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- In Midsummer Days and Other Tales - 20/20 -


"And now, let's see about the goldpowder," he said for the third time, "which has flowers like the bird's-eye and leaves like the saxifrage. That's its distinctive mark, and tells you where water can be found. The bird's-eye collects dew and water in its leaves, and is in itself a tiny, clear rivulet; but the saxifrage can break mountain rocks. There is no spring without a mountain, be the mountain never so distant. This is what the goldpowder tells all those who can understand its message. It grows here, on this island, and you shall know the spot, because your heart is pure. The rich man shall receive water for his parched soul from your tiny hand, and through you all the island shall be blessed. Go in peace, my child, and when you come to the wood where the nuts grow, you will find a silver-linden on your right; at its foot lies a copper coloured slow-worm, which is not dangerous. It show you the way to the goldpowder. But before you go, you must give the old man a kiss, that is to say, if you want to."

Little Bluewing held up her lips and kissed the old man, and immediately his face changed and he looked fifty years younger.

"I have kissed a child, I have grown young again," said the gardener. "You owe me no thanks. Farewell!"

Little Bluewing went to the wood where the nuts grew. The silver-linden was rustling in the breeze, and the humble-bees hummed and buzzed round its blossoms. The slow-worm was really there, although its copper looked a bit rusty.

"Hallo! There is Little Bluewing, who is to have the goldpowder," said the copper snake. "Well, you shall have it on three conditions: no to talk, not to be led astray, not to be inquisitive. Now go straight ahead and you will find the goldpowder."

Little Bluewing went straight ahead. On her way she met a woman.

"Good morning, child," said the woman. "Have you been to see the gardener at Sunnyglade?"

"Good morning, woman," said Little Bluewing without stopping.

"Well, you aren't a gossip," said the woman.

Next she met a gipsy.

"Where are you going to?" asked the gipsy.

"Straight ahead," answered Little Bluewing.

"Then you won't be led astray," said the gipsy.

Then she met a milkman. But she could not understand why the horse was inside the cart and the milkman harnessed to the shafts.

"Now I shall shy and run away," said the milkman, and gave such a start that the horse fell out of the cart into the ditch . ... "Now I shall water the rye," he went on, and took the lid off one of his milk cans.

Little Bluewing thought it strange, but continued her way without giving him as much as a look.

"And you aren't curious, either," said the milkman.

And now Little Bluewing was standing at the foot of the mountain; the sunbeams fell through the hazel bushes on the green leaves of a luxurious plant which shone like gold.

It was the goldpowder. Little Bluewing noticed how it followed the vein of the spring down the mountain side into the rich man's meadow.

She belt down and gathered three flowers, put them carefully into her pinafore and took them home to her father.

The dragoon put on sword, helmet, and uniform, and went with his little daughter to the clergyman. And all three went to the rich man.

"Little Bluewzng has found the goldpowder!" said the clergyman, as soon as he entered the drawing-room. "And now the whole village will be rich before long, because it is sure to become a summer resort."

And it became a summer resort before long; steamers and shop people arrived; an inn and a post-office were built; a doctor settled on the island, and a chemist. Gold poured into the village all during the summer, and that is the story of the goldpowder, which can transform poverty into wealth.


In Midsummer Days and Other Tales - 20/20

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