Where were you taught your song, little bird?
Who sent you to kiss us, you breezes of May?
There are secrets, yes secrets you never have heard, Whispered breezes and bird as they uttered away.
Where were they?
Why, sitting on the short thymy grass just behind the Castle, not a stone’s throw from the old tree trunk where they had found the little door, which the golden key had opened.
They gazed at each other, then rubbed their eyes and gazed again.
‘How did we get out of the panniers?’ said Hildegarde. ‘I never felt anything, did you, Leonore?’
Leonore’s reply was another question.
‘Have we been dreaming?’ she said. ‘No, of course it couldn’t be that, people can’t dream the same dream together; it is too funny and queer.’
‘It’s just what it is,’ said Hildegarde laughing. ‘We’ve been to gnomeland, and now we’ve come back again. And after all, Leonore, we haven’t been two hours away. Look at the sun, it is not near setting yet, but of course in gnomeland, as they told us, they don’t count time as we do.’
She got up as she spoke and gave herself a little shake.
‘I want to be sure I have not been dreaming,’ she went on. ‘Even though I know I haven’t. Pinch me, Leonore, just a nice little gentle pinch to make me feel real, and I’ll pinch you in return.’
The pinching made them both laugh, which took away the dreamy feeling better than anything else.
‘And now,’ said Hildegarde, ‘I suppose we had best make our way home—to your home I mean, Leonore, as fast as we can. Grandmamma gave me leave to stay out till sunset, and Aunt Anna will be expecting us back in time for coffee.’
‘Yes,’ said Leonore. ‘She hoped you would come back with me after our walk; but, Hildegarde, what shall we say if they ask where we have been?’
‘Say?’ repeated Hildegarde, ‘why, that we have been up in the woods behind the Castle. We mayn’t tell anything more, and I don’t believe we could if we tried.
That is always the way with people who have been to Fairyland, or at least part of the way there—besides——’ but she hesitated.
‘Besides what?’ asked Leonore curiously.
‘Oh,’ said Hildegarde, ‘I was only going to say that I am not sure but what Aunt Anna understands a great deal more than she says. There is something very fairyish about her sometimes. I don’t think she’ll question us much.’
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