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F you were to take three hoops, the second half as large round as the first, and the third half as large round as the second, and lay them on the floor one inside of the other, you would have a groundplan of the house in which Calladon lived. The outermost wall was built of brick, and had five narrow windows; the middle wall was of stone, and had also five windows; the inner wall was of the purest alabaster, and was a kind of window in itself.
In the centre of the innermost room a lamp was always burning, and the light which it gave out was so soft and penetrating that it glowed through the alabaster walls and illuminated the room outside with a pale white lustre, and some rays penetrated through the windows of this room, into the outermost room of all, and there met the darkness that streamed in through the outer windows-for the house stood in that part of the world where it is night all the year round. The name of the innermost room was Abra; that of the middle room was Cada, and that of the outermost room was Bra. The whole house, therefore, was called Abracadabra.
It was a curious thing about this house, that if you were in Abra, you could see into both Cada and Bra, but, if you were in Cada, you could not see into Abra, and if you were in Bra, you could not see into either Abra or Cada. As a general thing, it is easier to see from darkness towards light than from light towards darkness. But there was probably something peculiar about this light-and, for the matter of that, about this darkness too.
As for Calladon himself, he was one of the best-behaved boys ever known, and he was not less good-looking than he was good. He was a fine, straight-backed, rosy-cheeked little fellow, with bright eyes, a cheerful voice, and an obedient spirit. He was seven years old, and knew as much as it is well for a boy of his age to know. This was due to the Master who had charge of him, and who had put across his breast the gold sash, which always pressed against his heart when he wished to do wrong, and reminded him to stop. The Master had lived with Calladon ever since Calladon could remember, and probably for a good while before that. The Master had tended him in his illness, played with him in his plays, helped him in his studies, and sympathised with him in his troubles. Calladon loved the
Master as much as if he had been his father and mother in one. Who his father and mother might be, he, however, did not know; but the Master used to tell him that when his education was finished he should see them.
Meantime he was obliged to live in Abracadabra, and make the best of it. The only one of the three rooms which he had ever dwelt in, was the central one, Abra; but there was plenty of entertainment to be had there. In the first place, there was the lamp, which lit up not the room only, but Calladon's mind likewise, so that the more it shone upon him, the better he understood his studies. And the lamp was warm as well as bright; so warm, that not only did it make the room comfortable, but it warmed Calladon's heart likewise, and made him loving and generous. In the ceiling of the room a large ball of crystal was hung on a sort of pivot, on which it could be turned at pleasure. This crystal ball had the power of reflecting all the places best worth seeing in the world, and casting the reflections on a white disc arranged for the purpose underneath. It was by this means that Calladon had studied geography, and he had enjoyed the study more than most boys do. At other times, the ball would bring the images of the stars on to the disc, so that you would have thought you were aloft in the sky, watching all the myriad worlds of light, and their movements. It may be imagined, therefore, that although Abra did not appear to be a large room, yet it must have been larger than it looked, since it was able to contain within itself the whole earth and heaven. Beyond doubt, Abra was a wonderful place, which everybody ought to see at some time of their lives. The air you breathed there had a delicate but powerful fragrance, as if it were life itself; and strangely beautiful chords of music sounded ever and anon through the room, coming from no visible instrument, but seeming to arise from the harmony and happiness in the heart of him who listened to it. Moreover, although there was not much furniture in the room, nor many toys to play with, yet whenever Calladon needed anything, he was sure to find it ready to his hand. It is true that he seldom wished for anything that he ought not to have, and if he did, the pressure of the golden sash across his heart warned him to forbear. In short, nothing could be more delightful and satisfactory than were all the arrangements in Abra, and up to the time he was seven years old, Calladon had never wished for anything that it could not give him.
Sometimes he would amuse himself with looking through the alabaster walls into the outer rooms, Cada and Bra. These had a beauty of their own, but it was easy to see that they were less beautiful than Abra. The best use of them was, perhaps, to let it be known that Abra was better than they. Calladon once asked the Master about this, and he answered:
'If it were not for Abra, there could be no Cada, and no Bra. But neither could there be any Abra, if Cada and Bra did not surround it. The alabaster wall would burst asunder, and the flame of the lamp would burn up the world.'
'Where did the lamp come from?' asked Calladon.
'It was here before Abracadabra or the world existed,' the Master replied, smiling; and it will burn for ever.'
"Could not I put it out?'
'No; but you might wander away from it into the darkness outside,' said the Master, in a graver tone.
'But then could I not light a little lamp of my own, to see my way about?' Calladon inquired.
"Yes, you might do so,' the Master replied. But such a lamp would in time burn out, and then you could never again relight it, and you would be lost.'
'I should not like that!' exclaimed Calladon. But after a while he added, ‘Still I do not understand why those two other rooms should be there, since I never go into them.'
"You live in them, even though you do not go into them,' the Master answered. • If you did go into them, you would not live in them so much as you do now, because you could not take the light of the lamp with you.'
Calladon said nothing more, but he became thoughtful.
THE LAW OF THE LAMP.
ONE morning, soon after Calladon's seventh birthday, the Master called him to him and said:
'My dear Calladon, you have now arrived at the age when I must leave you for awhile, to think your own thoughts, and do your own deeds. I am going away, and it is uncertain when I may come back. Before I go I shall tell you a few things which I hope you will remember.'
