“Go forth!” said she unto the little one; “my blessing be with thee. If they despise and scorn thee, turn quickly unto me; perhaps later generations, more true to nature, may again incline to thee their hearts.”
Thus spoke Queen Phantasie, while Märchen went down upon the earth. With beating heart she approached the city, in which the cunning watchmen dwelt: she dropped her head towards the earth, wrapped her fine robe closely around her, and with trembling step drew near unto the gate.
“Hold!” exclaimed a deep, rough voice. “Look out, there! Here comes a new Almanach!”
Märchen trembled as she heard this; many old men, with gloomy countenances, rushed forth; they had sharp quills in their fists, and held them towards Märchen. One of the multitude strode up to her, and seized her with rough hand by the chin. “Just lift up your head, Mr. Almanach,” he cried, “that one may see in your eyes whether you be right or not.”
Blushing, Märchen lifted her little head quite up, and raised her dark eye.
“Märchen!” exclaimed the watchmen, laughing boisterously. “Märchen! That we should have had any doubt as to who was here! How come you, now, by this dress?”
“Mother put it on me,” answered Märchen.
“So! she wishes to smuggle you past us! Not this time! Out of the way; see that you be gone!” exclaimed the watchmen among themselves, lifting up their sharp quills.
“But, indeed, I will go only to the children,” entreated Märchen; “this, surely, you will grant to me.”
“Stay there not, already, enough of these menials in the land around?” exclaimed one of the watchmen. “They only prattle nonsense to our children.”
“Let us see what she knows this time,” said another.
“Well then,” cried they, “tell us what you know; but make haste, for we have not much time for you.”
Märchen stretched forth her hand, and described with the forefinger, various figures in the air. Thereupon they saw confused images move slowly across it;—caravans, fine horses, riders gayly attired, numerous tents upon the sand of the desert; birds, and ships upon the stormy seas; silent forests, and populous places, and highways; battles, and peaceful wandering tribes—all hovered, a motley crowd, in animated pictures, over before them.