THE SIX CLOSED DOORS.
“Say what is it, Eyes, ye see?
Shade and sunshine, flower and tree;
Running waters swift and clear,
And the harvests of the year.—
Tell me, Ears, what ye have heard?
Many and many a singing bird;
Winds within the tree-tops going,
Rapid rivers strongly flowing;
Awful thunder, ocean strong,
And the kindly human tongue.—
These and more an entrance find
To the chambers of the mind.”
The end of the visit had come at last. Tom and Katey were at Woodside spending the last day with their cousins. It was evening: the long shadows were falling over the lawn, and the summer air was still.
Grandmamma was sitting under a tree on the lawn knitting, when the children clustered around with the old request, “Please, grandmamma, tell us a story.”
Grandmamma looked a little gravely upon the dear, eager faces, and began:—
“A little boy found himself one day, he could not tell how, in a cell, or rather a small room, which was very comfortable. He could not remember anything that had happened before he came there, nor did he feel frightened although he was quite alone.
“For some time he was content to pass the time without taking any particular notice of anything. At last he saw that there were several doors—five—in the walls of his room. He noticed that two were high and wide, the rest seemed smaller; and he thought, ’I will open one of these first. Doors must be meant to lead somewhere, and I am rather tired of this little room, although it is comfortable.’
“He opened the door very easily, and he found himself in a large room. In the middle of it was a table covered with things that seemed good to eat.
“He did not see any one, but he heard a voice say, ’Come in and taste.’
“So he took up one nice thing after another, according to his will; and after awhile he heard the voice say, ’This is enough for once; you may come again.’
“He turned to go back to his room, but the door was gone. The way to his cell was open, and this beautiful room was added to his smaller one.
“Now he had plenty of amusement. He learned how different were the tastes of the objects before him;—some sweet, some sour; others were bitter, or salt, or spicy; some with flavours that cannot be put into words, they were so delicate and varied. As soon as he had had enough he could taste no longer; so he always knew when to leave off.
“He was satisfied for a long time with this room, for fresh objects were daily added. At last he looked longingly at the door by the side of the opening where the late door was.
“He opened it and walked out, not into a room, but into a lovely garden. The walls were high, but the garden was very broad and long.