Author: Frances Hodgson Burnett
Release Date: March, 2004 [EBook #5302] [Yes, we are more than one year ahead of schedule] [This file was first posted on June 25, 2002]
Character set encoding: ASCII
*** Start of the project gutenberg EBOOK the land of the blue flower ***
Produced by Juliet Sutherland, Charles Franks
and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team.
Frances Hodgson Burnett
The Land of the Blue Flower was not called by that name until the tall, strong, beautiful King Amor came down from his castle on the mountain crag and began to reign. Before that time it was called King Mordreth’s Land, and as the first King Mordreth had been a fierce and cruel king this seemed a gloomy name.
A few weeks before Amor was born, his weak, selfish boy-father—whose name was King Mordreth also—had been killed while hunting, and his fair mother with the clear eyes died when he was but a few hours old. But early in that day she sent for her venerable friend and teacher, who was said to be the oldest and wisest man in the world, and who long ago had fled to a cave in the mountains, that he might see no more of the famine and disorder and hatred in the country spread out on the plains below.
He was a marvelous old man, almost a giant in size, and having great blue eyes like deep sea-water. They, too, were clear eyes like the fair Queen’s—they seemed to see all things and to hold in their depths no single thought which was not fine and great. The people were a little afraid of him when they saw him go striding majestically through their streets. They had no name for him but The Ancient One. The lovely Queen drew aside the embroidered coverlet of her gold and ivory bed and showed him the tiny baby sleeping by her side.
“He was born a King,” she said. “No one can help him but you.”
The Ancient One looked down at him.
“He has long limbs and strong ones. He will make a great King,” he said. “Give him to me.”
The Queen held out the little newborn one in her arms. “Take him away quickly before he hears the people quarreling at the palace gate,” she said. “Take him to the castle on the mountain crag. Keep him there until he is old enough to come down and be King. When the sun sinks behind the clouds I shall die, but if he is with you he will learn what Kings should know.”