Ole, the Tower Keeper
I shall tell about two visits, and use his own words as far as I can.
Among the books I had recently lent Ole was one about pebbles, which had greatly pleased him.
"They are truly veterans from olden times, those pebbles," he said, "yet people pass them by without thinking, and trample them down in fields or on beaches, those fragments of antiquity. I have done so myself. From now on I shall hold every paving stone in high respect! Thank you for the book; it has driven cobwebby old thoughts and ideas out of my head and made me eager to read more of the same type.
"The romance of the earth is truly the most fascinating of all romances. It's a shame we can't read the first parts of it; but they're written in a language we haven't learned yet; we have to dig away among strata and rocks, puzzling out bits here and there from the early acts of earth's drama. The acting persons of the drama, old Mr. Adam and Mrs. Eve, don't make their entrance before the sixth act; that's far too late for many impatient readers, who want them to come on stage right away, but it's all the same to me. It is indeed a most marvelous romance, and here we are all in it. We creep and crawl about, but always stay where we are, while all the while the globe keeps turning around, but never splashing its ocean spray over us. The crust on which we move remains solid so that we never fall through, and so it is a story of millions of years, with steady progress.
"Many thanks for your book on pebbles; those old fellows could tell us so much if only they could talk. Isn't it funny to be a nobody once in a while, like me, and then remember that we all, whether we have the best shoe blacking or not, are just like tiny ants on the anthill of the world, even though some of us ants have stars and decorations, honors and offices? And it makes you feel so ridiculously young, compared with the millions of years of these venerable stones! I read your book on New Year's Eve, and became so lost in it that I entirely forgot my usual New Year's Eve entertainment - watching the wild hunt to Amager; but you don't know what that is.
The Tale of a Youth Who Set Out to Learn what Fear Was
Category: Andrew Lang
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