After sunset, Madame Tube prepared to take a walk with her children. She turned to the road which led to the nearest hill. They proceeded but slowly, for Raphael stopped continually to ask the meaning of something new to him. The smoke from the chimneys—the water at the springs—the trees with their thick trunks and delicately formed leaves—all were to him new wonders. His mother must tell him the name of every little fly—of the commonest weed—and even of each stone; but when he came in sight of the majestic mountains, his astonishment knew no bounds. “What an immense time it must have taken to make such mountains!” he exclaimed.
“The most powerful king,” replied his mother, “were he to employ millions and millions of men, could not raise such; but God is the All-powerful King, who is wonderful in all his works, from the least to the greatest—from the smallest flower to the glorious sun which is just setting. Look, Raphael, what a magnificent bed he has—those purple clouds with their splendid border, like a fringe of gold.”
“Is the sun very far from us?” inquired Raphael.
“Very far,” replied his mother; “millions and millions of miles are between us and the sun.”
“Turn round,” said Madelaine, laughing, to her brother, “you will see a beautiful balloon rising.” Raphael turned quickly, and beheld a large silver ball rising slowly and majestically above the mountains. It was a beautiful spectacle!
Raphael was enchanted; at last he said, “What is it? who has made such a beautiful thing? But the people do not appear to be aware of it—they are walking quietly along as if they did not see it.”
“They see it very well,” said his mother, but they have seen it so often they do not care for it.”
“Not care for it,” cried Raphael, “I should never be tired of such a glorious sight; and I should prefer remaining here, where I can see it, to going home to Dresden.”
“Be comforted,” said his mother, “you will see it rise many times every month at home as well as here; for that which you consider so extraordinary an object, is the moon.”
Raphael shook his head, “When I was still blind,” he replied, “I have several times walked out with you and Madelaine in the evening, and I have often heard you say the moon is rising, but in quite an indifferent tone, as if the moon were but a farthing candle; therefore I can scarcely believe that this wonderful ball is the moon.”
“He is right,” said his mother, “habit renders us almost ungrateful for the blessings which surround us. Look still higher, my son,” she continued, “contemplate the innumerable stars and the Milky Way, with its millions of worlds.”
Raphael raised his head and looked, and looked until his eyes filled with tears of emotion and delight; then falling on his mother’s neck, he murmured, “How good, and great, and glorious, is God!”
Soon after they turned towards the town; but Raphael was led by his mother and sister, for he still kept his eyes fixed on the heavens; and when it was time for him to go to bed, he went to the window to look once more at the silver moon, saying, “Now for the first time I understand this blessing: ’The Lord make his face to shine upon us, and be gracious unto us. Amen’”