And so ends my fairy tale.
But is it not a wonderful tale? More wonderful, if you will think over it, than any story invented by man. But so it always is. “Truth,” wise men tell us, “is stranger than fiction.” Even a child like you will see that it must be so, if you will but recollect who makes fiction, and who makes facts.
Man makes fiction: he invents stories, pretty enough, fantastical enough. But out of what does he make them up? Out of a few things in this great world which he has seen, and heard, and felt, just as he makes up his dreams. But who makes truth? Who makes facts? Who, but God?
Then truth is as much larger than fiction, as God is greater than man; as much larger as the whole universe is larger than the little corner of it that any man, even the greatest poet or philosopher, can see; and as much grander, and as much more beautiful, and as much more strange. For one is the whole, and the other is one, a few tiny scraps of the whole. The one is the work of God; the other is the work of man. Be sure that no man can ever fancy anything strange, unexpected, and curious, without finding if he had eyes to see, a hundred things around his feet more strange, more unexpected, more curious, actually ready-made already by God. You are fond of fairy tales, because they are fanciful, and like your dreams. My dear child, as your eyes open to the true fairy tale which Madam How can tell you all day long, nursery stories will seem to you poor and dull. All those feelings in you which your nursery tales call out,—imagination, wonder, awe, pity, and I trust too, hope and love—will be called out, I believe, by the Tale of all Tales, the true “Marchen allen Marchen,” so much more fully and strongly and purely, that you will feel that novels and story-books are scarcely worth your reading, as long as you can read the great green book, of which every bud is a letter, and every tree a page.
Wonder if you will. You cannot wonder too much. That you might wonder all your life long, God put you into this wondrous world, and gave you that faculty of wonder which he has not given to the brutes; which is at once the mother of sound science, and a pledge of immortality in a world more wondrous even than this. But wonder at the right thing, not at the wrong; at the real miracles and prodigies, not at the