“Sahwah, dear,” she said soberly, while the hurt animal look came back into her eyes, “you wouldn’t want me to tell you my secret, would you, dear? I wouldn’t want you to tell me yours, if you had one.”
Sahwah felt rebuked and abashed, and very, very sorry. Her love for Veronica flamed higher than ever; all doubts concerning her vanished for good; she hugged and caressed her and begged to be forgiven for her foolishness, and with arms tightly entwined the two went blithely down the path.
THE BABES IN THE WOODS
Arm in arm Sahwah and Veronica wandered on through the woods farther and farther away from the Oakwood side. They crossed the brow of the hill and descended to the valley on the other side. There they found a merry little stream which tumbled along with frequent cataracts over mossy rocks, and followed its course, often stopping to dip their hands in the bright water and let the drops flow through their fingers.
“I’d love to be a brook,” said Sahwah longingly, “and go splashing and singing along over the smooth stones, and jump down off the high rocks, and catch the sunlight in my ripples, and have lovely silvery fishes swimming around in me. I’d sing them all to sleep every night, and wake them up in the morning with a kiss, and never, never let anyone catch them!”
“You love the water better than anything else, don’t you?” said Veronica, looking at Sahwah and thinking how much like the brook she was herself.
“Oh, I do, I do,” said Sahwah, taking off her shoes and stockings and wading into the limpid stream. Soon she was dancing in the water, frolicking like a nixie, catching the water up in her hands and tossing it into the air and then darting out from beneath it before it could fall upon her. Veronica laughed and clapped her hands as she watched Sahwah, and wished she were an artist that she might paint the picture.
Finally they came to a place where the little stream poured down over a high rock and ran through a broad gully, widening into a great pond in the natural basin, which was like a huge bowl scooped out of rock.
“This must be the place they call the Devil’s Punch Bowl that Nyoda told us about,” said Sahwah. “See, it looks just like a punch bowl.”
“I wonder if it’s very deep,” said Veronica, peering into the water from a safe distance away from the edge.
“Shall I dive in and find out?” asked Sahwah.
“Oh, don’t, don’t,” said Veronica, catching hold of her arm.
“Don’t worry, you precious old goosie,” said Sahwah, laughing. “I didn’t mean really. I was only in fun. Did you think I was going in with my clothes on? It must be deep, though, or the Indian couldn’t have jumped in. That must be the rock up there he jumped from,” she said, indicating a flat, platform-like rock that overhung the gully some forty feet above their heads. “Don’t you remember Nyoda telling about it; how the soldiers were chasing this Indian and he got out on that rock and dove down into the Punch Bowl and swam under water and they never thought of looking down there for him?”