“Got ’em all over ten States,” he answered, as I questioned him with delight at the presence of our old friends. Then while I crouched and stirred, he took his long knife out, cut great armfuls of cedar boughs, threw them in a shadow at the foot of a tall old oak, and with a bundle of sticks swept upon them a great pile of dry leaves into the form of a huge nest. The golden glow was just fading as I lifted the pot and poured his portion in his bowl, then mine in the other, while he cut the black loaf he had taken from his bundle into hunks with his knife. It was after seven o’clock, and the crescent moon hung low by the ridge, waiting for the sun to take its complete departure before setting in for its night’s joy-ride up the sky. It was eight before Pan finished his slow browsing in his bowl and came over to crouch with me out on the ledge of rock that overlooked the world below us. Clusters of lights in nests of gray smoke were dotted around over the valley, and I knew the nearest one was Riverfield; indeed I could see a bunch of lights a little way apart from the rest, and I felt sure that they were lighting the remaining revelers at my wedding-feast at Elmnest. The Golden Bird had gone sensibly to roost on one of the low limits of the old oak, and he reminded me of the white blur of Polly’s wedding bell, which I had caught a glimpse of as I ran through the hall at Elmnest.
“I am thy child,” crooned Pan, with a new note to his chant that immediately started on my heartstrings. “And I’m tired,” he added as he stretched himself on the rock beside me, laid his head on my breast, and nuzzled his lips into my bare throat.
“I’m going to lift the crests and look at the tips of your ears, Pan,” I said as I held him tight.
“Better not,” he mocked me.
I did, and the tips were—I never intend to tell.
The lights were twinkling out in the valley one by one, and the young moon made the purple blackness below us only faintly luminous when Pan drew me closer and then into the very edge of the world itself, and pointed down into the soft darkness.
“We are all like that, we natives of this great land—asleep in the midst of a silvery mist, while the rest of the world is in the blaze of hell. We’ve got to wake up and take them to our breast, to nourish and warm and save them. There’ll be just you and I and a few others to call the rest of our people until they hear and value and work,” he said as he settled me against him so that the twain chants of our heartstrings became one.
“I’ll follow you through the woods and help you call, Adam,” I said softly, with my lips under the red crest nearest to me.
“And I’ll bring you back here to nest and stay with you until your young are on their feet, with their eyes open,” Pan crooned against my lips. “Dear God, what a force unit one woman and one man can create!”