eyes in vain to discern by the brighter light of day.