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- The Valley of Vision - 1/31 -


THE VALLEY OF VISION

A BOOK OF ROMANCE

AND SOME HALF-TOLD TALES

BY HENRY VAN DYKE

_"Your old men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall see visions."_

TO MY CHILDREN

AND CHILDREN'S CHILDREN

WHO MAY REMEMBER THESE TROUBLOUS TIMES WHEN WE ARE GONE ON NEW ADVENTURE

PREFACE

"Why do you choose such a title as _The Valley of Vision_ for your book," said my friend; "do you mean that one can see farther from the valley than from the mountain-top?"

This question set me thinking, as every honest question ought to do. Here is the result of my thoughts, which you will take for what it is worth, if you care to read the book.

The mountain-top is the place of outlook over the earth and the sea. But it is in the valley of suffering, endurance, and self-sacrifice that the deepest visions of the meaning of life come to us.

I take the outcome of this Twentieth Century War as a victory over the mad illusion of world-dominion which the Germans saw from the peak of their military power in 1914. The united force of the Allies has grown, through valley-visions of right and justice and human kindness, into an irresistible might before which the German "will to power" has gone down in ruin.

There are some Half-Told Tales in the volume--fables, fantasies--mere sketches, grave and gay, on the margin of the book of life,

"Where more is meant than meets the ear."

Dreams have a part in most of the longer stories. That is because I believe dreams have a part in real life. Some of them we remember as vividly as any actual experience. These belong to the imperfect sleep. But others we do not remember, because they are given to us in that perfect sleep in which the soul is liberated, and goes visiting. Yet sometimes we get a trace of them, by a happy chance, and often their influence remains with us in that spiritual refreshment with which we awake from profound slumber. This is the meaning of that verse in the old psalm: "He giveth to His beloved in sleep."

The final story in the book was written before the War of 1914 began, and it has to do with the Light of the World, leading us through conflict and suffering towards Peace.

AVALON, November 24, 1918.

CONTENTS

A Remembered Dream Antwerp Road A City of Refuge A Sanctuary of Trees The King's High Way HALF-TOLD TALES The Traitor in the House Justice of the Elements Ashes of Vengeance The Broken Soldier and the Maid of France The Hearing Ear Sketches of Quebec A Classic Instance HALF-TOLD TALES The New Era and Carry On The Primitive and His Sandals Diana and the Lions The Hero and Tin Soldiers Salvage Point The Boy of Nazareth Dreams

ILLUSTRATIONS

The sails and smoke-stacks of great shift were visible, all passing out to sea

The cathedral spire... was swaying and rocking in the air like the mast of a ship at sea

All were fugitives, anxious to be gone... and making no more speed than a creeping snail's pace of unutterable fatigue

"I will ask you to choose between your old home and your new home now"

"I'm going to carry you in, 'spite of hell"

"I was a lumberjack"

"I am going to become a virtuous peasant, a son of the soil, a primitive"

The Finding of Christ in the Temple

A REMEMBERED DREAM

This is the story of a dream that came to me some five-and-twenty years ago. It is as vivid in memory as anything that I have ever seen in the outward world, as distinct as any experience through which I have ever passed. Not all dreams are thus remembered. But some are. In the records of the mind, where the inner chronicle of life is written, they are intensely clear and veridical. I shall try to tell the story of this dream with an absolute faithfulness, adding nothing and leaving nothing out, but writing the narrative just as if the thing were real.

Perhaps it was. Who can say?

In the course of a journey, of the beginning and end of which I know nothing, I had come to a great city, whose name, if it was ever told me, I cannot recall.

It was evidently a very ancient place. The dwelling-houses and larger buildings were gray and beautiful with age, and the streets wound in and out among them wonderfully, like a maze.

This city lay beside a river or estuary--though that was something that I did not find out until later, as you will see--and the newer part of the town extended mainly on a wide, bare street running along a kind of low cliff or embankment, where the basements of the small houses on the water-side went down, below the level of the street, to the shore. But the older part of the town was closely and intricately built, with gabled roofs and heavy carved facades hanging over the narrow stone-paved ways, which here and there led out suddenly into open squares.

It was in what appeared to be the largest and most important of these squares that I was standing, a little before midnight. I had left my wife and our little girl in the lodging which we had found, and walked out alone to visit the sleeping town.

The night sky was clear, save for a few filmy clouds, which floated over the face of the full moon, obscuring it for an instant, but never completely hiding it--like veils in a shadow dance. The spire of the great cathedral was silver filigree on the moonlit side, and on the other side, black lace. The square was empty. But on the broad, shallow steps in front of the main entrance of the cathedral two heroic figures were seated. At first I thought they were statues. Then I perceived they were alive, and talking earnestly together.

They were like Greek gods, very strong and beautiful, and naked but for some slight drapery that fell snow-white around them. They glistened in the moonlight. I could not hear what they were saying; yet I could see that they were in a dispute which went to the very roots of life.


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