'But I should like to go with you,' said Calladon.
'That may come to pass hereafter,' the Master replied, but not now, and it will depend upon what you do and think while I am parted from you, whether or not it comes to pass at all.'
'What is it that I must do?' inquired Calladon.
'I cannot command you either to do or not to do anything,' the Master said, for I shall not be here to enforce obedience. But I have already taught you many things, and, if you have studied them with your whole heart and mind, they will direct you as well as I could direct you myself. All I shall do, therefore, is to tell you what you had best avoid doing, and then leave you to follow my advice or not, as you choose.'
'Oh, there will be no trouble about that!' exclaimed Calladon cheerfully, for will not my golden sash press against my heart whenever I go wrong, and remind me to turn back?"
'No, for you will not wear the golden scarf any more,' replied the Master. 'You are no longer a little child, and you must no longer depend on what touches your heart from the outside, but on what moves it from within.'
No. 609 (xo. cxxix. n. s.)
'Well, I think I shall like that better, on the whole,' said Calladon. 6 It will make me feel more like a man. But what is it that I
ought not to do, dear Master?'
You ought not to lose faith in the lamp,' answered the Master, for it gives you all you have, and all you are. And you ought not to leave Abra, for Abra only is Abracadabra. And you ought not to light a lamp of your own, for it would lead you into darkness.' 'Is that all?' asked Calladon.
'That is all I need tell you now,' said the Master; for if you obey these three rules, you will not need to know more, and if you disobey them, nothing more that I could say would help you.'
'I would have done all that without being told,' said Calladon; and the only thing I don't like is having nobody to see or to speak to.'
'I have taken care about that,' replied the Master, with a smile, and you will not be left entirely alone. When you wake up tomorrow morning, you will find a little girl beside you. She is to be your playmate and companion. She can help you to be happier and better than you have ever been before; but she can also make you worse and more miserable than if you were left by yourself. It will be according as you treat her.'
'Perhaps I had better not have her,' said Calladon.
'You must run the risk; for without risk nothing that is really good can be got,' replied the Master. She will not suggest either good or evil to you; but if your thoughts are good she will know it, and will help you to carry them out; and if your thoughts are evil, she will think evil too, and will give you the means of doing it.' 'Does she know all this?' Calladon asked.
'She will know nothing except from you, and as long as you are obedient to what I have told you, she will be obedient to you. But if you become disobedient, she will sooner or later begin to rule you; and whenever that happens you will be sure to suffer.'
'Then it all depends on me?' said Calladon.
'If harm comes, you will have no right to blame her,' the Master answered; but if good comes, you will have no right to take the credit to yourself.'
'Well,' said Calladon, after thinking awhile, the safest thing will be not to think of myself at all.'
There is one thing more,' said the Master, before taking leave of him. You will find, hanging round Callia's neck (Callia is the name of your playmate), a little mirror, set in a frame of precious stones. This mirror will always show you an image of yourself, not as you think yourself to be, but as you really are. If you trust to what the mirror tells you, you will not know trouble; but if you disregard it, you will be in danger. The mirror is the only thing that will always tell you the truth.'
'I will always believe it,' said Calladon; and then the Master bade him good night, and Calladon fell asleep.
CALLIA AND THE MIRROR.
THE next morning, when Calladon woke up, the first thing he saw was a lovely little girl slumbering beside him.
For a moment he was greatly astonished, for he had forgotten that the Master had gone, and that he had promised him a companion. But presently the memory of the day before came back to him, and he recollected that henceforth he was to take care of himself. The thought made him feel quite brave and manly; and with such a beautiful playmate as this to keep him company, he felt sure that he would be the happiest boy in the world. And as he wanted his happiness, and hers, to begin as soon as possible, he bent over and kissed her on the lips.
She opened a pair of lovely blue eyes, and yawned, and said'Where am I? Oh! Calladon, is that you? How handsome you look, and how good you are!'
'How did you know me?' asked Calladon.
"If I am Callia, you must be Calladon!' replied she, laughing. Who else could you
'Now that I look in your eyes, it seems as if I must have always known you!' said Calladon.
'And I know you the same way,' said Callia.
'But how did you get here?' he asked.
'What a funny question! as if I had ever been anywhere else!'
It is very strange, however,' he said; for though I can remember living here for a long time and not seeing you, still I cannot imagine your ever having been away from me. We seem always to have been together.'
'So we have,' replied Callia; and we will always stay together, won't we?'
'Indeed we will,' said Calladon; so now give me a kiss, and let us have our breakfast.'
Their breakfast was there waiting for them, as was everything else they needed; and while they were eating it they talked about what they would do during the day. They soon found out that the difficulty would be to make a choice out of the many pleasant things that suggested themselves; and whatever one proposed, the other declared to be more delightful than anything yet. And after all, what could be more delightful than simply to be together? Calladon was more pleased in knowing that Callia was pleased than he could have been at anything that merely pleased himself; and his pleasure gave greater pleasure to Callia than any pleasure of her own could have done. What they did, therefore, on this first day, was not of nearly so much importance to them as that they did it together; and when the day came to an end (as it did, more quickly than any day that either of them could remember) all they knew was that it had